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North Face Endurance Run is a Fun, Fall Race

Sorry for getting this out so late … We received this submission a couple of weeks ago.


It’s time to lace up those sneakers for those crazy enough and healthy enough to run The North Face Endurance Challenge next weekend (Sept. 24-25) at the Park City Mountain Resort.

Registration is still open for the Park City race, which is one of six locations included in the North American series. Even if you’re not a hard core endurance junkie, the event covers seven distances ranging from a 5k to 50 miles.

I ran the 50k during Park City’s inaugural North Face event in 2014. It was probably my favorite ultra that summer! Not only is it a beautiful time of year, the trails along the Wasatch back are world-class.

You run through world-renowned Park City Mountain Resort on double and single track, ski runs, mountain bike trails and dirt access roads. I can’t think of a more spectacular way to spend a Fall day in Park City.

The branding that goes along with a North Face race typically means you’re getting a well-run, well-marked, and fully fuelled race. In its 9th year, The North Face Endurance Challenge Series pushes athletes to run their best race while promoting the sport of ultra-trail running. I’d say their sponsorship generates positive publicity, which should be the goal for any big brand.

The volunteers are extremely helpful, so be sure to thank them and always be polite.The aid stations are stocked with pb&j sandwiches, fruit, salty snacks, water and electrolytes. I got a nice technical tee and a finisher’s medal. Ultramarathon Man Dean Karnazes also spoke the morning of the 50k, at least he did in 2014.

The North Face brand paired with Karnazes to form this endurance running series in 2006 after Karnazes’ quest to run 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 days in what was otherwise known as The North Face Endurance 50.

What’s special about the Park City race is the verts in the breath-taking mountains. The course starts at the highest elevation within the North American series at 7,000 feet and climbs to the highest as well at 10,000 feet.
“Bring your legs and your lungs,” as eloquently described on the event’s website.

How will later start times for Park City High School students impact other students?

The Park City School District is proceeding down the path of having high school students start school after 8:30 AM. The school district has formed a committee who will be tasked with providing recommendations; however, it looks like later start times for an older portion of our kids is a done deal. However, what does that mean for younger students?

A reader wrote in and said, “The Park City School Board just made a motion to implement a committee to move forward with changing school start times for secondary schools to start no earlier than 8:30am. They have recommended this with the implication that elementary schools would start earlier (7:45am) to accommodate bus scheduling. While the research supporting later start times for adolescent students is valid, there is also research showing that elementary students suffer when start times are early as well. Changing secondary start times at the expense of elementary students’ achievement makes no sense and this group of parents and the school board has flagrantly disregarded these students in their decisions so far.”

The reader also provided a copy of a University of Kentucky study that talks about impacts of earlier start times on elementary students. Effects on younger students seem to be pronounced as well. It’s just not a high school problem.

What is interesting in the study, and from discussions we have heard, is that the decision to stagger school start times (i.e. why all school can’t start later) is busing. If you want to use the same buses and drivers, you need to stagger school start times. If not, you need more buses and drivers. Thus, it costs a lot more. In Park City’s case, that number is likely more than a million dollars more.

It’s an interesting problem. Should we sacrifice younger minds for older ones? Isn’t there any other creative way out of this? You’d think in a place with as talented people as Park City that there would be some other alternatives.

Maybe not.

Hopefully the committee tasked with looking at this can come up with something better than just starting high school later and starting elementary school earlier.


Here is the UK study talking about elementary kids’ impacts, in case you are interested.

h/t to the reader who sent this in

The fundamental problem with traffic around Park City…

We all know traffic can be bad around Park City, on a handful of days during the year. That said, I am of the opinion that we don’t really have a traffic problem compared to other areas, that any issues we have are typically a minor inconvenience, and that a few times a year it will take an hour to get from Park City to Kimball Junction (but it’s not the end of the world).

I am starting to believe that our focus on traffic, and our seeming demands to our government officials to “FIX IT”, detract from larger issues we need to collectively be working on.

Yet, I am still drawn to the issue more out of curiosity than anything. Why does it take 6 minutes to get through Kimball on a Friday versus 3 minutes on a regular day? The video below shows one of the fundamental problems with traffic. I was a little skeptical when I watched it but I began watching traffic around the Basin. It is spot on.

Solve this and much of our traffic “problem” is solved.


