We’re halfway through 2019 and well into summer and while it’s important to live in the moment and enjoy every bit of warm weather recreation possible, there are definitely some compelling reasons to start thinking about winter. Specifically, season passes. There is a myriad of options and a lot of information to sort through, but if you do it now instead of later the cost savings can be really significant. And saving now can mean more time on the slopes in the 2019/2020 season.
To help you get started, let’s talk about multi-area passes. Continually growing in popularity, the Epic Pass and the IKON Pass have quite literally changed the ski industry. Whether you plan to stay close to home and ski at your local mountain all season or vacation around the world, it’s definitely worthwhile to understand how and where these passes work.
The IKON Pass offers two options for the 2019/2020 season. The main distinction between the two are blackouts: The IKON Pass has no blackout dates at any of the 39 resorts in its portfolio; The IKON Base Pass includes the same 39 resorts, with blackout date restrictions.
The IKON Pass offers unlimited access at 14 resorts, including Solitude in Utah. Plus, you get up to 7 days each at 24 other resorts including Deer Valley Resort, Brighton and Alta Snowbird in Utah. Besides lift passes, the IKON Pass has other benefits, such as 10 Friends & Family discount lift tickets (25% off the window rate) and exclusive 15% discounts on retail, food and beverage and summer access at select destinations. The Adult (Age 23+) IKON Pass is currently $1,049.
The IKON Base Pass offers unlimited access at 12 resorts, including Solitude in Utah. And you get up to 5 days each at 26 other resorts including Deer Valley Resort, Brighton and Alta Snowbird in Utah. There are blackout dates for all of these resorts, most notably Christmas week, Martin Luther King weekend in January and President’s Day weekend in February. The IKON Base Pass also offers additional benefits including 8 Friends & Family discount lift tickets (25% off the window rate) and exclusive 10% discounts on retail, food and beverage and summer access at select destinations. . The Adult (Age 23+) IKON Base Pass is currently $749.
Rates for both passes are slated to go up by at least $100 in October, and will continue to go up. For more details and to purchase online go to IKON Pass
Deer Valley Resort continues to offer a range of exclusive season pass options. The Full Season Pass offers unlimited skiing without dates restrictions (even holidays). Also, when you purchase an eligible Full Season Pass, you get a complimentary IKON Base Pass (for yourself – see description of inclusions, above), with the option to upgrade to a full IKON Pass. Deer Valley Resort Full Season Pass holders also get up to 10 days of skiing for friends and family at 25% off the window rate, and 15% discounts at Deer Valley restaurants and retail outlets year ‘round. And there are more inclusions – one complimentary day ticket at Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude Mountain Resorts. Adult (age 23-64) Full Season Passes are currently $2,265 and will go up to $2,766 on October 17, 2019. For more information on the Full Season Pass and other Deer Valley Resort pass options go to Deer Valley Resort
The EPIC Pass offers numerous options at various price points. The granddaddy – The EPIC Pass – offers unlimited access at 20 resorts including Park City Mountain in Utah. It also includes 7 days each at 3 US resorts including Snowbasin in Utah, and 50% off day passes after all 7 days are used. And there’s more – limited access to 6 resorts in Canada, 11 resorts in Japan and 30 European resorts. Passholders receive 6 Ski-With-A-Friend single-day discounted tickets valid at select resorts, and other benefits. The Adult (age 13+) EPIC Pass rate is currently $939.
The EPIC Local Pass is also wildly popular. It offers unlimited access to 9 US resorts and limited access (blackout dates) at 5 more US resorts including Park City Mountain in Utah. The pass also offers access limited to a certain number of days with holiday blackouts at another 5 US resorts including Snowbasin in Utah. If you’re headed to Japan you would have 5 (consecutive) days each at 11 resorts there. Additional discounted day passes are included at 8 North American resorts including Park City Mountain. The Adult (age 19+) EPIC Local Pass is presently $699.
EPIC Day Passes offer flexibility, in number of days – 1 to 7 – and destination; the passes are valid at 26 North American resorts including Park City Mountain and Snowbasin in Utah. The price per day decreases with the number of days you purchase, from $125 for a one-day pass to $105 per day for a seven-day pass.
Prices for all the EPIC Pass options are going to go up in September, and increase incrementally later into the fall. Rate increase dates will be announced ahead of time. To research your options and keep an eye on announcements or to purchase now go to EPIC Pass.
