Letters, Feb. 9-11: Why does Deer Valley get a pass on criticism of ski experience in Park City?
Why does Deer Valley get a pass?
With all the talk these days about Vail Resorts and crowding at PCMR, what about the other ski resort we have in our town, Deer Valley Resort? Deer Valley, a resort for the elites that sits atop a hill of silver, caps the number of skiers that are allowed to grace its gilded slopes each day. Shouldn’t Deer Valley also have a commitment to our community by lifting the cap and allowing their mountain to be skied by everyone — snowboarders included? Why should we complain about crowding at PCMR when there is 2,000 acres of adjoining terrain where the skier density is kept artificially low? Couldn’t Deer Valley show its commitment to our community by being more welcoming, more open and more inclusive? Or is this just another example of the rich in this new Gilded Age writing the rules to benefit themselves and leaving the rest of us to deal with the consequences of their actions?
Whining isn’t working
Hey all you locals (and I include myself) who are in a huff and vowing to ski somewhere else next year — you are doing exactly what Vail Resorts wants you to do. You are a drag on their profits because you don’t buy lunch and you don’t occupy lodging and you don’t buy timeshares and you don’t buy air tickets. You are selfishly taking up the space of people who do. For all the whining we are doing, their plan is working like a charm. Figure out some other way to get Vail Resorts’ attention.
Respect is a two-way street
Living in Park City brings many benefits, one of which is that we enjoy an array of different perspectives and opinions on today’s issues and, for the most part, people here respect differing views. Such is the case with the variety of possible steps that deal with mitigating the impact of COVID.
Many in our community still support the wearing of masks. Some of them have existing medical conditions which put them at risk. I respect that point of view and their mask-wearing as a way to protect themselves from possible infection. While I wore a mask when indoors for much of the past two years, today I choose to no longer do so — unless I am visiting a medical facility, in close contact with children or seniors, in particularly crowded areas, or with friends who have serious pre-existing medical conditions.
Credible studies have recently been published which now question the benefits of previous lockdowns, the closures of schools, businesses and restaurants, and indeed the very benefit of wearing cloth masks. More study is needed on the impact of sustained mask-wearing on children, but some valid concerns have been voiced. A complex overall issue indeed. Importantly, it is now widely accepted by the medical community that, if people are fully vaccinated and boosted and free from any serious pre-existing medical conditions, the omicron variant will, if contracted, likely only cause mild medical symptoms.
COVID will be “with us” for years to come, much like influenza. We are blessed to have vaccines available with strong efficacies against those COVID variants which have evolved to date. At this point I do not feel that the many who have received vaccinations should feel obligated (or “peer pressured”) to wear masks to protect those individuals who have chosen not to receive the vaccine.
Again, I fully respect those in Park City who choose to wear masks to further protect themselves. I hope that they, in turn, respect those of us who choose not to do so.
Distressed at Vail Resorts’ impact
Zooming in on the public’s portion of last week’s City Council meeting left me grateful for this forum but distressed to have witnessed the collective depression suffered by residents, due to Vail Resorts’ hostile takeover of PCMR, the town and the very sport of skiing.
Citizen after citizen decried Vail’s management of the resort and its generation of traffic congestion throughout Park City. The safety of Thaynes Canyon residents is especially at risk due to speeders cutting through and gridlocking their streets in the race for a resort parking spot.
Frustrated Epic Pass holders who can’t park at the resort are parking everywhere else, obstructing the function of businesses and the municipality. Citizens can’t park at the library or City Park. Vail’s customers usurped those spots. A ski instructor told the heartbreaking story of a family who made extraordinary effort to bring their disabled child for lessons, only to be unable to find handicapped parking, or any resort parking. They left so frustrated that they’ll never return.
Many spoke of Vail’s negative impact on local businesses and the town’s infrastructure and natural environment. Roads are being abused and our air is being fouled by those idling and driving around, looking for parking.
One speaker addressed the issue of public funding being used for the promotion of tourism, while citizens need relief from the level of tourism that’s already overwhelmed Park City’s resources.
Meanwhile, the developer of the base area project at PCMR is planning to reduce resort parking.
Commercial developers are usually required to provide adequate parking, access and egress for their expected level of business. With both ski resorts set to redevelop their bases, the county and city should quickly ordain that corporations also have to provide adequate parking for their customers. Development that is blatantly harmful to this community should not be permitted.
