I was writing an earlier column on how bad The Resort Formally Named PCMR (TRFNPCMRCANYONS) had handled this year’s first snow storm. It was the first time I’d written on the resort, since Vail combined two of our local ski hills.
A few months back, I heard talk on KPCW about Vail’s use of the words “Park City” for their combined resort but really hadn’t contemplated what it meant. Now that the season has started we have two Park City’s… one is the town and the other is the resort.
So let me provide a few phrases:
- Park City Sucks
- There is no where to park at Park City
- Park City is crowded
- Traffic is horrible getting to Park City
- Park City is expensive
- People at Park City are rude
- There’s nowhere good to eat at Park City
Which of those phrases describes the resort and which describes the town?
That’s the problem. Which is which?
It appears Vail has tried to mimic Colorado… where there is no distinction between the Vail the city and Vail the resort. They appear to have co-opted the entire city in a marketing move. The difference here, or course, is that Park City existed for about 150 years before Vail arrived.
The real problem is that Park City city officials haven’t prevented it. This is a serious issue, especially when Vail fails and people have bad experiences. It undermines the entire Park City (the city) brand.
This has the potential to be one of the largest screwups in Park City history. It’s likely looking back that we’ll have wished we didn’t let our horse be tied to the Vail wagon.
I’ve always maintained that the Vail men and women are the “smartest guys in the room.” It’s moments like this when I realize that, without paying a penny, they own the whole town, that confirms they are really a step ahead.