The Gay and Lesbian Ski Week, held for several years now early in January in Park City, Utah, was cancelled this year, the first of many possible boycotts over Utah Mormons’ support for California’s Proposition 8 that ended marriage equality last year.
An organizer told The Park Record many of the gay skiers indicated they would not visit Utah in order to show solidarity with those who have called for a boycott of the state stemming from the passage in California of Proposition 8, the ballot measure against gay marriage supported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The cancellation of the gay ski week, which had been scheduled Jan. 7-11, is the first substantive evidence of Park City’s economy suffering from the boycott. There had only been scattered concern in Park City that gays would refuse to visit. Local leaders had hoped gays and their supporters would consider Park City an open-minded enclave in Utah.
How much money will Park City lose from the LGBT group’s cancellation?
Had the full group traveled to Park City, Harriot estimated the visitors would have spent between $125,000 and $150,000 on lodging, lift tickets, meals and entertainment. An online itinerary for the canceled ski week lists days at each of the three local mountain resorts, organized lunches and dinners, nightlife options and a Saturday night party.
"The boycott worked and there was not enough people to do the group," Harriot said.
The skiers had planned an evening at Kristauf’s Martini Bar on lower Main Street, where owner Lisa Christoffersen said they had stopped in during the 2008 trip. She said they probably would have spent a "couple grand" at Kristauf’s this year.
"To me, that would provide my payroll for two weeks" and pay several utility bills, she said, adding, "They spend well and they tip well. It’s a big boost for everyone."
Sundance is up next, of course — and people in Park City have reason to be nervous about attendance possibly dropping off this year.
Bill Malone, the executive director of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, said the cancellation of the ski week is the first he is aware of based on unhappiness with Proposition 8.
Do you know anyone who has changed their Utah travel plans because of Mormon support of Proposition 8? Let us know in the comments!