Questions About Deer Valley's Future Fall To Its CEO
Deer Valley has just opened for the 2019-20 season, with plans well laid for this winter.
But we also took a chance to ask CEO Todd Shallan about some questions for the resort’s long-term future.
The parking lots at the base of Snow Park Lodge have long been approved for development. But Shallan said they’re taking their time, and any news about the lots won’t emerge for another year or two years.
“One of the things that we’re taking the approach of is, how do we develop a better guest experience at Snow Park that involves that new space. And so it could be expanding the skier beach and moving it down towards where the parking lot is today, moving lifts around a little bit and extending them, having a better transit center that connects to what future city plans are for transit, so we can get more cars off the road. Or the other way is less cars up at Deer Valley. And then, trying to make sure that everything we do is driven more on guest experience, rather than driven on selling real estate.”
Park City Municipal has also asked the resorts to move to paid parking. Shallan said that’s not happening this season at Deer Valley.
“I think our sister resort, Solitude is implementing a plan and they just started it last week. I think part of it is trying to understand how that works and what we want to do from a guest-service perspective. Do we have a different pricing structure for season pass holders, for locals? There’s a lot of things that go into it. And if you do a gate system like you have here at this building, it’s a million-dollar investment. And so we want to make sure that what we do is right. I don’t just wanna have somebody out there collecting cash, and that’s not the right way to do it either. So whatever we do, we wanna make sure that we do it right. I’m not convinced that we’re going to charge for parking either. And I think we wanna leave all the options on the table at this point.”
On another topic, he said they’re still talking to Extell, about whether they will operate a ski resort as part of Extell’s development of the Mayflower property in Wasatch County. He said that the resort and the developer are committed to providing a good guest experience.
“If you drive off of Highway 40, what happens to you from the time you drive off, til the time you get onto the slopes, to the food and beverage, to the on-mountain, to the connection potentially to Deer Valley, and then the way out, and then making sure that whole guest flow is thought through. I think they’ve done a very good job so far in their planning. And we just wanna make sure that if we are partners in that expansion, that it’s done the way that our guests are used to. (Leslie) I mean, you’d love to have the parking, yeah? (Shallan) Love to have the parking, sure. And I think the more and more people that are moving towards Heber and that part of this Summit County, the areas over there, that would be helpful. And with Ikon Pass, people coming up and around the other canyons, we’d better have parking over there as well.”
Meanwhile, he said Deer Valley is planning some $75 million of improvements in the next five years—including both new investment and maintenance.
“And some of those things will include renovation of our two big and original base lodges, Snow Park and Silver Lake. We are looking at doing some new lift adjustments down at Snow Park, and one new lift that would get us up to Deer Hollow and up to the St. Regis, so that we can move people around and move our ski school around a little bit better and more efficiently. Everything that we’re trying to do is make things more efficient and get a better guest experience on the mountain. And then we’ll probably spend I’d say $5 million over the next few years on summer activities, between zip lines and ropes courses, and other enhancements of mountain biking, and try to make it little bit more of a family experience.”
Todd Shallan, President and CEO for Deer Valley.