Tardy, yes, but worth the wait
If a dirt-cheap ticket and good cheer isn’t enough to attract crowds to Park City Mountain Resort’s Benefit Snow Day this Friday, perhaps high altitude lifts and a terrain park might.
At minimum, the resort expects it will open up upper-mountain lifts Bonanza and Silverlode before the weekend, but depending on the mid-week snow storm, PCMR spokeswoman Krista Parry says the resort could add the Thaynes, Pioneer and Town Lift, and McConkey chairs to the list.
This year will mark the third year PCMR will donate lift ticket revenues to the Park City Education Foundation. Combined, tickets purchased for those two previous days generated over $100,000 for the foundation, according to Parry.
The Benefit Snow Day was originally scheduled for Nov. 18, the day before the resort officially opened. PCMR decided to postpone the opening and the fundraiser, to build up snow coverage on runs.
Tickets bought before Dec. 1 cost $20 a piece. Tickets bought the day of the event will not be discounted, but the resort will still be donating $20 of each ticket sold. Season passes will be honored.
"It’s one of the largest donations we make as a company to any one organization," Parry says. "We chose [the Park City Education Foundation] because it is very important to us as a company. We believe in education and it’s important to us to help them meet their goal of becoming a top-10 school district."
Foundation Executive Director Lynn Heinlein says that PCMR’s donation will help to underwrite two $5,000 scholarships as well as the programs and teacher training courses that the organization funds.
Created in 1986, the Park City Education Foundation aims to provide district teachers with the tools necessary to raise the bar for students. The foundation helps to develop facilities and to equip classrooms with supplies and materials.
The nonprofit’s proudest contribution, and chief concern, however, is facilitating teachers who work on achieving advanced degrees, according to Heinlein.
"We’re very lucky, because we have a lot of qualified teachers here," she explained. "And that means really about being supportive of them going to get their master’s or Ph.D. while they currently teaching."
Programs specific to the foundation include a teacher-mentor program and underwriting Math Specialist Lars Nordfelt who helps develop individual math plans for elementary students. Nordfelt also works with teachers on lesson development and work at the secondary level to improve math testing and sequencing of study.
"When teachers are pursuing those kinds of degrees, it helps them with their professional development," Heinlein explained. "And studies show that more highly qualified teachers in education really does affect the quality of instruction."
The foundation evaluates its progress through its own report card, which assesses whether the foundation is meeting its fundraising objectives, and measures the effectiveness of the educational programs it supports.
The report card criteria was developed with the help of education consultant Nancy Deford, according to Heinlein, and accounts for everything from third-grade reading to graduation rates. This year, The Park City School District received a B-plus, with strengths in achievement tests and math.
The foundation will consider the district top-10 when it recieves As across the board, Heinlein said.
"Over the last four years, we’ve designated $1.2 million to Park City schools and PCMR has been a partner in supporting programs we really appreciate all their effort," she said.
Unfortunately, due to the delayed date, Park City secondary and elementary schools will not get out early on Friday for the fundraiser, Park City Board of Education Vice President Kim Carson. Cafeterias and buses were not able to reschedule in time, she said.
According to Parry, restaurants will also be open for Benefit Snow Day, including The Summit House, at the top of Claimjumper run, Christie’s Coffee Legacy Caf at the base of the mountain, and Legends Bar and Grill.
"I don’t think you can ski in Utah anywhere for $20 it’s really a very good deal," Parry said. "We’re continuing to make snow around the clock at the top. We’re hoping this year will be a banner year for Benefit Day."
Buy tickets at Jans Mountain Outfitters, Cole Sport, Zions Bank, Canyons Sports, through Park City Education Foundation board members or online at http://www.pcef4kids.org. For more information on the event, call (866) 509-SNOW.
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Park City at the start of 2021 is preparing for the return of numerous special events, something that could help reignite Park City’s tourism-heavy economy and re-create some of the energy that was lacking in 2020.