1973 – 1983: US Ski Team and the Badami Years

60 Years of Park City Mountain

Posted October 20, 2023

This season Park City Mountain celebrates its 60th winter season. As the season approaches, we’re looking back on the rich history of Park City Mountain from its earliest days to the world-class destination it has become today.

Park City Ski Area continued to expand and carve its place on the world’s ski stage in the 1970s. The decade saw the arrival of the US Ski Team in Park City to set up their new training center and headquarters. In 1975, Park City Ski Area would change ownership from Edgar Stern to Nick Badami, ushering in a period of growth and transformation that would lay the eventual groundwork for supporting a successful 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic bid.


In 1973, Park City Ski Area expanded its terrain offerings with the installation of its first triple chair, named for the Silver King Consolidated Mine – the first iteration of the current King Con six-person lift. The new lift provided access to intermediate terrain on the west side of King Con Ridge. New runs were cut into the east side of King Con Ridge for athlete training. Edgar Stern and his team focused on supporting the local Alpine racing community, and their efforts helped the US Ski Team make the decision to open a training center in Park City in 1973 and, ultimately, move the Alpine portion of the US Ski Team to Park City in 1974.


Under the direction of Willy Schaeffler, old mining buildings were repurposed for a new Alpine Training Center, located just above the mid-station of the gondola, near the bottom terminal of present-day Bonanza Express chairlift. (Fun Fact – Willy's Run is named after Willy Schaeffler.) A boardinghouse and two bunkhouses once used by Silver King Mine workers were transformed into an administration building and two athlete dorms. The US Ski Team’s headquarters remained at Park City Ski Area until 1998.

Park City Ski Area changed ownership from Edgar Stern to Nick Badami in 1975. Nick and his son Craig would expand and transform Park City Ski Area over the next 19 years. The Badamis made key investments in infrastructure and operations across the mountain during the mid to late 1970s. In 1976, Ski Team and Jupiter chairlifts were installed to access more of the mountain’s advanced and expert terrain. Jupiter remains a favorite terrain area to this day. The first iteration of Motherlode was installed in Thaynes Canyon in 1980. The Badamis also invested in a fleet of snowcats to groom runs, built a snowcat maintenance shed and installed Park City’s first snowmaking system in 1978 to bolster the natural snowpack on the mountain after a few low-snow winters. 


To the north, Ski Park City West continued to grow in popularity and with construction of condominiums at the base area. In 1974, the resort was purchased by Jack Roberts and Harold Babcock, who renamed it ParkWest, which it would remain for the next twenty years. In the early 1980s, a summer amphitheater was constructed at ParkWest and hosted musical acts including the Beach Boys, B.B. King, Emmylou Harris and the Grateful Dead.


The 1970s elevated Park City’s place in the ski industry through terrain openings, infrastructure improvements and the arrival of the US Ski Team. These events would help push Park City onto the world stage in the decades to come.


Many thanks to Sally Elliott from Friends of Ski Mountain Mining History, Connie Nelson from the Alf Engen Ski Museum and, Morgan Pierce and Dalton Gackle from the Park City Museum for their help with the history and stories of Park City Mountain over the past 60 years.