Editorial: Parkites roll with changes as ski industry’s transformation continues
The reshaping of the ski industry continues.
On Monday, Vail Resorts announced deals to acquire four more resorts, including Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado, expanding the company’s portfolio to a whopping 18 ski areas. A day later, Alterra Mountain Company dropped important news of its own, informing skiers that they’ll receive a complimentary Ikon Base Pass if they buy a season pass to Deer Valley Resort by Dec. 15, giving them access to more than two dozen other resorts.
Both announcements were just the latest in a string of shakeups that have dramatically changed the skiing landscape, here and throughout North America. The rapid evolution has, by and large, been met with broad apprehension in Park City, a reaction that’s warranted based on how dramatically the change has reshaped the town itself. After all, just five years ago, Park City boasted three separate ski areas, and its two flagship resorts were under the care of longtime family ownership.
Though Vail Resorts has proven to be a solid community partner, aside from a few notable missteps, since buying Park City Mountain Resort in 2014, and Alterra has done little to diminish Deer Valley’s standing in town, that anxiety is unlikely to dissipate. Undoubtedly, more upheaval in the ski industry is on the way. And since Park City is the only town that’s home to both of the behemoths that have emerged from the industry’s transformation, Parkites will have a front-row seat to watch a remarkable transition continue to unfold.
And while the uneasiness about the reshuffling is understandable, the opportunity it presents for Park City’s skiers and snowboarders should also be noted. Next ski season, they’ll have at least limited access to more than 20 resorts if they buy an Epic Pass, while folks who nab Alterra’s Ikon Pass with their Deer Valley season pass will gain entry to 26 ski areas.
That kind of access to resorts all over the continent — for a pretty reasonable price, to boot — would have been unthinkable a decade ago.
Given the amount of disruption in recent years, it’s difficult to predict what is on the horizon, or how it will play out in Park City. But after another week with major news that shook up the ski industry, it’s clear Parkites will have to continue rolling with the changes.