Once the sleepy backside of Deer Valley Resort, Mayflower Mountain Resort is gradually taking shape on a swath of 6,800 acres overlooking the Jordanelle Reservoir. Chugging along to the hum of backhoes for the past two years, the burgeoning residential-recreational resort is nothing short of a massive undertaking, driven by an assortment of public and private players. The ultimate vision: a luxury resort anchored by several hotels, plus significant residential, commercial, retail, and ski terrain development.
While it’s not unusual along the Wasatch Back for land to shift uses from mining to agriculture to real estate, this project is a little different than most. The layers in this two-decade endeavor involve everything from military interests to creating a ski resort from scratch.
From Petite Hillhaus Lodge to Swank MWR Hotel
Over five years and 26 real estate transactions, New York City–based Extell developer Gary Barnett stitched together the acreage for what is now known as Mayflower Mountain Resort. As the land came together, so too did an unusual collection of players: EX Utah Development, LLC (a division of luxury developer Extell), Wasatch County, and MIDA (Military Installation Development Authority), the entity with land-use jurisdiction granted by the Utah State Legislature. The military involvement dates to the lead-up to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, when the U.S. Air Force lost its 1960s-era R&R retreat, Hillhaus Lodge, at Snowbasin Resort in Huntsville, Utah, to make way for the men’s Olympic downhill run. After roughly two decades of land parcel swaps and negotiations, the little lodge is now being reborn as a stake in Mayflower’s promised-to-be-posh MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) Hotel, which broke ground this past summer.
The plans for MWR Hotel call for 387 hotel rooms, 55 residences, restaurants, a coffee shop, a sundries store, and 60,000 square feet of conference space. The commercial space and entity creating MWR is owned by MIDA and leased back to Extell with the promise that the developer will deliver a four-star hotel and reserve 100 rooms per night in perpetuity for military use at fixed rates based on military rank.
The hotel/conference space—the first of three preliminary hotels for the development—is just the beginning. As Kurt Krieg of EX Utah explains, “Mayflower Mountain Resort is a two-decade project. Not a one-and-done, so to speak.” The current, primary phase centers on the “village core” and “critical mass” of the project, which set the stage for commercial-retail aspects, an ice ribbon meandering through the center, an event stage, and a ski beach.
Development of the area adjacent to Deer Crest, known as Pioche, is also underway. Pioche (named for a mining claim) will include four apartment buildings, 37 estate lots, 66 homes, 16 cabins, and a wellness center. When all is said and done, the entire project calls for eight hotels; approximately 1,500 condominiums, townhomes, and apartments; 250 estate lots; village-centric commercial and retail space; development of skiable terrain (such as chairlifts, trails, and related recreational infrastructure); and employee housing.
Skiable Silver Linings
For those leery of development on Park City’s doorstep, the silver lining may be the promise of future access to 4,300 acres of bowls, glades, chutes, and groomers—as well as 50 miles of hiking/mountain biking trails. According to EX Utah’s Brooke Hontz, Mayflower Mountain Resort’s first chairlift will carry skiers from the village to a spot “nestled between” Deer Valley Resort’s Mayflower and Sultan lifts. Those two existing chairlifts and accompanying terrain currently sit on what is now Mayflower Mountain Resort property and were leased to DV for 199 years (as of 2019).This, of course, prompts the question: Who will run Mayflower Mountain Resort’s ski operations?
The short answer: “We’re still in conversations with Alterra/Deer Valley,” explains Hontz. “Negotiations and conversations continue, and we hope that results in a positive connection.” Whether DV operates the resort or not, Krieg says the plan is to start spinning lifts in the 2024–2025 season.
On the warm-weather side of the recreational equation, local trails expert Bob Radke and his crew have already built five (of the projected 50) miles of hiking/biking trails on the property. Yes, public access is in the plan. According to Hontz, “We intend it to be an extension of the amazing, existing trail system that runs through Park City and Summit County, and, hopefully, this will be a new opportunity for Wasatch County to have a greater public trails system.” Trail etiquette and respect for wildlife habitat will be vital for maintaining public access, she adds.
Undeniably, a huge development is in the works for Park City’s backdoor/Heber City’s entry corridor. Already, the voluntary mitigation of mine-tainted soil is well underway. The groundwork for the village center (and all its accoutrements) has been laid. And big plans for hotels, a slew of dwellings, and ski/recreation improvements are all edging forward, albeit with a projected timeline of two decades. If dignitary-laden groundbreaking ceremonies are any indication, the public is looking at at least one hotel and potentially new ski runs by 2023–2024—and, after a long hiatus, the military will finally have a mountain retreat.
Mayflower by the Numbers
940 Village core acreage
1,300 Planned hotel rooms
50 Miles of projected hiking & biking trails
5 Miles of built trails
4,300 Projected skiable acreage
1,500 Planned estate lots
6 Former mines on the property
2 Peaks likely to retain their names (Hail and Park)
Ski by the Numbers
500 Day-skier parking stalls
1,300+ Projected total stalls
320 Million gallons projected annual water usage for snowmaking
9 Projected number of chairlifts, phase 1
15 Projected number of chairlifts total (including a two-stage gondola)
2023–24 Projected debut of initial chairlift/gondola