With help from the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and Summit County, Live Like Sam’s live, fundraiser at Utah Olympic Park that attracted 150 socially-distanced attendees in October, an event Ron calls “inspiring and extremely successful. Even amid a pandemic we brought the community together to support local youth,” he said.
Although Parkites are “the largest contributor to our success,” Ron cites the power of travel as a major plus. “Tourism is important to our business, and tourists have a direct impact on our local culture,” he said.
Ron, a former telecommunications sales executive, found evidence of that during his regular trips to the slopes this winter to strike up one-on-one conversations. “I would access the singles lines at the resorts and ride up the mountain with another single when possible,” he recalls. “At least half of the people were tourists. I was able to converse with and educate my new friends all about our community and our foundation’s mission.”
Ron says these conversations, which he jokingly calls his “COVID-19 chairlift diaries” revealed that tourists strongly connected with Live Like Sam. “The huge influx of visitors allowed interaction with many new people we otherwise would never meet,” he said. “We saw a substantial increase in foundation followers throughout the ski season.”
But when the crisis hit last March, the future looked uncertain. In those early days, Ron, daughter Skylar and the Live Like Same team “focused on our core mission,” he said. “It was a distressing time, but we discovered that Park City needs resources to help youth with positive self-images and mental fitness now more than ever.”
“Communication with employees was direct and authentic,” he adds. “Our message was essentially to keep the faith, that what we do is needed and important.”
After the outpouring of support, Ron learned anew that “the people of Park City have huge hearts and are committed to the success, health and welfare of our community. I also think this attracts many people as visitors and potential community members.”
“I would like to see our visitors reach out and learn more,” Ron said. “I would tell them we have a unique culture which blends old and new with some of the most beautiful scenery and most active lifestyles in the world.”
Ron’s 20 years in PC, and those brief opportunities with his new friends on the slopes last winter, enable him sum to up Park City in just three words that will have Parkites nodding their heads. “When I think about what it means to live here, I see that we are about love, connection and adventure.”