60 years at Park Metropolis Mountain_ 1963-73 — Treasure Mountain and the ‘skier subway’

60 years at Park Metropolis Mountain_ 1963-73 — Treasure Mountain and the ‘skier subway’

Skiers standing beneath a gondola at Park Metropolis within the Nineteen Sixties.

Courtesy of The College of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library Ski and Snow Sports activities Archive

Editor’s notice: This season Park Metropolis Mountain celebrates its sixtieth winter season. Because the season approaches, we’re wanting again on the wealthy historical past of Park Metropolis Mountain from its earliest days to the world-class vacation spot it has grow to be immediately.

The Nineteen Sixties had been a defining time in American historical past throughout tradition, politics and artwork. In Park Metropolis, native leaders made a daring resolution to redefine Park Metropolis’s historical past and place in America, laying the groundwork that might change the world from a fading mining city to a world-class winter sports activities vacation spot.

Park Metropolis Mountain opened its slopes on Dec. 21, 1963, as Treasure Mountain by United Park Metropolis Mines. It featured the world’s longest gondola on the time, the Prospector double chair, and Silver King J-bar, in addition to base and summit lodges.

The mountain’s story started two years previous to its opening when members of United Park Metropolis Mines hatched a plan to revitalize Park Metropolis’s financial system and rework the mining city right into a year-round recreation resort.

Mining officers utilized for a $1.2 million mortgage via the 1961 Space Redevelopment Act, a federal program that focused enterprise growth in city and rural depressed areas. There was no motion on the appliance till August 1962, when a gaggle of Utah publishers had been invited to the White Home for lunch with President Kennedy.

Among the many invited publishers was Jack Gallivan, then-owner of the Salt Lake Tribune, who talked about the unfulfilled mortgage software to the president. Two weeks later, mortgage in hand, United Park Metropolis Mines started building for Treasure Mountain.

When Treasure Mountain opened, it boasted the world’s longest gondola. Multi-colored gondola cabins carried 4 passengers every two and a half miles up the mountain from the bottom space at what immediately is the Mountain Village base space to an angle station close to the highest of present-day City Carry and on to the highest of the mountain, the place Summit Home is now situated. The gondola transported hundreds of skiers 2,300 toes up the mountain till it was retired in 1997.

After Treasure Mountain’s first season, United Mines put in a brand new chairlift, the primary iteration of Thaynes chairlift. Entry to the unique Thaynes chair has earned a spot in ski resort historical past, because the previous mine workings of the Spiro Tunnel had been retrofitted with subway-style automobiles to move company almost three miles underground from what immediately is Silver Star Plaza to the Thaynes hoist constructing close to the present-day Thaynes chairlift. Skiers would then experience an elevator (or hoist) 1,800 toes as much as the floor to entry the chair raise.

The “skier subway” was solely in operation till 1969, nevertheless it stays a novel second in Park Metropolis Mountain’s historical past. You possibly can nonetheless sit in one of many authentic subway automobiles and consider a hoist immediately on the Park Metropolis Museum on Essential Road.

In 1966, Treasure Mountain was renamed Park Metropolis Ski Space, and it could go by that title for the following 30 years.

Snowboarding continued to develop in recognition throughout Utah, and on Dec. 20, 1968, Ski Park Metropolis West, one other ski space, opened close by. The brand new resort featured a Wild West cowboy theme, with chairlifts Tomahawk, Iron Horse, and Quick Swing. There have been additionally 4 Mitey Mites rope tows: Boomerang, Pony Categorical, Tumbleweed, and Pathfinder. The ski runs additionally mirrored the Wild West theme with names like Ambush, Wagon Path, Bronco, and Sixshooter.

Ski Park Metropolis West would later grow to be The Canyons and was based mostly in what’s now Canyons Village.

After a number of years of operating a leisure enterprise, United Park Metropolis Mines offered Park Metropolis Ski Space in 1971 to Edgar Stern, an actual property developer from Aspen. Stern recruited his good pal, the legendary Stein Ericksen, to advertise snowboarding in Park Metropolis.

Below Edgar Stern, three new double lifts had been put in in 1971: Payday, Misplaced Prospector, and Crescent, setting the stage for the following period of snowboarding in Park Metropolis.

Many because of Sally Elliott from Pals of Ski Mountain Mining Historical past, Connie Nelson from the Alf Engen Ski Museum and, Morgan Pierce and Dalton Gackle from the Park Metropolis Museum for his or her assist with the historical past and tales of Park Metropolis Mountain over the previous 60 years.

Deirdra Walsh is the vice chairman and chief working officer of Park Metropolis Mountain.