Solitude Mountain Resort’s future is looking bright. Last Thursday, Amber Broadaway (President and COO of Solitude) hosted a town hall meeting with the general public to discuss how the season went, what their offseason goals are, and what their five-year plans are currently looking like. Some of their plans in the coming years include a gondola from Moonbeam to Powderhorn, new lifts, the addition of terrain parks, renovating their lodges and food offerings, a new gravity flow mountain biking park, tearing down the Solitude Inn, building a new hotel, and more. For their five-year plan, it should be noted that while they are hoping to accomplish these projects, they will still need to be approved by the U.S. Forest Service. While there isn’t a big-time lift replacement or expansion coming to Solitude this offseason, many projects will be going on at the resort. This offseason, Wind fencing will be added around the top of the Apex lift, which will be crucial. From my experiences skiing at Solitude, the Summit Access West and Fleet Street trails are very reminiscent of East Coast skiing based on how icy they can become. Snow harvesting and wind fences around the trails will likely improve snow quality, which is needed.
Timely announcements of gate openings will also be improved upon. Webcams will focus on critical terrain, and Solitude will be hiring a snow reporter to get gate openings out in a timely manner. For avalanche mitigation, Wyssen Towers will be installed in the Fantasy Ridge and Boundary chute areas, as both Alta and Snowbird installed these remote-activated avalanche systems before last season. The opening of some of the lifts will also move to 8 am. From Monday-Thursday, Eagle will open at 8 am. On Friday-Sunday, the Link, Moonbeam, and Apex lifts will open at 8 am.
Arguably the most exciting addition will be multiple terrain parks, as one will be located around the Sunrise lift, and the other will be located on the Main Street flats. Amber said while they aren’t trying to compete with Brighton, they know everyone loves a quality terrain park. Some small terrain parks will be built for the 2022-23 season, with a larger buildout for the 2023-24 season.
The expansion of summer activities and attractions will become a major priority for the resort. This summer, Solitude is adding an adventure park, which will add a euro bungee trampoline, climbing wall, and nine-hole disc golf course. A beginner mountain biking flow trail will be built on the Easy Street run, and they will also add a pump track and a skills area, and a new paved walking road will be added between the base areas as well. In 2023, Solitude will open the first phase of its gravity logic mountain biking park. In 2026, they will complete building out the trails, which will be accessible through the Moonbeam, Sunrise, and Link lifts. Multiple lift projects are planned for the next five years. In the summer of 2023, they are aiming to replace the Eagle Express with a high-speed quad. Opened in 1989, its longevity is running short, and it is becoming impossible to find replacement parts, especially in this supply chain shortage era that we’re living in. The Link chairlift is a two-person chairlift that serves their beginner area, and it can face crowds on the weekends. The official year for a replacement hasn’t been determined, but they hope to replace it with a higher capacity lift. They are looking to add beginner lifts around the lower portion of Sunrise, and on the grounds around the Snowsports building(which would be removed). Some locals have mentioned a Sunrise lift replacement, but Solitude isn’t committed to it yet.
The bombshell of the meeting is that the resort is looking into adding a multi-stage gondola from Moonbeam to the Roundhouse Lodge, and then to the top of the Powderhorn lift. In 2026, they will begin planning for the new lift. One advantage of this lift is more capacity out of the Moonbeam base area. Another reason for the lift is their popular wedding services, as a direct lift to the top of Powderhorn would make getting to their proposed wedding venue easier. Night skiing is also being considered in 2024, and snow tubing is another consideration. Shoring up their transportation system will also be a key priority. One improvement will be a repaving of their shuttle road, which became bumpier throughout the 2021-22 season. A core complaint of Solitude over the past couple of years has been paid parking, which was introduced in 2019. While Amber admitted that paid parking isn’t popular, it has been successful in reducing overflow capacity. Some initiatives that they’ll be doing for next season are a $99-midweek parking pass and adding a carpooling app that will incentivize drivers to bring people with them up to Big Cottonwood. In 2026, Solitude is aiming to partner with Brighton to open a parking lot in Salt Lake Valley that can shuttle guests and employees up to the mountains. Food & Beverage is also a renewed priority for the resort. While Solitude has a solid dining lineup for day skiers, those who stay in the village are more limited once the lifts shut down. St. Bernards, which is based in the village, will be open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week and will have dinners four nights a week. Honeycomb Grill will be open for dinners nightly. The Yurt will be undergoing a renovation this offseason. Next winter, it will have a full bar and will be open for lunch during weekends and holidays. Expansions to the Last Chance Lodge and Moonbeam Lodge are being considered for their five-year plan.
Lodging is another priority, as Airbnb and VRBO have increased the pressure on Solitude to improve their product. Their main hotel is the Inn at Solitude, but it’s aging. Major renovations to their hotel and pool are occurring this summer, and they are aiming to demolish the Inn in 2026. They plan on building a new hotel and conference center in the following years on the site of the old Inn at Solitude.
Each of the PowerPoint slides describing their five-year plan is below, along with the video of the full Townhall.
Image/Video Credits: Solitude Mountain Resort