RICHMOND —Forrest Fackrell looked out of his Cache Valley home Thursday morning and saw something everyone involved in the ski industry loves to see — snow. Fackrell is general manager of Cherry Peak Resort, the first privately owned ski area to open in Utah since Deer Valley in 1981.
“This is a very exciting time for all of us who have worked so hard on this project,” Fackrell said. “There have been a lot of hands on deck and a lot of local help getting to where we are now. And it is almost time to welcome the community to Cherry Peak.” With a base elevation of 5,800 feet and the peak topping out at just over 7,000 feet, the resort will have access to 200 skiable acres maintained by the ski area. Cherry Peak will have two functioning three-person chairlifts to open the season, and another hoped to be completed before the winter is finished.
“We have some really serious terrain that many people in Cache Valley have never experienced,” said Kevan Eyre, director of instructor training. “Even though Cherry Peak is relatively small, it will offer a variety to our guests. There will be something for everyone.”
Of the 27 ski runs scheduled to open for the 2014-15-winter season, nearly half are rated black or double black diamond, the most challenging and intense rating of the difficulty scale.
“It’s steep out there,” Fackrell said. “Some of the runs have between a 35-to 40-degree pitch to them. We have been out walking around the last few weeks and its difficult to even stand up walking. Parts of this mountain will definitely be for experts only.”
In contrast to the expert terrain, Cherry Peak will offer a beginner section of the mountain that Eyre calls “one of the best places to learn how to ski anywhere.” The beginner area will have a 500-foot “magic carpet” conveyor belt used to transport skiers and boarders up the slope, he said.
“We are going to have a great beginner ski program,” said Tom Emmett, ski shop manager. “The conveyor belt is very user friendly and will be great for younger people as well as adults who are learning to ski for the first time. The area has a great slope to learn on and is as good as a beginner part of a mountain I have ever seen.”
Local adrenaline junkies will be happy knowing the resort will offer a terrain park that Emmett says will be “the best terrain park in Northern Utah. Our park area will have around 16 different features, including boxes, rails, and walls for the skiers and riders who enjoy doing tricks. We will also have two to three large jumps with good landings for our guests. The terrain park will take up the majority of one of our runs, so there will be a lot of room for people to have fun.”
When the day is finished or during a skier or rider’s midday break, the 15,000-square-foot Cherry Peak Lodge located at the resort base, will offer amenities and services to resort guests.
“The lodge is going to be beautiful,” Fackrell said. “It is going to be a three-story building. Ticket sales, a retail shop, ski rental, and ski patrol will be on the first floor. Our full-service restaurant, Cherry Peak Café, will be on the second floor, and the third floor will be a very large open room where we will host parties and weddings in the future. There will also be restrooms located on each floor.”
Located just 20 minutes northeast of Logan, Fackrell hopes the convenience and customer service of Cherry Peak will attract winter enthusiasts this season. The resort will also offer activities that other resorts in the area do not.
“Of course right now we are excited about the winter season,” Fackrell said. “We are excited to have the opportunity to offer night skiing on our entire mountain that will be open to the public every night we are open. This place isn’t just about the downhill skiing either; we are going to have a Nordic track for cross-country skiers, as well as a tubing hill and ice skating rink.”
Emmett said many people have asked questions when the resort’s opening day will be, and there is not a date “set in stone” yet, but the goal is to open before Christmas.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” said John Chadwick, the resort’s owner. “Opening day will be opening day.”