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Vail Will Spend $50 Million to Create Biggest Ski Area in USA

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Vail Resorts will spend $50 million on upgrades at Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort in preparation for the 2015-2016 Utah ski season. After buying Park City Mountain Resort from Powdr Corp for $182.5 million in September, the industry heavyweight had hinted that big improvements were coming to their PCMR/Canyons properties. But $50 million for one season of capital investments is an absolutely stunning figure. For comparison's sake, in 2014-2015, Whistler Blackcomb topped the list of investments by spending $12 million on upgrades this winter. Now, with plans to connect PCMR and Canyons with an eight-passenger gondola and a whole bucket list of other on-mountain improvements, Vail is calling their plans the "most impactful capital program in the history of U.S. ski industry." Here's the thing, Curbediverse: this isn't just PR-buzz. Vail Resorts is right. This is the biggest single-season investment in a ski area, ever.

As part of the $50 million plan, Vail will connect PCMR and Canyons Resort to create the largest single ski area in the country with more than 7,300 acres. The company also announced their intent to operate the two resorts as one unified brand under the name "Park City Mountain Resort." The Canyons base area will be renamed "Canyons at Park City." Here's what else the plan includes:

· The Interconnect Gondola: An eight-passenger, high-speed two-way gondola from the base of the existing Silverlode Lift at Park City to the Flatiron Lift at Canyons. The gondola will also have an unload at the top of Pine Cone Ridge to allow skiers and riders the opportunity to ski into Thaynes Canyons at Park City via gated ski access or to the Iron Mountain area at Canyons through new trails that will be created from Pine Cone Ridge.

· Upgrade of King Con and Motherlode Lifts at Park City: The King Con Lift will be upgraded from a four-person to a six-person, high-speed detachable chairlift and will increase lift capacity to this very popular ski pod. The Motherlode Lift will be upgraded from a fixed-grip triple to a four-person, high-speed detachable chairlift, also increasing lift capacity.

· New Snow Hut Restaurant, Upgrades to Summit House Restaurant at Park City and Expansion of Red Pine Lodge Restaurant at Canyons: The plan calls for building a completely new Snow Hut restaurant at the base of the Silverlode Lift and next to the Park City terminal for the Interconnect Gondola, with 500 indoor seats and a top-of-the-line kitchen and culinary experience. The plan also includes an upgrade to the "scramble" area inside the Summit House restaurant to improve the flow of diners and increase seats. At Canyons, the Red Pine Restaurant will be renovated to accommodate an additional 250 indoor seats.

· Snowmaking: The plan features additional snowmaking on two trails in the Iron Mountain area of Canyons which will become increasingly central ski terrain given its proximity to the Interconnect Gondola.

· "Catch Up" Improvements: The plan also includes almost $5 million of "catch up" maintenance and upgrades at Park City, given the lack of spending at the resort over the past few years. This "catch up" maintenance spending is in addition to the normal annual maintenance capital for the two resorts of $5 million, which will be undertaken this year as well.

*All plans are subject to approval by both Summit County and the City of Park City.

So there you have it, Curbediverse. That's how you spend $50 million. What are your thoughts?

· Vail Plans to Connect PCMR and Canyons in Summer 2015 [Curbed Ski]
· Breaking: Vail Resorts Buys Park City Mountain Resort [Curbed Ski]
· What Vail's Purchase of Park City Means for Skiers This Year [Curbed Ski]
· UPDATED: What's New at Ski Areas in 2014-2015 [Curbed Ski]
· Which Ski Resort Has The Most Skiing in North America? [Curbed Ski]