Ionce worked with a newspaper reporter who went to the animal shelter to write a story and wound up adopting a pet. That's how I felt last March when I got so excited about plans for the new base village at Solitude that I plunked down a $2,000 deposit for a condominium.The plans are exciting. Solitude has partnered with resort giant Intrawest (owner of Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C., Stratton, Vt., et al) to build a small, European-style village. Intrawest will sell the real estate, build the village and then move on.
There will only be 250 condominium units and about 30 retail spaces when all phases of the village are completed in the next three or four years. "We want a small, intimate village," says Dave DeSeelhorst, Solitude's VP of development and marketing, and son of owner Gary. "Big Cottonwood Canyon is a special place, and we want to preserve the surroundings."
Most long-time locals think the new village will have minimal impact. "I don't think there will be a big effect on lines and crowds," says Dean Roberts, who has been skiing Solitude for nearly 40 years. "If we only have 560 beds, that's only an additional 1,000 or so people. This resort and this canyon will still retain its charm."
The foundation for the village was set a few years ago when the 46-room Inn at Solitude and 18-unit Creekside Condominiums opened. But the plans were jump-started in September of 1998 when Intrawest came on board. By the time I visited Solitude in mid-March, the sales effort was in full swing for the Powderhorn Lodge, which will have 83 one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Awed by the beauty of Big Cottonwood and intrigued by the opportunity to own a piece of it, I signed on the dotted line. At a launch party in early April, 50 of the units were snatched up by eager buyers who paid prices ranging from $229,000 to $600,000. A few weeks later, groundbreaking started on the project. "We're right on schedule to open Powderhorn in June of 2000," says Jim Boivin, who is directing the project for Intrawest. At presstime, condos were still available.
And what about me? Did I buy a condo? Well... no. My wife and I ultimately decided that-with another child on the way-we needed a bigger first home in Minneapolis, not a second home in Utah. But when I see Big Cottonwood in my mind's eye, I'm still not convinced we made the right decision.