PCMR Opening Observations

Last Saturday was opening day for Park City Mountain Resort. A day that almost didn't happen after 50yrs of season openers. Fortunately, the temps were cold in early November for the snow guns to provide enough man-made for a handful of runs. Then, the snow gods did their part and provided several inches Saturday evening. Looks like everyone had a blast!

Usually we aren't ones to miss Opening Day, but I had cycling commitments and Terry was flat on his back. I spent the morning at the cycling studio, then had a relaxing afternoon watching wildlife and finishing a mystery novel.

Caution: Moose Crossing
Sunday morning, I got up early to snowblow and shovel then opted for cycling class rather than skiing. Terry and I really enjoy skiing together, so it felt wrong to hit the lifts for my 1st day of the season without him. Plus it was the first cycling class I'd been able to attend and a great opportunity to catch up with friends. Amazing how you all can ride all summer and never run into each other on the road or trail.

Cycling Friends - Steven, Rad, and Tara 
Since we couldn't travel due to injuries and work commitments, we stayed home for Thanksgiving. Wednesday evening, we did pool therapy for our back issues. Yesterday, we headed to the resort for our 1st official day of the 2014-2015 season. As long as we could survive the drive and chairlift rides, skiing would hopefully get some blood flowing.

In addition to wondering how our bodies would react, we were curious about the new ownership and what other changes we would observe. Since the Vail purchase in September, the most notable was the coffee announcement! I'm sure there is more to the story, but to drop Park City Coffee Roaster and at the last minute when they already had inventory, certainly wasn't following "Support Local" initiatives.

The 1st test was parking. We arrived before 9:30 and the lots were filling up quickly, but no major changes. Next up was the lift line protocol. All the access gates had been removed and replaced with employees with extra strength scanners. We have always kept our season passes in our pants to trigger the gates but learned quickly that a pass in your coat was easier for the humans.

Also different was the loading process from "Front Row" to an alternating lane system. It wasn't working very well, but maybe the skiers/employees just need some practice. As far as Fast Tracks, we were a little worried how it would work without gates. If you aren't familiar, Fast Tracks is similar to an express line at an amusement park. You pay more for the ability to go in a special lane and load immediately. Fast Tracks is now set up as an alternating lane with Ski Lessons and we didn't wait for a chair all morning. With the large Thanksgiving crowds and only 3 lifts open, it paid for itself immediately.

Skis Crossed for More Snow

Happy Thanksgiving Selfie
2014-2015 Base Area - No changes, but betting it won't look like this next season
Another change at PCMR is the rule that if an employee is on your chair, the bar is coming down. Having worked for corporations with legal and safety departments, this change wasn't a big surprise. I also have a feeling the marketing and sales departments were in on it, since the bar now weighs a lot more thanks to the trail map and advertisements.
Bar Coming Down!
Thin Cover - You can still see Jenni's MTB trail
Talking to some employees, we learned that many of the changes have been good, especially for them. They are excited about job stability, increased budgets, and improvement plans for next season. I hope this is a good sign for the upcoming season. We lasted 90 minutes before the crowds were too chaotic to navigate and we were craving ice and medication. We headed back home thankful for a ski resort that almost didn't open this year. Now we just need some more snow!