Park City Mountain Resort has been open since late November, but skiers in the Wasatch Back will have even more snow to recreate on as Deer Valley resort opens for the season this Saturday.
New Deer Valley President and COO Todd Shallan says that Deer Valley is all set to open this Saturday.
“We’re going to open with 16 lifts and around 50 runs. Certainly everything out of Snow Park will be open. Mountaineer and Jordanelle lift will be open. Some of the runs over off of Jordanelle won’t be open but we’ll have everything coming in to Mountaineer, Deer Crest, and Deer Hollow open. We might not have Champions open we are still looking to prep that for the World Championships. Then when you come up the mountain Flagstaff just about everything is open on that with the exception of Mayflower, but Wasatch will be open and we’ll have most of the terrain open there. Then everything over on Northside will open as well. We’ll open Empire in about a week.”
Even though the resort is opening this weekend it’ll continue to make snow as the season moves along.
“You have the opportunity to make as much snow as you can, the weather’s been great and it’s really all about laying a base now for the rest of the year. The other technical part is you can’t put snow makers on the entire mountain at one time, there’s just not enough water to support that. So, you have to move things around that’s where we’re making snow now. We’re moving over to Empire over the weekend to make sure there’s a perfect base for when we open that area. We’ll continue making snow as long as we need to and until mother nature puts enough on us that we don’t need to.”
Shallan says they’ve made a few upgrades to the resort over the summer.
“The biggest new this year is we replaced the Homestake lift with a detachable quad. From what I’ve been told that was a bit of a bottleneck. Increasing the capacity and the speed of that will greatly help get that bottleneck out at Silver Lake. That was the biggest and it was a $4.5 million investment. We did a lot of underground we’ve increased our snowmaking capacity. Deer Valley was one of the first places to put snowmaking in and so now the result of that is that our pipe system is somewhere in the 30-year-old range. We’re systematically replacing pipe and unfortunately its not something that the guests will ever see but they will see the white stuff afterwards and we need that pipe to be able to do that. Those are the biggest changes this year. Other than of course the Ikon pass, being the competitor to Vail resorts Epic Pass. It’s been really successful. With Deer Valley we have a reservations process in progress, so we know and will know how many Ikon pass holders are coming. We’re really excited about it because we think it’s an opportunity for us at Deer Valley.”
Deer Valley will open the season on Saturday with the Shred For Red event which will raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The event is in its inaugural year and replaces the Celebrity Ski Fest.
“I think that’s a great opportunity to do something for the community. Dr. Winn who’s been our medical director I think since we’ve opened. That’s a cause that’s near and dear to his heart. It’s something that he was pushing I understand with the team and they thought it was a great idea. It’s the first time, going to open that the same time as we open the mountain. So, we’re excited about doing something with that.”
Shallan says that hosting world cup freestyle events is a niche for the resort, and they look forward to hosting the 2019 FIS World Championships along with Park City Mountain and Solitude.
“The U.S. Ski & Snowboard team loves having that venue available for them, not only just to practice but to be a home course for them as well. As everybody knows the Olympic movement for 2030 is strong and we’re in there as well with some technical alpine events. So, we’d love to be able to do giant slalom and slalom as well as the other events. We’ve said we’re happy to host those. I don’t see any change with that over the next few years.”