Some weeks ago I received a phone call from Paul Marshall, Director of Communications at Ski Utah. He asked me if I knew what the largest ski area expansion in US history may be. I had to think about that for a while.
The first possible answer that came to mind was Vail’s Blue Sky Basin some years ago. It was huge at 645 acres, 18 conventional trails and three high-speed quads. Then I remembered that not long ago Breckenridge added Peak 6 which opened 400 acres of lift-served terrain and included a new high-speed, six-person chairlift and a new fixed-grip chairlift. Peak 6 represented a 23% increase in Breck’s skiable acres.
Well, the contest for largest ski resort in the U.S. has a new contender. Powder Mountain, UT, known for its adventurous terrain, lack of crowds and 500+ annual snowfall, recently announced it’s adding two new high-speed quads that will provide access to over 1,000 acres of new terrain! The total lift-serviced skiable terrain at Powder Mountain now tops 7,957 acres with 8,464 total skiable acres and 4 lift accessible side country areas.
Perhaps even better, you won’t have to share the terrain with many others. The resort is capping season passes to 1,000 and daily skiers visits to only 2,000. Because of this, Powder Mountain will have the lowest skier density of any major ski area in North America. “We strive to maintain the uncrowded, wide open, adventurous experience Pow Mow is known for. By adding two new lifts and over 1,000 acres of new lift accessible terrain, capping ticket sales at 2,000 per day and establishing a limit of 1,000 adult season pass holders annually, we aim to keep our skier density of 1 acre per skier. Compare that with some of the largest resorts in the region who routinely see skier densities in excess of 14 skiers per acre, it is easy to see that we are truly committed to Preserving the Pow!” said Mark Schroetel, General Manager of Powder Mountain Resort. Schroetel added, “With an advanced full price lift ticket price of $79, we truly offer all the terrain of the largest resorts in the country at half the price and a fraction of the crowd.”
The two new SkyTrac lifts will be installed in Lefty’s Canyon and Mary’s Bowl. The lifts have been dubbed the Village Lift and Mary’s Lift. They’re elements of a project so big it includes six miles of new roads and a new town. The roads connect the existing resort to the new town location—which rests on a saddle at 8,600 feet intersecting the top three bowls. Modeled after the Swiss town of Wengen, it will be similar in size to downtown Aspen and Telluride.