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Park City readies to seat internal task force to address LGBTQ issues

City Hall intends to soon seat an internal task force that will study issues within the municipal government itself related to the LGBTQ community.

The task force is expected to be ready to begin meetings by the end of the year and is expected to include members from the social equity team as well as others. Staffers mentioned the task force as part of a recent broader update to Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council regarding City Hall’s social equity efforts.

In an interview, Lynn Ware Peek, the community engagement liaison for the municipal government, said more details about the role of the task force will likely be known within several weeks.

Ware Peek said the task force could study issues like City Hall’s hiring practices and whether paperwork uses the correct verbiage to protect against discrimination. She said the task force could consider gender neutral bathrooms and whether City Hall should use gender neutral pronouns in official business.

It is unclear what sort of role the public could have since the task force will be internal, and it appears the issues that will be addressed cover the inner workings of the municipal government rather than those involving the wider community.

An LGBTQ task force would continue City Hall’s social equity work, which is designed to ensure Park City is an inclusive community and is pursued across municipal departments.

The recent update from staffers also indicated some of the next steps for the municipal government include adding a specialist post in the housing program, increasing City Hall-sponsored outreach materials in Spanish and widening training for implicit bias within the municipal ranks.

Park City is seen as one of the state’s friendlier places to the LGBTQ community and has long hosted a gay ski week.

Way We Were: Whatever happened to the Silver Mine Adventure?

It was only open for a few years, yet the Park City Silver Mine Adventure, where visitors were lowered into the old Ontario silver mine to get an “authentic” mine experience, left a lasting impression — especially on the children lucky enough to become miners for an hour or two.

Now grown up, those kids come into the Park City Museum asking if this was the place they got to go down in a mine (we aren’t). We get calls, too, asking about tours of the mine. “Unfortunately,” we reply, “the Silver Mine Adventure has been closed for a long time now.” In fact, the Park City Silver Mine Adventure was only open between December of 1995 and probably 1998.

Interestingly, when the attraction closed, there was no report or article written. Not from The Park Record, nor any of the Salt Lake-area papers. Ask one person who was in Park City at that time — they will say it closed in 1998. Ask another — they will say 1999.

The last article I could find about the Silver Mine Adventure being open was from Oct. 13, 1998: a review from the Daily Universe (BYU’s student paper) about the Halloween programming at the mine. Perhaps no closing article was written because it was expected that the attraction would reopen at some point. The Park City Silver Mine Adventure Inc. last filed as a domestic for-profit corporation in 2003.

All of this is surprising, not only because someone should have noticed and thought to write a story about it, but because the attraction was popular.

But there was a time when the Silver Mine Adventure faced some backlash. In 1997, the attraction decided to unveil their aforementioned Halloween programming, which they billed as the “Tunnel of Terror.” The description of the Tunnel of Terror included that “various dead and decaying miners and their ravenous rat friends will greet our guests.”

Some locals and mining veterans were not very happy. The Ontario, where the Silver Mine Adventure resided, is part of the worst mining disaster in Park City’s history. An explosion at the adjoining Daly West Mine led to a gas leak that killed nine men in the Ontario shaft.

Fred Lupo, then president of District 22 of the United Mine Workers of America (which includes Utah), told the Deseret News “It’s very offensive, very distasteful to families who have lost people.” He also explained that sites of major mining disasters are usually treated as sacred; some even become memorials.

Randy Sella, the general manager of the Silver Mine Adventure, disagreed saying, “There’s no way it is in any way demeaning or an attempt to disrespect miners or their families.” He added that the programming stemmed from the same historical information as the regular tours offered during the rest of the year. The Park Record reported that the programming was meant to commemorate those who had died, but did not cover the controversy.

Perhaps the Tunnel of Terror spelled the beginning of the end for the Park City Silver Mine Adventure, with the spirits of the men who died not happy about an attraction in their final resting place.

Writers on the Range: Living with evacuation, smoke, helicopters, fire

I live on a county road near the evacuation perimeter of what is now Colorado’s largest wildfire. Yesterday, the sheriff’s deputy was outside, his lights flashing red-blue-red, giving my house a strobe light effect. He was directing traffic as people fled the mountain with trailers filled with cattle and horses and goats and belongings.

