Skiing Updates Since Vail Bought Park City Mountain Resort
With the first dusting of powder on the mountaintops, all thoughts are turning to this year’s ski season, along with the twists and turns that took place this fall to get to where we are now. In case you missed it, Vail bought Park City Mountain Resort, and a lawsuit ensued.
Locals held their collective breath to see how the pieces of the lawsuit between Talisker/Vail Resorts and Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) would fall out. But it seems all can now rest easy with guaranteed 2014-2015 operations for both resorts. Once a planned lift to connect Canyons and PCMR comes to fruition on Opening Day 2015, we will be home to the largest ski resort in the United States.
Not to be left out of the hubbub, Deer Valley Resort made headlines of its own in October when it announced its purchase of Solitude Mountain Resort. However, Deer Valley will not assume operations until May 1 and stated it will not make any major changes to the resort and will continue to allow snowboarding.
When it comes to deciding where to buy a pass this year, factors include both preference and pocketbook. For value, the Epic Pass is the hands-down winner, with flexible pricing designed to accommodate different priorities. It also offers the least expensive option; at just $589, the Epic Local Pass has just a few blackout dates during high-volume holiday times. You still get unlimited days at other Vail properties, including Breckenridge, Keystone, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton and Arapahoe Basin, with restricted days at Vail and Beaver Creek, plus limited restrictions at Park City, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood. However, during blackout dates, pass holders can still ski for just $59 if they’re so inclined. For the jetsetters among us, $769 gets you the full Epic Pass, with completely unrestricted access to all the aforementioned resorts, plus five days at Niseko United in Japan, and up to five days at Verbier at Switzerland, and Les 3 Vallees in France.
Canyons plans to open on November 28, while PCMR will open November 22. Due to the uncertainty as to whether it would open at all this year, PCMR held off on making any major on-mountain improvements. They will also still honor any season passes bought prior to Vail’s purchase of the resort. These passes are not refundable, but they can be traded as credit for a different kind of pass. For a limited time, they will still sell their “My Pass. My Way” season passes, valid solely at PCMR with a base price of $920 (not including add-ons like parking, night skiing or Fast Tracks). PCMR will also offer its EZ Access Fast Tracks 10-Day Pass (EZ Access rollover credits will expire in December of 2015).
Last ski season, in response to the competition posed by the Epic Pass, Deer Valley partnered with Park City Mountain Resort, Alta and Snowbird to create the “Wasatch Benefit Pass.” This provided select season pass holders with up to three complimentary day tickets at each partner resort. This year, PCMR is out of the Wasatch Benefit Pass equation.
And though Deer Valley will not resume operations at Solitude until May 1, 2015, full season pass holders will receive four ski days at Solitude for the upcoming season, while midweek pass holders will receive two passes valid Monday-Friday. Season pass holders will also receive access to all the benefits that comprise the “Deer Valley Difference,” including lunch and dinner discounts, summer 2015 chairlift rides for lift-served mountain biking and hiking, and a number of Buddy Passes, depending on the type of pass purchased.
However, while a full season pass will set an adult back $2,320 (if purchased by November 30), it is possible to ski Deer Valley on a more limited basis with their Locals Only pass pricing for Utah residents, which offers a 10-pass for $710 that can be shared between two people. More info on Deer Valley Season Passes can be found at deerlocals.com, or by phone at 435.645.6626.
Wherever you decide to ski this year, nothing compares to Utah’s legendary champagne powder. And with 300+ blue sky days each year, you’ll know by mid-December why you chose Park City above all other similar resorts in the U.S. to put down roots.