Salt Lake City’s Dollywood resort will open in late 2019 with a “touristy feel” as part of a $6 billion redevelopment, and the ski resort’s operators said Wednesday they have secured $3 billion in financing for a $50 million expansion.
The resort is scheduled to open Jan. 1, 2020.
Dollywood, which opened in 1976, has seen more than $400 million in annual revenue and more than 4,000 jobs since it opened.
Utah Tourism Board President Robert Holme said Dollywood will be “a destination for a new generation of Utahns who love the outdoors.”
“We’re excited about the expansion of Dollywood and look forward to serving the communities in our state,” Holme wrote in a statement.
“Our commitment to the state’s ski and snowboard communities and to the outdoor sports industry will continue.”
The Dollywood expansion will have an outdoor area with five different lifts and three skis, plus a mini-vacation lodge with a spa, outdoor pool, steam room and a helipad.
The Dolly Mountains National Recreation Area, which includes the ski area, will be expanded to include about 300 acres of land, including a 1,400-acre lake.
The project also includes a resort hotel, two casinos and a theme park.
Dolly is one of four ski resorts planned for the state.
Holme and Dollywood Resort Chairman Chris Williams said the expansion will bring about 3,200 jobs to the area.
“We are excited to be bringing Dolly back to Utah,” Williams said.
“Utahns love to ski and enjoy the outdoors and we will be a great example of the positive impact that our community can have in a place like Utah.”
Gary Herbert said he has spoken with Dollywood owner Dan Quigley about the proposed expansion, and Herbert has asked for more information about how the expansion might affect the state economy.
Herbert said the state will spend $4 billion on new jobs and $10 billion on infrastructure and education over the next four years, and he wants to be sure to include Utahns in the discussion.
Herbert and Dolly operators said the resort is planning to create up to 6,000 new jobs.
Dolls, the state snowboard industry and Utah’s ski industry all are big business, and Utahns spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on snowboarding equipment.
The state has about 1,600 registered snowboarders, and Dollars were up 7.2% in the first quarter, the first time the industry has seen a big gain in six years.
Utah also has some of the nation’s best ski and roller skates.
Dollards have also had a big impact on the ski industry in the U.S., as the industry continues to grow and the number of operators continues to increase.
Utah Ski Industry Association President John C. Boulton said the ski and skier community in Utah is extremely proud of its role in the tourism industry and believes Dollywood’s expansion will help it continue to grow.
“The industry has always been a part of our fabric, and this project will help us continue to have the best and brightest,” Boulston said.
Dope, the Utah ski industry’s largest ski company, plans to hire more than 150 people for its new ski area in 2019, including its operations and its new staff, Cairns said.
Cairnes said the new expansion will give the ski areas about a 1% bump in the number people skiing and the company is still evaluating the impact of the expansion.
“What’s exciting about Dollywood is it has a unique feel to it,” Cairna said.
In addition to Dollywood resorts, Dope also owns the Utah Ski Valley, which has about 2,300 employees and more then 1,200 skiers and snowboards.
Utah ski companies have not announced plans for the expansion yet.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for our industry, and I think the ski community is really excited about it,” said Cairnas vice president of operations Tom McPherson.