Deer Valley to expand, operate new Mayflower terrain
Deer Valley announced Thursday it plans to expand its terrain by operating the new Mayflower ski resort in Wasatch County.
By combining with Mayflower, Deer Valley’s total skiable acreage will increase from around 2,000 acres to over 5,700, which would make it one of the largest ski areas in the U.S.
It also gives Deer Valley a second base area with 1,200 parking spots at Mayflower along U.S. 40 across from Jordanelle Reservoir.
Deer Valley President and COO Todd Bennett made the announcement at Silver Lake Lodge Thursday morning.
“A really important point of this is that the new portal has direct access from Salt Lake City, via Interstate 80 and U.S. Route 40, delivering the easiest access from a major metropolitan and international airport in the world. This is incredible, this is a game changer. This portal will help reduce traffic in Park City by giving guests multiple options for where they start their day.”
When the expansion is complete, Deer Valley will have a total of 37 lifts and 238 runs, one of which will stretch nearly 5 miles. Bennett said a new 10-person gondola will connect the new base to Park Peak, which is southwest of Bald Mountain.
The move comes days before Deer Valley returns to the Park City Council with a proposal to build a ski-in ski-out village with hotels and restaurants on its Snow Park parking lots. As part of those plans, the resort intends to turn the lift that connects Snow Park to Silver Lake into a gondola.
Bennett said the Mayflower partnership is part of the resort’s plan to alleviate congestion on the new Snow Park development.
“Now that we have something concrete, we do see a significant shift for day skiers from Park City over to that portal,” he said.
Bennett also said Wednesday Deer Valley will maintain its no-snowboarding policy when the new terrain opens in 2025. However, he said the new runs will offer something for everyone, from beginner areas to expert slopes.
Mayflower is overseen by the state’s Military Installation Development Authority (MIDA), which initially started to spur development by Hill Air Force Base. It later expanded to include the ski resort, which will have a hotel with discounts for active and former military.
Extell is the Mayflower developer. It purchased the resort property in 2017. Extell founder and president Gary Barnett, known for his high profile developments in Manhattan, called the negotiations tough, but the end result is a “win-win.”
“I think the reality was, as it was now, Park City was maxed,” Barnett said. “Deer Valley, the Vail resorts, I mean it was just maxed — too much traffic, too many people, no good accessibility… One of the most exciting things about this is you have unbelievable accessibility. No lights… highway driving.”
The new base area along U.S. 40 will have over 800 hotel rooms, 1,700 residential units, and 250,000 square feet of commercial space. Barnett said 600 workforce housing units will be on site. Deer Valley anticipates the expansion to create roughly 2,000 jobs.
Jared Smith, CEO of Deer Valley owner Alterra, called the deal “incredibly rare.”
“You see a fair amount of terrain expansions,” Smith said. “You’ll see resorts add some terrain based on visitation over time, but it’s smaller — it’s one pod, it’s one lift. So that’s fairly common. To do something like this — we were trying to figure out — like is it the largest in history?”
Smith said there are no plans to alter Ikon Pass access to Deer Valley.
Utah has led the country in population growth, and Wasatch County is no different. According to estimates from the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, Wasatch County’s population is expected to grow more than 130% from 2020 to 2060.
The CEO said more room to ski will help with the budding population.
“It’s the combination of the quality of the mountain, the accessibility, and population growth that’s already here that gives us all a lot of confidence that, in fact, this isn’t a ‘build it and they will come,’ it’s ‘they’re here,’” Smith said. “The demand is already here. We need to figure out how to create an experience for them that both is in keeping with that demand but also with the quality that we’re looking for.”
The expansion will be phased, with the first phase scheduled to be complete by winter 2025.
"This terrain was formerly named the Mayflower Mountain Resort; however, this name has been retired," Deer Valley Resort said in a statement. "Going forward, this skiable area will be known simply as Deer Valley Resort, much like when we expanded our terrain with the introduction of our Empire and Lady Morgan lifts."