It’s been an interesting off-season for Park City Mountain Resort, to say the least. Vail Resorts showed up in town and the Epic Pass has finally found its way to Utah. PCMR, Deer Valley, Snowbird, and Alta have all teamed up and the long-needed Wasatch Benefit pass has emerged. Off-handed comments abound regarding Vail’s intentions and the future of resort management in Park City. And most notably, we’ve seen a very public feud play out between PCMR and Talisker, with drastically differing explanations of land rights, lawsuits, broken contracts, hurt feelings…
But rumors and uncertainty aside, Park City Mountain Resort opened this past weekend for their 50th anniversary season. For those of us who call PCMR our home mountain – whether born and raised, or imported like myself – there was a collective sigh of relief. Finally, and regardless of what the future may hold, the mountain is open and another ski season is under way.
And while bipolar early-season weather has resulted in a shortage of skiable terrain on our side of the Wasatch, simply hopping back in the lift line was enough to satisfy built-up ski cravings. That’s also not to say that PCMR hasn’t done the best they can with what snow they do have. The PayDay, 3 Kings, and First Time lifts are all running, and the lower half of the 3 Kings terrain park is packed to capacity with features and teenagers.
As for opening day itself, PCMR put on quite the celebration. A signature Golden Anniversary Ale was unveiled by the Wasatch Brewery, the Motherlode Canyon Band played all afternoon on the PayDay deck, and the lunatics who waited through the night for first chair bragging rights were rewarded with honorary t-shirts to commemorate their unflinching commitment to formality.
With the Treasure Hollow run the only option for skiers looking to open it up for a few turns, things were admittedly dicey out on the hill. Linking multiple turns together was a balancing act of opportunity and chance. And whether it was shaky early season legs, sketchy tunes from last season, or a combination of the two, the skiing was tentative, erratic, and downright terrifying.
The best use of time on opening day was spent celebrating at the base of the resort. Between the live music, new store inventories, and free-flowing booze, the place to be was lounging around the PayDay deck. While skiing for the sake of skiing is an understandable urge on the first day of the season, those who were lucky enough to escape a few runs unscathed were best served with a good meal and a few too many drinks.
Now that the theatrics of opening day have subsided, it’s time to settle in for another ski season at PCMR. Long-term snow forecasts sound promising, and with any luck, the past two barren winters will soon be a distant memory. If winter snuck up on you (it always does) and your skis still need an initial tune and wax, I suggest with complete and utter bias that you swing by Rennstall – the calm before the Christmas storm means your skis will get an added level of attention. And if your gear came out of storage in rougher shape than you remember, I again suggest with complete bias that you swing by one of our Jans locations and look into revamping the tired aspects of your kit. May the snow come in feet, the sun in moderation, and the avalanches in rarity. Here’s to a happy and healthy PCMR season for all.
Nate Tomlinson, Content Writer