Blowing out the 2018-2019 season with exciting events and Dynamite Deals
The snow is piled up, the days are getting longer, it’s time again for Spring Grüv, Park City Mountain’s 12th annual end-of-season celebration. Park City Mountain will host live music, some huge, free concerts in both Canyons Village and Park City Mountain Village, s’mores, avalanche dogs meet & greet and other fun entertainment every day March 23 – April 7.
The event kicks off on March 23rd with Pink Park City, family-friendly ski day and fundraiser for cancer research. In its second year, Park City Mountain will be covered in pink – pink parties, pink decorations, and hundreds of pink skiers. Pink Park City was started in 2018 and is supporting research for all types of cancer by raising money for Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah.
There are lots of ways to participate, and some fun incentives. Participants can sign up as an individual, or get together and enter as a team. There’s a costume contest, a Chippo contest presented by University of Utah (Chippo is a mash-up of golf and corn hole), and a Checkpoint Challenge – visit different locations to participate in deck parties, giveaways, and activities. There’s also an intriguing diamond drawing sponsored by Diamonds Direct. You don’t need to ski to participate; your registration fee covers all the fun activities at the base.
The day culminates with the Rally for Hope Parade, where participants ski as a group to the base for awards, prizes and a concert by Jamie Drake at Canyons Village. For more information and to register go to Pink Park City
A good plan for each day would be to hit the slopes in the morning and wrap up your day in the afternoon with Après Live Music – different artists every day at PayDay Deck and Umbrella Bar. On several days you can play Megamind PubQuiz Power Hour Trivia, meet amazing Avalanche dogs and enjoy free S’mores. There are Spring Concert Series and Spring Grüv shows featuring a wide variety of music, perfect for kicking back and/or kicking up your heels.
Spring Grüv and the 2018-2019 season wrap up on April 6 and 7 with the 23rd Annual Pond Skimming Contest on April 6. Pond skimming is one of those wild local traditions that have gained nearly legendary status. Contestants must dress in costume – the more “memorable” the better – as they attempt to cross a 100-foot pond on skis or a snowboard without sinking into the freezing water. The pond is at mid-mountain, just outside Red Pine Lodge so spectators and participants will need a lift or gondola ticket.
Dance it out on April 7, scheduled to be the last day of the season. Park City Mountain is going big; the afternoon is packed with music at both the Canyons Village and PayDay Pad stages.
To help you take advantage of the Spring Grüv revelry, Park City Lodging is offering Dynamite Deals: Incredible rates on lodging and terrific free inclusions:
Go to Park City Lodging to check out sensational spring rates. Enter code DYNAMITEDEALS when booking; availability is limited. *Valid for new reservations for stays March 23 – April 7, 2019 when booked after February 27, 2019. Package spend is based on nightly rate not including taxes or fees. Cannot be combined with any other special offers. Minimum stay and other conditions may apply. Direct bookings only.
The Perfect Itinerary – From a Local’s Perspective
I’ve been in Park City for over 20 years and I enthusiastically welcome visits from friends and family (most of them, anyway…) Each time someone visits, especially for the first time, I get to weigh in on the best things to do, eat and see. I am very careful to suggest itineraries that I would really enjoy, because hopefully I’ll get to go along and, once again, vacation in my hometown.
My brother-in-law, Ed, and his wife, Catherine, make a perfect example. Being a lapsed avid skier, Ed, who lives in the eastern US, comes out every few years in the winter to dust off the boards and enjoy a few reset runs with his brother. But Catherine has never been to Utah. Not even once! So, here’s an itinerary I would put together for Ed and Catherine, to make sure Ed has fun again, and Catherine has a blast (and so do I!):
Since they’re flying in from the east they’ll catch an early morning flight and they’ll get here in time to ski in the afternoon. Ed appreciates and likes to ski on top-of-the-line equipment, and since he skis infrequently he demos every time he comes out. We take him straight away to Park City Sport, either at Town Lift on Main Street or the base of Park City Mountain; either location will have him on Park City Mountain’s slopes in minutes. Catherine doesn’t ski much, like, at all, so she and I will get them checked into their Park City Lodging condo (they’d stay with us at our house, but dog hair). Because she’s fit and health conscious (and because I want to impress her right out of the chutes) I’d take her to Park City Provisions for lunch. I know she’d love their selection of bowls and salads, and I may just twist her arm to share some of my Provisions fries. From there we’d walk around Main Street and I’d show her the Banksy and tell her amusing stories about celebrity sightings and craziness during Sundance and help her shop for cute boots. When the guys are done skiing we’ll meet up with them at Old Town Cellars for a few glasses of wine and some fancy and delicious charcuterie and chocolate. As usual Ed will claim he didn’t have too much trouble keeping up with his brother on the slopes, even after so much time off; my husband will just shake his head and sip his wine.
