Excellence and luxury in our mountain town.
By Annette Velarde
There is a vast difference between the pursuit of excellence and the pursuit of elite status. Elite status implies a level of mastery at one particular skill; the pursuit of excellence is a holistic endeavor and involves aspects that influence a particular outcome. The value of knowing this distinction is based solely upon its intention.
During the past decade, an astonishing synergy between Park City’s tourist industry’s dynamic vision of excellence and the full- time resident’s personal commitment to living thoughtful, meaningful, well-intentioned lives has come into full bloom. The vibrant momentum of this unique partnership has not only raised Park City to world-class status in a short time, but keeps lifting the bar for measuring community excellence everywhere.Deer Valley, Canyons, and Park City Mountain Resort have solidified the tourist industry foundation of Park City. Leading the way has been Deer Valley, consistently a top- rated ski resort by readers of Ski Magazine. Canyons and Park City Mountain Resort are both regularly noted among the best resorts in the U.S. Their time-tested elite status is due not only to their celebrated snow, sunny weather, and runs, but also due to paying as much attention to their impressive customer service and epicurean food quality as they do to grooming their famous Utah powder. A wide range of family activities, exceptional guest service that far exceeds expectations, and luxury-level amenities, all contribute to their legendary elite rankings.
In the past three years, names such as Montage, The St. Regis, and Waldorf Astoria have opened properties that have become thecrown jewels of their opulent brand. With the introduction of these resorts have come magnificent spas dedicated to luxurious wellbeing, as well as improving the health of their clients.
Joining world-class signature properties such as Stein Erikson Lodge, fine dining in Park City has taken on a whole new meaning. Dining rooms and restaurants located within these properties elevate meals from great food to a renowned, distinctive dining experience that entices the senses. The details of ambiance, presentation, world-class cuisine and flavor beyond compare are attended to with connoisser passion.
Because tourism swells Park City’s consumer base exponentially, dining, shopping and activities have grown by leaps and bounds in the past decades. In 1995, approximately 50 restaurants were operating in Park City. Today, there are 183 and counting year-round eateries for diners to choose from. Small and local businesses have opened to offer visitors and residents products and services that can’t be found elsewhere. Today, you can enjoy a day of horseback riding combined with paddle-board yoga in a hot-spring crater or consult with a world-famous naturopath on your individual or family’s health while indulging in a massage or facial. Delight in an afternoon sampling locally formulated organic skin care products or tasting unique signature extra virgin olive oils before moving over to the local whiskey distillery to appraise their industry award-winning line made right in Park City. Stroll Historic Main Street shops and you’ll find locally designed clothing that is truly wearable art.
Park City’s second, most well-known draw is gallery and artistry events. No less than 25 exceptional and distinctive art galleries grace Historic Main Street and are located throughout town. On the last Friday of each month members of the Park City Gallery Association offer a unique showcase highlighting artists, special exhibits and art events. Deemed The Gallery Stroll, participants wander from gallery to gallery, enjoying light refreshments and meeting like-minded art lovers while perusing fine and eclectic art. Kimball Art Center, located near the bottom of Main Street, always has an incredible exhibition on the main floor and offers classes and lectures on the lower floor. The Art Center is also the producer of the world-renowned Park City Art Festival. Every August, the full length of Main Street is packed with jury-selected master artists displaying and selling their works. Tens of thousands of people flock to the festival to see the hand-crafted pieces of jewelry, paintings, fabric work, carving, sculpting and more.
The successes of Park City’s ski resorts are the foundation the ever- improving community stands on. Deer Valley, Canyons, and Park City Mountain Resort have shown themselves to be as committed to the town as they are to their guests. Their generous donations of time, expertise, and capital have made it feasible for other business sectors to join them in elite rankings. The development and maintenance of over 350 miles of trails was made possible through the partnership of government, business and nonprofit agencies. In 2012, this first-rate trail system won Park City the Gold-Level rating from the International Mountain Biking Association. Further, much of it is groomed for superb cross-country skiing during the winter months. The joint efforts of business, residents and government agencies to protect the pristine natural beauty surrounding Park City has become a top priority. Open Space bonds have never been voted down and have been used to permanently protect over 7,000 acres of view sheds–evidence that businesses and residents alike willdo whatever it takes to safeguard the area’s rural ambiance.
Park City is consistently ranked by Barron’s magazine as one of the top ten places to own a second home. Local real estate investment didn’t take the dizzying dive many other ski towns experienced during the recent economic downturn. Unlike Vail or Aspen, the variety of properties and neighborhoods are expansive, offering something to suit nearly everyone’s needs and budgets. As an investment property, occupancy rates are near 80%. As a primary residence, today there are more reasons to call Park City home than ever before.
Expanding the local economy beyond the tourist industry has been a major goal in Park City’s pursuit of excellence. The Wall Street Journal recently ranked Utah as the #1 pro-business state in the nation. Factors such as strong public/private collaboration,
government budgetary discipline, and a vigorous commitment to sustaining a solid talent-pool were taken into consideration when awarding this gold-standard ranking. Commercial development in the Kimball Junction area has motivated businesses such as Backcountry. com, Skullcandy, and Rossignol to make Park City their headquarters.
Future development of the Park City Tech Center will attract highly skilled jobs to the area, increasing the diversity of local job opportunities.
A healthy, active lifestyle best describes full-time residents of Park City. To support this, several cutting-edge health care services have moved to the area in the past few years. Park City Medical Center, a full-service hospital associated with nationally top-ranked Intermountain Health Care opened its doors four years ago. Housed within this facility are orthopedic specialists sought out by top-ranked professional athletes as well as a women’s health center that specializes in all phases of a woman’s changing health care needs. In response to the growing demand for preventative health care, they have opened the LiVe Well Center—a screening and improvement service open to everyone. University of Utah Health Care, internationally recognized for their groundbreaking genetics research and cancer treatment, recently opened their Redstone Health Center, offering a full range of health care professionals and services. Moran Eye Center, also at Redstone, is recognized as the world-leader in macular degeneration research and treatment. As visitors and residents aspire to reach higher planes of physical and mental health, Park City professionals keep a step ahead by providing state-of-the-art technology and techniques.
One top priority in Park City is education. The local non-profit, Park City Education Foundation, helps keep the public schools funded at the highest per-student expenditure in the state. The high school is regularly included in the top 100 High Schools in the country and offers more AP classes than any other Utah school. The graduation rate is an astounding 98% due to the individual attention given to each and every student. Recently, more flexible classroom options have been included to make it possible for the many elite athletes in the school district to compete at world-class competitions during the school year. In addition to the public schools, Park City is home to private and charter schools to meet individual needs.
Without question, Park City has grown from an elite-status ski town to an aspiring self-actualized community where excellence is not the exception, but the habitual norm. Park City’s goal is that here, among the glories of nature, you will be inspired to pursue your own excellence in all things.