After months of tensions over a lack of open terrain and lifts, minimal parking, a proposed development at the Park City base, along with a divisive negotiation period between PCPSA and the mountain, locals are fed up. Town Lift and the Park Record reported on a contentious town council meeting last week that saw Vail Resorts “broadsided” by vitriol from the local community. A lot of the anger was the late-season opening of the Silver Star lift that allows locals to access the slopes without driving, which finally opened for the first time last weekend. Many prominent locals spoke up at the public comment event:
- “I started calling the other Vail Resorts, and I’ve talked to several of them over the last week and their local newspapers and everything else. What are you dealing with? Is your mountain completely open? No. Are you having lift line problems? Yes. Are you having traffic problems? Yes… And then so to counter that, I called the Alterra resorts. Are you open? Yes, 100%. Do you have lift line problems? No. Do you have staffing issues? It’s been tough, but everything’s open. So I’m not believing that this is Covid-related.”– Dana Williams, Former Park City Mayor.
- “I’ve been here for a lot of years, it doesn’t matter how many, but just the overall experience, it’s changed.[The traffic in Thaynes Canyon is] out of control… like 30 minutes to go half a mile. A lot of that can be alleviated with the Silver Star Lift, and it’s still not spinning. We’ve heard, it’s supposed to get spinning maybe this weekend. But that’s kind of what they’ve been telling us, a lot, it does affect business.”– Todd Fischer, Silver Star Ski & Sport owner.
- “I have two young children, an eight-year-old and a 10-year-old about to turn 11, and they play outside our house and I had never before worried about their safety playing on our street and we live on a cul-de-sac. But people come driving up actually very fast around the cul-de-sac because the traffic here is a disaster. I think a lot of the traffic issue that’s happened recently has been because of Vail Resorts.”-Jeremy Buzzard, a Park City resident.
- “It feels to me like there’s a general carrying capacity issue. Whether it’s a carrying capacity of the resort that they’re not able to handle or a carrying capacity of our community, our infrastructure is stretched.” – Max Doilney, Park City Councilman.
The mood of the local community was best described by Michael Kaplan, who was a “professor in marketing and the management of mountain resorts” for twenty-two years. His frustrations were exemplified by waiting forty minutes for a cold $9 hot dog. His rant, along with a photo of said hot dog is below…
- “The hot dog exemplifies a long, frustrating day of no parking, huge lift lines, several lifts not operating, and lousy grooming…Vail Corp. are stewards of perhaps our largest and most important competitive advantage — the ski resort. But Vail has failed us. They seem to care little about our community or the guest experience and yet Vail is enjoying record profits, [there are] negative repercussions on our community and our reputation.”
While it’s currently gloomy for Vail Resorts in Park City, there are likely brighter days ahead. Crowds will likely dampen when the Mayflower Resort opens in late 2023. And as part of Vails Epic Lift Upgrade for the 2022-23 season, two new detachable chairlifts will help reduce traffic in popular terrain zones on the mountain. According to Town Lift, the resort has also started working with the city on traffic solutions. But will this be enough to keep the Epic crowds away? We’ll have to wait and see. Image Credits: Park City Mountain Resort, Park Record, Unsplash