Guest opinion: Don’t let Park City’s magic — our friendly community culture — disappear
My name is Ryan Williams and I’m a Park City native. My parents met on Main Street and my grandparents were part of starting some of the organizations and establishments that we still enjoy today. Recently I experienced a pretty bad ski accident that left me with a broken spine and a few more injuries. I got surgery on New Year’s Eve and was discharged a day later into the capable family unit I have to care for me.
That day, my mom was driving me through our neighborhood extra slowly because of my injuries. As we turned onto the street that I grew up on, an aggressive driver with out-of-state plates and a lead foot was honking at us as we were slowing down to turn into our house.
I am in no way a stingy local that doesn’t want newcomers to come — it’s actually really fun getting to know people that love the town as much as I do. However, during COVID, we did not have the luxury of natural migration, where adding a new drop of water into a tiny stream occasionally kept the harmony of the town as people were able to learn the flow of the locals.
It seems with such an influx of new people, it’s hard to see what actual Park City culture is. We are nice, we are accepting, we will give you directions or a beer at the concert in the park or on clown day. Growing up, we enjoyed serving in the restaurants and the stores and we understood that we are a tourist town. However, behavior that “didn’t happen in our bubble” is happening more and more. People seem more impatient and ruder. Wasn’t it great when, instead of getting frustrated at the distracted driver at the green light in front of you, you could smile as you recognized your friend, neighbor or acquaintance? We are nice to strangers because we know that they could be our neighbor in the future or the person that we’re serving dinner to at work.
This is the Park City magic that all locals can afford.
When I heard that a fellow local was physically assaulted in the resort parking lot on New Year’s Eve, I was surprised, then heartbroken, then empowered to say something. As he was parking in the employee lot, he was blocked and honked at by an aggressive driver. The driver didn’t stop there but proceeded to tackle and beat him up because he thought he was cutting lines in the regular parking lot. Meanwhile his wife and kids watched on. The wife eventually joined in on the action, holding him down so her husband could continue to beat him up.
This territorialism and entitlement needs to stop. It shows who is not a “true local,” whatever that means.
It is understandable that with a huge influx of new people and fewer resources for the people that are already here, there will be frustrations. But we call this our bubble because we like to keep the climate just right: tons of powder, open ski resorts and lifts, smiles and hoots when you’re getting face shots and a friendly hello whether you know someone or not. By no means do I hate anybody for moving here, but please leave the big-city norms, middle fingers out the window, and the mentality that says “Whatever, I’m not going to see them again” behind. There’s no room for that behavior in a small town that cares and looks out for each other, where when one of us is hurt the whole community backs them up (pun intended).
This place’s magic will be able to shine brighter.
So please, stop honking at my mom.
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