Skiers, snowboarders can expect familiar PCMR experience
With the uncertainty of the high-profile lawsuit between Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker Land Holdings, LLC hanging over the resort for much of the summer, it was difficult for PCMR to add capital improvements for the upcoming ski season.
So skiers and snowboarders hitting PCMR’s slopes this year can expect a similar experience to the one they’ve grown accustomed to over the years. And for Andy Miller, communications manager at the resort, that’s a very good thing.
He said Vail Resorts, which purchased PCMR from Powdr Corp. in September, is committed to keeping the resort’s traditional feel. Customers this season may not notice too much of a change from previous seasons, as many programs and services the resort offered in the past return this year.
"For the most part, it’s going to be the same Park City Mountain Resort that people know and love," Miller said. "Obviously it’s new ownership, but it’s the same people pretty much operating all those different departments. Lift operators and restaurants and ticket offices — all those same faces that have been around for years are going to continue to be those faces this year.
"I think the differences will be pretty minor."
The biggest change people will notice is the resort being added to Vail’s popular Epic Pass. Holders of that pass can gain access to Canyons Resort — also owned by Vail — as well as several other resorts, both throughout the country and internationally. How big of a benefit that is depends on the customer, Miller said, though the overwhelming majority of skiers and snowboarders have been excited about the pass.
"Being part of any pass that includes now 22 resorts on three different continents — over 32,000 collective acres of skiing and riding — that’s certainly a very big deal," he said.
Those who don’t want the Epic Pass can still purchase traditional PCMR season passes, which can be supplemented with fast track, night skiing and parking pass options. According to the resort’s website, parkcitymountain.com, people who bought those passes before the sale to Vail can also exchange them for Epic Passes.
One slight change customers may notice is the removal of the RFID (radio frequency ID) lift ticket gates at entry access point lifts. To open those gates, customers had to have an access card.
"Those have been removed as a first step of integrating the Epic Pass," Miller said.
Also, customers can now buy lift tickets through a mobile platform called EpicDay Lift Tickets, which according to a press release will be available starting Oct. 31.
While the largest changes this season come in the form of ticket packages, Miller said skiers and snowboarders can expect substantial capital improvements in the future, once Vail has had time to evaluate all options.
"They’re casting a pretty wide net, looking at all sorts of improvements and upgrades and additions," he said. "I don’t think anything is really off the table. They’ll certainly take the time and evaluate projects based on, I’m sure, several criteria. We’ll get a better idea as the months go along about where we end up focusing our resources.
"Certainly, if we’re having this same conversation a year from now, I think there will be a number of more visible infrastructure improvements."
While he declined to go into specifics about what some of those changes might be, he did say the proposed lift that would link PCMR and Canyons Resort — creating the largest ski area in the country — is still in the works.
"Vail was on the record almost immediately after the transaction was announced with that as a goal," Miller said. "And that is still the goal to have that connection up and running in time for opening day in 2015. That would be a great buzzworthy item for Park City."
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