In defense of the plastic grocery bag in Park City…

Every few years, the topic of banning plastic grocery bags comes up in Park City. I’ve never been a fan of the potential ban. It inherently made sense to my thick skull that plastic bags were bad and other forms of bags were better, but I could never understand how that would work for all of our visitors. I also never understood why we were trying to ban plastic bags and not banning plastic water bottles, which many consider a worse “environmental offense.”

This weekend a reader sent in an article from the Atlantic called Are Tote Bags Really Good for the Environment?. Basically, the story cites research from the UK stating that:

  • Plastic bags require very few resources to manufacture and transport
  • Plastic bags produce less carbon, waste, and byproducts than cotton or paper bags
  • When looking at carbon, a paper bag would need to be used 7 times, a polypropylene bag would need to be used 27 times, and a cotton bag would need to be used 327 to equal the carbon cost per plastic bag.
  • While people buy polypropylene totes, use paper bags, etc. only 10% of people do it regularly, leaving the reusable bags to sit in their cupboards while they get additional plastic bags.
  • Conventional plastic bags made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE, the plastic sacks found at grocery stores) had the smallest per-use environmental impact of all those tested.

It is true that plastic grocery bags mess up our landfills and THEY CANNOT GO IN OUR RECYLCE DUMPSTERS (because they gum up the works) but it is likely they are a good choice for our grocery stores.

By all means, if you can commit to using polypropylene reusable bags and ALWAYS have them with you and ALWAYS use them, that is probably the best choice. However, if you are like many of us, then plastic bags aren’t necessarily the worst choice. As the Atlantic article says, if you want to be environmentally conscious just try to use every one of them twice. Bring home your groceries and then use it in your trash basket…. or for dog poop. Better yet take them with you to Smith’s once a month and recycle them. That way it will become decking, playground equipment, or something else useful.

So, don’t feel bad about using a plastic grocery bag, especially if you can find secondary ways to use the bags (or are willing to recycle the bags at one of our local supermarkets). In many ways, in the real world, using a plastic grocery bag (TWICE) is superior to other alternatives.


EPIC Local Pass claim of “Paying for itself in just 4 days” isn’t exactly true

You’ve probably seen the ads telling you that Vail’s Epic Local Pass pays for itself in 4 ski days. With the price of the Epic local pass at $609 (as of writing) and a single day lift ticket at $162 (list price on most weekends), Vail’s marketing seems to match the math (4 single day tickets cost more than the Epic Local Pass).

However, things are not always as they seem.

If you take a look at Vail’s online ticketing system, a different picture emerges. Right now, single day lift tickets are 25% off list price. So, if you know the dates you want to book, you can book a weekend lift ticket at $122. You could get five of those for the price of the Epic Pass. It’s true that is only one more day free, but at $100+ that’s really money. Of course, you’d need to know the dates you were going to ski.

If you are looking for something even more flexible, and even more cheap, you may want to check out the Park City 4-Pack for $299. If you are only going to ski a handful of times (i.e 4 or 5 times) the 4 pack is a cheaper choice. With this pass, you can use the passes when you like (blackouts excluded), like the Epic Local Pass, but you may save some hard earned money.

While many people probably enjoy the freedom of skiing as much as they want throughout the year, and perhaps at resorts outside of Utah, if you know you will only be able to ski 4 times this year at Park City Mountain Resort (or Canyons), you may want to save some money and look at the 4-Pack. In that case you’ll be getting your ski season at 1/2 off.

So, while it may be true that at full, list prices an Epic Local Pass pays for itself in 4 ski days… in practicality, if you are only skiing 4 days, there are cheaper ways to go.



Want to learn more about affordable housing issues in and around Park City?

Affordable housing is one of the most important issues facing those of us around Park City.

No matter whether you are in the camp that says we need more affordable housing to enable those of us who work here to live here, to maintain our sense of community, or a hundred other reasons… or you are in the camp that is worried that affordable housing may impact your property values, that what is deemed “affordable” really isn’t, or a hundred other reasons… either way it impacts us all.

If the topic interests you, you may want to attend a panel being hosted tomorrow (Friday the 26th) by the Park City Board of Realtors. The title is:

“Housing in Summit County: Past, Present and Future.”

