Deer Valley Resort announced today that it purchased Solitude Mountain Resort for an undisclosed amount, and will begin operating Solitude—a 45- to 60-minute drive away from Deer Valley's Park City location—after this ski season.
“We have watched them over the ridge, and have been extremely impressed with what they have done,” says Bob Wheaton, president of Deer Valley. “We saw this as a rare opportunity to help both resorts.”
This season, full season pass holders at the two Utah resorts will get four ski days at the other mountain. And Deer Valley midweek pass holders will get two passes for Solitude valid Monday through Friday with some restrictions.
Deer Valley announced this acquisition less than a month after Vail Resorts bought Park City Mountain Resort, a deal that ended a prolonged legal battle that had the local community worried about the fate of the upcoming season at PCMR. Deer Valley has strategically structured its plans to be finalized on April 30, after the lifts close. “Everyone is gearing up for this season,” Wheaton says. “We didn’t want to lose our focus on this winter, or have Solitude lose their focus on their season.”
Solitude often is referred to as a “hidden gem” by local skiers and riders who find their way up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Known for its uncrowded slopes and deep snow, Solitude tends to be overlooked by destination visitors, who head to the bigger-name resorts in the greater Park City area, home to Deer Valley, PCMR and Canyons. About 40 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport, Solitude has a huge “upside” to utilizing its convenient location, according to Wheaton. “They have a village that’s incredible,” he says. We see a great opportunity with destination visitors.”
After today’s move, the One Wasatch mega-interconnect proposal could be gaining speed. With Vail Resorts’ recent purchase of Park City Mountain Resort and now Deer Valley taking over Solitude at the end of this season, four of the seven potentially linked resorts are now owned by two operators. Vail has announced plans to link PCMR with the Canyons, which it also operates.
Wheaton emphasized that he didn’t anticipate any major staffing changes at Solitude, and that both staffs will spend time at the other’s resort this winter to learn the operations. He says Deer Valley will take the next six months to determine what, if any, changes it’ll make to Solitude’s operations moving forward.
Solitude could have a makeover in Deer Valley’s service-first image in many ways but one. Snowboarding, Wheaton assures the rider community, most certainly will be allowed.