Since yesterday was a travel day, and they’ll be dealing with the time change and Ed’s sore muscles, they’ll be moving kind of slow. We’ll meet up at Deer Valley Grocery Café for a hearty breakfast – having guests in town in a great excuse to indulge in a Dutch Baby, am I right? The guys are going to ski Deer Valley today, and while Catherine will be thinking about it, she still won’t be quite ready to give it a shot. No problem, lots of other fun stuff to check out. I bet she’ll be ready for a work out and I’m pretty sure she’ll be game for trying out Fat Biking. No, it’s not biking while fat (although after that Dutch Baby…) it’s bikes with big fat tires on which you can ride miles of snow covered trails. I’ve never done it before and it looks like fun, so off we’ll go to White Pine Touring. Local guides are included in Fat Bike rentals there, so I won’t even have to pretend I know what I’m doing. After the ride, we’ll grab a quick healthy lunch at Fairweather Natural Foods, then over to Align Spa for some pampering, maybe a soothing massage for her and hydrating facial for me – the air is really dry here! Meanwhile, the guys will have been cruising the award-winning groomers at Deer Valley, with a break for Turkey Chili and beer. For dinner we’ll treat them (and ourselves) to some local flavor, at the quintessential locals hang out, the No Name Saloon. Catherine might be a little reluctant, it’s pretty casual for her taste, but we’ve taken Ed there before and he loves the buffalo burgers and vibe as much as we do. I’m certain Catherine will come around. After dinner, we’ll go to Paint Mixer. Ed and Catherine aren’t particularly artistic, but they don’t have to be to have a blast with us, having a few bevs and creating a unique souvenir. My husband and I have done it a few times and we want to add to our collection of, ahem, fine art.
Catherine will be ready to ski. After breakfast at Bridge Café & Grill we’ll take her back to Park City Sport and get her geared up. While Catherine brushes up with a lesson, Ed, my husband and I will ski a few runs and we’ll meet up for lunch at one of Park City Mountain’s on-mountain restaurants, probably the renovated Mid-Mountain Lodge – tuna poke and crispy brussels sprouts? Yes please. In the afternoon we’ll make our way over to the Canyons side of the mountain. When we’re done skiing we’ll apres on the deck at the Umbrella Bar which usually has live music and always a fun scene. For dinner, I really want to have them over to the house, but I really don’t want to cook-to-impress. So, since I’m on vacation too here, I’m going to ring up my friends at Epicurean Chefs and let them do the cooking for me. They do these terrific sous-vide entrees that will amaze Ed and Catherine, AND we’ll have a clean kitchen and leftovers.
Ed and Catherine’s last full day, and a lot to pack in. We’ll get up pretty early, grab coffee from Atticus Coffee & Teahouse and head over to Daniels Summit for snowmobiling. My husband and I don’t do a lot of snowmobiling, but we have so much fun every time we do we wonder why we don’t do it more. We’ll have a great morning careening around the trails and then by golly, for more adrenaline rush we’ll head to the Utah Olympic Park and do Comet bobsled rides. We feel so justifiably proud of our town’s – our – Olympic legacy, and we love sharing it. You can still feel the excitement of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games at the UOP, and now, the electric anticipation of possibly hosting another Games here in 2030 – fingers crossed! Ed typically hosts us for his last night in town, so they’ll ask us about doing something special that we usually don’t get to do – score! Sleigh ride, here we come. Rocky Mountain Outfitters over in Midway has romantic, horse-y, sleigh-bells-jingling sleigh rides that are just plain great fun. After that we’ll go to one of our favorites for dinner – Sammy’s Bistro. Sammy’s was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, even though it is neither a diner, nor a drive-in, and certainly not a dive. Normally I’d share my mahi mahi tacos, but after the day we’ve had, hey, get your own.
