Park City History Bits - November 28, 2013

Nov 28, 2013

Did you remember how you used to get up the ski hill?

This is Chris Waddell with your weekly Park City History Bit.

When Treasure Mountains Resort (now Park City Mountain Resort) opened in 1963, it featured the Prospector double chairlift, two J-bars and a two-and-a-half-mile aerial tramway, said to be the longest in North America. A four-passenger gondola from the resort base to the top of Pinion Ridge quickly became a popular attraction.

A near-tragedy occurred in 1979, when visitor Mary Lou Whipple, riding alone in the gondola, leaned out the window to take photographs. This caused pressure on the safety chain holding the gondola door closed. The door opened and Mary Lou fell approximately 60 feet into a soft snow bank near the Waterfall ski run. Fortunately, she had no serious injuries.

Three years later, the gondola cabins were replaced with new ones featuring automatic doors. During the summer of 1997, the entire gondola was replaced with two six-passenger high-speed chairlifts. On Sunday, April 20, 1997, a resort-closing party was held on the deck of Steeps Restaurant to say farewell to the old gondola, including a contest to guess the number of the last gondola car to descend the mountain. The winner: number 31.

Park City Mountain Resort celebrates their 50th year of helping skiers up – and down – the hill this winter.

This Park City History Bit is brought to you by the Park City Museum, and their newest exhibit, “Miners to Moguls: 50 Years of Park City Skiing”, and is sponsored by Julie Hopkins of Keller Williams Real Estate.