In case you missed it, Vail Resorts released their capital improvements for the 2022-23 season, and it’s a doozy. One of the biggest investments is occurring at Park City Mountain Resort. Two lifts are being replaced: Eagle and Silverload. While Eagle is a fixed-grip triple and has been needing a replacement for a while, Silverloads come as a bit of a shocker. I skied Park City a bunch when I lived out in Utah from 2015 to 2020, so here’s a breakdown of what these lifts will mean for the West Side of the mountain.
The Eagle Lift: From a Triple to a Six Pack
Official Description: “A high-speed 6-person chair with a new mid-station will replace the existing Eagle lift, significantly reducing crowding and wait times, and improving the guest experience, especially for beginner skiers and ski and ride school guests.”
Analysis: Eagle is a fixed-grip triple lift with a mid-station that is only really used by racers for use on CB’s Run. The lift is slow, and honestly not that worth it unless you’re trying to rest. Right next to the summit of the Eagle lift is the Eaglet lift, which is a very rarely open fixed-grip lift that services the Pick Axe terrain park. The Park Record reports that the Eagle chairlift will be realigned from its current location, will feature a mid-station, will remove the Eaglet lift, and the top terminal will be near the top of the King Con lift. This means the lift will provide access to King Con, Silverlode, and Quicksilver Gondola, and the trails that lead to Payday, Crescent, and other base lifts. It also will provide an alternative lift for park skiers and riders besides Three Kings to shred from the base.
A big reason to replace the Eagle Lift is the proposed base area development that would include “for-sale condominiums, affordable housing, employee housing, day-skier parking garages, a hotel, retail and restaurant offerings (to complement current commercial activity), a ski club, public ski lockers for day and seasonal use, skier services, state-of-the-art wayfinding, the ability for the National Ability Center to build its new facility, current green building opportunities, and open space plazas.” This new base development still needs to be approved by the Park City Planning Commission, but the mountain is preparing for this possibility with this development.
Silverlode Lift: Vail’s First Eight-Pack
Official Description: “Vail Resorts’ first-ever high-speed 8-person chair, replacing an existing 6-person chair, will increase uphill capacity by 20% and reduce wait times at a critical spot to circulate guests on the mountain.”
Analysis: Silverlode is situated at one of the most critical hubs of the mountain. It is located right next to the massive Miners Camp lodge, and the Quicksilver Gondola, which connects the mountain to the Canyons side. Crowds do exist in this hub, but the lifts do move people around quickly. Another perk of this area is if it’s too crowded, you can ski over to Broadway to access the King Con Lift. With the Eagle Lift being upgraded in 2022 as well, demand for the Miners Camp area will certainly increase. Silverlode services easy, intermediate, advanced, and expert terrain, and gets you access to some of the major lifts on the upper portion of the mountain including Thaynes, McConkey’s Express, and Pioneer.
With the new Silverlode Eight-Pack being Vail Resort’s in the chain, you wonder if they’ll go with a traditional chairlift, or with a bubble eight-person chairlift like the one’s we’ve seen at Big Sky and Loon Mountain. They didn’t specify this in their press release, so don’t get your hopes up.
What will become of the Silverlode Six-Pack? Silverlode is a high-speed, six-person chairlift. Six-person chairlifts are rarely replaced. One possibility is it would serve Eagle as their new chairlift, but with there being a mid-station as part of the plans, this is unlikely. Vail could sell it as well, but it’s too valuable of an asset to sell to a competitor. I think there’s a good chance Vail Resorts moves to it another one of their properties or even keeps it at Park City. This will definitely be an interesting story to keep an eye on.