Deer Valley President and Chief Operating Officer Bob Wheaton will be the first to tell you the resort’s latest expansion has been a long time coming. But the Mayflower Mountain Resort, as city planning documents call it, recently passed perhaps its most significant hurdle since the land was purchased by a development company last November.
Wasatch County officials gave the development the go-ahead last month, clearing the way for continued progress. But the master plan’s approval clears up little for ski enthusiasts.
“The initial master plan had to do with the total amount of density,” Wheaton told Unofficial. “The approvals are about density, not ski terrain.”
So while Deer Valley visitors can expect around an additional 1,500 equivalent residential units, 410 hotel units, hundreds of thousands of feet of commercial space, a military hotel and employee housing to fill the site west of U.S. 40 and the Jordanelle Reservoir, specifics on skiable terrain will have to wait.
Wheaton, who is about to leave the resort he’s worked for since before it officially opened in 1981, said there’s been plenty of (over)speculation on the expansion’s deliverables.
“For instance, the master plan is about 940 square acres, and I’ve had normally well-sourced people come to me thinking it’s more than three thousand,” he said. The new terrain is adjacent to the Jordanelle Express Gondola, it will be serviced by all new lifts from a base situated above 6,000 feet.
That natural terrain presented its own challenges, particularly for snow-starved South-facing slopes. But Wheaton remains confident about the lessons he and his staff have learned over the course of his career.
“There’s really good skiing over there, that’s for sure. It has some design challenges in terms of elevation and exposure, but we’ve learned a lot about that in the past few years. It’s near [Jordanelle Reservoir], so there’s plenty of water for snowmaking, something we’ve learned a lot about. And if it’s a perfectly South-facing slope, we just won’t put runs there. It’s not rocket science.”
Asked if he felt any pressure about moving the project along before his retirement (he will remain in his position until January), Wheaton was typically gracious. “The project itself has been in the works for quite some time. I don’t feel the need to ram this thing through or done on my watch. I think it’s more important that it’s a quality project and well-appointed all around,” he said.
As for when anxious skiers and riders should expect a more terrain-related update, Wheaton said to stay tuned for more information in mid-Winter or early Spring.
Find out more here: Deer Valley Mayflower