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PARK CITY -- Park City Mountain Resort opens for the ski season tomorrow. As skiers get to the bottom of the hill, they'll see something new that will certainly turn their heads.
Friday marked the opening of the High West Distillery and Saloon in old town Park City. Owner David Perkins said it's the first distillery to operate in Utah since 1870, and it may be the only one where people can ski right up to the front door.
"When we were looking for a place to put the distillery, the building came up and we went for the building first, and it happened to be on a ski run, which we thought was really cool," Perkins said.
Several hundred people gathered for the ribbon cutting ceremony Friday. The building, which used to be a house and a livery stable, dates back to the early 1900s.
Perkins has spent the last five years, and more than $4 million, restoring the building. All the original woodwork is still there.
Now, there's a room full of distilling equipment, and High West will now begin producing three whiskeys and two types of vodka on site. Next week, the restaurant will open, serving lunch and dinner.
During the silver mining rush in the 1860s, Park City was a well-known "watering hole" for the entire region. Perkins hopes the new distillery will recognize and preserve a bit of that history.
"Cowboys drank whiskey," Perkins said. "When a miner went into a bar, he didn't say, 'Give me a vodka.' He said, 'Give me a whiskey.' So bringing that back, there is an historic precedence for that, and we want to be a part of that, and it's fun to bring that back."
Now skiers will have a place to sit back and relax after a day on the slopes.
When everything is up and running, High West will have about 50 employees.