The wind was roaring, first one direction and then another, which is why this fire blew up again. The Cameron Peak Fire has been burning for two months — a long two months — leaving me and most of my neighbors with a hacking cough and guts that feel like they’re filled with clay.

When we get the occasional blue sky day, I’m so relieved that I play hooky from work and walk up this county road, getting in exercise while I can, trying to clear my head while I can, obligations be dammed. I truly find it hard to care about anything, which is saying something, given my personality. Even work is difficult on smoky days — my brain feels gritty because of ash and helicopters overhead and the grim anxiety in the air. It’s hard to process things, to be productive, to think.

I thought I’d be better at this, more resilient, less fazed. A Colorado native, I’m used to wildfire. Plus, I know that these forests needed to burn. Not like this, sure, but we all knew they were a tinderbox, and it’s just a flat-out, predictable truth that they were going to go. On top of that, we know climate change makes it worse.

All ten of the largest wildfires in Colorado have happened since 2000, this Cameron Peak Fire at 207,000 acres as of this writing, followed by Pine Gulch, Hayman, West Fork Complex Fire, Spring Creek Fire, High Park Fire (which had me evacuated in 2012), Missionary Ridge Fire, 416 Fire, Bridger Fire, and Last Chance Fire. And as I wrote this essay, the Lefthand Canyon Fire, the CalWood Fire, and the frightening East Troublesome Fire sprang up, , driving thousand from their homes. Such pretty names, sending remnants of trees into our lungs. No wonder most of my novels written over the past 20 years contain wildfires, because they truly have been part of my lived experience.

I’ve always believed that it’s expectation which causes suffering, that we only are sad when things don’t go the way we want, and thus I feel I shouldn’t be suffering now. But living it, and expecting it, are two different things.

Familiarity doesn’t make it any easier. When the body senses biological threat, the result is cortisol, inflammation, pain. After all, particles are daily being lodged into our lungs. People are truly suffering here, in body and in spirit. Honest admissions of despair are rampant, and nobody is embarrassed about it.

COVID makes it harder. Let’s be honest: Our friends don’t really want us evacuated into their little homes and sharing air, nor do we want to put them in that position. So we stay put, always on the edge. I never thought I’d take breathable air for granted. Lowering my expectations that far seems, well, sad.

Some things help. Friends, offers of assistance, memories of the good days, and, yeah, air purifiers. We can also think ahead to prescribed burns, thinning, fuel reduction, forest management, fire resiliency, and Aldo Leopold’s idea of “intelligent tinkering,” where we make forests more resilient to climate change via smart restorations of natural landscapes. All this is good, but what would help most of all is to have others extend their empathy and make green-living the priority.

Wouldn’t it be a miracle if the whole damn world banded together and realized climate change was the number one priority? Accepted that science was real? Got it together, made some changes at home, such as not buying anything unnecessary? Because that is part of the true fix. At some point, drastic measures will happen, because the suffering will extend to all, and to such an extent that it cannot be ignored — though I wish that weren’t necessary.

This morning, I woke up to birds still at the feeder, a fawn walking by, winds calmer. It’s creepily quiet, with no traffic because everyone west of me is evacuated.

It is still a sad time and I feel broken, but the air quality has moved from Hazardous to Moderate, which has me thinking that perhaps we, as a people, could move in that direction, too, especially during the clear-sky times when we can think and get to work.

Laura Pritchett is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a nonprofit dedicated to spurring lively conversation about the West. She is a novelist and directs the MFA in nature writing at Western Colorado University.

Summer occupancy improved after slow start, but questions remain about winter

It’s part of the Park City Chamber/Bureau’s job to anticipate the desires of people from faraway places and entice them to visit — and spend money — in and around Park City.

That’s been an especially tall task this year, when only seven months ago the Summit County health director advised tourists to stay away for a short period due to the pandemic.

But a lot has changed since mid-March, and last week, Chamber/Bureau officials reported to the Summit County Council some of the lessons they’ve learned from this summer and detailed their plans to attract visitors to the area for the economically crucial winter ski season.

“Basically, we went into this summer without a clue as to what we could expect in terms of visitation,” outgoing Chamber/Bureau President and CEO Bill Malone told the council. “We’re still trying to figure it out and learn from the nuances on there. We started very, very slow, almost from a zero position back in April.”

