Park City group curious about Vail’s next actions
What is this: A group from Park City is on a long-planned visit to Vail and Steamboat Springs this week.
How many came? About 70 people, from the town’s mayor to a ski instructor.
What did they do? The group toured Vail Village, Lionshead and Vail Mountain.
How far is Park City? About 430 miles, according to http://www.mapquest.com
VAIL — Holly Erickson is happy to have a job for the winter. And, after a day-long tour of Vail, she’s interested to see what Vail Resorts might do in her hometown, Park City.
The news about Vail Resorts’ purchase of Park City Mountain Resort came just as a group of about 70 people from Park City arrived in Vail on a pre-planned visit. The group consisted of town officials, of course, along with business people and a handful of participants in Leadership Park City, an organization that acquaints younger people with the ins and outs of civic life.
Erickson, a ski instructor at Park City, is a member of the leadership group.
The Grand View meeting room atop the Lionshead parking structure has a good view of Vail Resorts’ Arrabelle at Vail Square. That facility, among others, has Erickson excited about Park City’s relationship with its new resort operator.
And, during a question-and-answer session with Vail officials after Thursday’s tour, the relationship with Vail Resorts was one of the first questions asked by members of the Park City contingent.
Vail Town Manager Stan Zemler replied that while there are some “rocky” moments, the overall relationship is a good one.
Zemler said it was something of a shock to Vail and the valley when Vail Resorts moved its corporate headquarters to Broomfield several years ago.
“But we’ve survived it,” he said. “They’re a good partner.”
That was good news to Erickson.
“We’re fortunate to have a great corporation coming in,” she said. “We’ve seen first-hand what they’ve done here.”
Aside from the relationship with Vail Resorts, other questions at the day-end session included what Vail’s challenges are.
Zemler ran down a list familiar to local residents, including air service, the aging of the resort’s property owners, housing and how the ski industry in general can continue to thrive while serving a sport that isn’t growing.
Others wanted to know about occupancy — “It can always be better,” Vail Economic Development Director Kelli McDonald said — and how the town’s reservations system works.
As a fairly worn-out group adjourned for the day, Patrick Saucier, another Leadership Park City participant, said he was pleased with what he’d seen so far. He also said opinions were starting to evolve with his social media contacts.
“The Facebook comments I saw were pretty grim at first,” Saucier said. “But just a few hours later, they’re starting to get excited about skiing in Vail and hearing about the new employee systems.”
Erickson was obviously happy to hear the news that Park City resort employees will all be retained for the coming season.
“I’m just relieved the resort will be open,” she said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org and @scottnmiller.