(Park City, Utah, January 20, 2013) We arrived in Salt Lake City the night before our “Park City Mountain: Ski-In, Ski-Out” program began, just in time to enjoy a winter sunset as we pondered what would be most memorable for the next week: the skiing, learning about Park City and its history, or the people we will meet. By the middle of this afternoon, we know there’s much to anticipate in all three areas.
2013 is the 50th anniversary of Treasure Mountain Ski Resort, opened by miners to save the town after the silver industry collapsed in the 1950s. Now Park City Mountain Ski Resort, it’s one of the world’s premier ski and snowboard destinations. Those miners knew what they were doing.
This year is also the 101st anniversary of the discovery of silver in these mountains in 1862. Colonel Patrick Connor and his men were stationed here, and prospecting seemed like a good way to stay busy. Those soldiers knew what they were doing as well; the mines produced $400 million in silver and 23 millionaires in their day. And there are still 1,000 miles of tunnels beneath the slopes we’ll ski. We’ll even take a tour of the mountain’s mining history – on skis. Now that’s a learning adventure!
Our Road Scholar program leaders, Gary and Sandy Nielsen, have a full slate of activities ready for us, including ski lessons, tickets to some of this year’s Sundance Film Festival movies, and even a “ghost tour” of Park City highlighting, as Gary puts it, “some of the colorful characters who met untimely ends here.” In their introductions, they noted that so far, participants on their programs have produced many returning Road Scholars, dozens of new friendships, and even three marriages.
It all sounds like a great reason to get up early tomorrow for breakfast and a ride up the lifts. They say that some of the lifts were once aerial trams used for hauling ore. Here’s hoping the rust is history.