After a dismal beginning to the summer, Malone reported that the lodging occupancy numbers continue to improve and that the Chamber/Bureau was pursuing a mostly digital advertising campaign to entice skiers and snowboarders to the area.

Summit County Manager Tom Fisher, who is responsible for the county’s budget, has recommended the council invest in fund balances this year to be able to rely on reserves to maintain services next year without revenue levels the county is accustomed to seeing from ski season.

Malone presented data that indicated there was an 86% drop-off in paid occupancy at lodging establishments in May compared to 2019, a 74% fall in June and a 47% decline in July.

He reported the large group market, which has become a crucial source of summertime revenue, cratered this year. That includes people traveling for professional conferences or large meetings.

“Good news is, summer picked up every month,” Malone said. “… Hard to imagine we’d be celebrating an occupancy decline of only 29% in September, but I think that’s what we call the ‘new normal’ now.”

He reported interesting trends for local businesses, which he said had to adjust to slower weekdays and busier weekend traffic. And while large groups didn’t come to town, more visitors booked last-minute getaways, especially as summer continued, Malone said. That led to a 10% increase in the average daily rate that visitors paid for hotel rooms, a modest consolation offsetting the large drop in the volume of business.

Malone added that some visitors showed up without reservations, something he hadn’t seen for years.

The nightly rental market also saw its inventory shrink as second home-owners pulled their homes off of sites like AirBnB and decided to live there themselves, he said.

While the numbers didn’t look good at the beginning of any particular month, last-minute bookers often bolstered the counts as the weeks passed.

That might mean that lower economic projections for this winter might be bested by travelers who decide to visit at the last minute.

Despite late commitments, visitors aren’t taking their travel plans lightly, said Jim Powell, vice president of marketing for the Chamber/Bureau.

He said people are spending almost twice the amount of time planning their trips.

“In the level of data we have available to us now, we know if people are searching airline flights, we know if somebody has booked airline flights, we know if somebody has been researching trips,” Powell said.

Powell shared skier survey data that indicated the importance to potential visitors of information about health safety measures, the ability to cancel reservations, the health protocols in place at a destination and which activities and amenities would remain open.

He said the Chamber/Bureau was executing a $2.1 million ad campaign to entice tourists, about 93% of which would be spent on digital outlays. That represents a 25% reduction from previous years. The Chamber/Bureau decided against buying network television advertisements and opted instead to invest in ads on “connected TV” platforms like Hulu, he added.

“Those people that are receptive to travel, and interested to travel, we’re serving up our advertising to them. So, again, we’re trying to minimize any wasted impressions,” Powell said. “Not buying billboards in New York this year.”

Powell said that one thing helping early winter season numbers is that ski resorts announced their plans for how they’ll operate amid the pandemic, lending a measure of predictability to the first full ski season during the pandemic.

He said the market was particularly helped when Deer Valley Resort started allowing people to buy lift tickets for specific days, giving more information to would-be visitors about what their trip would look like.

Malone said that the tourism market has a long way to go before it hits last year’s numbers, which were on a record-setting pace before the pandemic hit in March and essentially cut the last two months from the ski season. But he said the December reservation numbers have picked up significantly in the last month and are down 22% compared to last year.

Park City suffered economically this summer compared to some mountain resort towns such as Lake Tahoe, California, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He said that was likely due in part to Park City’s lack of proximity to a national park.

But the Park City area is relatively well positioned this winter, he said.

One important factor could be the continued difficulty for Americans to travel to Canada, potentially impacting the number of trips to Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia.

Powell said he was keeping close tabs on activity at Salt Lake City International Airport, which he said is operating at about 40% capacity. Officials there planned to resume some routes to and from Mexico on Nov. 8, Powell said, potentially opening up the lucrative Mexico City market for this winter.

Malone indicated that while tourism numbers might be off this year, that didn’t necessarily spell disaster.

“If we stay safe and we do our best in adhering to common sense behavior, we can get through this season and be poised for … something that will be acceptable in terms of moving through and weathering the storm, so to speak,” Malone said.

