Record editorial: A ski season to savor
It has been an unusual ski season in Park City.
The weather, for one, has not always been cooperative, with a dry start to the winter and periods of warmer-than-usual temperatures, though Mother Nature has delivered a few memorable powder days. The coronavirus restrictions the resorts implemented, meanwhile, have made it impossible to forget we are in a pandemic even during an otherwise-carefree day on the mountain.
But as warm weather approaches, Parkites should savor the final weeks of this winter. After all, we know what it’s like to be stripped of the opportunity to enjoy early-spring runs in late March and April.
It was a year ago this week that the coronavirus began to spread in Park City and the 2019-2020 season came to an abrupt, premature end. Parkites were stunned when the lifts at Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and Woodward Park City stopped turning. And though it was perhaps not the primary concern of most Parkites at the time, it was nonetheless disappointing to confront the prospect of a longer-than-normal wait before we could click back into our skis and cruise groomed powder.
Against that backdrop, it’s hard to find much to complain about regarding this ski season, even if it has included its challenges.
In fact, this winter has to be considered a resounding success considering the circumstances. The resorts’ snowmaking capabilities ensured the season got started on time despite the relative dearth of snowfall. And though it came later than normal, the natural stuff did finally start to fall.
Most importantly, though, the slopes have seemingly proven relatively safe despite fears about the coronavirus before the winter began. Health experts have said there is little evidence to suggest COVID-19 has spread on the slopes in significant numbers. Given that it was unclear at times last summer that we would even have a ski season, that’s something for which we should all be grateful.
It’s allowed our tourism industry to keep chugging and our economy, in turn, to stay afloat despite the challenging circumstances. And it’s why, unlike last spring, the lifts are primed to keep turning until early April. The resorts should be congratulated on devising operational plans that have helped get us to this point.
When the season ends — both Deer Valley and PCMR are scheduled to close April 11 after PCMR on Tuesday announced a one-week extension of its season — we’ll start dreaming about again hitting the slopes in November, when things will have hopefully returned to normal. Until then, soak up the last weeks of a satisfying, if unusual, winter.
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Our view: Most businesses prepare for a slow spring each year, but a better-than-average stretch would be a welcome boost since it’s unlikely many of them experienced what they’d consider a banner ski season.