Best Town Ever: Living up to the title |

Best Town Ever: Living up to the title

The Park Record Editorial, Aug. 10-13, 2013

Outside magazine is holding the details close to the vest until the official announcement on Tuesday, but the secret is out. The magazine has named Park City "The Best Town Ever" for 2013.

Parkites have already unleashed a blizzard of social media posts about the distinction and we have to admit a bit of blustering ourselves. Best town ever? You’re darn right. We’ve slipped the news into every imaginable Facebook post and tweet.

But deep down in the soles of our ski boots, there is a familiar chill, a warning. We’ve seen plenty of Best Of’s fail to live up to the hype. Without mentioning names, there is the ski town that set the bar for cool then gave in to glitz and finally became the poster child for unattainable lifestyles of the rich and famous. And we’ve read the case studies about small towns that gobbled up growth-enhancing development schemes and lost the charm that once made them so appealing.

Also, as a sports-centric town we are well aware that winning the yellow jersey will put us dead center in our competitors’ sights.

But, for the moment, we will revel in the recognition.

In the glossy pages of Outside’s compilation of America’s Best Towns, Park City looks and sounds idyllic. The author spares no superlatives painting a picture of Park City’s cultural and recreational amenities. With its rock-and-roll mayor, world-renowned ski resorts, cyclists gliding down Main Street, gourmet restaurants, Olympic venues and the Sundance Film Festival, who wouldn’t want to live or, at least, vacation here?

But to those of us who call Park City home, the attraction is much deeper.

If we were to quarrel with Outside’s depiction, it would be that the Porsches and titanium bikes are a little too prominent and there is too little mention of the institutions we believe make Park City, not just the Best Town Ever, but the Best Community Ever. The People’s Health Clinic, Friends of Animals, the Park City Education Foundation, the town’s unfailing generosity when someone is hurt or, for instance, needs a stem-cell match.

This old silver mining town does indeed have a gleaming new patina polished up by well-heeled newcomers and ingenious entrepreneurs. But it still has, and we hope it retains, the rock-solid humility and community spirit of its mining pioneers who stood by each other in hard times and high times, even when headlines deemed it a ghost town. Even when glossy magazines tout it as The Best.

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