Record editorial: This Halloween, the accelerating pandemic is the horror show

As October comes to a close, the thing keeping health experts awake at night is not the ghosts, ghouls and goblins that will be on the prowl Saturday. More frightening than a monster or any Halloween spook a horror movie director could conjure up is the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah.

With cases rising like never before, pushing hospitals to capacity even before the winter sets in, the health crisis here has never looked so grim. It’s a time for Summit County residents — and all Utahns — to recommit to taking every possible measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus as we enter a period that health officials expect to be among the most daunting of the pandemic.

The numbers say it all. We are several weeks into the largest statewide surge in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. On Sunday, the rolling seven-day average of new cases reached 1,494, more than double the previous peak in July, and there were more than 27,000 active cases, an all-time high that means Utahns have never been more likely to come into contact with an infected person.

What’s more, the sheer volume of cases has put into doubt whether people who get sick in the coming weeks will be able to get adequate medical care. The state’s health care facilities are becoming overwhelmed, and now officials are warning that hospitals may soon need to ration care. In that nightmarish scenario, which would require approval from the governor, doctors would weigh factors like age and case severity in determining which patients receive aid in the intensive-care unit — and which do not.

Lest any Summit County resident mistakenly assume the problem is confined to the other side of the Wasatch Range, know that the situation in our community mirrors what’s happening in the rest of the state. The county is experiencing case growth that surpasses even the peak in the first weeks of the crisis, before the stay-at-home order stemmed the virus in the spring.

There’s a reason we are one of 21 counties designated in the “high” transmission level in the state’s COVID-19 classification system. The curve, to put it simply, isn’t flat anymore.

That this is all happening in late October, when cold-and-flu season has barely begun, is all the more concerning. It leaves us to wonder where we’ll be in December, January or February if we don’t regain control of the virus soon.

The good news is this: Unlike the protagonist in a horror movie, whose fate is determined by the writer’s pen, we collectively control our destiny.

Let’s ramp up our vigilance once again. Wear a mask, social distance, remain at home as much as possible. In Summit County, if we can’t slow the spread of COVID-19 during the shoulder season, what chance do we have when skiers start arriving?

Time is of the essence. Unless we rein in the virus now, we and the rest of Utah will be in for a harrowing winter, a fright fest that will be all too real.

Sheriff’s report: $15,000 worth of jewelry missing after being left behind at a resort hotel

A woman who checked out of a Canyons Village hotel last week left behind more than $15,000 worth of jewelry, only some of which was returned to her, according to a report from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

After the woman left the hotel Wednesday, she realized she had left behind multiple rings, including her wedding ring, a watch and some earrings, according to the report.

She reported to the Sheriff’s Office the next day that staff members had returned a watch and a ring, but her wedding ring and a pair of earrings were still missing.

The woman estimated the wedding ring was worth $15,000 and the earrings another $200.

Deputies indicated the case would be forwarded to the Investigations Division.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement responded to several other calls between Monday, Oct. 19, and Sunday, Oct. 25, including multiple burglaries from vehicles and a motorcycle stolen from a storage unit.

Sunday, Oct. 25

Deputies assisted the Utah Highway Patrol with several accidents caused by the early snowfall.

A woman reported her vehicle was stolen from the driveway of her Jeremy Ranch home overnight. Deputies indicated that the woman had left the keys in the vehicle, and that they listed the vehicle on a national database of stolen goods.

A man reported his bike was stolen from a rack on the back of his vehicle parked overnight in the Bear Hollow neighborhood. Deputies indicated the man left the keys to the bike rack in the cup holder of the vehicle, which was unlocked. Deputies also indicated the man provided the bike’s serial number, enabling them to list it on a national database of stolen goods.

A woman reported her vehicle was broken into overnight in front of her Bear Hollow home and that some of her possessions were stolen from it.

A woman reported her wallet was stolen from her vehicle parked overnight in front of her Bear Hollow home. She reported her stolen credit cards had been used to make fraudulent charges and attempted fraudulent charges at Salt Lake County businesses.

Saturday, Oct. 24

Someone left a handgun at the Park City Gun Club five months ago and had not yet returned to claim it. Deputies collected the weapon and indicated they would hold it for its owner.

