Credit for big ski season should be spread around the community
When the lifts shut down on Sunday at Park City’s three mountain resorts, it seems likely that the 2005-2006 ski season will be another record setter for the local ski industry.
The credit should be spread through the community, from the bigwigs in the skiing, lodging and restaurant industries to the people who groomed the slopes each night, the shopkeepers who logged long hours and the workers who bused tables, cleaned hotel rooms and took out the trash.
Anyone who was here through the winter will not be shocked when the final numbers skier-days and sales-tax receipts, for instance — are released. Restaurants and nightclubs were hopping, the slopes were busy, Main Street was jammed and traffic was terrible.
Ski Utah, the group that represents the state’s mountain resorts, has not compiled the final numbers for the ski season but the resorts in Park City, a bellwether for the state, appeared to be busier than ever.
Statewide, the number of skiers in Utah has set records in the last two years, with 3.9 million skier-days one person skiing all or part of one day — counted in the last winter. As Ski Utah points out, the snow was spectacular this winter and Delta Air Lines increased the number of flights into Salt Lake International.
Park City’s three resorts this year are ranked high in Ski magazine’s annual list of the best resorts, with Deer Valley at No. 1, Park City Mountain Resort placing fifth and The Canyons at No. 14. Park City, particularly since the 2002 Winter Olympics, has emerged as one of North America’s top ski destinations, now grouped with its famous competitors like Aspen, Colo., and Sun Valley, Idaho.
Resort executives had the foresight to be aggressive in their upgrades in the past few years, ensuring their competitiveness against both the other Utah resorts and those in Colorado, California and elsewhere.
City Hall and the County Courthouse will be two of the beneficiaries of the big ski season. We expect that the potential tax windfall from the winter will be earmarked for programs that are related to the booming ski industry, certainly including affordable housing and public transit.
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