There’s big big news in snow country this year: the largest ski resort in the U.S is coming to life in the snow-blessed mountains of Park City, Utah. And with El Nino at bat to deliver a massive amount of precipitation on the West this winter, it could be the most epic opening of a ski resort ever.
Park City Mountain Resort, already one of the best ski destinations in the world, was acquired by ski resort behemoth Vail Resorts and is now merged with their adjacent Canyons Resort, transforming the two formidable resorts into one massive playground for skiers and snowboarders. Come winter, the new Park City Resort will feature over 7,300 acres of skiable terrain and some 300 trails. That’s a lot of terrain, second only to Whistler/Blackcomb in North America.
A new gondola named Quicksilver will connect the two mountains. The eight-passenger, high-speed two-way gondola will transport guests from the base of the existing Silverlode Lift at Park City to the Flatiron Lift at Canyons. A new restaurant, located at the base of the Silverlode Lift, will be called Miners Camp. It will accommodate 500 indoor seats and a top-of-the-line kitchen. All in all, resort owner Vail Resorts is injecting some $50 million in improvements in the project this year. I skied both resorts over the past few season, a refugee from our dire Sierra snowpack, and I love them both. This is Utah after all, famous for “the best snow on Earth” as their state license plates tout. Indeed, Utah delivers.
For skiing the West and abroad, Vail Resorts’ unrestricted Epic Pass gives skiers and snowboarders unlimited access to Vail’s resorts in California, Colorado and Utah and is a really sweet deal, especially if you roam the West’s ski slopes each winter. These resorts include Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City, Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Perisher in 2016 season, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, and Arapahoe Basin. Better yet there are no blackout dates. Last season the pass was also good for five days of skiing each at three of the most renowned ski areas in Europe — Les 3 Vallées in France, Austria’s St. Anton and Verbier–Les 4 Vallées in the Swiss Alps and also at Japan’s Niseko United. Updated information on this season’s international resort partners will be announced in early fall 2015; see snow.com/epic-pass/passes/epic-pass.aspx for details on the Epic pass and http://www.snow.com/epic-pass/info/ski-the-world1 for more information on this amazing pass and program.