A 33-year-old Park City woman was arrested on suspicion of intoxication after deputies encountered her in Pinebrook without any shoes, a place to stay for the night or clothes appropriate for the weather. Deputies had initially responded for a report of an intoxicated person and when they found the woman, she admitted to having smoked meth. Deputies indicated she might be a danger to herself and booked her into the Summit County Jail.

A man reported he had seen three men try to steal his neighbor’s pop-up trailer in the middle of the night in Summit Park. Deputies indicated a lock was cut from the trailer, that the owner turned over information about potential suspects and that the case would be forwarded to the Investigations Division.

Thursday, Oct. 22

Multiple vehicle burglaries were reported throughout the county.

A Coalville man was notified that his handgun had been recovered by the Ogden Police Department and that he could claim it from them. The gun had been stolen in July, and deputies indicated Ogden officers had found the gun in connection with two people they had arrested.

A woman reported someone had flashed a pocket knife at the Whitney Reservoir in a threatening manner. Deputies indicated they would follow up and that the case remained active.

A Coalville woman reported her laptop had been stolen from her vehicle overnight. Deputies indicated they did not have a suspect and that the victim did not provide a serial number for the computer.

A man reported someone had smashed the rear window of his vehicle overnight in the Old Ranch Road neighborhood and stolen his laptop. He said someone had also unsuccessfully attempted to access his bank account online. Deputies indicated they did not have any suspects or a serial number for the laptop, preventing them from listing it as stolen on a national database.

A man reported someone had smashed the passenger window of his vehicle parked outside a Kimball Junction residence. He reported he didn’t think anything had been stolen.

A man reported around $1,500 worth of tools had been stolen from a locked tool box in his pickup truck bed overnight. The truck was parked at a Kimball Junction apartment complex. Deputies indicated they had no information about a suspect.

Wednesday, Oct. 21

A Promontory homeowner reported her house had been burglarized on Oct. 16, when two men broke in and stole cash, jewelry, headphones and two checkbooks. Deputies indicated the case had been forwarded to the Investigations Division.

Monday, Oct. 19

A man reported his motorcycle had been stolen from a storage unit off Old Hwy. 40. Deputies indicated they listed the vehicle on a national database of stolen goods and would follow up.

A woman’s purse was stolen from an Outlets Park City store. Deputies indicated a stolen credit card was used at three locations in West Jordan and that they were following up.

A Coalville woman reported her husband had abused her and that she was scared for her safety. Deputies indicated the 35-year-old woman completed a lethality assessment and that there was no evidence of the assault, but that it was alleged to have occurred six months ago. Deputies further indicated the husband denied physically abusing the woman and that the County Attorney’s Office would screen the case for charges.

Coronavirus tracker: 24 new confirmed cases in Summit County on Thursday

UPDATED Oct. 29
Sources: Utah Department of Health, Summit County Health Department and Park City School District

Summit County numbers

Total known cases: 1,427, up from 1,403
Total hospitalizations: 68, up from 66
Deaths: 1, no change

Cases in Park City School District

Total known active cases in schools (as of Oct. 28): 13
Park City High School: 5
Treasure Mountain Junior High: 3
McPolin Elementary School: 3
Trailside Elementary School: 1
Jeremy Ranch Elementary School: 1

Click here for full Park City School District data.

Statewide numbers

Total known cases: 110,640, up from 108,803
Total hospitalizations: 5,319, up from 5,247
Deaths: 598, up from 588
Estimated recovered patients: 81,403

More information about COVID-19

• Park Record coronavirus coverage: https://www.parkrecord.com/coronavirus/
• Summit County Health Department coronavirus website: https://summitcountyhealth.org/coronavirus
• Summit County community concerns line: 435-333-0050
• Utah coronavirus website: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/
• Utah coronavirus hotline: 1-800-456-7707
• Intermountain Healthcare testing resources (Hotline: 844-442-5224): https://intermountainhealthcare.org/covid19-coronavirus/get-testing/

Nuzzles & Co.’s Purple Paw program assists domestic violence victims

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and even though the month is winding down, there continues to be a need for victim advocacy and services.

Domestic violence, also known as intimate-partner violence, affects 1 in 3 Utah women and 1 in 5 men during their lifetimes, according to the Utah Department of Health. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control has reported the COVID-19 pandemic has also increased domestic violence incidents, with 16 lives lost in Utah between March 1 and Sept. 28.

