News Roundup: Funding Secured

News Roundup: Uniting Legends

Park City Lift Projects Blocked

The Park City Planning Commission voted 3-1 tonight to grant an appeal of two approved lift projects at Park City Mountain. First announced in September 2021, the new Eagle six pack would have featured a mid-unloading station and a new Silverlode lift would have become the first eight place lift constructed by Vail Resorts. Both detachables were set to be built by Doppelmayr and Silverlode was slated to be a D-Line model. The projects were part of the Epic Lift Upgrade, a 21 lift modernization initiative across Vail Resorts.

The appeal focused on a decades-old agreement with a cap on Comfortable Carrying Capacity between Park City Mountain Resort and previous owner Powdr. At issue was the degree to which new lifts create new demand for skiing. Vail argued the projects were simple lift replacements and would pull skiers off of the current 3 Kings lift in addition to three removed lifts. Appellants said the projects would induce new demand for parking and cause traffic. Normally chairlift replacement projects do not make it to the Planning Commission and are approved by city staff. The appeal was brought by four citizens, triggering elected officials’ involvement.

New Park City Mountain Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Deirdra Walsh blasted the move in a late night statement. “Those opposed to these important enhancements to the guest experience have created a false narrative that the replacement of aged infrastructure with modernized lifts will draw crowds,” she said. “Chairlift tourism does not exist – skiers and riders just want to spend more time on Park City Mountain’s vast terrain and less time in line. Investment in infrastructure is a critical part of the guest experience at Park City Mountain – and we are deeply disappointed that the City is now blocking that investment at the last minute.”

Luckily the lack of approval and threat of appeal kept Doppelmayr and Park City from removing the outgoing Eagle and Silverlode lifts, which will remain in service. Only preliminary construction work had taken place including fabrication of foundation elements in Park City’s parking lot. Both lifts were ordered many months ago and well into production, leading to questions about the future of the euipment. “We are considering our options and next steps based on today’s disappointing decision,” Park City said, adding that new lifts at Park City would not move forward until at least 2023.

News Roundup: Time Lapse

Vail Resorts to Build New Lifts at Attitash, Breckenridge & Stevens Pass in 2023

Vail Resorts today released quarterly financial results and previewed three signature lift installations for 2023 construction season. The newly-announced projects will follow the record 21 new lifts currently under construction as part of the 2022 Epic Lift Upgrade.

Season pass sales are trending up for the 2022-23 season, increasing approximately 9 percent in units and 11 percent in sales dollars from the year prior as of May 31st. This past season, approximately 72 percent of all Vail Resorts 2021/2022 North American skier visitation was on a pass product. The company noted visitation on weekday and non-holiday periods increased approximately 8 percent last season while visitation on weekend and holiday periods decreased 3 percent, excluding Peak Resorts visitation in both periods. “We believe this trend is driven by the growth in pass sales as pass holders tend to spread their visitation more across the season, and, with the increase in flexible and remote work, we expect this trend to continue,” the company said. Vail is continuing to build new lifts across its portfolio in an effort to increase capacity and improve the ski experience.

Attitash skiers will be thrilled to learn the Summit triple is slated for replacement in 2023. A detachable quad will increase uphill capacity and reduce ride time on the longest lift at the resort. Attitash is also getting a fixed grip quad this summer to replace the mountain’s Borvig double doubles. When both projects are complete, five of Attitash’s seven chairlifts will be quads.

At Breckenridge, 5-Chair will be replaced by a detachable quad in 2023. Redevelopment of the Peak 8 base area will include new teaching terrain and a transport carpet to make the beginner experience more accessible. The new 5-Chair combined with a new Rip’s Ride being constructed this summer will mean all five lifts at the Peak 8 base will be detachable.

Finally at Stevens Pass, a fixed grip quad will replace Kehr’s chair, a Riblet dating back to 1964. This is the third new chairlift for Vail Resorts at Stevens and will improve out-of-base capacity.

Vail is investing approximately $320 million across its resorts this season for improvements. “Vail Resorts will have invested over $2 billion in capital since launching the Epic Pass, increasing capacity, improving the guest experience and creating an integrated resort network,” the company noted. Additional calendar year 2023 investments and upgrades will be announced in the coming quarters.

News Roundup: Town Halls