At the beginning of July, the last season of the rainbow quarterpipe in the North Face facility in Park City, Utah, came to an end. In June, a radical design designed to redefine Olympic Alpine racing became the subject of fierce debate. But after years of creating Games weather, Europeans who have become pros at ski holidays in the places around Park City and Utah will see the end of their existence.
They will all go home at the end of the skiing season. And Park City itself will cease to exist as a region on the outskirts of Salt Lake City.
The extreme skiers from Europe who make the bold pilgrimage to Park City now see it as a kind of magnet. Like moths drawn to a light bulb or a light switch, this network of high-speed lifts and narrow, undulating trails has been of strategic importance to them. The companies that run the ski parks are generously funded by millions of pounds of marketing from Europe. When Park City was little more than an empty, nondescript desert town, it was there that the groundwork was laid for the best mountain resorts in North America. They drew the Europeans in. And now they are paying the price for the amenities they have brought.
The Europeans have become an important part of the Park City economy and have become a bellwether for the North Face. But now Park City’s owners have decided to dismantle the American city’s important link to the rest of the continent. They need to attract more revenue.
A couple of years ago, a company based in Switzerland bought the land that makes up the mountain resort. It is now easier than ever to build a ski resort in the United States and it is becoming a key route for Chinese tourists who are willing to fly many hours to a resort with high standards. So next year, there will be less of a reason for Europeans to pay a king’s ransom to fly down to Park City and then up and back on their private jets.
But all the skiing action is already down in Utah.