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Planning commission approves Deer Valley ski lift upgrade

Deer Valley will build a new Burns lift at the Snow Park base area.
Deer Valley Resort
Deer Valley will build a new Burns lift at the Snow Park base area.

The Park City Planning Commission unanimously approved Deer Valley’s plans to upgrade the Burns ski lift and Little Stick beginner ski area Wednesday night.

Deer Valley Resort announced $11 million in investments to resort infrastructure and its beginner ski area at the Snow Park base earlier this spring.

Those plans include a new Burns ski lift and a regrading of the Lower Little Stick beginner run. The conditional use permit for those improvements was approved by the Park City Planning Commission on Wednesday.

The new Burns lift will be a detachable quad that will move skiers up to the start of the Lower Little Stick run. The new lift will also only be accessible from the top of the Snowflake lift, which runs parallel to the old Burns lift.

Deer Valley Director of Mountain Operation Garrett Lang said that will give beginner skiers access to more terrain faster than before.

“This will take the load off of Carpenter, especially during that 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. period where we see the most visitation because people, especially ski school, will be able to get to Mountaineer, underutilized terrain," Lang said. "You’ve also got the [blue ski runs] like Fairview, Silver Hill. People are able to utilize that terrain, then they can come back over to Carpenter and get up to the upper mountain.” 

The new Burns lift will be just over 1,000 feet long and feature an automatically raising and lowering safety bar, which Lang said will further enhance guest safety in the beginner ski area.

Public comments on the project were unanimously in favor of the upgrades. Local resident Steve Moat said he and his neighbors are in favor of the plans and the enhanced safety of the lift gives him peace of mind when his granddaughter is skiing.

“I think this plan makes a lot of sense," he said. "It’s gonna just, from a ski industry point of view, really lessen the congestion from the bottom of the hill and give more people ways to move up. Personally, I just think it’s better. I’ve seen this plan before, so we’re strongly in favor of it.”

Commissioner Christin Van Dine added that her own experience as a parent with young kids made her vote in favor of the upgrades.

“I do think this improves the skier experience, especially," she said. "I’ve had kids skiing at Deer Valley for years, so getting them out of the base area will be nice and using Mountaineer and all of that terrain is a really good option to spread people out in the morning.” 

Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the plans. The resort plans to have the upgrades in place in time for the start of next season.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.