Deer Valley, Park City close for season
Strong snow totals make for good season at local resorts
In early November, local ski resort visitors weren’t quite sure how the season would turn out with temperatures still too warm for snow at the time. Four months and over 400 inches of snow later, which included handfuls of powder days, those same people wouldn’t dare question the Wasatch Front again.
Both local ski resorts, Park City Mountain and Deer Valley Resort, closed their lifts for the 2016-17 season on Sunday, but not before a countless number of good times were had.
“It’s been a fantastic year all the way around,” said Bob Wheaton, Deer Valley’s President and General Manager. “We had a slow start. We were behind like three weeks with snowmaking, but we quickly caught up. Mother Nature started smiling and it started snowing. People were happy and life was grand.”
Park City Mountain’s Chief Operating Officer Bill Rock had similar sentiments about the winter season.
“Fantastic season,” Rock said. “We’re happy to be done, but at the same time, we’ll look back on the season with a lot of pride. It was just a great year across the board.”
One area that has a great impact on whether or not it’ll be a great season is snowfall.
“Obviously, the snow, 422 inches is above average,” Rock said. “This is my third season in Utah, and everyone said, ‘This is what its like.’ We had great timing of the snowstorms. They hit us at the right times. The powder on the mountain was fantastic.
“Utah has that reputation across the world really. People who keep an eye on the snow and saw the kind of storms that we were getting, clearly, there was some enthusiasm in the marketplace. People came to town — holidays, non-holidays — throughout the spring.”
For Rock and company, the year went pretty much as expected. There were a few hiccups here and there in terms of weather patterns — or “curveballs” as Rock put it — but for the most part, the ski season came and went without issue.
“You couldn’t have dialed up better timing for the good stuff and the bad stuff,” Rock said. “Generally, [the season] went according to plan and we’re pleased with how the year went.”
The end of the ski season marks a new one at both Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain. Though both staffs will admittedly take a much-needed break from work, it won’t be long before the local resorts are welcoming back customers for their respective summer activities.
Park City Mountain will be the first to open when the Park City side of the resort opens on May 26. It’ll bring back its many popular activities, such as the alpine coaster and slide, various kids’ activities and zip lines. The Canyons Golf Course will also open that day.
At Deer Valley Resort, Wheaton and his staff are just as excited to open up for the summer on June 16, something they’ve been planning for the last month.
“We’re ready for it,” Wheaton said. “We have some big groups coming in and the concert series and the whole nine yards. That’s a typical planning effort that happens every year. It doesn’t really matter what kind of ski season we had, whether it was a less than anticipated year or like a year we had this year.”
The resort will be hosting a full schedule of outdoor concerts and will welcome cyclists and hikers to utilize the many trails that are on the mountain.
Deer Valley is also ushering in a new mountain bike trail called Tsunami. It is an expert-level flow trail for mountain bikers, and thanks to the warm temperatures in the fall, should be ready this summer.
“We were able to keep working on that thing way later than we thought we would, or than we should have been,” Wheaton said. “That gives us a great head start for this coming spring.”
Though new activities are on the way, the winter season has come and gone in what may have seemed like a blink of an eye to most avid skiers and snowboarders.
“It’s really heartwarming and we really do appreciate everybody in town,” Wheaton said.
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The inaugural season may have ended in a loss, but the Park City Red Wolves saw a lot of progress throughout that leads to a bright future.