- By Jill Adler
Myles Rademan told a room full of resort tourism professionals that Park City has too many events. That’s our problem he said. The session on events marketing during the Mountain Travel Symposium in Beaver Creek, Colo., last week wasn’t a how-to talk on promoting and executing a killer fest but more of a somber discussion of the state of events as they assimilate with year-round ski area travel. A “necessary opportunity” one of the other panelists argued. That’s as opposed to my question that it sounds like they’re calling events a necessary evil.
I thought the whole vibe in the room was weird. I love events and I love using them as a way to visit fresh places; like the Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival (first time in Whistler), the Telluride Mountain Film Festival (first time in Telluride during the summer), and the Taste of Vail (first time I’ve skied Vail, Colo., as an adult). Maybe Myles, public affairs specialist for Park City Municipal Corporation and the man instrumental in pulling off the Park City portion of the 2002 Winter Games, should have qualified his comment…Park City has too many random events? But I can’t imagine, however, doing away with the Sundance Film Festival, the Tour des Suds, the World Freestyle Champs, Canyons Spring Gruv, the nascent PC Food and Wine Classic, even that fastpitch softball tournament that brings hoards in when no one else visits my town. What do you cut out?
I thought all about this as I sipped more than 20 different wines during Taste of Vail’s Mountaintop Picnic.
It was like Solitude’s Taste of the Nation event except in the winter instead of the summer, at the top of the mountain instead of the base and the wine selections surpassed the food. In fact, after chowing on elk sloppy joes from Beano’s Cabin, Italian beef sliders with smoked marinara from Two Elks, porchetta and pork belly sandwich from Vail Marriott’s 7 One 5, and decadent, chocolate-dipped cheesecake and cookie dough lollipops from Game Creek, I was ready to put the plate down and tip a glass or two.
This year organizers thought outside the bottle and invited Grand Marnier, Belvedere Vodka and Hennessy to join the vintners. My new favorite drink is now Hennessy and apple juice. I missed the Park City Spring cocktail competition at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Lodge so I can’t comment on Jeff Ferguson’s “No Thyme Like the Present”. I’m sure the concoction of gin, lime, thyme and cucumber by the bartender from Shabu was tasty but I’m more of a whiskey girl.
The 50mph mountain top winds ruffled a few feathers but the giant snow fort built up around the venue kept most of us protected. What was more treacherous was skiing back down through the spring slush to the Vail Cascade Hotel. We had less than an hour to change and check in for the “Taste Like a Master Sommelier” seminar. I never did quite understand everything they were saying. The only thing that stuck is when you swirl your wine in the glass, the longer the rim ‘hangs’ before oozing back down to the rest of the wine, the more alcohol it has.
Resorts need events but not in that twist-my-arm-ok-we’ll-throw-one, mentality. Events share local flavor, bring outside culture in, offer things to do for those non-skiers or for people who want a break from skiing, they fill beds, and add dollars to the county coffers. And they give me soemthing to write about!
The next time you are thinking of vacay, check out the best fests during that time and join the celebration. My parents returned from Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year. Even in their 70s, they said it was one of the best trips they’ve ever taken. You’re never too young or too old to enjoy a good party. And I say, Myles, you can never have too many exciting events. I vote for a plan to bring a three-day American Rock Festival to Park City in May or June. Who’s with me??
Jill Adler is an award-winning outdoors writer and broadcaster based in Park City, Utah. As a professional skier, rock climber, kayaker, hiker and mom, she goes out of her way to play hard and tell about it. To find out more or to send her a note, follow her on Twitter @pcskigal.