Editorial: Park City embraces the summer, and the crowds that come with it
The summer tourism season arrived with a bang.
It unofficially kicked off Wednesday, when an estimated 25,000-30,000 people trekked to Main Street to soak up the annual Fourth of July parade. It was about as packed as you’ll ever see Old Town and signaled the start of what is sure to be a busy few months.
Our town will be crowded as summer events like the Triple Crown youth baseball and softball tournaments, the Park City Kimball Arts Festival and the Tour of Utah arrive. During other times, we’ll be flush with families on vacation and folks from the Salt Lake Valley trying to beat the heat — as well as large groups of business travelers, a rapidly growing summertime demographic in Park City.
They’ll all find out what locals and longtime visitors already know: While Park City has made its bones on being a world-class place to ski and snowboard, you don’t need snow to have a great time here.
That may be a surprise to some first-time visitors, but more people than ever are learning that our bountiful summertime offerings rival that of our winters. That message has been a staple of the Park City Chamber/Bureau’s marketing efforts in recent years as officials aim to capitalize on what is becoming an increasingly important stretch for our tourism-based economy.
And as nice as it would be to have the town to ourselves in these months, we should be grateful that Park City is seen as a prime summer destination. Strong summers help offset lackluster winters like the most recent one, and visitors impressed by the town this time of year are likely to return six months later, skis and snowboards in hand.
Fortunately, there’s plenty for Parkites to do, too. Many of us wasted no time swapping out our ski gear for mountain bikes or hiking boots and hitting the trails, but activities like the alpine coaster at Park City Mountain Resort and the zip line tours at Utah Olympic Park are also a great way to kill an afternoon. Especially when those afternoons transition into evenings with dinner and drinks on a Main Street dining deck. After all, the crowds are easier to manage if you’re joining in on the fun.
When the fall shoulder season rolls around, our city will go quiet again and we’ll be able to take another breath before ski season. Until then, though, embrace summer in a mountain town. These days, that means putting up with crowds, yes — but also a whole lot of fun.
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