Have moms slid into the management of Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) in Utah's Wasatch Mountains? The latest program upgrades at the resort sure seem so, for Park City is putting their money where their mouth is. "We have reputation of being a family resort, and now we're backing it up," says Paula Altschuler.
Moms make most of the key family decisions about vacations. Now PCMR has turned its ears to the requests of those moms. The ski company, which has long deemed families as the backbone of their resort, redesigned their children's ski and snowboard school and added innovative Internet resources to aid parents in planning vacations-especially first-time visitors.
PCMR launched its Signature Five all-day instruction program for kids ages 6 to 14 two winters ago. "Parents raved, and kids raved," says Altschuler. No longer do parades of 15 kids snake down the slope behind their instructor, because the Signature Five program guarantees no more than five children in a ski or snowboard lesson program.
The results of Signature Five were dramatic. Children found they were in classes more akin to their age group and made friends faster. Instructors discovered they were teaching more rather than counting heads and they could ride a six-pack chair lift with their entire class rather than farming young kids out to ride alone or with other adults willing to share their chair. Younger tots in the 3.5- to 5-year-old age group also benefit from Signature Three -- which limits class sizes to three students for more accountability and personalized instruction.
Signature Five also moved from a set menu lunch in ski school cafeteria to dining in any restaurant on the mountain. Classes stop for lunch closest to their ski zone, and kids get to pick their own food, whether it be a veggie burger, salad, or pizza.
"I've talked to parents that are coming back because the kids so enjoyed Signature Five," says Mary Flinn Ware, Kids Mountain School manager. "They really like the food option rather than eating in a ski school cafeteria like their regular school back home."
Park City also beefed up its Internet resources to help moms plan vacations. Pre-planned mountain tours, interactive trail maps, blogs, and a vacation planning tool aids parents out to nail itineraries and remove last minute chaos from travel.
PCMR's Family Mountain Tours removes the guesswork from mapping out where to ski or ride. The tours also create a way for families who may span ability levels to explore the slopes together. Just input the family's combination of skills into the online program at www.MyMountainPlanner.com. It will spin out printable tour directions that include lifts, runs, vertical, and distance. Over 50 individual Park City ski and snowboard tours cater to beginners through those who can handle double-black diamonds.
A new interactive online trail map also yields sneak peeks at runs. Preview a run via an aerial photo, a cross section pitch diagram, and descriptions of its turns and drops. The added detail fleshes out the run beyond its mapped green circle, blue square, or black diamond icons.
First time vacationers to Park City are confronted with the question of what to pack. What better way to get advice that talking to real moms? Park City follows in the footsteps of other resorts like Disney World that establish third party credibility with blogging.
Park City's new Adventure Blog features moms profiled from southern Florida, Texas, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York who share their tips and answer questions. Flinn Ware also shares her expertise and includes reminder lists about packing goggles, snacks, and sunscreen. "I want to help moms be more prepared and have their kids be more prepared," she says. "When kids are mentally prepared, they tend to have a better first day."
The resort's new Online Vacation Planner also lets moms pull together the whole vacation-lodging, dining, lifts, lessons, rentals, and activities, such as the on-mountain Alpine Coaster slide or Gorgoza Park tubing just down the road.
Plug in vacation dates to sort through the town restaurants to find the one that has the breadth to satisfy the whole family including the picky eater who may just eat French fries. Moms can find child care, spas, car rentals, and night-time entertainment and design a personalized calendar for each family member.
Mom may plan the vacation. But the tools and family-friendly atmosphere at Park City Mountain Resort make the task easier.