Park City police receive complaint about snowmaking noise in Old Town
Operations in the area of the Town Lift prompt a report to law enforcement
The Park City Police Department in late November received an early morning complaint in Old Town about noise from the Park City Mountain snowmaking operations, a rare sort of report to the police but one that illustrates the impacts of the resort on the neighborhood even as people there enjoy easy access to the slopes.
The police received the report at 4:28 a.m. on Nov. 26 from the area of the intersection of Park Avenue and 7th Street. The location is close to the base of the Town Lift, which links Main Street and the Park City Mountain slopes. The resort regularly operates the snowmaking system at the location in the early part of the ski season as it builds a base allowing skiers and snowboarders access to the lift.
The police were told the snowmaking system was “unusually loud today” in the area of the Town Lift, according to department logs. The person who contacted the agency said the snowmaking noise “sounds like a propeller engine,” the logs indicated. The Police Department described the report as a utility problem, a category more often used for cases such as those involving waterworks issues.
The Police Department later said an officer who responded “noticed a higher level of noise than is normal for one of these machines.”
“The sound resembled a high-pressure hose leaking, above and beyond that of a typical snow-making machine,” the police said.
Park City Mountain said in a statement, “the noise that was reported on Nov 26 was part of the regular setup process.” The resort said the noise was not caused by an air leak.
“We have not had any unusual issues with snowmaking equipment in the Town Lift area, and we are continuing to execute our early season sequence of opening lifts and terrain,” the resort said.
City Hall rules exempt snowmaking systems from the municipal noise ordinance.
The Town Lift runs descend into Old Town, passing streets like Park Avenue and Woodside Avenue as they reach the base on Main Street. The snowmaking system serving the runs is audible from many addresses on those streets and other ones in Old Town as the hissing sound of the machines spreads through the neighborhood.
The proximity of the Town Lift snowmaking system to the neighborhood has led to occasional reports to the Police Department over the years. In one case, reported in late 2021, the police were told the snowmaking in the area of the Town Lift runs left between 8 and 10 inches of manmade snow on nearby 8th Street. That created a traffic hazard, the police reported at the time.
The Park City Mountain ski season opened earlier in November, two days prior to the scheduled date, as snowfall and snowmaking operations allowed the resort to ready enough slopes to launch the season.
The Town Lift has not opened for the ski season. The opening is traditionally timed to coincide with the pre-holiday period, when larger crowds arrive on Main Street and in surrounding Old Town. A projected opening date was not immediately available.
Although PEG’s application has been withdrawn, Vail’s development rights remain.
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