Just when we thought things would finally quiet down in Park City, Utah, Deer Valley reasserts its plan to run a gondola right into town. Never a dull moment.
Deer Valley President and General Manager Bob Wheaton recently outlined two alternative routes for a gondola that would connect Park City proper onto the mountain. Both would run out of the Park City Transit Center – the hub for bus service for the city -- with either a terminus at Silver Lake Village or a connection to a new gondola to replace the Silver Lake Express chairlift.
“Deer Valley and the city of Park City both see this as a considerable addition to the transit options here,” Wheaton told SnoCountry.com. “We already have a comprehensive free bus system, and this gondola might reduce some of the rubber on the road.”
Wheaton envisions that staff, guests and casual visitors will travel both directions on the lift, which would take 7-10 minutes for a one-way trip.
“I see people coming up to Silver Lake to eat the many fine dining places there and then returning to town at night – and vice versa,” he said. Silver Lake is the prime lodging area at Deer Valley, including the Stein Erikson Lodge and the Chateaux at Silver Lake, with numerous high-end restaurants.
The idea was first floated in 2012, with an eye on a town parking lot for the gondola station at the top of Main Street. The latest concepts would bring the lift into the lower part of town, so it would “truly link to the existing transit system,” Wheaton said.
Best-case scenario would have the gondola up and running in a couple of years, he said, but alignments, funding and approvals are still to be completed. Under either scenario, the gondola would run over private and/or town-owned land.
“It makes sense,” Wheaton said. “We have the expertise to put up and operate lifts, and Park City owns the land and runs the transit system." The idea comes on the heels of Vail Resorts buying Park City Mountain Resort and unveiling plans to link it with Canyons Resort. This summer, Deer Valley bought into Solitude, as did Powdr Corp., previous PCMR owner, with Snowbird.
Photos: Deer Valley plans gondola connection from town onto its mountain (Deer Valley/Facebook); Gondola will open up more fine dining options at Deer Valley's Silver Lake from town (Deer Valley/Facebook)