Ed and Catherine’s flight isn’t until later in the day, so there will be time for a few final runs. We’ll get them out on the mountain again, or maybe Ed will want to go fly fishing – Ed really, really likes to fish. My husband likes to fish with him, especially when he catches bigger fish. My husband doesn’t have gear so we’d grab a guide with gear from All Seasons Adventures to take them out to some blue ribbon waters. Catherine and I can get ready to cook the fish they catch for lunch. Kidding. We’ll go out for sushi lunch at Flying Sumo. We’ll all be sad when they have to leave later on in the afternoon. But Ed will have had another great experience, Catherine will have been impressed to the point that she’ll come back again, and again. And my husband and I will be happily exhausted. Thanks Ed and Catherine, come back soon!
The Biggest Winter Sports Event to be Held in Utah Since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games
The 2019 International Ski Federation (FIS) Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships, presented by Toyota are coming to Utah! Over 1,400 athletes from around the world will converge to compete in Snowboardcross and Skicross; Freeski and Snowboard Big Air, Slopestyle and Halfpipe; Snowboard Parallel Slalom and Parallel Giant Slalom; and Freestyle Moguls, Dual Moguls and Aerials. Park City, Deer Valley and Solitude Resorts will host these exciting and prestigious events February 1 – 10, 2019 – the biggest winter sports event to be held in Utah since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. All events are free and open to the public.
Setting the tone for event, the competition kicks off at Solitude Mountain Resort on February 1, 2 and 3 with one of the most thrilling snow sports, Snowboardcross. Snowboardcross and Skicross events involve multiple athletes racing at the same time down a course that has steep and flat sections, jumps, turns and rollers, challenging snowboarders and skiers to go really fast while staying in control and not wiping out, or being wiped out by their competitors. While the teams won’t be officially named until the end of January you can expect to see top U.S. athletes such as seven time X-Games champion Nate Holland, two time Olympic Gold Medalist Seth Wescott, Olympic Bronze Medalist Alex Deibold and Olympic Silver Medalist Lindsey Jacobellis.
Opening Ceremonies and Freeski Big Air are at Canyons Village – Park City Resort in the evening on February 2, featuring music by The Main Squeeze (soul and hip-hop, funk with rock) and fireworks. For the first time in the history of World Championships, Freeskiing Big Air will be included as a medal event. The International Olympic Committee is including this event for the first time in the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games.
Park City Village at Park City Mountain hosts its first event in the afternoon on February 4, the Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom. This breathtaking event is simple – two riders race down the slope side by side; first to the bottom wins. PyeongChang 2018 Gold Medalist Ester Ledecká is expected to be among the contenders.
Deer Valley Resort throws it into high gear on February 6 with Freestyle Aerials. Definitely heart-stopping, athletes launch high into the air, twisting, flipping and hopefully sticking a safe landing. Look for US athletes Ashley Caldwell and Jonathon Lillis, both World Champions.
Competitions and events including art exhibits, sponsor and vendor villages continue daily at the resorts until February 10 with the Closing Ceremonies on Park City’s Main Street. For what should be an amazing party, competitors and people from all over the world will converge on Main Street for music from Lupe Fiasco and fireworks.
Events will be broadcast on NBCSN and Olympic Channel and streamed live, but there’s nothing like experiencing it firsthand. Some recommendations for enjoying it all:
For more information and the full schedule of events go to 2019 FIS World Championships
A chat with Ryan Midiri of Ski Butlers
Park City Lodging is proud to be partnered with another vibrant Park City native – Ski Butlers. Started in 2004 by Bryn Carey out of a single car garage here in town, Ski Butlers has steadily grown into a recognized and award winning business with outlets serving over 44 resorts in North America and Europe, making it the world’s largest ski rental delivery service. Unlike the traditional ski rental shop, Ski Butlers brings the equipment to you, in your condo or even at the mountain. Their size, however, doesn’t diminish each location’s and each individual’s commitment to their community. Here are some insights from Ski Butlers Park City Sales & Brand Manager Ryan Midiri:
PCL – What’s a typical ski delivery like? Any memorable ski delivery stories that you can share?
