Much like a rocket designed by NASA, Park City has been on autopilot. We came out of the Great Recession and the tax dollars flowed in, both sales and property taxes. Park City seems to be a desirable place to be. Excellent.
Vail, once again, proving they are the “smartest guys in the room,” did what Vail does. They did deals enabling them to have the largest ski resort in North America… right here in Park City.
If I were to forecast, I’d wager that January’s Sundance Film Festival will be THE BIGGEST EVER.
Yet, if you talk to people on lift chairs, Bob Ross is starting to paint a slightly different picture.
A friend recounted an experience yesterday where she overheard a family talking about how they never should have come here. They “should just go back to Steamboat.” The friend, like any real Parkite wanted to understand what was wrong with her city, so she asked. The response was that they went to the PCMR side of Park City resort and it was so incredibly crowded that they never wanted to come back.
It’s just not visitors. Another friend commented on the 40 minute lift lines at PCMR over the past few days. He lamented on what Vail’s Epic Pass had done to our skiing. He said that before Vail there were only so many people who would spend $1,200 on a season’s pass. Therefore, a random Tuesday in December wouldn’t be crowded. Now, with an Epic pass costing $560 it brings in so many more people.
Another local commented that they never even try to go to the PCMR side anymore because there is no parking. It’s just not worth driving in and finding no parking, or riding an hour-plus on a bus to ski.
Personally over the past few days I’ve been on lift chairs with a few people from New York City. What’s either the first or second statement out of their mouths? How expensive it is. Just to be clear, Park City has always been expensive but I’ve never heard people at Deer Valley complain. Usually, they seem to be willing to overlook the cost.
So, what is happening? Is it just an anomaly due to “good snow” (after a few bad years) bringing people out of the woodwork? Have we succeeded in creating Peak Park City, where our success is starting to kill us? Is Vail too good at what they do? Have we rested on our laurels?
I’m not really sure.
What I do know is that we don’t have the best snow, longest season, or longest runs.
We have a brand …
… and the thing about brands is that they can fall out of favor quickly. Anecdotal evidence is often suspect, but it may be an indicator that we could be on our way down that path.