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Utah Travel Headlines

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Utah Leaps Ahead With Luxe Ski Area Lodging

The headline above comes from this Associated Press article describing luxury hotels opening at Utah ski resorts in Deer Valley and Park City. We found the article to be very interesting. Below are excerpts.

When David Johndrow was looking to buy a hotel suite for use as a winter home in Park City, he had his pick of new luxury lodging: Montage Deer Valley, the St. Regis Deer Valley or the Waldorf Astoria Park City.

All three newcomer properties... are setting a new standard of luxury in Utah to match anything in Colorado or British Columbia.

Johndrow will have 75-mile views from the ninth floor of the 13-story building tucked under the summit of Deer Valley, voted the No. 1 resort for a fourth straight year by readers of SKI magazine. "There's nothing on the mountain comparable," he said.

Utah also has a longstanding five-star hotel resort, the Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley, named for a Norwegian Olympic gold medalist.

Nathan Rafferty, president of the trade group Ski Utah, said the new hotel developments are a "huge deal" that show resort operators are "bullish on Utah," where skiing is a $1 billion-a-year industry. He added, "They have to know something."

"We were convinced Park City was going to be the next great skiing market," said Jeff Mongan, senior vice president of The Athens Group, a Phoenix development group with an ownership stake in the nearly half-billion-dollar Montage.

Talisker Corp., owner of The Canyons at Park City, is spending millions of dollars to reconfigure the mountain and add North America's first heated chair lift with a bubble shield that swings over passengers like a pair of orange goggles. It is opening an eighth peak for skiing and adding or realigning other lifts while redesigning the village base.

On the other side of the Wasatch range, Snowbird is seeking to extend skiing to nearly 11,500 feet in elevation with a tram from its summit to a higher peak. Resorts on both sides of the narrow Wasatch mountains are discussing a common ticketing system and additional lifts that could let skiers glide effortlessly from one resort to the other, possibly within a few years.

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