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Park City drops ski races, but others may want them

Compiled by Allen Best

PARK CITY, Utah - The value of ski racing was put into question when Park City Mountain Resort announced it would not continue to open the World Cup circuit in November.

The event, resort CEO Vern Greco told The Park Record, was just too expensive and too much trouble for what was gained. The event costs $1 million to put on, of which the ski company put up $150,000. And instead of making snow for paying customers, the resort was making snow for downhill racers. Finally, other events - including the Grand Prix snowboard event in December - attracts more spectators and costs less to put on.

But that's another problem - making snow in November has been iffy, and the publicity of having to give up the races to resorts in Colorado at the last minute may outweigh the good publicity when Park City did host the races.

In fact, there is little evidence that the World Cup attracted people directly to Park City. Bill Malone, executive director of the local chamber, estimated lodging occupancy during the World Cup weekend, called America's Opening, ranged from 20 to 30 per cent. But those rooms will probably be filled without the event. While the event was once valuable in establishing Park City as a "big leagues" resort with good snowmaking, both those images are firmly established in the wake of the Olympics.

Park City would still love to host the event in January or February, but returning the skiers from Europe is unlikely, reports The Park Record.

In an editorial, The Park Record pointed to another value of World Cup racing - as a venue for training Olympians. Too, the newspaper pointed to another resort, Aspen, that had dropped the races, but has since then been trying to get back on the schedule. "Apparently they missed the international attention drawn by the races."

Beaver Creek, the only other American stop currently on the World Cup circuit for alpine skiers, said it was interested in picking up the events being vacated by Park City. Aspen is also interested. Copper Mountain, which had picked up for Park City in the past, had not pursued any direct dialogue with World Cup organizers, reported The Summit Daily.

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