Park City Mountain closes out historic season with a bang
Good vibes were plentiful at Park City Mountain Monday. It was the last day of the winter season, and the latest closing day in more than 40 years.
Not only did the resort stay open later than it normally does — it started earlier, too. The 2022-2023 winter season at Park City Mountain started in mid-November and ended May 1. It is the resort’s longest season in 30 years, thanks to more than 630 inches of snowfall.
To celebrate, the resort had pop-up DJs and beer gardens at Miners Camp and the Mountain Village base area.
Meghan Lenigan of Killington, Vermont, heard about the historic snow totals midway through the season, and decided to spontaneously move, partly due to the East Coast’s dismal winter.
“There was just no snow,” Lenigan said. “And it just started getting to me. So I saw the snow that was coming here, and I had an opportunity to come here and work for the rest of the season. So I kind of just packed up my car and just drove here in January, and I’ve been here since.”
She said she’s enjoyed working as a ski instructor at the mountain.
Wasatch Back resident and owner of sportkilt.com, James Ansite, said he normally wouldn’t ski on a Monday morning, but this season was different.
“I’ve never felt the need to go to closing day," Ansite said. "But today I have a tinge of sadness that this best winter I’ve ever seen is coming to a close, and I just had to be here for the last day.”
Salt Laker Brett Markum has been skiing Park City since the late '80s, and said this year’s base is likely the highest he’s ever seen.
He was set on breaking his record of 60 ski days this winter until he fell and broke his clavicle in February. After Monday, he’ll be at 39 days.
Markum likes coming up to Park City because of its convenience.
“Living down in Salt Lake — if traffic wasn’t an issue — it’s 30 minutes either way," he said. "But the drive up the Cottonwoods is just so unpredictable now, and so this drive is just so much more predictable.”
Markum has had an Epic Pass for seven straight years, and said he prefers the Mountain Village base area to Canyons Village.
He said he was willing to front the $25 parking reservation fee that was instituted for the first time this season. After complaints last year of overcrowding and mind-numbing traffic, Markum said this winter was a major improvement.
“I think that this side was a lot less busy, and I don’t know if that can be attributed to the parking — if more people were choosing not to pay to park over here," he said. "It was definitely better than last year.”
Timberline resident and ski instructor Shaun Crawford has racked up over 140 ski days this winter, between Park City, Deer Valley and touring the world with his clients.
“Having lived 80 miles south of the Arctic Circle and elsewhere in the world, this is the most snow I’ve ever experienced during a season,” Crawford said.
He said operations at Park City Mountain felt smoother this year, but broader challenges for the local ski industry remain, specifically public transportation and affordable housing.
Park City Mountain is scheduled to begin summer operations June 16, although that depends on how fast the monster snowpack melts.