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Expect a crowded MLK weekend in Park City

Although not as crowded as Christmas and New Years, expect lots of people in Park City this weekend.

While Park City might not see the same masses of people experienced over the Christmas holiday, there are still a lot of people who have plans to visit this weekend.

There’s no denying that the Christmas and New Years holidays were a hectic time in Park City. Between thousands of visitors, feet of new snow, and what felt like miles of lines at the ski lifts and on the roads, the city dealt with a lot to close out 2021.

Now, the first holiday weekend of 2022 is here, with Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 17th. Park City Chamber Bureau CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff says while Park City might not see the same masses of people experienced over the Christmas holiday, there are still a lot of people who have plans to visit this weekend.

“We are anticipating another busy couple of days," Wesselhoff says. "Looking at average occupancies in January, Park City generally sits around an average of 60% occupancy. What we’re seeing for Friday is about 20 points more than that, so between 75% and 80% occupancy, which is actually, for Friday, outperforming pre-COVID numbers.”

Wesselhoff adds that as of Friday, levels look to dip slightly on Saturday and Sunday to below pre-pandemic averages. She says there have also been smatterings of cancellations due to the current omicron COVID-19 surge.

Local businesses have also felt the squeeze. Many were short staffed before omicron, and with how rapidly it’s been spreading, businesses now have to deal with sick employees who can’t work. Wesselhoff says the ongoing pandemic, combined with the recent cancellation of the in-person Sundance Film Festival later this month, make for a hazy outlook.

“They’re working really hard," she says. "They’re seeing COVID cases increase with their employees and doing their best to keep their employees, their customers, and our community safe. Right now, everybody is hanging in there. We’re making hay when we can, and I think we’re optimistic, but we’re also just uncertain.”

Wesselhoff asks anyone planning on going out this weekend to “pack their patience” and a mask. Summit County has a mask mandate in place for all public indoor spaces until February 21st.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.