RM – “We always start with the kids. Kids are excited and interested and usually short on patience. If we can get them fitted first, parents and the other adults are more comfortable for their own fittings. Deliveries generally happen in the late afternoon or early evening, or first thing in the morning. Our techs are essentially going right into people’s homes and they’re very accustomed to being in that personal environment. It’s not unusual for them to get invitations to join in for breakfast or apres and I remember one story about a delivery to a group in a luxury home that was well into a second or third round of mimosas at about 7:00am when our techs got there. They were pretty enthusiastic about getting the techs to join the party. Our guys declined the mimosas but had a lot of fun getting everyone fitted. Of course, we really respect people’s privacy and there are stories we just don’t tell. In Park City we do a lot of business with celebrities, and we’ll just leave it at that.”
PCL – Do you and your staff get to ski yourselves?
RM – “Absolutely we do. In fact we structure our shifts specifically so staff can have time to ski every day, and for people in the office to get out and ski at least once a week. We’re serious about supporting ‘people pursuing their passion in the mountains’ and that’s across the board, guests, techs, corporate. It’s just a great reset and reminds us why we’re here.”
PCL – What kind of trends do you see in ski and snowboard equipment?
RM – “Ski Butlers exclusively uses Rossignol. The partnership is really incredible, and we’re able to refresh 75% – 80% of our inventory every year. Which means we’re sending out new gear with almost every rental. We don’t carry their entire line, but most of it. This year we’re excited about their Experience 88, Sky 7 and Soul 7 skis. One of the advantages of renting with us is that you could try all these skis during your stay, and we’ll bring them to you. We are seeing more and more people who used to own their own high performance equipment but now only own and travel with boots. They know what type of skis they’re looking for and, depending on the conditions, start their vacation with one type then switch to another when conditions change. This ability to easily swap out equipment is especially helpful with kids’ equipment; kids’ skills improve or they even outgrow their equipment by mid-week and it’s just really simple for everyone for us to bring the new equipment to you, as opposed to having to go into a shop. Everyone gets to spend more time on the snow, which means a better vacation.”
PCL – Park City Lodging is very committed to sustainability and Green practices. Ski Butlers is also actively involved in organizations addressing climate change. What can you tell us about your efforts, both here in Park City and across your locations?
RM – “We are deeply committed to becoming 100% renewable energy at all our locations, and being involved POW, Protect Our Winters and Climate Reality’s I AM PRO SNOW 100% to help spread the word. Currently, all of the buildings we own are completely solar powered. We’ve invested in a 100% electric delivery van and we’re committed to buying no more gas-powered vehicles. We’re planning ahead to phase out those vehicles and have a completely electric fleet by 2022, when our research tells us there will be expanded range batteries and a wider range of vehicle options. In the meantime, look for our wrapped Nissan ENV 200 around town.”
PCL – What’s new with your business here in Park City in 18/19? Are you experiencing any trends?
RM – “Business is steadily growing, while having to meet new challenges. We’re seeing more and more people using season passes, such as Vail’s Epic pass and Deer Valley’s Ikon pass. There’s a decrease in loyalty to a specific ski mountain, and more people are making more trips, often following the snow, planning with very short notice. Last minute bookings are becoming more frequent, which is great, but we have had to adjust our model. We don’t worry about having enough inventory – based on experience we’re confident we have enough equipment to handle the busiest time periods, throughout the season. Thankfully, we’ve been adjusting really well and our service scores are staying really high.”
PCL – Ski Butlers has received a number of awards and acknowledgements. Which means the most to you?
RM – “Definitely, being named to the Inc 5000 fastest growing companies list for the past four years is a recognition I’m really proud of, because during these years of growth, our NPS (service scores) have stayed high or grown as well. Ski Butlers’ goal is 90% or higher, which we have consistently achieved and exceeded. Ski Butlers’ company-wide score is 94.62%, and Park City’s average is higher than that.”
(Net Promotor Score (NPS) is a management tool used to gauge the loyalty and satisfaction of a company’s customers.)
PCL – What do you most want people to know about Ski Butlers?
RM – “Our mission statement is simply and powerfully – To make ski vacations convenient. We live out that mission every day.”
PCL – And finally, it’s almost baseball season, less than a month until pitchers and catchers report. Who do you like for the 2019 season?
RM – “Phillies all the way.”
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