Experience the Rich History of Park City Mountain: A Journey Through Time
Park City Mountain holds a special place in the hearts of many winter sports enthusiasts. As we approach its 60th winter season, let us take a moment to delve into the incredible journey that has shaped this world-class destination. From humble beginnings to becoming a global sensation, Park City Mountain has undergone remarkable transformations over the years.
1983-1993: The Decade of Fond Memories and Heartfelt Loss
The decade spanning from 1983 to 1993 is etched in the memories of Park City locals and visitors alike. It was during this time that I first experienced the thrill of skiing on a sixth-grade field trip to Hidden Valley Resort in St. Louis, Missouri. Meanwhile, Park City Ski Area was making significant strides in establishing itself as a prominent player in the winter sports industry.
A Major Milestone: FIS World Cup Arrives in Park City
In 1985, Park City Ski Area had its moment of triumph as it hosted its inaugural FIS World Cup event. The Men’s and Women’s Slalom competitions took place on March 19-20, capturing the attention of skiing enthusiasts worldwide. Luxembourg’s Marc Girardelli clinched the gold in the men’s event, while Switzerland’s Erika Hess emerged victorious in the women’s category. Notably, one of the ski runs at Park City, “Erika’s Gold off Crescent Ridge,” honors Erika Hess’s remarkable achievement.
Building on this success, Park City continued to host the FIS World Cup for another year before shifting the event’s schedule to November, naming it “America’s Opening.” This annual event became the first world cup event of the season in America and established Park City as a premier winter sports destination. America’s Opening became a cherished tradition that endured until the 2000-01 season.
Becoming Olympic-Ready: World Cup Races Pave the Way
Mel Uhl, the dedicated vehicle maintenance manager and former snowcat operator and snowmaker, recounts the immense preparation and resource allocation required to make the World Cup races a resounding success. It was a collective effort to create the perfect skiing surface for the elite athletes, often grappling with unpredictable weather conditions. The experience gained from these races was invaluable and played a pivotal role in ensuring that Park City Mountain was ready to host the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Iconic Additions: Pioneer Chair and Town Lift
During the early ’80s, Park City Mountain welcomed two iconic chairlifts that have since become beloved fixtures of the resort. In 1984, the Pioneer Chair was installed, followed by the Town Lift in 1985. The Town Lift’s significance lies in its direct connection between Park City Ski Area and historic Main Street. Skiers and snowboarders can now seamlessly glide into town and catch a lift back up the mountain, preserving a cherished Park City tradition.
Evolution of On-Mountain Dining: From Burger Shack to Lookout Cabin
ParkWest, a part of Park City Mountain, expanded its dining offerings in the mid ’80s. A former snowcat maintenance shed was transformed into a humble burger shack, situated near the Tomahawk and Slaughterhouse double chairs. Over time, this burger shack evolved into the esteemed Lookout Cabin, providing visitors with a remarkable dining experience.
A Loss Felt Deeply: Remembering Craig Badami
Tragedy struck the Park City community in late 1989 when Craig Badami, a part-owner and vice president of marketing for Park City Ski Area, lost his life in a helicopter accident following the FIS World Cup. Craig’s untimely demise shook the tight-knit community, engendering immense sadness and grief throughout Park City, Utah, and the ski industry as a whole. Craig was remembered for his unwavering loyalty, dedication to Park City Ski Area, and his boundless energy and creativity. His remarkable leadership in organizing the Park City World Cup races played a crucial role in securing Salt Lake City’s bid for the 2002 Olympic Games. Craig’s legacy is immortalized in the Mountain Village base area with an iconic eagle statue dedicated to him and his father, Nick. Additionally, Park City Mountain’s race arena features CB’s Run, paying tribute to the indelible mark Craig Badami left on the resort.
A Grateful Acknowledgment
Special thanks go out to Sally Elliott from the Friends of Ski Mountain Mining History, Connie Nelson from the Alf Engen Ski Museum, and Morgan Pierce and Dalton Gackle from the Park City Museum for their invaluable contributions. Their insights and assistance have helped us piece together the colorful history and captivating stories of Park City Mountain over the past six decades.
As we reflect on the extraordinary past of Park City Mountain, we appreciate the vision, dedication, and perseverance that have shaped it into the legendary destination it is today. Let us continue to celebrate its rich history and look forward to many more memorable winters in the inviting embrace of Park City Mountain.
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Park City Mountain