RICHMOND, Cache County — From unpacking the lodge to preparing the ski shop, it's "utter chaos" at Utah's newest ski resort: Cherry Peak.
The resort near the Utah/Idaho border is actually a year behind schedule, but even with the extra year, it's still been a rush to the finish to open on Monday.
"Every department's got their own little bit of chaos going on," said Cherry Peak founder John Chadwick. "I'm sure we'll pull off some sort of an opening … I'd call it a soft opening. We'll see how soft it is on Monday."
The staff of more than 100 has been making final preparations.
"We are finishing up putting some snowmaking on a few runs this weekend," Chadwick said. "We are finishing up a couple of drift fences. We are putting up all this protective netting around snowmaking (equipment) and barrels over snow-making hydrants, signage, and boy, I don't know. The list is so extensive, I don't know, but it's … a busy weekend."
The resort has been more than a decade in the making. He said he's been working on it for 15 years and had hoped to open last year, but changes were made to the plans, and so they couldn't pull it off.
Chadwick says thanks to the recent snowstorms, with more forecast to come, the resort is in good shape.
"We have made a lot of man-made snow, but the man-made isn't on all runs, so we would love to get a little more natural to really pull off a great opening. If not, we've got several runs that are opening with man-made combined with natural."
Chadwick said the resort plans to open with three out of four lifts, but if another storm hits the resort, it could open that last slope.
"We have a very long conveyor lift. It's 550 feet, one of the longest in the country for the beginner area. Then we have two other triple-chairs that are installed, and another triple-chair that is 80 percent installed, but we won't be able to use that until next season."
The resort has sold a number of passes, and while that's good news, he said if the turnout Monday is light, that's OK, "because we've got a lot of new people in new positions that are learning what they're doing."
The latest ski resort, which offers activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and ice skating, is a very welcome change to the area.
"Richmond, Utah, just became a really cool place to live," Chadwick said. "It was already cool, but it's just a notch cooler."
Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc