History of Canyons Village

A silver mining treasure trove turned America’s winter wonderland, Park City has a rich mining history dating back to the late 1800s. Before it attracted winter sports enthusiasts from across the globe, Park City miners would turn over the silver ore under the ground to the white, cold powder that would coat the mountains each winter. 


The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1870 brought train carts full of miners to the area. With a population of over 5,000 people, the town of Park City was officially incorporated in 1884. Boasting the second-largest silver strike in America, by the turn of the century, Park City was a well-established mining town. During the Great Depression, the profitability of many mines began to diminish, resulting in thousands of miners departing the area. The prosperity of the town was directly tied to the volatile mineral industry and people came and went at the mercy of the price of ore.


Recreational Skiing Takes Hold

With the construction of massive ski jumps off the tailings of the Creole mine, in the 1930s, skiing garnered the attention of locals. Largely a spectator sport at the time, interest in recreational skiing slowly began to increase and the Park City Winter Carnival debuted in 1936. As its popularity continued to grow, Park City residents came to the realization that the same white powder that once hindered the collection of their silver ore was all they needed to attract visitors and bring life back to the area. In 1947, the Snow Park Ski Area (known today as Deer Valley Resort) transported its first skiers uphill. By 1949 many of the mines in the Park City area were closed, leaving 1,200 miners out of work. 


As the prospects for the town of Park City grew bleaker, members of the United Park City Mines company gathered in secret, scraping together what was needed to apply for a government economic stimulus loan intended for depressed rural communities. The application languished for some time until a local, Jack Gallivan, mentioned the stalled loan during a lunch with President John F. Kennedy. Shortly thereafter, in 1962, a loan of $1.25 million was approved, and the fate of Park City would forever change.


Out-of-work miners suddenly found work constructing a gondola and lifts, and the pace of construction was furious, taking two (2) years to complete, leading to the opening of Treasure Mountain on December 21, 1963, by the United Park City Mines. The longest gondola in the United States, Treasure Mountain offered the Prospector chairlift, a J-bar lift, and a rope tow giving guests the opportunity to enjoy a meal at the Summit House Restaurant and nine (9) holes of golf in the summer. The following winter, the Thaynes chairlift was added. Accessible via a dark and foreboding tunnel in the Silver King Mine called the Skiers’ Subway, a mine train carried skiers through the dank and pitch-black spiro tunnel for 2.5 miles before reaching a cage-like hoist that then carried skiers up 1,750 feet to the mountain peak. Thaynes quickly grew unpopular with skiers and closed only four (4) years later.


Final Change of Hands. In 1994, Powdr Corp, a private corporation owned by Salt Lake City financier Ian Cumming, purchased Park City Ski Area, now owning and operating both Alpine Meadows and Park City Ski Area. In 1996, the Cummings changed the name to Park City Mountain Resort and lifted a ban on snowboarding. Their goal was to set the gold standard for guest services, alongside year-round amenities. At the time, no one could imagine what was in store for the Park City area.


Here come the Olympics In 2002, all eyes were on Park City, as Olympic athletes geared up to perform incredible feats on the slopes of the Park City Mountain Resort. American men swept the podium in snowboard halfpipe, and Kelly Clark secured women’s halfpipe gold. 

Park City Today. In the early 2010s, Vail Development Corporation moved quickly to invest $50 million into capital improvements including the construction of an interconnecting gondola between the two distinct base villages. In the fall of 2015, the Quicksilver Gondola was completed and transported its first passengers up 8,000 feet in just nine (9) minutes. Although improvements are still very much underway, Vail Development Corporation has dedicated sizable amounts of time, energy, and resources to transforming the Canyons Village into a vibrant, world-class mountain destination.