A new high-speed gondola is set to be built to connect two Utah ski resorts and create one of the largest ski areas in the United States.
The lift connecting Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort will form part of $50 million in investments planned at the two resorts ahead of the 2015-16 ski season.
Other investments include making upgrades to two other lifts, building a new restaurant and upgrading two others.
The projects are pending approval from city and county officials in Park City.
Vail bought Park City Mountain Resort in September for $182.5 million after a messy legal battle between Vail and Powdr Corp that almost derailed the ski season.
If the project is approved, the 7,300 combined acres will make it one of the nation’s largest.
At present, skiers can buy one ticket and ski both resorts but a connecting lift will make it far easier to do just this.
The renovation is one of the largest investments in Utah ski resorts since Talisker Corp. invested $75 million in the early 2010 to improve and upgrade Canyons prior to Vail taking over the resort.
In the past year, Deer Valley Resort bought Solitude Mountain Resort and will take it over in 2015.
Officials are working on building a series of chairlifts that would link seven ski areas, giving Utah a more European style.
Those plans include a turbo charge from the connecting lift at Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons.
This will leave only two connecting lifts to be planned and constructed to see the ambitious project a reality said Nathan Rafferty, president of the trade group Ski Utah.
Vail officials say the new gondola will seat eight people and take about 9 minutes to get from the Silverlode lift at Park City Mountain Resort to the Flatiron lift at Canyons.
It will include a stop-off point midway at Pine Cone Ridge, marking the first gondola at the resort since an old one was shut down in 1983.
When the project is completed, the combined resorts will be known as Park City Mountain Resort. The canyons will be known as Canyons at Park City.
Rafferty said the new plans will help shine the spotlight on Utah, which is vital in a very competitive ski industry.
He argues that skiers and snowboarders are adventurists and are always looking for the next adventure, something that will be well catered for with the grand $50million project.