Not that many years ago, the future of a modern-day Utah icon hung in the balance over a land lease dispute, stirring controversy in the town of Park City as their economic future suddenly became uncertain. Thanks to some mismanagement, Park City Mountain Resort was facing an eviction notice on its land and faced the prospect of not opening for the upcoming season. After a settlement through the local courts, the management of a neighboring mountain swept in and purchased the resort. What followed transformed an already famous American skiing landmark into a major player on the world ski resort stage.
Back in the 1960s after the once-prolific mines closed down, Treasure Mountain opened on the snow-covered peaks above Park City. Using old mining equipment, including a train to the center of one of the mountains, the ski area opened in 1963 and quickly became popular amongst the locals. A few years later, a competing resort known as Park West opened just a few miles to the north, with $5 day passes and three chairlifts. Treasure Mountain became a staple of the local economy, while Park West changed owners and names several times.
In the 1990s, Treasure Mountain changed its name to Park City Mountain and began undergoing major upgrades for the upcoming 2002 Winter Olympic Games to be held in Salt Lake City, including "flying couch" six-passenger chairlifts and improved infrastructure. Meanwhile, Park West became The Canyons and quickly underwent a rapid expansion and investment for development, including The Colony, an exclusive retreat of luxury homes built into the ski area. When it came time for the Olympics, Park City Mountain hosted multiple events and got ample camera time on the world stage; The Canyons remained home to the media operations instead.
As more time passed, The Canyons underwent another ownership and branding change simply to "Canyons," with another massive expansion and the beginning of increased local popularity since it had terrain, views, and an experience rivaling its neighbor. In 2013, Vail Resorts took over operations and added the area to their growing worldwide portfolio. In the meantime, Park City hadn't experienced many changes other than increasing pass prices and continued crowds at the base of its now-iconic terrain. The following year, Vail completed a purchase of Park City, with big plans in store for the following season.
While many continue to dispute the pros and cons of Vail in the ski industry, the company consistently strives to provide a great experience for its guests at all levels. One of the first things Vail did was dramatically slash the prices of season passes, and in 2015 completed $50 million in upgrades, maintenance, and other improvements. All of these reduced lines, brightened up facilities, and unified branding, but most importantly, Vail unified the two previously separated properties with a gondola and new trails. This transformed the area into a more accessible resort, further enhancing the experience of locals and visitors alike with incredible views and new terrains options. More powder to ya!
Nowadays, Park City Mountain Resort has unified the iconic and historic with the new and unique. Both sides of the mountain have their sweet spots, such as Jupiter Peak, McConkey's Bowl, and Motherlode Meadows from the main village, and Ninety-Nine Ninety, Murdock Peak, and Iron Mountain from Canyons Village. It's easy to avoid crowds and lines since the massive terrain expanse spreads out individuals quite easily, and improvements continue year after year as Vail continues to invest in the guest experience. The locals still keep closely-guarded secrets about their favorite terrain, and the resort maintains its character across 7,300 acres of world-class powder, the most in the United States.
At VIP Limousine, we take great pride in our home state of Utah and enjoy telling people about what makes it special. With skiers on staff, we examine each of these areas carefully and share what we love about them. Park City Mountain Resort, and the town which is its namesake, is one of our favorites across the Wasatch, and is truly an epic skiing experience.