Merry Christmas |

Merry Christmas

More Dogs on Main

By Tom Clyde
Park Record columnist

So here it is. Christmas. Through one of those Christmas miracles, we got a big snow storm (with a big rain storm as the opening act) just in time to get things opened up. There may be a closed run or two, and possibly even a low-elevation lift that won’t be running for the holiday, but nothing anybody is going to miss. What could have been a disaster in terms of weather instead turned into excellent snow conditions. I suspect Mother Nature had some help from the grooming crews who know when they can drive on it and when to stay home. That’s a lesson some people using Highway 40 or I-80 could learn.

The town will be packed. By mid-week things were already busy. My usual Tuesday morning gang started out with the mountain to ourselves, and came down for lunch engaged in hand-to-hand combat for space on the hill. At about 10:30 a.m., everybody who flew in the day before got their gear figured out and hit the slopes. It will be like that for a couple of weeks now.

Traffic doesn’t work very well around here in October. It’s almost certain that we will see “Carmageddon” again, with gridlock from Kimball Junction to Silver Lake Lodge. The City, County and UDOT have done a lot in terms of traffic light control and little adjustments that cumulatively, make a big difference. But there are still physical limits to the number of cars that can be put on the available pavement. You don’t want to be driving to Kimball Junction at peak travel times—which this time of year would be Monday morning through Sunday night.

Of course it doesn’t help when somebody snoozes through the left-turn light cycle. We should cut each other some slack. The guy who missed the light was probably trying to figure out the navigation system on his rental car, and the rental car was probably trying to figure out the difference between Prospect Street, Prospector Avenue, and Prospector Drive. We don’t make it easy.

Be nice. Forgive. Yield. Offer some help when it’s needed. Remember that we live a very coddled, luxurious life here — well beyond our means — because of the buckets of cash visitors pour out all over town. Facilities like the ice sheet and the rec centers would be broke in few months without the commercial-rate property tax paid by the second home owners, and the sales tax on those $90-a-plate dinners on Main Street.

I remember a time when there were about a dozen restaurants in town, and half of them closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Fine dining was the Red Banjo, Utah Coal & Lumber, or Mrs. Paul’s shrimp at the C’est Bon. A real splurge was the Claimjumper or Adolph’s. Now there are too many restaurants to count, and they make it because of visitors who spend freely. So hug a tourist if you get the chance. You will have plenty of opportunity standing in the lift lines this week.

It’s become something of a holiday tradition in my family to have the furnace die on a major holiday. I swear they have a chip built into them that knows it is Christmas and so it’s time to destroy the thermocouple. Water heaters, too, know when it is a three-day holiday, and will begin to leak in the middle of it when the plumbers are all in the Bahamas.

It happened again this year. The old family house is next door to mine, and we have a huge family Christmas party there the week before actual Christmas. Sure enough, when everybody packed up and left, the branch of the family who were staying overnight woke up to find the heat was off.

With the help of YouTube, and prior experience with the same thing, we diagnosed the problem. The “flame sensor” was sooty and corroded beyond hope. When I took the flame sensor out of the furnace at my house and stuck it in theirs, everything worked fine. Except for the heat at my house. It’s a $15 part, and every furnace has one. I assumed we could buy a replacement at Home Depot on Sunday, but no such luck. We McGuyvered something that got it working again, since it was -10, and ordered a new part on Amazon.

Later in the week, I was walking through the grocery store formerly known as Albertson’s, and remembered that before that, when it was Alpha Beta, they carried a wide selection of furnace parts, because in Park City 30 years ago, if your furnace went out, the first place you would look for a replacement thermocouple was the grocery store. It made perfect sense at the time. Nothing has made a lot of sense since.

Merry Christmas.

Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.

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