At the ski resort update luncheon, and as part 2 of this series, Bill Rock, head of Vail’s Park City Mountain, explained that they have invested a tremendous amount of money into snowmaking infrastructure, including automating the process so they can take advantage of those windows of cold temperature. Keystone and Breckenridge had opened for their season the day before (!). One thing Vail really wanted to invest in was reworking the beginner area, with the goal of offering the finest teaching terrain in the country, added new adventure trails, new grading and more high-tech snowmaking. Last year they had to hand-shovel snow to keep one trail open, so this year? It’s got brand-new snowmaking. One big goal they achieved over the summer was to remodel Cloud 9, as there was always limited seating. So, they added 200 seats and huge glass walls to take advantage of the views. At the Midmountain Lodge, they repainted the building to better match the original color of the historic structure (you know this wins points with me). And, they added an official bar, so now you can get a glass of wine on mountain. They also have been reworking the built-ins and firepits to model the decks after European resorts.
Developing the parking lots is a topic of much speculation at both resorts. Bill explained that Vail tries to find partners who are in the real estate development business and then work with them to develop their real estate to enhance the skier experience. They’ve been working on a plan for the base parking area for many years but haven’t fleshed out a plan or chosen a development partner yet. But, one complaint they always receive is with the entire parking experience. So they’ve implemented a few changes that are making a difference, including making sure the people parking there are there to ski (offering remote parking locations for employees, for instance). They’ve also outsourced the day to day management to event parking professionals that handle big sporting events in Salt Lake City. Their review score went up last year over the year prior by 2 points on a 10 pt scale.
He was also proud to discuss the resort’s environmental responsibility. Taking over from Powder Corp’s initiatives, they announced last year Project Zero, whereby they aim to reduce both their carbon footprint and waste to 0. They had a huge energy audit, and have completed a full conversion to LED lightbulbs, and have dropped one-time use plastics on mountain. On the zero waste front, Salt Lake City is building a “digester” that eats up compostable trash and converts it into energy.