Sundance Mountain Resort’s new owners are wasting no time updating the ski area. Three months after Robert Redford sold the property the actor opened in 1969, the new group announced plans to install two new chairlifts, additional snowmaking and parking and renovations to its Creekside building.
The installation of the two new lifts means the Rays lift will be retired. In its place, a Doppelmayer high-speed quad lift will deliver guests from the base to the advanced terrain off Mandan Summit in about seven minutes, as opposed to the roughly 20-minute ride on Rays. It will follow approximately the same path as the original Mandan Lift — just to the looker’s right of Rays — which was installed in the mid-1960s and removed in 1995. This lift will also have a mid-station unload for novice skiers.
The other lift, a fixed-grip quad, will take passengers to the backside of Mandan Summit. It will primarily be used to reach the top of the peak in the summer and as a way to return to the front of the mountain from the backside in the winter.
Chad Linebaugh, Sundance resort’s president and general manager, told The Salt Lake Tribune that until a month and a half ago, the new lift was going to follow the same path as the current Rays lift. But Linebaugh had fond memories of the terrain that became inaccessible when the original Mandan Lift came down. Plus, he said, the view of Mount Timpanogos is even more spectacular from there.
“We thought, ‘Well, gosh, if we’re building a new lift, maybe we should go back up to that summit,” Linebaugh said. “And there’s a few complications in doing it that way and it costs us a bit more money. But in the end, we thought, ‘Hey, if we’re going to do this, let’s do it right and let’s recapture that.”
In the hope of opening the resort earlier in the season and provide access to more terrain, the group also plans to install more snow guns and a snowmaking reservoir.
Changes that should benefit the resort year-round include the addition of 125-150 parking spaces and improvements to the Creekside building. Those include additional food and beverage and gathering spaces.
The renovations are the first step in a multi-year plan undertaken by Broadreach Capital Partners and Cedar Capital Partners, which purchased the 2,600-acre resort from Redford. They have committed to carry on Redford’s commitment to sustainability, style and respect for the land.
“We obviously think there are ways to improve upon it, but we don’t want to lose the essence of it,” Cedar Capital Partners’ Benjamin Leahy said in December. “It’s a haven, and it’s not like any other resort we could think of in the United States.”