PARK CITY, Utah – Two neighboring Utah ski resorts owned by Vail Resorts and being combined into one mega resort will be known simply by the name of the mountain city where it is located: "Park City."
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Park City chief operating officer Bill Rock announced the new name and logo in front of several hundred people who munched on hors d'oeuvres during a public presentation at the resort. Rock said the new brand name seizes on the international recognition for the city.
"When people are out in the world and they talk about where they are going to ski, they say 'I'm going to go ski in Park City,'" Rock said. "The town is just an integral party of what we do."
The resort combines Canyons Resort and Park City Mountain Resort, which Vail purchased last year for $182.5 million. The logo features the red color used in the Park City Mountain logo and the infinity sign from the Canyons logo.
Though all the signs say only "Park City," Rock said the official name of the mega resort will be Park City Mountain Resort. The Canyons name will be sticking around only in signage on that side of the mountain that will say, "Park City Canyons Village."
There is one other ski resort in the Park City area, Deer Valley Resort. Officials there were not immediately available for comment.
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The joining of the resorts will allow the ski industry titan to market it as one of the largest ski areas in North America.
Vail is spending $50 million on upgrades, including a gondola connecting the resorts, two lifts and new restaurants. The projects are expected to be ready by the 2015-2016 ski season.
The National Ski Areas Association doesn't track the size of U.S. resorts by skiable acres to say for sure which is the biggest, but it says the 7,300 combined acres of skiable terrain certainly will make it among the nation's largest.
Ralf Garrison, a Denver-based ski industry consultant with The Advisory Group, called it a sound strategic move by Vail to play the "bigger is better" card.
Research shows that skiers are attracted by new, bigger and better, Garrison said. Ski resorts around the world make such claims. Some play up having the largest vertical drop. Others tout having the most skiers or most lifts.
"There are significant bragging rights that seem to go along with being the biggest resort," Garrison said.
Earlier this month, Vail purchased Australia's largest ski resort, Perisher in New South Wales, for $134.8 million to add to its international list of resorts.
The lift under construction that will connect Canyons and Park City Mountain could be a key lynchpin in a long-term plan the Utah ski industry is working on to build a series of chairlifts that would link seven ski areas and give Utah a European-style experience.