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Park City Chamber forecasts strong end to ski season

Traffic near the Park City Mountain base.
Parker Malatesta
Traffic near the Park City Mountain base.

Following a slower holiday season, hotel bookings for the rest of winter are outpacing last year.

Park City Chamber of Commerce CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff said sales, restaurant, recreation and hotel taxes were all down between 3% to 7% in December.

“Our lodging industry definitely felt the brunt of that late snow and also Christmas falling on that Wednesday, which impacted travel,” Wesselhoff said.

Despite the slow period, Wesselhoff said visitation picked up in February.

“Average daily rates on those hotel rooms are leveling out, and March, April and May are all looking really, really strong,” she said.

According to the chamber’s occupancy report analyzing 21 lodging properties, bookings for the end of March are ahead of last winter by 10% most days.

Park City Manager Matt Dias said the forecast also predicts a strong end to the winter season. But Dias expects the season’s slow start to affect tax revenue and the city’s upcoming budget process.

“We’re cautiously optimistic but we are looking at the tea leaves here, and this is going to constrain next year’s budgetary measures,” Dias said. “We have a myriad of inflationary measures for chlorine for the pools and lifeguard uniforms and things like that that we’re going to have to pay for. And those costs are all going up, the cost of gasoline and otherwise, and so it’s clearly going to be a tighter budget process this year.”

Park City’s fiscal year begins in July. A draft budget is typically presented in May, with final approval in June.