While skiing Park City Mountain Resort the other day it occurred to me that Park City is indeed "Park" city. Their obvious commitment to terrain parks and features that are so desirable among the younger snowboarders and skiers is making people smile.
It's certainly a different tune from when I moved to Park City in 1996. A mere decade ago the Eagle lift would be running with a huge commitment in snow making and race preparations would have already been made in anticipation for what was then the America's Opening - the annual GS and Slalom World Cup races that were hosted at Park City Mountain Resort.
Fast forward to today in a season that has been a slow starter and those same runs where the Olympic Slalom and GS were run back in 2002 and those runs were sparse with the tops of the summer grass sticking through.
In lieu of days gone by are at least 15 different terrain park features in 3 different locations - 3 features on Pay Day and a pile more on Home Run with 3 good sizes table top jumps on Silver Hollow off of the Three Kings lift. To my knowledge these 3 hits are the first in Utah this season. The snow making, grooming and time commitment to these features is likely near what it took to get the race hills ready.
Add to that the half pipe, although looking a bit sparse still, had a pile of snow at the top from snowmaking that looked like the toe of a glacier. I'm sure it takes a glacier worth of snow each year to build and shape the pipe as the snow remains well into the summer.
And the response from the skiers I talked to? The energy and stoke grew as the day wore on. There were tons of riders at each line up with smiles and stoke all around. I snapped a few images but I doubt they captured the energy and excitement. You've got to go there to feel it and enjoy it.