One of the challenges facing domestic violence victims is getting away from their abusers, and sometimes the only thing preventing their escape is a pet, said Claire Desilets, Nuzzles & Co.’s Purple Paw program director.

Since 2012, Purple Paw, a free service, has taken care of domestic-violence victims’ pets while their owners seek sanctuary, Desilets said.

The program offers free pet fostering, training and veterinary care and rehabilitation, because many of the pets accepted into the program are also abuse victims themselves.

“Most importantly, we provide weekly updates about the pets’ well-being which gives survivors the peace of mind and the time they need to focus on their recovery,” Desilets said.

Nuzzles & Co. offers the service when it works with different domestic violence shelters and law enforcement agencies throughout the state, due to the fact that many pet owners will not escape a domestic violence situation, because they fear for their pets’ lives, she said.

“Abusers threaten to hurt or kill the pet if the victim tries to leave, and these are not idle threats,” Desilets said. “Victims hesitate or refuse to leave by fear of leaving their pets behind, which exposes them, the kids and the pets to further abuse.”

While most domestic-violence shelters in Utah now accept pets, they usually can only take one pet per client if the pet is well behaved, according to Desilets.

“Survivors can also seek shelter with friends or family, but that still doesn’t mean they can take their pets with them if someone in that home is allergic, or if there are already other pets there, or if there are pet restrictions on the leases,” she said. “That’s where the Purple Paw program comes in with its life-saving solution. We offer pets a safe haven while survivors seek shelter wherever they can. And we will take in all their cats and dogs, not just one.”

Nuzzles & Co. will also take other types of pets on a case-by-case basis, Desilets said.

“We were able to take care of a ferret at one time,” she said. “So we really try to do what we can.”

The Purple Paw program launched in 2012 with a donation by longtime donor Emily Scott Pottruck, whose friend was forced to remain in a domestic-violence situation because of her pet.

Since then, Nuzzles & Co. has assisted more than 120 survivors, and nearly 250 pets, Desilets said.

“By saving pets we save people, (because) Nuzzles’ Purple Paw program helps stop the cycle of violence, by removing kids from a violent home sooner rather than later,” she said. “It’s well documented that children exposed to violence are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems that can lead to criminal behavior as adults.”

In addition, a 2013 study by the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine found that children exposed to domestic violence are three times more likely to be cruel to animals.

Nuzzles & Co. Executive Director Lindsay Ortega is honored that her nonprofit can offer the Purple Paw program to domestic violence survivors.

“We are grateful to be part of the healing process to help improve the lives and possibly save the lives of those who are in a domestic-violence situation and their pets,” Ortega said.

Park City police blotter: Man seen carrying crossbow, wearing camouflage

The Park City Police Department last week received at least two reports involving the possibility of hunting inside the city limits.

Someone contacted the police at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, about a man who was seen carrying a crossbow and wearing camouflage. The person was riding a mountain bike on the Armstrong trail. The police said the circumstances were suspicious.

On Friday, Oct. 23 at 7:41 p.m., a deer, alive but injured, was seen on Snow Creek Drive. The police were told it appeared the animal suffered a wound possibly caused by a gunshot, according to department logs. The deer was moving closer to people and “looks like it’s looking for help,” the police were told.

The Police Department occasionally receives reports of hunters in places like Round Valley or other places popular with recreation users like hikers and bicyclists.

Other incidents reported to the Police Department last week included:

On Sunday, Oct. 25 at 10:24 p.m., the police received a report of elk near the road along S.R. 224 close to the McPolin Farm.

Loud music was reported outside a lodge on Empire Avenue at 4:01 a.m. The police logged the case as suspected disturbing the peace.

A man was seen in a black hooded sweat shirt at or close to the intersection of Main Street and 9th Street. He had been there “for a while,” according to public police logs. The police planned to check on the man.

On Saturday, Oct. 24 at 3:25 p.m., the police received a report of water “shooting up out of the ground” somewhere along Lucky John Drive. The approximately 12-foot-tall spout was the result of a utility issue, the police said.

