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PARK CITY — One of Utah's more recognizable mountain resorts is getting a facelift with its largest capital improvement investments to date.
Deer Valley Resort on Monday announced it plans to spend $20 million toward capital improvements this year, which includes a new chairlift that will help expand access for beginner skiers along with other enhancements for next year's snow season.
The resort also plans to add new mountain bike routes to add to the existing series of trails. Construction of the new chairlift and the new mountain bike terrain is expected to begin shortly after the end of the current ski season, said Emily Summers, communications manager for Deer Valley.
Meanwhile, the long-anticipated transformation of the resort's Snow Park Village is now likely to begin in 2023 as resort executives await Park City permit approvals.
Summers says this year's investments are the resort's largest-one year capital investment since it began capital investment spending in 1990, which is as far back as the resort's investment records go. The resort first opened in 1981.
"We are thrilled to dedicate such a significant investment to Deer Valley," said Mark Brownlie, the chief operating officer for Deer Valley's owner, Alterra Mountain Company, who is also serving as the resort's interim president.
"Given Deer Valley's existing legacy and exceptional reputation for its unparalleled guest service, we look forward to unveiling these innovative developments and reimagined spaces for visitors to enjoy for years to come," he added.
Inside the new improvements
Deer Valley's mountain bike season typically runs from mid-June through September. There are currently several routes available for bikers when there's no snow on the slopes; Summers says the resort began focusing its off-season attention on mountain biking nearly a decade ago.
The new intermediate flow trails will be focused on the resort's lower mountain, Bald Eagle, away from the existing trails in the Snow Park and Silver Lake areas, according to the resort.
"It expands the bike park offering between two mountain areas," Summer explained. "It's making it bigger, giving additional options for riders (and) doing a lot more variety of terrain."
While that work is underway, crews will also begin work on the new Burns Express chairlift for the resort's west-side learning area. The lift will connect beginner skiers to and from the Snow Park base and Little Baldy Mountain, which will expand teaching access for beginners.
Resort officials say $6 million of this year's investments are toward the chairlift and other projects that improve the ski school learning area. Some of the money will also go to improvements to the Snowflake chairlift.
"(It) is a big deal. Deer Valley is definitely a place people come to learn to ski," Summers said.
The construction of the new terrain and chairlift won't affect any of the current trails or any of the other off-season operations at the resort. All construction work will be done around any planned activities and events this spring and summer.
Another $5 million is scheduled for "resort-wide maintenance," helping enhance snowmaking operations and its ski rental fleet, while also improving its employee housing and employee uniforms this offseason.
Monday's announcement certainly won't be the end of Deer Valley investments. Summers pointed to about $215 million in capital investments over the past 32 years and said the resort plans more ski and mountain bike expansions in the future.
But its biggest upcoming project is a transformation of the Snow Park Village area, which was originally anticipated to begin this year but is now expected to begin next year. The redesign will include a "reimagined" plaza, new transit/hospitality accommodations; new food, beverage and retail options; and an "expansive" ski beach.
The massive project is something that Deer Valley executives have waited a long time for. Summers said the project was included in the resort's original master plan, which dates back to the 1970s.
It'll be a multi-year project once ground is broken as early as 2023.