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Travel & Tourism
Park City – It’s been 50 years since lifts started running at Park City Mountain Resort, and the mountain and city have never been the same since.
Park City Mountain Resort first opened in 1963 under the name Treasure Mountains. It was Park City’s first ski resort, and it marked the beginning of an economic turnaround for Park City. In the years after World War II, the mining boom that had made the city thrive earlier in the century had come to an end, and people were leaving town.
“The mountain and the town of Park City have come so far in those 50 years,” said Andy Miller, communications manager at PCMR. “In the ‘40s and ‘50s we were officially listed on a registry of ghost towns.”
It’s safe to say things have turned around since then. Park City is now a worldwide destination for skiing and snowboarding and summer activities, as well as January’s influential Sundance Film Festival. The city and its slopes were the site of many events during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The resort plans to celebrate throughout the winter with guest giveaways and events, centering on an event Dec. 21, which is the date the resort originally opened in 1963. In January, the resort will host an event for the Visa U.S. Grand Prix, a freeskiing competition that will be a final opportunity for competitors to earn points toward qualifying for the first-ever U.S. Olympic freeskiing team. It will also host a naming ceremony for the freeskiing team, Miller said.
The anniversary coincides with another 50th anniversary—the assassination of John F. Kennedy, who played a crucial role in the beginnings of the resort. The resort’s founders had applied for a federal grant to build a resort intended to rejuvenate Park City’s flagging economy, but the process had been mired in red tape until several Utah newspaper publishers dined with President Kennedy in 1962. When Kennedy concluded the meeting by asking what he could do for Utah, Salt Lake Tribune publisher Jack Gallivan asked for help with the loan. Kennedy asked his press secretary to ensure it was taken care of. The resort opened a month after Kennedy’s death.