New owners, same services: Deer Valley prepares for 2017-2018 winter
Deer Valley Resort is scheduled to open on Dec. 2, kicking off its first season after being acquired by a large multi-resort ownership group over the summer. But Bob Wheaton, president and chief operating officer of the resort says, aside from some small additions, the experience is going to be very similar to last year.
Wheaton said the staff stayed busy over the summer with tree management, pruning the stands of trees to maintain glade skiing, which he said is one of the resort’s major draws for guests. Most of the work was concentrated around the Wasatch, Empire and Mayflower areas.
The resort also replaced some of its underground piping and purchased new, “highly efficient” snow guns for the upcoming season.
Wheaton said the pipes, which were originally installed when the resort was built 37 years ago, were starting to leak and needed replacing.
As with every season, the resort also upgraded its snow-cat fleet, purchasing four new machines. Aside from being able to groom more of the mountain, Wheaton said the result will be much like the other additions this season: primarily behind the scenes.
Though there will likely be a little more corduroy (and plenty of areas left for moguls and powder), the texture of the groomed runs will be the same.
One visible addition to the hill is a new ski tuning center near Snow Park Lodge.
“People can drop their skis off right there, and pick them up on the way in the next day,” Wheaton said. “They will be available for custom boot fitting as well.”
The large facility is still under construction, but Wheaton said it will be ready for opening day.
Currently, staff are gearing up for the season. The restaurants are preparing their menus and everyone is waiting for the snow to start piling up. Once the season is underway, Wheaton said the resort is excited to host the FIS Freestyle World Cup on Jan. 10-12, and will also host a day when guests can race against skiers from the U.S. National Team at Silver Lake racecourse.
Overall, Wheaton said, not much has changed.
That could be a good thing for a resort hoping to capitalize on the momentum gained last ski season, in which Deer Valley played a large role in helping Utah break the record for statewide skier days for the second straight winter. Emily Summers, a spokeswoman for Deer Valley, said at a Ski Utah event over the summer that the resort saw increases last winter in pass sales, skier visits, ski school participation and lodging reservations.
As far as Wheaton is concerned, it’s the same resort with the same standards skiers have gotten used to, even though Deer Valley is under new ownership. The still-unnamed ownership group comprises KSL Capital Partners, LLC, and Henry Crown and Company and operates 12 other ski resorts, including Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in California and Steamboat Resort in Colorado.
“It’ll be a continued focus on providing the very best experience for our guests,” he said.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify the third to last paragraph. Deer Valley saw increases in pass sales, skier visits, ski school participation and lodging reservations last winter, not over the summer.