Summer success helps insulate city from seasonal slumps | ParkRecord.com

Summer success helps insulate city from seasonal slumps

The Park Record Editorial, Sept. 21-24, 2013

Ski season is still the economic mainstay for most local businesses, but Park City’s growing summer tourism market has become an integral part of the financial picture. And by all reports, this summer was especially productive. With a growing slate of special events, an ever-expanding trail system and large investments on the part of the ski resorts into summer amenities, Park City can now truly call itself a year-round destination resort town.

The benefits derived from today’s more balanced economy abound. Merchants are no longer completely dependent on one season to sustain them through the rest of the year and employees are more likely to find full-time jobs — with the benefits that are denied to most seasonal workers. And, if the snow doesn’t fully cooperate during the lucrative Christmas week, there is always a chance that the Fourth of July will help to make up for it, at least in part.

This newfound success isn’t just a lucky windfall, though. A number of local nonprofit organizations have worked hard to make it happen. Foremost among them: the Park City Performing Arts Foundation, Mountain Town Music, Mountain Trails Foundation, the Kimball Art Center, the Egyptian Theatre, the Park Silly Sunday Market and the Deer Valley Music Festival. There are others too, but these organizations, in particular have stepped up to host concerts, races, street festivals and shows that have drawn thousands of people to town. Taken collectively, the activities, many of which are free, offer visitors a vibrant array of cultural and recreational activities to choose from. But it is important to remember that each event required financial commitments and huge investments of manpower.

The ski areas have also focused on summer infrastructure, adding biking trails, opening additional lifts and serving as venues for numerous races and concerts. Their professional support has been key to the safety and success of many high-caliber running and cycling races that have helped to elevate Park City’s reputation in the sports world.

Merchants may now be able to enjoy the brief respite offered by the shrinking fall and spring shoulder seasons. There is just enough time to swap out summer gear for skis and snowboards, or to schedule needed remodels, repairs and cleaning. But it promises to be a short break. With the last Park Silly Sunday Market scheduled this Sunday and snow in the forecast next week, there may no longer be a "slow season" in Park City. And that is good news for all.