“I’ve been skiing here for 20 years and living here on and off for 15. I’ve never before experienced, or even heard of, lift stoppages like this.”-Jerry Stouck, frequent skier of Park City Mountain Resort.
Frequent guests of Park City Mountain Resort have been scratching their heads lately because of various lift closures due to mechanical issues. The PayDay chairlift was closed for most of January 29th and the morning of January 30th due to mechanical issues. In addition, McConkey’s Express chairlift was shut down for half an hour on January 27th, and the Quicksilver Gondola had a delayed opening on January 31st. These are just some of the lift issues that they’ve had this season.
Last week, the Park Record spoke with Cody Madden, who’s a member of the Park City Lift Maintenance Union. Cody said that they’re properly staffed, and many of the mechanical issues have a snowball effect at times. For mechanical repairs, getting the parts can take time, due to some of the items being from out of state. He described to the Park Record what has gone into keeping the ski resort operational this season:
“Speaking for the union, and Vail Corporation, Park City management, we all have the same end goal: get as many people up the hill as possible and not have the lifts shut down. When these things do happen — unfortunately there’s mechanical and electrical issues that do set us back — we’re not restricted in any way. … We had guys here till 3 in the morning [Tuesday] working on the thing, trying to get it going for the day. Unfortunately, sometimes you run into waiting for a part to come from someone else, or sometimes it’s a software update.”
One of the key points that he brought up was that a solution would be to replace the chairlifts, which is what Vail Resorts tried to do in 2022:
“I don’t want to speak too far out of line, but the bigger story is upgrading lifts, and when Park City [the town] doesn’t want us to upgrade lifts and then we have older lifts still running, that’s kind of a problem. Like, we want to live in a ski town, but we want our cake to eat it, too, and we don’t want to put new stuff in.”
Lift replacements have become a contentious issue in Park City, as a group of locals was able to thwart a plan by Vail Resorts to install two new chairlifts on the PC side of the mountain due to it not following the agreed-upon 1998 Master Development Plan, among other reasons. Late last year, Vail Resorts’ appeal was denied by a Utah Judge. While that situation is sorted out, Vail Resorts is planning on installing a new gondola on The Canyons side in 2025.
Image Credits: Park City Mountain Resort