Put pressure on PCMR
Could Vail Resorts be evicted from Park City? Growing dissatisfaction with the corporation has increased traction on a change.org petition to do just that.
A similar petition gathered more than 40,000 signatures relating to Vail Resorts’ poor performance at Steven’s Pass in Washington state. In response, Vail fired the GM, made additional efforts to hire and finally opened more lifts.
This petition, asking Talisker to evict Vail for non-performance, shows how many people are fed up with Vail’s horrible operation of Park City Mountain Resort.
The petition reads:
“Vail rents Park City Mountain from Talisker and has failed at operating it. Vail collected record amounts of revenue from season passes before the season, and has failed to deliver the product. Numerous lodges and chairlifts aren’t open, snowmaking and grooming are at record low levels, and the community hasn’t gotten the product it has paid for. Ski-in ski-out communities including Silver Star, the Colony, and the South end of Canyons Village don’t have their lifts open for access, and the resort has record long lift lines. Still-closed lifts Silver Star, Thaynes, Daybreak, Dreamscape, Flat Iron, Sunrise, Short Cut, and Sun Peak remain closed simply to save money. Alterra has nearby Deer Valley and Solitude 100% open. Vail made all their money pre-season and is hanging on to it tightly, running Park City Mountain in the most profitable short-term way for their shareholders. Their actions are detrimental to the community and to the mountain’s long-term viability. Talisker is Vail’s Landlord in Park City, and this petition is asking them to evict Vail for non-performance.”
Please consider helping to put pressure on Vail by sharing and signing this: https://chng.it/WqfzhVWnLH.
An A+ for effort
The Parley’s Park Elementary School staff would like to thank the district administration, the Park City Board of Education and the Park City Education Association for collaborating together to ensure teachers and staff in the district are receiving support to be mentally, physically and emotionally the best we can be for our students.
The most recent collaboration is especially appreciated. This past Friday, teachers and staff in our district were given a flexible Friday to do “what is needed” (WIN). This was so appreciated. Teachers had autonomy to choose what they needed, whether that be preparing for upcoming conferences, going to be one with nature, or by going home early. In addition there will be a week in March where no meetings will occur to give teachers an extra opportunity to develop, plan, implement and assess.
These efforts to help teachers remain healthy, both mentally, physically and emotionally in a difficult time is so appreciated and we thank the administration, board, and education association for recognizing this need.
Parley’s Park teachers and staff
Nibbled to death, one duck at a time
It appears like we have a least seven “ducks” lined up at the feeding station here in the Park City area, all producing more and more traffic.
The PCMR/PEG project, the PCHS addition/renovation, the arts and culture district, the Mayflower project, the Dakota Pacific project, the Deer Valley project and the film studio project. I am sure there are more I probably don’t know about!
The single biggest “major problem” in Park City and the surrounding area is traffic.
Each one of these “ducks” standing alone, create large traffic issues for Park City, Summit County and Wasatch County. Put them all together, and we have the perfect storm. Incremental approval without seeing the full picture only compounds the problem. It’s time for officials to look out for the “citizens and voters” of these affected areas and do the “work for the people” not the “work for the developers.”
It’s way past due for the Park City, Summit County, Wasatch County and UDOT entities to come together and craft a “regional” traffic plan, keeping in mind all the “ducks” described above.
“Hoping and wishing that things will get better” is not a strategy or a plan. It’s late, but not too late for these entities to sit down at the table, set their differences aside and come up with solutions.
It’s time to take a pause and get this right. Otherwise, Park City and Summit County will never be the same. Tana Toly from the Park City Council, Roger Armstrong from the Summit County Council and John Kenworthy from the Park City Planning Commission all seem to get it! They are and have been very concerned about this issue for a long time. We need more of their associates to understand the full impact on the neighborhoods in the area! We need all those entities to come together with each other and UDOT, sooner rather than later, to come up with a strategy that cannot be put aside by the next administration in those entities.
The “ducks” are all feeding and we the citizens are getting nibbled to death one duck at a time.
With Erin’s leadership, we find comfort knowing more families like ours will have the privilege to give their own kids a solid foundation of lifelong learning for generations to come.
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