A nightmare in PCMR
Our family has been skiing in Park City for many years. We even bought a house near the Silver Star lift so we can walk to the lifts. Unfortunately, for the past two years, Park City Mountain Resort has either opened the lift very late or, like this year, hasn’t opened at all.
We can understand that a lift or slope might not open due to snow conditions but that is not the case now as we have tons of snow. Even if there isn’t enough snow to ski back to Silver Star, you could at least ride the lift so your guests can ski up to King Kong and ski to the rest of the mountain.
We were told that the elevator is not running due to staff shortages. That’s a bad excuse. There is no shortage of staff, just a lack of PCMR’s willingness to give elevator operators fair compensation. We assume that if wages were increased, they would increase the staff to run these closed elevators. We are aware that there is a virus that has impacted the ability to hire employees. On the other hand, this crisis existed when we paid full price for an Epic Pass. Did Vail Resorts take our money knowing they couldn’t deliver what was paid for?
We have friends who rented an expensive unit just to be near the Silver Star lift and they can’t access it. All other nearby guests are also angry. The lack of this lift has also significantly hampered the operation of the Silver Star ski shop and restaurant.
It gets worse that you locked down the only other options for skiing after Silver Star while Eagle and King Kong aren’t running. PCMR has effectively closed down 1/3 of the mountain, forcing masses of guests to queue in long lines while the lifts are open. This is a nightmare. This is not the case in Deer Valley or Solitude, where we have seen limited closures.
We hope Vail gets this issue fixed as soon as possible.
Hall of Shame nominees
I have three nominees for the 2021 Park City Hall of Shame.
1. Vail Resorts has been negotiating a ski patrol contract since 2020. Vail claims they pay industry-standard wages at their resorts. These highly trained professionals are first responders to mountain accidents and emergencies, saving lives and keeping us all safe.
During the same period, Vail stock rose from $180 to a December 31 closing price of $327.90.
A one-day elevator pass at PCMR for Jan. 1 cost over $213, almost enough to pay two patrol officers’ wages for a full day. PCMR probably had over 15,000 skiers that day. I think they can afford to pay the Patrols more, especially after selling 40% more Epic Passes.
2. Dakota Pacific Real Estate recently proposed a 1,100 unit development beneath Utah Olympic Park at Kimball Junction. They apparently bought this distressed project at a bargain price when the developer failed to attract tech companies to the site. Has anyone seen Salt Lake City‘s technological growth? Has anyone seen advertisements for this site?
Has anyone seen a huge sign across from SR 224 that says ‘Locate Your Technology Company Here’? Countless entrepreneurs and traveling tech executives could have seen it. Our county government could have offered financial incentives to attract high-paying jobs. The project offered residents nothing but increased congestion in an area that was experiencing a major gridlock. Our district councilors forgot that they were elected as representatives of their constituents. Luckily, hundreds of people attended a public meeting in person and via Zoom. Residents were overwhelmingly opposed and it appears the application will be resubmitted.
3. PEG Companies develops the PCMR base range. They plan to develop about 1 million square feet.
They charge a parking discount from what the code requires. Has anyone tried parking at PCMR lately? It’s almost impossible to find a parking space now. Why would the city even consider such a ridiculous idea? We need a comprehensive master plan for development, transportation and affordable housing before major developments are approved.
Mask yourself on the buses
As a regular user of our wonderful bus network, I am very concerned that the mask-wearing discipline has almost completely collapsed. I suspect this is mainly due to a simple lack of awareness on the part of infrequent drivers and visitors to the city.
The notices on bus entrance doors stating that passengers must wear masks are not visible when the doors are open, and there is no signage at bus stops reminding/advising people to dress up before boarding. Once on board, many find it difficult to put on a mask even if they have one with them (not easy when wearing a cap or helmet, holding skis or a board and maybe standing up).
I believe adding signage and mask dispensers at bus stops (or at least the main ones, like the high school overflow lot, park and ride lots, and at the resorts) would be very helpful.
Also, the pre-recorded announcements are pretty much inaudible on a crowded bus. It would help to either increase the volume and frequency and/or have drivers use the PA to remind people (at least by informing and preparing willing nonconformists for their next bus ride).
The lack of masks is causing this resident and voter to avoid the bus whenever possible, adding another car to our crowded streets—the very opposite of the behavior we want to encourage.
The Sack of Park City
It’s time to stop the looting of Park City by greedy corporate interests. The development of the PCMR parking lots by the PEG companies is NOT in Park City’s best interest.
They’ll make Park City look like Vail, which is a total disaster and caters only to tourists passing through.
If PEG says they will hire 500 new employees for the completed project, PEG should (as a first step) be tasked with building housing units for at least 250 of the employees and parking with subsidized bus service for the rest of the new employees.
The existing model does not account for parking spaces for residents who are not within reasonable distance of a bus stop in ski gear. On-street parking is prohibited in winter, and there’s no point in driving to Kimball Junction to board a bus. More traffic and more pollution. Parking needs to be added for Park City residents, available for free or for a small fee — maybe a sticker on the windshield for owners.
The structures are far too tall and will obscure the view of the mountain for most Park City residents. In addition, they will hamper access to PCMR throughout the year.
Just think of what Vail Resorts has done to the resort this year. You haven’t hired enough nurses. The result is that all skiers concentrate on lifts that support the few groomed runs with long lift lines. I spoke to a person on the operations side of Vail’s management team and their response was, “We are a public company and we are accountable to our shareholders. We control costs.” That’s the same mindset as PEG.
PEG will destroy Park City for profit. Stop this project now and use the Land Management Code to control this and all other projects – including Deer Valley’s.
Pony up for patrols, PCMR
If you’re wiped out on a ski slope at Park City Mountain Resort and you’re looking down at your broken leg – or worse, your kid’s – do you want to cross your fingers that a licensed doctor happens to drive by and help you?
Or would you rather have experienced, trained and professional ski patrols respond to you immediately?
I think we would all prefer to have a member of the Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association be there for us.
These patrols show up in all weather and snow conditions to stabilize the injured and get them safely off the mountain. I doubt any of us in the scenario above would be thankful that they are the cheapest patrols that Vail Resorts money can buy.
Yet that is exactly what the corporate ownership of PCMR seems to want for us guests and customers, given the long standing industrial dispute with the ski patrol union covered in this publication.
As we all know, you get what you pay for.
As a recently retired Detroit area police officer, I have worked in public safety for my 25 years as part of a union. Through my union, we were able to negotiate a good living wage, health care for our families, and compensation for work-related injuries. The union also protected us from unfair community labor practices.
Ski patrols aren’t much different than public safety officers. For those of us lucky enough to ski and snowboard here, they create a safer environment through avalanche control, out-of-bounds markings, obstacle awareness, and mitigating bad behavior on-piste by skiers and boarders who do it don’t follow the rules.
And most importantly, if you need medical assistance, they are there to help and potentially save lives.
Thanks to Vail’s stinginess with pay, these patrol officers are there for the wages of fast-food workers.
I urge you to support the Patrols who work hard day by day and in all conditions to ensure you have a safe mountain experience and provide the prompt professional life saving care when you or a loved one is sadly in need.
I find it shameful that Vail wants to offer us, the customers, the cheapest possible version of this service.
Grosse Pointe, Michigan