Someone on Creek Drive at 11:57 a.m. reported a ladder, which had been delivered to a front porch, was stolen earlier in the month. It is a 12-foot aluminum ladder, the police were told. The police said there is no surveillance and no suspects were immediately identified.

Antifreeze reportedly leaked into the storm drain on Main Street at 7:58 a.m.

On Friday, Oct 23 at 11:41 p.m., an officer pulled over a driver on S.R. 224, indicating the person was speeding. The police said the driver was stopped at 68 mph in a location where the posted speed limit is 45 mph. The driver received a verbal warning.

A suspected intoxication case was reported at the China Bridge garage at 10:12 p.m. Public police logs did not provide details.

On Thursday, Oct. 22 at 4:56 p.m., the police conducted a truck inspection. A trailer was taken out of service and the driver was removed, the police said.

A car was left in a location where it blocked a trail at 4:15 p.m. The call was logged on Snow Creek Drive but involved the nearby Rail Trail. The person who contacted the police said the vehicle was left illegally, but the department logs did not provide details.

A moose was seen attempting to cross Kearns Boulevard, apparently close to the Park City School District campus, at 3:31 p.m. State wildlife officers were contacted and indicated they should be contacted again if there were ongoing issues.

The police at 2:53 p.m. received a complaint about graffiti on a building on Prospector Avenue. Spray paint was used, the police were told. The graffiti was left sometime between Sunday and Tuesday before it was discovered on Wednesday, according to police logs. The Police Department classified the case as suspected criminal mischief.

A calf moose was seen on Kearns Boulevard at 9:38 a.m.

A police officer at 12:01 a.m. pulled over a driver on S.R. 224, indicating the vehicle was traveling at 64 mph in a location where the posted speed limit is 45 mph. The officer issued a verbal warning.

On Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 3:49 p.m., the police received information that a truck was forced to use the runaway-truck ramp on Marsac Avenue. The truck would be moved, the police were told.

The police at 12:21 p.m. received a report of a smoking propane generator on Empire Club Drive. People were away from the tank, which was turned off, the police were told. The Police Department classified the case as a hazardous-materials spill.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 10:38 p.m., a police officer stopped a driver, indicating the person did not move to another lane when an emergency vehicle was on the side of the road. The officer issued a verbal warning.

The police stopped a driver on S.R. 224 at 10:21 p.m., indicating the vehicle was traveling at 65 mph in a location where the posted speed limit is 45 mph. The officer issued a written warning.

The Police Department at 5:55 p.m. received a report of people, apparently members of a construction crew, leaving vehicles on someone’s property on Daly Avenue. They “refuse to move,” the police were told. There had been talks between the property owner and the contractor, according to department logs.

The police at 9:34 a.m. received a report of an employee arriving at work appearing to be intoxicated. The case was logged on Royal Street.

On Monday, Oct. 19 at 7:55 p.m., a woman was reported at a Lowell Avenue hotel and was suspected to be intoxicated and at the wrong property. She may have been staying at a hotel in the Snyderville Basin, the police were told.

A young moose was seen in the vicinity of the Park City Ice Arena at 2:41 p.m. It appeared to be alone, the person who contacted the police said.

Survey reveals ski resort visitors’ top concerns for upcoming winter

A study showing the COVID-related sentiment of visitors to mountain resort destinations for the upcoming winter.
ABOUT INSIGHTS COLLECTIVE

The Insights Collective is a pandemic economy think tank, established to provide insights and actionable recommendations to public and private sector decision makers in leisure travel destinations. For more information, visit www.theinsightscollective.com.

The intention to ski and snowboard this winter is strong, season pass purchase is up nationally, and skiers are planning for a socially-distanced, face-covered winter at mountain resorts, with some adjustments to their typical behavior. 

These topics and more were part of a comprehensive national survey that RRC Associates conducted with skiers and snowboarders in September of 2020. The survey received over 20,000 responses from all corners of the U.S. and provides unique insight to what skiers and snowboarders are expecting for the 2020/21 season. 

The results of the survey give local leaders and resort staff critical information about what visitors, locals, and second homeowners are thinking about in terms of safety, adjustments, concerns and behaviors for this winter. 

“Understanding what our visitors are thinking before they get to our resorts is critical,” said Kelly Pawlak, President and CEO of National Ski Areas Association. “This information is another helpful tool we will use to open the winter season with the safety of our staff and guests front and center.”

