(KUTV) Skiers and snowboarders and anyone up for a tram ride to the top of the slopes at Snowbird Ski Resort can expect to find a brand new state of the art facility this season called "The Summit". Eleven thousand feet above sea level, when completed it will be the highest year round alpine facility in the U.S
"It's a monumental project," Mike Leatham, Superintendent with Layton Construction overseeing the Summit project said there are a number of challenges his crews face with the elevation of this project, the highest ever for Layton Construction, "Just trying to get the equipment, the material up the mountain is one aspect of it. The short construction season is another. Our guys were up here in the snow in April and we are trying to get this done by October."
Leatham said 100 guys a day are working on the site, more than twice the average construction project of similar size.
He gave us a tour of the construction Friday, where nearly all the glass has now been installed in the 23,000 square foot facility that will boast a restaurant, retail shop, two outdoor patios, ski patrol center and more.
"No other ski resort in Utah has these views and no other alpine facility is as high as we are. We can't wait to open. It's so exciting," Brian Brown from Snowbird Ski Resort told 2News.
He says it is a dream finally realized for the founder Dick Bass, who passed away earlier this summer, "When he first built this resort in the 70s he envisioned this amazing mountain top oasis and we're going to see it this year."
For locals, you may remember the old ski hut at the top of the tram. The new facility is its much more expensive neighbor, sitting on the other side of the tram exit/entrance. It is a part of Snowbird's $35 million dollar investment in upgrades at the resort this year.
Brown says visitors will be in store for a real treat, and should feel safe that the building was made keeping in mind the many weather threats thanks to Mother Nature, "This is a fortress. It was made to withstand hurricane force winds. Sometimes we see gusts up here around 120 miles per hour and this building can take that and a whole lot more."
The Summit is expected to open as early as mid-December.