Within walking distance from Canyons Village at Park City Mountain lies a sanctuary where nature synchronizes with the convenience of modern living. Canyons Village Ranch, as it’s
lovingly referred to, spans across 12.1 acres with 10,392 livable square feet. The serene getaway boasts unobstructed views while situated only a mere stone’s throw away from the ski resort’s Red Pine Gondola. More than just a residence, it embodies the legacy of its owners, the Thornton family.
“As children, we skied at the newly opened Treasure Mountain ski resort in Park City in 1963, where lift prices were $3.50 per day,” said Betsy Thornton, the stewardess of the estate since 1986.
Initially, when she and husband Scott Thornton purchased the property, it was comprised of a main home and a four-stall Tuff Shed barn. Built in the seventies, the original design was a relic reflective of yellow Formica and shag carpet. Much like the ski resort’s evolution, the acreage blossomed throughout the years. Guided by Scott’s vision and coupled with his passion for designing and remodeling, the lot underwent not one but two significant transformations, shaping it into the haven it is today.
THE FIRST ITERATION
With the help of Salt Lake City architectural firm Max J Smith and Associates, Scott spearheaded the first transformation in 1998 when the Thorntons transitioned from Salt Lake City to Canyons Village Ranch permanently. Prior to then, it had served as their family’s mountain retreat. This move prompted a redesign that included the addition of a connected four-car garage crowned by an apartment.
“We moved with our two youngest children who were both in junior high,” said Betsy. “That’s when we transformed the unfinished basement to have our own climbing wall.” The basement, at ground level, opens onto a covered hot tub area. “It’s really on the edge of beauty, naturally landscaped by towering trees and a rustic log bridge that draws the curious into the forest,” she said.
In the main house, Scott expanded the living room, ensuring ample space for what their family cherished most — quality time together. Two additional overhead beams were added to hold the extra square footage. Also, a set of pocket doors to the kitchen was installed so messes could be discreetly tucked away when it came time for socializing in the living room. Beyond the living room’s six expansive windows, landscape designer Steve Pendleton of Pendleton Design Management in Sandy spruced up the landscape with a captivating water feature.
In addition, a vast deck that is accessible from several rooms off the main floor overlooks a babbling creek and offers a birds’eye view of activity possibilities in the yard below while providing a stunning view of the mountain expanses beyond.
In the evenings, the property becomes magically alive with uplighting on trees and downlighting on the water feature. “You feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere,” said Onie Bolduc, associate broker with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty in Park City. On the contrary, the view from the front door is of Canyons Village. This versatile ranch uniquely makes space for both ideals. “It’s like no other place in the world,” confirmed Betsy.
When the Thorntons became empty nesters in
2007, Scott’s creative spirit was the impetus for
a new project. “By trade, Scott began his career
as a carpenter,” she explained. “He eventually moved into residential and commercial building, closing out his career as a developer involved in a variety of projects. This property was his refuge and a place for him to dream and create a gathering spot for his family.” Using what they’d learned in the last round of design changes and years of remodeling properties in Utah, the Thorntons knew they wanted to erect another structure on the estate.
And thus, the carriage house that looks south onto Iron Mountain was born. Much like the
main home, the exterior features a fusion of wood and stone, seamlessly blending with the surrounding nature. This two-bedroom, one bath cottage was initially built as a caretaker’s home but easily adapted to a private office for Scott and as a space for their now adult children and others to use.
Surprisingly, the most significant change in this second round of construction wasn’t the carriage house, but rather the removal of the aged metal Tuff Shed that had been used to house all things horse and property related. Having owned horses since living on the property, the Thorntons built a barn to round out the estate’s transformation. Situated on a second parcel of land that is part of the ranch, the barn features four horse stalls, a built-in bathroom, kitchenette, laundry room and three-car garage to house more toys.
“If I’m being honest, we built the barn because my husband wanted to spoil me,” laughed Betsy, who acted as the stable master for more than 35 years.
Two massive sliding barn doors open to a corridor of stalls, where an elongated swing hangs and entices young and old alike. Beyond its functional purpose, the barn acts as an additional gathering space for family, friends and groups. The Thorntons have hosted many summer and fall parties in this adaptable space where tables are set end-to-end and run the length of the barn. The large red barn doors are kept closed as guests arrive to conceal the sparkling lights, seasonally decorated tables and tasty food that await. Upon the reveal and invitation to be seated, guests are greeted by the horses who participate in the evening festivities through their stall windows.
The property’s expansive grounds extend beyond the barn with a two-acre horse pasture and grazing area, encompassing the second parcel known as White Pine. The two lots (White Pine and Red Pine), almost equal in size, are individually addressed. A set of private
roads inside the gated ranch offer easy access to both Park City and Canyons Village.
“There are trails all around the property to get lost along, especially over the wooden bridge that connects you across the stream” said Bolduc.
One of the more unique design pieces is also utilitarian: a buck fence crafted by Frank Mogan, owner of Mogan’s Fencing & Company in Stevensville, Montana. These traditional lodge pole buck fences are occasionally highlighted with Mogan’s signature center x-cross.
“[Mogan] has an artistic approach to fencing,” said Betsy. Having spotted Mogan working on another nearby property, the Thorntons knew they wanted his craftsmanship and creativity to line the property’s entryway and two separate horse pastures.
Located just nine minutes from Park City and a half-hour from Salt Lake City, Canyons Village Ranch is the ideal middle ground between resort and ranch living. A vibrant community of outdoor enthusiasts surrounds the peace and privacy of the property,
while the nearby ski lift gives access to incredible mountain terrain. The Thorntons aren’t the only ones who appreciate the beauty. A friendly flock of wild turkeys has made the land their home, along with meandering deer and elk.
“At its core, it’s a gathering spot,” Betsy emphasized.
This home was built with family in mind at every step of the way. It’s a space for coming together, escaping the cacophony of city life and immersing oneself in the outdoors. Bolduc added, “You can feel the love in the land here. It’s palpable.” As the Thornton family embarks on their next adventure, this remarkable property awaits its next chapter and is listed with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty.
New owners have the option to expand or remodel as the land features an additional build site on the White Pine parcel. With lots of space to create, Canyons Village Ranch is a canvas promising a future as rich as its storied past.