On October 2, 2014, Deer Valley Resort announced rather out of the blue that they were going to purchase Solitude Mountain Resort. A small, boutique resort with very limited development potential due to water and sewer availability and infrastructure. I’m scratching my head as to why exactly DV would move on this property when for 30 years they haven’t expanded beyond their own resort.
The easiest answer is that they wanted to snatch it up before Vail Resorts picked up another resort, a more complicated answer is so DV can vie for Brighton and connect all three, a boring answer is that Solitude really needed a buyer and Deer Valley had the means to step in. Wild speculation aside, the short of it is that what Solitude really needs to grow is more retail and dining, more activities, more summer action, more infrastructure, and more marketing. And Deer Valley has the big guns to make that happen. I’m very interested to see what changes they implement in the coming years.
But boy, is it a beautiful resort.
And the drive from Park City over Guardsman Pass in the fall is breathtaking.
A 22 minute drive from the Sotheby’s office in Silver Lake took me an hour and a half because I had to pull over and take pictures every 500 feet.
I mean really.
Here are the pics from my drive. Hi, my name is Kristina, and I am a leafer. Solitude, an album on Flickr.
Another thing I’m speculating about is the future of this road from Empire Pass to Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s impassible in the wintertime, which means ski and board enthusiasts have to drive down to Salt Lake and back up the canyon. Mark my words, I bet we’ll see Deer Valley take over maintenance and plowing of that highway from the state soon to encourage quicker traffic to Solitude.
The thing about Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons is that they are blessed with incredible amounts of snow. Thank you Great Salt Lake, for dat lake effect. To put it in perspective, Deer Valley gets an average of 300 inches of snow a year. Solitude, Brighton and Snowbird each average 500 inches a year (Snowbird set a record of 783 in 2011, so sayeth Wikipedia).
Here we have a trail map, looking innocent enough.
I am 5’6″. And I am standing so far below this trail map sign that I had to hold my phone at my thigh and point it straight up my nose in order to catch the tippy top of my head and the sign in this selfie. For the first time ever, I see the value in that selfie stick. I couldn’t even touch the bottom of the bottom log if I stood on that boulder and jumped.
Mind you, the point of the trail map is for people to ski up to it and read it, which means the snow at that point of the base is usually, well, PRETTY DARNED DEEP.
Here we are at the lift.
You all know how ski lifts work, right? You ski or board up to it, the chair comes around, and you sit down on it and are taken up the mountain. Here you see me standing at the chair. I’m even posturing here on tippy toes with my shoulder up high after that sheepish exposure at the trail map. And still. Very very far away from just sitting down on that chair, people.
Solitude is worth considering now more than ever for real estate purchases. Always a sleeper favorite, studios begin (for now) in the $180s, and are big with Salt Lake residents looking to get out of the inversion for the weekends. Lots of product ready for remodels, and very interesting possibilities for potential. In Solitude Rundown Part Deux I’ll go over the different lodges at the base and what you can get for the money.
In the meantime, Snowbird’s SnowCam is worth making into a bookmark. Solitude, Snowbird, Alta and Brighton all have great snowcams, but the Snowbird one is famous for their giant logo’d snow measuring stick and show timelapses of the tremendous snowfall. Even right now, today, their 24-hour timelapse shows a significant amount of snowfall.
Number of squats since last ski season: 0. Welp.