PCMR, Deer Valley are closed but some flock to the slopes for sledding, skiing anyway
Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort last weekend temporarily suspended operations amid the fight against the novel coronavirus, halting the lifts during what is normally an important stretch for the ski industry.
But over the weekend there were people seen frolicking on the lower slopes at both of the resorts. Neither PCMR nor Deer Valley allows people on the slopes when they are closed, but there were skiers or those on sleds nonetheless.
There was an especially robust group of people at PCMR in the 12 p.m. hour on Sunday. They congregated toward the area close to the lower terminals of the First Time and 3 Kings lifts. The terrain there is easily accessible from the resort’s lower parking lots.
People were skiing, hiking and sledding. It was not clear how high the skiers hiked before descending toward the bottom of the runs. There were numerous cars parked in the lower lots at the time.
A smaller number of people were seen outside Snow Park Lodge at Deer Valley at about the same time. Dozens of cars were in the Snow Park lots. Some of the people were sledding while others were hiking.
There are numerous easily accessible ways onto the slopes at Deer Valley, with houses lining some of the ski runs and roads close to other ones. There is a limited number of entry points to the PCMR slopes, though, with the Resort Center and the Town Lift runs among them.
In response to a Park Record inquiry, PCMR said so-called uphill access — hiking onto the slopes to ski or snowboard — is not allowed. Deer Valley made a similar statement in response to an inquiry from The Park Record. Deer Valley said activities like skiing, sledding, traveling uphill, snowmobiling, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and hiking are prohibited.
The resorts have long maintained that using the slopes when they are closed is dangerous.
PCMR and Deer Valley suspended operations on a temporary basis on Sunday in an effort to help curb the spread of coronavirus. PCMR then closed for the season on Tuesday while the suspension at Deer Valley runs until further notice. On Sunday, Summit County implemented an order requiring the closure of ski resorts, amid other business restrictions. The order is in place until April 16.
The suspensions came at a time when business is typically strong at the mountain resorts as spring-break visitors arrive for ski vacations. Tourism officials, though, have said the mountain resorts closed after much of the ski season’s business has been captured, potentially reducing the impact.
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It was an important decision since the rest of the talks will be heavily influenced by the processing option selected by the Planning Commission on Wednesday.