October 15 editorial | ParkRecord.com

October 15 editorial

When giants walked the Wasatch Mountains

Park City’s success as a premier destination resort town and thriving cultural center is due in large measure to the vision and perseverance of two larger-than-life personalities: Nick Badami and Edgar Stern. Both died this year and are mourned not only by leaders of the two ski resorts they nurtured but also by so many residents and visitors who have come to love the town these two giants envisioned.

Few who lived or skied in Park City in the 1960s and ’70s could have envisioned the humble Wasatch Mountains as a future home of the U.S. Ski Team, of three world-class ski resorts, and a proud host of nearly half of the Winter Olympic events. But through Badami and Stern’s eyes, Park City’s potential was limitless.

Badami, who died in June, hoisted Park City’s reputation into the ranks of international competition by dedicating huge amounts of energy and resources into hosting World Cup ski races and turning the events into popular spectacles. In order to win FIS approval to host World Cup slalom races, Badami took enormous risks and committed 100 percent of the resort’s resources, and more, to the effort. As a result Park City had a strong track record to support its winter Olympic bid.

Stern too had ambitious goals for his resort, Deer Valley. As an experienced developer of high-end real estate and a lover of arts and culture, Stern sought to create a new kind of recreation area that offered the rustic sensibilities of a mountain retreat and, at the same time, catered to luxury and elegance.

During his tenure at the helm of Deer Valley, Stern continually steered the resort toward offering both recreational and cultural events. Long before Park City was seen as a year-round tourist destination he encouraged local government and business leaders to emulate Aspen’s efforts to host dance, music and arts festivals. Those efforts, at first, were modest, consisting of an outdoor amphitheater for the symphony, a modest cocktail reception for the first Sundance Film Festival and space for chamber music recitals — all of which are now indispensable parts of Park City’s summer schedule.

Stern also left a strong but understated thumbprint on Deer Valley’s management style, one that delegated and encouraged individual responsibility among employees and helped to garner the resort multiple honors in the industry including being named, more than once, the top ski resort in North America by SKI magazine.

Badami and Stern will be greatly missed, but thanks to their imagination and tenacious spirits, Parkites will benefit from their legacies for years to come.

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