Start of summer? Businesses hoping | ParkRecord.com

Start of summer? Businesses hoping

by Andrew Kirk, OF THE RECORD STAFF

Park City businesses are hoping to see large numbers of Salt Lake Valley residents with pent-up desire to play coming up to enjoy the three-day weekend, but few are holding their breath.

Memorial Day is not a big weekend for the lodging industry. The weather is often wet as it has been this May and there is little conference and convention business since it’s a family holiday. But Park City remains a popular "stay-cation" destination for people who love the mountains, experts said.

This is the first Memorial Day for Montage, but spokesperson Dan Howard said bookings have exceeded expectations because of good response to overnight and spa or restaurant packages.

Cindy Galli, director of sales and marketing at Best Western Landmark Inn, said she’s full on Friday and Saturday with local people wanting to get out of town and enjoy area attractions.

Business prior to this weekend, however, has been lackluster. Snow outside of ski season is not good for sales, she said.

It’s hard to entice people to come up to Park City and get out of the Salt Lake City heat if there is none, said Thea Leonard of the Treasure Mountain Inn.

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Memorial Day Weekend is supposed to be the kickoff to summer. It’s an excuse to get away, she said. But the wet spring has made it hard to get people excited about Park City’s summertime activities, Leonard added.

Because the holiday is often accompanied by cool weather, Memorial Day has never been a big weekend for hotels at Canyons Resort, said spokesperson Caitlin Martz.

They see "special occasions" business like Bar Mitvahs, but little else because it’s a home-based holiday dominated by activities like backyard barbecues, she said.

Barbara Schmaelze, director of sales and marketing for the Waldorf Astoria Park City, said she’s seen "soft" demand with "normal" bookings. But the weather has impacted business negatively.

Impact on sports economy

This kind of reaction to the start of summer is also seen in the sale of outdoor recreation equipment.

Jack Walzer, general manager of Jans Mountain Experts, said wet springs delay the start of mountain biking season.

Fortunately the road cycling enthusiasts are out in force, he said.

"Road bikes are definitely a growing sport," he said. "A lot of people are realizing it’s good to have both. It’s a good option because it will be awhile before we can get up on the trails up high. It’s becoming more popular as a sport."

A good portion of business comes from renting mountain bikes to destination visitors, and that’s practically out of the question for this weekend, he said.

Still, if the weather is good for the holiday, people will bring their bikes in to be tuned. Sunshine should also attract Salt Lake Valley people to come up to play, he said.

"They get excited for the season people will be out-and-about for sure," he added.

Wet weather can ruin a board, said Epic Skate ‘N Snow owner Dan Dapper. Skaters will wait until they can be sure it’s dry.

The recent snowfall reduced business by about 75 percent, he said. But enthusiasts get out and play in at least 50 degree temperatures, he added.

"We believe it’s going to be a fantastic weekend," Dapper said. "Locals will make the best of the few days they have."

Craig Sanchez, manager of the Park City Golf Club agreed.

Tee-time bookings are strong for Saturday and Sunday, but the course got a late opening this month.

"It’s probably been one of the worst starts I can remember. Last year was not a good spring, and we’re down 30 percent from last year. We’re close to 50 percent from the previous year," he said.

If the sun comes out this weekend, so should the people, he predicted.