No you weren’t imagining it – it was really so busy on the slopes.
Utah ski resorts welcomed 5.3 million skiers – the highest number on record – last winter, Ski Utah announced Tuesday. While data broken down by ski resort has not been released, it’s fair to say that Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort have played a major role in pushing the state into another record breaking season.
It was perhaps surprising that the state saw so many skiers and snowboarders in a pandemic-defined winter – or maybe not, given the popularity of outdoor activities during COVID – but the trend general is not. This was the fourth time in six seasons that the state had set a record for days of skiing, an increase spurred in part by the success of Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Company’s multi-resort packages and which seems unlikely to end in any time. so early.
Parkists, if they aren’t already, should get used to sharing the slopes with lots of other people.
The increase in skier visits over the past half-decade is of course great for business. People coming from out of state to play PCMR or to Deer Valley spend money on hotels, go to retail stores and eat out, boosting both our economy and our tax base. Almost everyone who lives here benefits in one way or another from the success of the state’s ski industry. And in that sense, we hope that the record set last season will be short-lived.
But popularity also invites challenges, as Parkites well knows. In addition to longer ski lift lines, the growing number of skiers and snowboarders means more traffic on our clogged entrances, increased pressure in the job market as employers prepare to meet demand and reduced availability. affordable housing.
In short, all the problems a small community faces when it is also a world-class tourist destination, leaving local leaders and other residents looking for solutions with no easy answers.
Do we want skiers and snowboarders to avoid Park City in favor of competing destinations in Colorado or Idaho? Barely. We have the âgreatest snow on Earthâ and we form our bones by inviting others to experience it.
As Park City and the rest of Utah continue to attract more and more visitors from around the world each winter, the effects on our community will continue to increase.
Call it a first world problem. Given the alternative – the collapse of our tourism-based economy – this is an alternative that we are prepared to accept.