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FOREVER APART? - Katie Bamber, Senior News Reporter
Monday September 18, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

Deer Valley & Park City in Utah are on the same mountain but separated by a rope. Is this likely to change? Not anytime soon.

At the end of August Deer Valley was bought by Aspen Skiing Co.

The neighbouring Park City Mountain Resort was bought up by Vail Resorts back in 2014.

It already ran the neighbouring Canyons resort and last year the Park City and Canyons joined to become a single ski area. There were hopes they might link with Deer Valley to become a ski area to rival the size of some of the linked areas in the Alps.

But this now seems even further away as Aspen Skiing Co. and Vail Resorts step it up, buying resorts both big and small in an apparent race to control the North American snowsports industry.
In Utah this now means its two most famous resorts are owned by rivals and so any chance of raising the rope and letting people ski between the two resorts is highly unlikely.

The ropes stay tied.

For guests skiing in the two resorts this is a shame - especially when considered by a European, used to the connected resorts of the Alps.

It is possible to ski between the two resorts in Utah - but only if you join, and pay for, the special Interconnect Tour.

It takes in the resorts of Deer Valley, Park City, The Canyons, Brighton, Solitude, Alta and Snowbird.

Here at PlanetSKI we did it back in 2012, looking at the possibility of the resorts linking up.

But it now seems further away than ever:
Ducking under the rope (Deer Valley to Park City)Ducking under the rope (Deer Valley to Park City)

There have been encouraging rumours over the years of allowing skiers to enjoy both sides of the mountain.

The ONE Wasatch project is the long-discussed idea of connecting seven ski areas in Utah, creating North America's biggest circuit on one lift ticket.

Park City, UtahPark City, Utah

Deer Valley, UtahDeer Valley, Utah

PlanetSKI has spoken to Park City and Deer Valley to see what the future may hold:

International Sales and Marketing Manager, Marilyn Stinson, Deer Valley Resort

International Sales and Marketing Manager, Brenda Lytle, Park City Mountain Resort

Deer Valley & Park City repsMarilyn of Deer Valley & Brenda, Park City, at a joint event in London

The reports seem positive; There'll be some healthy rivalry as well as the chance for both to benefit from the other.

"They are completely different products," International Sales and Marketing Manager of Park City Chamber, Esthur Checksfield, told PlanetSKI.

She works for Park City the town - not the mountain - at the base of both resorts.

"Deer Valley has a front of house service, Park City is more a 'get your pass and go' kind of place..."

"It will be good for the area. Salt Lake City is near; we are just 30 minutes from the airport, and the resorts are very close."

The Utah ski areas enjoy very different reputations.


Park City is Utah's big name ski resort with class terrain parks and 'groomers', home to the 2002 Winter Olympics as well as being known for the Sundance Film Festival and a lively Utah social scene.

Deer Valley is known for being proudly a very traditional and plush resort. 

It's a snowboard free resort with a front of house service, ski porters to help visitors at every turn and complimentary hot chocolate.

As you'd expect, visiting skiers to the area often want to experience both, despite having to descend, use the road and access the resorts with separate tickets.

Brenda from Park City was upbeat and excited about the coming season.

"We benefit being so close to Deer Valley with it's unique reputation," Brenda explained.

"And they do, perhaps, with our name."

"It's healthy competition; we keep our standards up as their's rise, and vice versa."

How will this affect European visitors to the area who'd simply like to ski between the two?

Comparing it to Les3Vallees in France, for example, Val Thorens is a different resort from Courchevel, but there is a joint lift ticket and the vast amount of skiing is enocuraged and boasted by each individual resort.

Brenda and Deer Valley's Marilyn work closely together with many shared guests skiing and travelling through the resorts.

On Aspen SKiing Co. purchasing Deer Valley, Marilyn expressed to PlanetSKI just how new the deal was.

Do you think it will change the vibe and character of the resort in the long run?

"No one yet knows what it will mean for the resort's future, it's so fresh."

Last month when the previous Aspen mega deal was sealed, Mike Hanle, the director of public relations at umbrella company Aspen Skiing Co., spoke about the future of acquired resorts in an exclusive interview with PlanetSKI:

We don't intend to unify the resorts. We want to keep them individual and continue to celebrate and enjoy their qualities and highlights.

We want to support and give these resorts the capacity to do what they do and more.

Compare the two in promo vids:

So in answer to the headline - yes.

Maybe not forever, but certainly in the foreseebale future.

A collaborative ski area is not likely to be in the Wasatch range any time soon.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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