What, exactly, is Mayflower Mountain Resort? It’s a difficult question to answer even as details have begun to emerge about Park City’s impending, new ski resort. Mayflower will have a comprehensively developed base area along U.S. 40 and slopes overlooking the Jordanelle Reservoir, but how the mountain will ultimately operate remains uncertain.
The long-held belief was that Mayflower would eventually serve as another base area for Deer Valley, but as of now there is no agreement between Mayflower’s developer, Extell Development Company, and Deer Valley’s owner, Alterra Mountain Company, which would allow the two resorts to operate as one. The two ownership entities recently signed a 199-year lease which, at a minimum, enables skiers to access terrain at Deer Valley the same way they always have from U.S. 40 and enables a connection between the two resorts should the parties come to a future agreement.
Mayflower’s 400 skiable acres are enough to operate an independent ski area, though it pales in comparison to the 2,000 plus acres of terrain on tap at Deer Valley. From a skier’s perspective, the limited area makes far more sense as an addition to Deer Valley than it does as a standalone destination. Clearly Extell and Alterra don’t view joint operation as a certainty, as no funding from Deer Valley is being used to finance any of the infrastructure at Mayflower.
With lifts still a couple seasons away from turning, however, we’ll wager the two areas will operate as a de facto singular entity. The layout makes far too much sense to ignore, and the overwhelming trend in the ski industry is towards consolidation of mountain operations. How Deer Valley’s archaic prohibition of snowboarders will factor into the decision is unknown as well.
We’ll have to wait and see just how the corporate negotiations play out, but plans for the base area of Mayflower Mountain Resort are beginning to take shape. Extell is planning a massive development that includes three hotels, a convention center and the world’s largest ski beach along with a 68,000-square foot public recreation center, and an array of shops, restaurants and bars. Mayflower’s financing in part comes from the Military Installation Development Authority’s (MIDA) participation. The financing structure allows more money to be spent during the initial stages of development which will ultimately be paid by leveraging future tax growth. Thanks to MIDA funding, the first hotel built at Mayflower will feature 100 rooms exclusively available for military personnel at subsidized rates. Extell also plans to construct 95,000 square feet of sorely-needed workforce housing, which is a welcome bit of investment aimed at addressing Park City’s affordable housing woes.
Development of the mountains along U.S. 40 has been a possibility for decades, and undoubtedly the plans for Mayflower Mountain Resort will enliven charged opinions on all sides. When combined with large-scale development of the parking lots at Park City Mountain and the parking lots at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Lodge, the area is staring down the barrel of some construction and transit issues that will need to be efficiently addressed. Without some foresight, a lucrative era of growth in Park City will be threatened under the weight of its own excesses.
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