Guest opinion: PCMR remains committed to the Park City community despite unique challenges of this ski season
Park City Mountain Resort chief operating officer
One of the highlights of my job as COO of Park City Mountain Resort is getting to connect and collaborate with members of this amazing community. For example, I had the privilege of meeting with the current class of Leadership Park City this past week, and as always, I was so inspired by this group of established and emerging leaders. Coming together and working toward collective solutions is what makes this community great. It’s also what we need now, more than ever, to navigate the challenges we face.
This season has presented many challenges, and we are committed to addressing them and constantly improving the guest and employee experience. I have heard some misinformation in the community about visitation. A lot has been made of us selling more passes this year, including rumors that it has led to an overcrowding of our resort. That’s just not the case. PCMR visits season-to-date have been similar to both the 2019-20 season and the 2018-19 season. In addition, we have not seen an increase in our resort daily peak visitation.
I do want to acknowledge our challenges with staffing this season. We anticipated this and implemented a number of pre-season and mid-season strategies to get ahead of them. This included increasing our recruiting efforts, our international workforce, and making a significant investment into wages. As we began to understand the extent of the staffing challenges — both from the nationwide shortages and from the impacts of Omicron — we worked quickly to implement both a special holiday bonus and a $2/hour bonus for employees through the end of the season.
But I want to be candid that our number one challenge going forward this season continues to be staffing shortages, which are impacting our operations. Please know that no one wants all of our lifts open more than me and our staff. We continue to prioritize safely operating lifts and terrain to provide the best experience for the most people possible at our mountain.
I’m proud of the improvements we’ve made since the holidays, with 90% of our terrain now open, including Pick Axe Terrain Park, which opened this week. While not all of our lifts are open, it’s important to remember that as of yesterday, we have more trails open (305) and more lifts open (34) than any other resort in North America. I have tremendous gratitude for our hard-working team members who have made all of this possible.
Beyond this season, we are also committed to further improvements in our experience. This summer, investments will include replacing the existing Silverlode lift with our first-ever high-speed eight-person chair, and replacing Eagle Lift with a high-speed six-person chair that will enhance access at the base area. We are also working on a robust company-wide plan for employee wages ahead of next season.
We are committed to helping to solve community challenges, with investments in affordable housing and a wide range of community non-profits that are critical to making this place so special.
One community challenge I’ve heard about from many of you is traffic, and we are continuing to work diligently with community partners to identify impactful solutions. This week, we sat down with city staff and put together new operational refinements to help mitigate traffic impacts at the resort. We have been testing these adjustments in partnership with the city this week and will share key learnings ahead of Presidents Day weekend. We’re all in this together, and through collaboration, we can improve the Park City experience as well as welcome new people to our community. This is something we are fully committed to at PCMR — making our mountain more accessible and inclusive while continuously investing.
But here’s the thing — we can’t do it alone. We need the community’s help. We need to work together to address the most critical issues we face. And we need to support each other. Negativity does not lead to solutions, and it harms our reputation as a welcoming community. Connection and collaboration is more important than ever.
I’m proud to be a part of this community, and I’m grateful for all of the wonderful people who call Park City home. I’m committed to working together to drive solutions that will continually improve our mountain and our community.
I read with amusement the front-page article in the Nov. 30 Park Record entitled “White noise prompts police call.”
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