Newcomers meet, greet, talk about days of yore
Park City legend Jim Santy was just a boy when his parents decided to pack up the family and move from Silverton, Colo. They planned to settle in Reno but, Santy says, ran out of gas along the way.
He has lived in Park City, as if it were a fated bathroom stop, ever since.
When asked why he stayed in the town as an adult, Santy said, "The altitude is good for the brain."
Another explanation for Santy’s tales about bear-trap ski bindings and sledding down huge snow banks along Woodside Avenue is that he actually liked it here.
He was the keynote speaker Wednesday at the fall luncheon for the Newcomers Club of Greater Park City. The social gathering at Silver Lake Lodge at Deer Valley offered Park City’s most recently minted townies a sneak peak at the skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, dining and entertainment that awaits them in the winter.
More than 100 guests lobbed questions about ghosts, ski conditions, mining history and musical instruments at Santy, who wore a miner’s hardhat and yellow slicker to deliver his speech.
"Would you talk about snow removal?" one visitor asked.
"We didn’t," he quipped.
A woman toward the back of the banquet hall wanted to know about a book featuring Park City as a 1950s ghost town. "There’s been some great books written about Park City, and I encourage people to read them if they’re interested," he said. "If you don’t like it, don’t believe it."
Another guest asked if Santy was sad to see so much development in the once-quaint ski town. "The alternative is to die," he said. "Fortunately, people like you came in and resurrected this town. We love this town or else we wouldn’t be here."
Arlene Hassin, originally from Detroit, has learned to love winters in the Western United States. She moved from West Palm Beach, Fla., to live fulltime in Park City three years ago. "If anyone would have told us we would go back to the snow," she said, "I would have said, ‘No Way.’"
Hassin doesn’t ski. She said she likes to snowshoe and shop in the Salt Lake Valley and the Necomers’ Club, a nonprofit, has year-round activities to keep her and her friends busy in Wasatch and Summit counties. "When we came to this town we didn’t know anyone," she explained. "The really cool thing about Newcomers’ is that there’s always different people [to meet]."
Marilyn and Jim Jameson have participated in Newcomers’ activities since they moved to Park City from Maryland four years ago. "Marilyn from Maryland," Jim joked. One of the biggest adjustments for the couple was the high altitude. Their hometown on the Northeastern seaboard is just 20 feet above sea level.
But it’s the fresh, if thin, mountain air that Marilyn enjoys. "You can open the windows and get that fresh air," she said, adding, "It’s a small town next to a big city."
Park City’s population may be small, says Newcomers co-president Josephine Janger, but the town attracts people from all over the world.
The social club boasts about 300 full and part-time residents as members and sponsors day trips to Salt Lake, Heber and Midway. Some people are still active in the club after five, 10 or 15 years of living here, she said.
Janger hears it all the time the reason people from other regions of the United States decided to settle, and in some cases retire, in Park City. "They thought there was something special about this place," she said. "They’ll leave places they’ve lived for 20 years."
Janger moved to Park City in the 1990s. She remembers a town with one stoplight where cows would halt traffic and dogs roamed free. "Packs of dogs," she smiled.
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Park City Mountain Resort owner Vail Resorts in early June submitted a letter to the Park City Planning Commission in support of a Provo developer’s blueprints for a major project at the resort.