Visitor concerns

The survey showed that one of the biggest concerns of both visitors and locals alike is whether ski resorts will be able to stay open all winter. People are worried about a situation like the one in March, when resorts were forced to close abruptly. About two-thirds of visitors and locals indicated that they were concerned about Coronavirus-related closures of ski areas. Resorts have been making preparations to address that issue, but maintaining focus on staying open all winter will be critical.

“At our resort we are meeting daily and sometimes multiple times a day internally to stay aware of trends and changes in the way this pandemic is behaving regionally,” said Nick Polumbus, Director of Marketing and Sales at Whitefish Mountain Resort. “We know that it will take constant attention to trends as well as our own protocols and procedures to keep the virus in check and the lifts spinning.”

Other concerns among local residents are whether guests follow health and safety protocols, the overall health and safety of the community, and visitors from major cities/hot spots. Additionally, locals are focused on the potential impact of COVID-19 on the local economy. These legitimate concerns among local residents are important for local leaders to monitor and communicate with community members. 

Adjusting behaviors

In terms of skier behavior at the mountain this winter, survey results show that most snowsports enthusiasts are already planning to wear a face covering around the base area and while riding lifts, to make an online appointment to rent equipment, and to eat lunch at their car or outside. The survey also revealed they are generally OK with longer lift lines due to unrelated parties not riding together on chairlifts. Knowing what the guests know ahead of time gives ski areas a head start on guest education and safety. 

“Skiers and riders continue to show that they’ll do what it takes to get out on the hill. I am encouraged by the willingness of skiers/riders to wear masks and socially distance. This level of flexibility and resilience among snowsports enthusiasts is impressive, even during a pandemic,” said Jesse True from the Insights Collective.

Skiing midweek will be more common, with nearly half of survey respondents saying they are more likely to ski midweek this winter. Increases in midweek skiing will contribute to spreading skier visits out across the week and could alleviate some weekend crowding, a significant concern for resort operators. On the other hand, carpooling will be somewhat less popular and could therefore strain resort parking infrastructure. 

Most downhill skiers do not plan on changing their behavior when it comes to enrolling children in midweek ski lessons (rather than weekends), participation in half-day ski lessons (rather than full-day lessons), or partaking in off-mountain activities like snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, and snowmobiling, Nevertheless, about 1/4 of survey respondents are more likely to take part in off-mountain activities, and resort areas can help to show visitors how to access and safely participate in those alternate activities. 

“Resorts and resort towns will need to have plans in place to accommodate this additional demand for alternate activities and to manage capacity appropriately,” said Barb Carpenter, of the Insights Collective. “Communication with visitors about the availability and safety of alternate activities will be key to ensuring a good guest experience.”

Since comfort with dispersed outdoor recreation like ice skating and Nordic skiing is incredibly high, demand for these activities – beyond that from the downhill skiers and snowboarders represented in the survey – is anticipated to be elevated this winter. 

Preparing for a different ski season ahead

New COVID cases across western mountain resort destinations.

Communication with visitors will have to be accurate, nimble and frequent. Fortunately, skiers are very receptive to opting-in to receive text message updates from resorts. Email and resort or town apps are also good ways to communicate information to visitors. Towns and ski areas should be planning to use these methods to communicate with visitors this winter.

“This continual use of technology to manage the visitor experience in an effort to provide a seamless experience will become a standard going forward for destinations,” said Carl Ribaudo, President of SMG Consulting and a member of the Insights Collective.

The majority of second homeowners are not anticipating changing the way they normally use their second homes this winter. However, about one in five ski area second homeowners said they would plan to use their home more for themselves or for friends/family, rather than renting it out, which could have implications for the short-term rental inventory in some resort towns. Indeed, skiers responded in the survey that they are more comfortable with rent-by-owner lodging than with a traditional hotel, for a variety of reasons, including safety, cleanliness and the ability to make and eat meals more easily. 

These national-level survey results might play out somewhat differently in specific resort towns across the U.S.; however, the results indicate that ski area and town leaders should anticipate a positive, though different, ski season than the past, and that safety, cleanliness, communication, and flexibility will be critical to that success.