The panel members are:

  • Park City Councilman, Tim Henney;
  • Park City Community Development Director, Anne Laurent;
  • Summit County Councilman, Tal Adair;
  • Summit County Economic Development Director, Jeff Jones;
  • Mountainlands Community Housing Trust Executive Director, Scott Loomis as they discuss this important issue.

Lunch will be provided by Christina Miller with Miller Law beginning at 11:45 am, and the speaker panel will start at noon. The panel will conclude at 1 pm, with a 30 minute Q & A to follow.

If you are interested, the event is being held at the Jim Santy (the library in town). You don’t need to RSVP.

If you want more information about the panel, KPCW has an interview:


Free bus from Park City to the Summit County Fair

Last year was the first year I went to the Summit county fair, and it was a wonderful experience. If I had one issue, it was knowing exactly where to park and where the fairgrounds were. It wasn’t a huge obstacle but I could imagine others having the same issue and deciding they may not go.

If you’re in the same boat, or perhaps you just don’t want to drive to Coalville, Summit County has the answer for you. This Friday and Saturday, buses leave on the half hour from the lot behind Jupiter Bowl and will take you to the fair. Oh, and it’s free.

It really doesn’t get any better than that. We hope to see you on that bus.


RAMP Sports appears to have jumped into the abyss

Local Park City ski, board, and long board maker RAMP Sports appears to have closed up shop. The company’s facility, that used to be near the Home Depot, now sports a “For Lease” sign.

According to a Facebook post by a sponsored skier, the company had an investor pull out. That’s too bad for a company who tried to do it differently. Their philosophy seemed summed up by this quote from their website…

“Many popular skis and snowboards are manufactured in Asia where workers are paid $200/month building products with cheap materials and no environmental constraints. At RAMP, we feel certain that consumers would rather buy products built with new technology, high-end materials, clean best practices, and are made by people who love skiing and riding.”

It makes us hopeful that Armada will survive.

If anyone has any more insight into what happened, we would love to know more.


h/t to the Friend of the Park Rag who provided this info.

Park City is No Longer Vail’s Largest Ski Property — Vail to Buy Whistler Blackcomb

Vail is on a buying spree. Today they announced they are buying 100% of the stock of Whistler Blackcomb, North America’s largest ski resort (by acreage). It has also been named the top ski resort in north america by Ski Magazine for 3 of the last 4 years.

According to Forbes, “Specifically Vail Resorts announced it would: Support Master Development Agreements with local First Nations, as Whistler Blackcomb is in the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations’ traditional territories; Retain local leadership, continuing to operate the resort principally with local Canadian management; Maintain local employment and retain the vast majority of current Whistler Blackcomb employees; Re-invest substantially in the resort experience, including continuing to build community and stakeholder support for the recently announced Renaissance project, a transformational investment which will diversify the local tourism economy; provide new four-season, weather-independent activities; and elevate Whistler Blackcomb’s core skiing, mountain biking and sightseeing experiences.”

It looks like Vail gained even more power in the industry than is had before (if that’s possible). Bravo to them for capturing what is consistently one of the top 3 resorts in North America.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Vail is paying $1.06 Billion USD to acquire the resort. In 2014, Vail paid $182 million for PCMR.

We’ll be looking forward to our friends from the Great North descending on us with their Epic passes in the coming years. Now may be a good time for someone to open Park City’s first Tim Hortons franchise.

Glad we got our $50 million in upgrades before there were bigger fish to fry.

h/t to the friend of the Park Rag who let us know

We miss the Park Record’s online comments

With the most recent changes to the Park Record’s website, they effectively killed their comments. They now require a facebook account to add a comment, which of course removes the possibility of anonymous comments. We think that’s a shame.

It’s true that we always felt we were wading through 90% of crud to get to the 10% of golden comments. Yet, those 10% were worth something. Now we get 0%.

We also felt there was some entertainment value in the comments. We never liked the personal insults against community members or the name calling but sometimes we were just left shaking our collective heads at how people think (much like many of you do, when you read the Park Rag, we’re sure).

So, we hope the powers that be bring the anonymous comments back to the Park Record.

In a community where many people are afraid to speak out because they fear it will harm their business, they’ll be reprimanded, they work for local government, or their position will be “dissolved,” there is a place for anonymity. Even if a large part of it is crap, providing the ability for people to reach a large audience with important information is part of what we would expect from one of our most important local news sources.

We’re afraid we are going to miss out on something important because that has been removed.