Despite snow, Deer Valley and PCMR stick to early-April closing date
The Rocky Mountain region has had abundant snowfall this season, prompting several Colorado resorts to delay their closing dates a few weeks to capitalize on the powder.
But Park City resorts are not interested in following their lead. Representatives from Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort said the ski areas remain set on their closing date of April 7, just three weeks away. The closing of the resorts early in the month will likely have a significant impact on Park City businesses, as lodging numbers are expected to plummet after the first week of April.
Emily Summers, spokesperson for Deer Valley, said the resort has not extended its closing date for 15 years, and it did not consider breaking its streak this year. Summers said Deer Valley sets its opening and closing dates a year in advance.
Deer Valley selected April 7 as the closing date for this season because of Easter coming late in the month and spring break in many places around the country occurring in mid-March, Summers said. Easter and the spring break period are some of the busiest times for the resorts because kids are not in school and families often head to the slopes for their vacations. Easter is April 21.
“We have not had success in staying open longer in April when Easter is late like it is this year,” Summers said. “In past seasons where the calendar was similar, we didn’t see the skiers to warrant staying open later, and extending a season doesn’t give people the time to plan ahead and make a last-minute ski trip.”
Deer Valley has plenty of snow to remain open, though. As of March 15, it had a base of 118 inches, and 317 total inches of snow had fallen at the resort. PCMR also had a base of 118 inches, but it had 332 total inches of snow throughout the season.
Jessica Miller, spokesperson for PCMR, said the resort does not plan to extend the season, despite the “abundant snowfall and excellent conditions.”
The resort extended seasons due to heavy snowfall in 2009 and 2011. Miller did not explain why the resort is making a different decision this year. Businesses in town that depend on visitors will likely have a slow April and May because of the resorts’ early closing. Bill Malone, president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, said during the organization’s economic update luncheon that occupancy was projected to be low in April.
“There is this one month in there called April, and we decided to cancel April this year,” he joked during his presentation at the event.
Statistics from the Chamber/Bureau’s most recent report show predicted occupancy in the single digits for some dates in April. Spring is usually a slow time for businesses in Park City, which is why several of them choose to close during the period and reopen in the summer when tourists start visiting the town again.
Summers said Deer Valley is set to open the 2019-20 ski season on December 7 and close on April 12, the day of Easter Sunday. Miller said PCMR is expected to announce its opening and closing dates for the 2019-20 season in May.
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Another ski season is in the books, and much to the relief of the restaurant industry, the outlook, like the weather, is looking sunny.