December 4, 2007
I took the picture of a family yesterday on historic Main Street and it reminded me of a note I had composed, but which got lost in cyberspace on the way to The Park Record a while back. With the coming of snow comes another season that is very important to our town — tourist season.
As we enter our 18th year in Park City, more than some, less than many others who have called this town home, I wanted to share some thoughts about visitors to our town.
Over the coming months, many people will visit and it is worth remembering we are all ambassadors of Park City. Myles Rademan talks about the "brand of Park City," and it is good to remember once in a while how we can distinguish our town from other ski and vacation venues. With the picture-taking yesterday, or the offer of taking pictures on ski slopes — it is kind of a giveaway, when you see the three people lined up for a picture and someone struggling with the camera, that they most likely are part of that group or family, and a simple gesture of offering to include the "Mom" or "Dad" in the picture is often times rewarded with the nicest smile and thank you. Then a comment about where they are from and, "Oh, yes, we do live here" is greeted by the amazed look of, "How did you manage that?" A comment or two about your favorite restaurants or watering holes or shops is worthwhile. Besides the off-season offers of discounts by the restaurants, our local merchants want you to visit their establishments, have a good experience as a local so you can spread the word to our visitors. And, as yesterday, sharing a piece of Olympic lore with the family in the picture who were visiting from Texas (yep, just around the corner was the Coca-Cola pin trading tent, and up the street is where Roots sold all those hats and the Games sure were something else!), we all have our own stories that contribute to the experience of a visitor or family who has spent significant time and money to come to our town, where we live for their vacation. Sharing with them that they should visit the Old Town museum, and look for the old mines on the ski runs, and there is a great theater in town, and ice skating and cross country, and hiking and biking trails, and all kinds of churches and over 100 volunteer organizations and, of course, Sundance is interesting when the movie people come to town, and we have one of the largest women’s softball tournaments in the summer, just before one of the best art festivals in the country, or attend the fun Silly Market – all this creates a sense of excitement – "Gosh, maybe we should also visit here in the summer." Oh, and be sure and visit the Olympic Museum at the Utah Olympic Park and, yes, it was fun during those amazing 17 days in 2002, and did you know you can go down a bobsled run, and you might see some of the best women ski jumpers in the world practicing at the jumps, and you also might see one of our many local Olympians around town because did you know the U.S. Ski Team is headquartered here? And Olympians like Ted Ligety and Nikki Stone and Val Fleming and you might even see Stein Eriksen on a ski run – and many others who have distinguished themselves on the field of play all call Park City home.
So you bid your visitors goodbye and you thank them for coming to our town and you hope they will return someday. You showed a simple act of kindness – offering to take a picture and you may have just taken someone’s holiday card since they are all in the picture and you have helped contribute a memory to their visit, which is a very important thing for our town during the coming months – whether you work in the hospitality industry or not – as our visitors help make it possible for us to enjoy many things that make Park City the great place to live for us all.