This week Summit County, where Park City resides, lifted “shelter-in-place.” That said, we are still being asked to wear masks in public spaces and maintain six feet of distance from other people. Also, gatherings should be kept to no more than twenty. Twenty? That seems a big number. It will be interesting to see how the new rules play out.
What won’t change is Parakite’s ability to self-heal through outdoor activity. As the snow melts and temperatures rise, the number of locals taking advantage of our enviable trail system increases. Our trails are cared for by Mountain Trails. They do a bang-up job clearing the brush and stumps and general trail maintenances. And locals are great about not littering. I have literally never seen a cigarette butt on a trail and on the few times something is laying on the ground we pick it up and dump it after our hike.
But I digress. The point is, daily outings on trial have helped us maintain sanity. Being able to get out, be physical, breath clean air, and enjoy the views has meant everything. And because we haven’t been going to the gym, we hike way more than before. We’re far from alone. It’s been interesting to see people decide what their “stay safe” trail edicate will be. Do they stand off to the side of the trail and look away as people pass? Do they just keep going, head down, but hold your breath when strainers go by? We’ve seen lots of versions of the safe, yet friendly trail pass.
On our hike the other day, we were approaching an older gal with a dog. She stepped way to the side of the trail and said, good morning. We said, hey. Then she said something about the weather and it was clear that she wanted to chat. So, we kept our distance and talked with her for a bit. Turns out, she lives alone. Her family is out of state and she’s been by herself this entire COVID time. Her daily hikes are her only chance to change her view and see people. So, glad that we gave her time and we hope to cross her path again.
Locals often say that they came to Park City for the winters and stayed for the summers. Why? Our trail system is one of those reasons. You can hike every day for a year and never take the same route twice. Not too shabby. And the amount and expanse of trails often means that there’s something close enough to your door that you don’t have to get in a car to get on dirt if you don’t want to.
As I connect with friends in big cities, I’m doubly aware of how fortunate we in Park City are to have this outlet. These friends haven’t enjoyed the outside other than to sit on a balcony since COVID started. Don’t think we’ll ever take our trails and all they provide for granite.
The next time you’re able to get here, I highly suggest slowing everything down and getting out on one or more of our trails. Your heart and your brain will thank you.
Your Resort Resident
P.S. here’s what Mountain Trails says on their site about our trails:
“Park City’s trail system entails approximately 400 miles of continuous, non-motorized recreational trail. Spanning two world-class mountain resorts (one is the largest in the US at 7,300 acres) and an additional 8,000 acres of preserved open space, Park City has been designated a Gold Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). From mountainous, alpine terrain reaching altitudes of nearly 10,000’, to rolling high desert, Park City’s trail system is predominantly buffed single-track interspersed with occasional technical sections.”
As you likely know, COVID shut down all of our ski resorts in the beginning of March. That includes PCMR, Canyons & Deer Valley. Then, Park City asked all visitors to please head home. And just like that, it was the end of ski season…or was it?
For many folks who live in the shadows of some of the best ski runs in the country, the Siren’s song of un-touched snow and fresh powder was just too much. And even with the lifts closed, there was no stopping die-hards. We started seeing people quietly hiking up to get in one good run down. Remember, this is a very fit town. A common refrain from skiers who, in non-COVID times, hike up and ski down is, “Earn your turns.” There’s a pride to it. About a month ago, a gal carrying her snowboard on her back said, “No lifts? No problem.” A neighbor told us (from a safe distance) that when he’d hiked up the previous day, he’d seen two fellows from the resort on a snowmobile. He was worried that he was going to get in trouble. After all, he was poaching. But as they passed him all they just called out, “Stay safe.”
And there was a comradery to it. Several snowshoers started regularly hiking up every day after work. They’d share their waves of recognition and solidarity. It was like an unofficial club. No one hung out, but seeing familiar faces was comforting.
For anyone who took advantage of their proximity to the resorts, this has been an odd but special season. One I’m sure we’ll recount with a strange fondness. It was quiet, tranquil, beautiful. It was the season that the hard-core went back to basics. You want to ski down? Prove it. Hike up.
Now that the snow is finally melting, the skis, boards and snowshoes are getting lockered until next season. The mountain and road bikes are starting to emerge. Again, it’s an active town. So, we raise a glass to the end of poaching season. Hope you earned your turns.
Your Resort Resident
P.S. Vail & Deer Valley are offering discounts for next season to anyone who had a 2019/2020 season pass. See you out there.
We’ve been hearing from people all over the country, around the world really, talk about the changes they’re seeing in their surroundings during COVID. The positive changes to nature in their area. They’re sighting things like, noticing that the air is cleaner, that there is an increase in fish life in their waters, that they can see the stars at night.
The following is not bragging as much as it is a love note to our small corner of the world. We’ve always had all those things here in Park City. Clean air, wildlife, stars at night. But we may not have appreciated it as much as we do now. Being in a resort town means that we currently have a lot fewer people here. Full-timers make up less than half of our capacity. And the people who are here are staying home except for individual hikes, bikes, fly fishing…
So, on our outings, there’s little in the way of fully absorbing the beauty that is Park City all the time. We're watching the snow retreat a bit each day. We’re seeing the flowers start to come up. And as the days get longer, the evening transitions to night sky are more intense. How lucky we are.
We wish everyone a safe journey through CV-19 and hope you’re all able to enjoy the beauty of where you are at the moment. We look forward to seeing you back here soon.
Your Resort Resident