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PCMR Opening Day Ushers In Winter

Carolyn Murray

Opening Day skiing and riding at Park City Mountain Resort is tradition for a lot of the people standing in line at the bottom of Payday lift — some claiming their spots in line hours before the actual loading began. KPCW chatted with a few folks while they waited to take their first turns of the season.

Four millennial era men stood for hours holding their spot. They were cheerful considering they spent the night camped out on the plaza, waking at 5:30 to claim their place in line. One Park Meadows resident seemed unfazed by the night spent outside.

“My name’s William Sangster. Me and him, it’s our second year doing it and uh I came last night at like 10 o'clock and just stayed up all night. I've actually played on KPCW a couple of times with a few friends. Me and my band Sundog Sky on there a couple of times.”

Resort staff were in full force, some carrying powdered sugar donut holes claiming it as powdery sustenance for the first day on the mountain. Parking attendants guided cars and handed out granola bars for energy which for many, was appreciated while they worked up a sweat putting on their ski boots.  One staff member was assigned as an MC for the morning. Steven was in charge of counting down to the opening and giving away some helmets.

“Chatting with people. Giving out some helmets. Doing some rock paper scissors with the front row here. A gentleman won a free Oakley helmet as he beat the other five members of his row.”

Mae is from Taiwan but lives in Park City and said she’s surprised with how uncrowded it is for the first day.

“Last year, first time. This is my second time. Last year was good. I was afraid too many people, so I didn't come until last year.  I come and it was okay. Its’ good snow. You know, we have good snow, so I want to ski.” 
Park City Mountain Resort Chief Operations Officer, Mike Goar, returns to Park City after a hiatus working at other Vail owned resorts in Colorado and California?

He said opening day terrain includes Homerun and Treasure Hollow off Payday lift. Three Kings is open along with a Terrain Park. More terrain and the Canyons Base area opens Saturday. He’s confident there will be a lot more runs open by Thanksgiving.

“We will be opening terrain pretty quickly, even if it doesn't snow right?  We will be adding terrain across the mountain in pretty quick succession now. A lot of terrain by the time Thanksgiving gets here. We have the strategy around where we're prioritizing trails so that we have a mix of terrain. Terrain parks we plan that into the early season and as long as we have temperatures then we can hit that mark.”

Goar said they’ve added new pipe and high efficiency snow guns which he says makes more snow while using less power. They’ve enhanced services at the bottom of the Tombstone lift.  A new lift called Over and Out offers a quicker way to the base area.

“It takes you directly into the Canyons base area. It's a great addition. Also, at the base of Tombstone, for years we've operated the Tombstone Grill, a barbecue place, we've built a new restaurant there. It's a beautiful building. It has indoor seating. It also has expanded restrooms that’s going to make people happy.”
Goar is excited about the new beginner area at the base of Park City Mountain’s Three Kings lift. They’ve realigned the carpets and they’ve allocated a safe place for learners.

And, it’s in a secure area. So they've got plenty of space you know to learn the sport. It's going to be fantastic right?

“What about bathrooms down there?

“Now that you ask that question though-- now that you've asked me, I'm, I'm on it yeah. I’m not going to let that go and I’m going to get an answer.”

Goar said the team has worked hard and done a fantastic job preparing to open despite the warm temperatures in November. 

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.