Town & County

Park Peak development okay makes Deer Valley 6th biggest ski area in North America

On May 22, the Park City Planning Commission granted approval of Lift 7 after long discussions about open space designations and wildlife considerations

PARK CITY, Utah – A new six-person bubble lift will be built and beginner terrain will be developed on Deer Valley’s Park Peak after the Park City Planning Commission gave the okay Wednesday. Commissioners unanimously approved the Lift 7 project after a long discussion about concerns, including how the commission should approach requests to re-designate open space, concerns about how the development of open space would impact wildlife, and whether or not Deer Valley’s project planning for the new terrain area has adequately addressed concerns about skier safety.

The approval means Deer Valley now has a complete go-ahead for its major expansion, which involves adding nine new lifts on four peaks and 3,700 acres of terrain by winter 2025-2026. When the expansion is complete, Park City will be home to two of the largest ski resorts in North America. Deer Valley Resort will grow to over 5,700 skiable acres, making it the 6th largest ski area in North America, and Park City Mountain Resort boasts 7,300 skiable acres—the 3rd biggest. The added and fully approved terrain at Deer Valley edged out Vail, Colo., which claims just over 5,300 skiable acres.

Utah’s Powder Mountain has the most skiable acres—they count their cat-accessed terrain—at 8,464, and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia is the second largest in North America with 8,171 skiable acres.

On the heels of this key expansion approval, Deer Valley said they plan to build a skier day lodge and restaurant just below the summit of Park Peak on the Wasatch County side. Deer Valley officials said they would be coming back to the Park City Planning Commission for approval of Lift 7’s bottom terminal building in the coming weeks.

Park Peak’s development was the only part of Deer Valley’s major expansion plan that needed to get the okay from Park City’s Planning Commission because it is in Summit County.

The Wasatch and Summit County line divides the Park Peak development. (Screenshot from Park City municipal files)

“Deer Valley is grateful for the Park City Planning Commission’s approval of the Lift 7 Conditional Use Permit request and the community’s support in this endeavor. This supports an important part of our Expanded Excellence lift and terrain expansion that will enhance diverse terrain for all skill levels, while continuing to prioritize skier safety, wildlife preservation, and managing the project’s environmental impact to maintain our commitment to sustainable growth,” Todd Bennet, President and Chief Operating Officer said. 

Before the May 22 planning commission meeting, Deer Valley hired a wildlife consultant to outline what measures should be taken to ensure proper management of the crucial habitat area. The analysis stated that:

  • Fencing would be prohibited, and users of the project area should be directed away from wildlife corridors.
  • Construction should be timed and organized to minimize disturbance of habitat areas.
  • Preserve and, if necessary, connect natural habitat areas.
  • Put up signage to advise hikers and bikers of moose, elk, and mule deer activity.
  • Restrict hiking and biking during times when young animals are being raised.

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