Some Park City businesses irritated by resorts’ early close
When the lifts at Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort stop running, Park City business owners know what to expect. They always anticipate a drop in foot traffic and sales.
But this year’s downturn felt more abrupt to some businesses than it has been in the past. When the resorts closed on April 7, despite snow covering the slopes, the town and its stores quickly became quiet. Some businesses are frustrated by the resorts’ decision to not delay their closing dates, which the businesses say would have provided a boost heading into the shoulder season.
The several-week stretch after ski season is one of the slowest times for Park City businesses. Several of them close or adjust their hours during April and May because of the low amount of guests passing through. Because the resorts had an early closing date this season, some businesses closed their doors sooner than they have in the past.
Lespri Prime Steak and Sushi, for example, closed for the shoulder season on April 7. Last year, it closed on April 22.
Di Dray, who works at Mountain Town Olive Oil on Main Street, said the store recently reduced its hours from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. to 11 a.m.-5 p.m. She said the day after the resorts closed, there was an extreme change in sales.
Dray, like many residents, hoped the resorts would extend for at least another week or until April 21, which is Easter Sunday. She said the store is well below its sales from this time last year, and she said the numbers would likely be different if the ski lifts were still running.
“I’m disappointed it wasn’t extended,” she said. “People will still come ski when there’s a great amount of snow.”
Other Main Street businesses agreed that the close of the resorts was a buzzkill for business. They said it is frustrating for the historic street to be covered in snow but also void of people.
According to a forecasted occupancy report from the Park City Chamber/Bureau, visitation was projected to be down from last year throughout April and well into May.
The resorts have faced pushback from the community for sticking to their closing dates when there was ample snow on the mountains. A spokesperson from Deer Valley Resort previously said its leaders selected the closing date because of the late date of Easter Sunday. The resort anticipated that visitation would be low, regardless of snowfall, if it remained open until late April.
A handful of other Utah resorts, such as Alta Ski Area, Brighton Resort and Snowbasin Resort, are scheduled to close on April 21.
Deer Valley and PCMR have not extended their seasons in several years.
Meisha Ross, owner of the restaurant Twisted Fern, said her restaurant’s closing dates are similar to last year. It is scheduled to close from April 15 to May 9. She, like many Park City businesses, will use the time to renovate or update her business.
She said the resorts’ decision to close did not greatly impact her business.
“Once April hits, regardless if you are open or not, things really shift from a tourism standpoint,” she said. “I know there are a lot of people who would like for the resorts to stay open … but they run businesses, so they have to do what’s best for their business, just like all of us that are a little micro-level.”
She is not worried about the shoulder season starting a little early this year, because it seems to be ending earlier each year, too, she said.
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