Park City Mountain Resort had a chance this season to become just the third resort in North America — and the first owned by Vail Resorts — to run an eight-person lift. Now that notoriety, and the lift, will go to Whistler Blackcomb.
PCMR expected to replace its Silverlode lift with the high-speed eight-pack and to reconfigure its Eagle and Eaglet lifts and replace them with a single high-speed six-pack this summer. That plan stalled in June, however, when the Park City Planning Commission effectively voted to block their installation after four Parkites raised concern about overcrowding and questioned the equation the resort uses to determine comfortable carrying capacity.
Vail Resorts filed an appeal in July with a Summit County district court. However, PCMR officials said it would not be possible to install the lifts before summer 2023.
Rather than wait to see if PCMR would win its appeal, its parent company decided to ship the lifts to Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada. Vail Resorts CEO Kiersten Lynch announced the relocation of the lifts Wednesday when the company released its fourth-quarter fiscal report and 2023 capital plan.
She said the six-pack will replace the four-person high-speed Jersey Cream lift and eight-pack will replace the four-person high-speed Fitzsimmons lift. That would make it the first high-speed eight-pack lift in Canada. The lifts are expected to be installed next year, pending approvals.
The lifts had already been delivered to PCMR and unpacked in its First Timer parking lot when the planning commission made its decision. They remained there for most of the summer.
Deirdra Walsh, the COO and vice president of PCMR, said the resort has not abandoned its plans for the Silverlode and Eagle lifts.
“We will continue to pursue our permit to upgrade the Silverlode and Eagle chairlifts because we are committed to investing in the guest experience at the resort,” Walsh said in a press statement. “Once we have resolved our permit with the city, we plan to procure the lifts and equipment necessary for the installation.”
In the meantime, Walsh added, by moving the lifts to Whistler Blackcomb “they can have a positive impact on the guest experience in time for the 2023/24 season.”
The Park City lifts and a lift at Keystone in Colorado that also was not installed are expected to cost $10 million, according to the report. It said Vail Resorts expects to incur an additional $20 million in expenses related to those lifts in 2023.
Vail Resorts reported a net income of $347.9 million for fiscal year 2022, more than twice the $127.9 million it made the year prior. It attributes the difference to the impact of COVID-19 in 2021.