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Some Park City visitors saying 'What's Sundance?'

Published: Sunday, Jan. 23 2011 5:53 p.m. MST

PARK CITY — Sundance may rule Park CIty this week, but it's wintertime and Park City is still, well, Park City.

Hotel and restaurant workers say they regularly encounter guests who haven't the slightest idea they've come to town to ski at the same time the Hollywood throngs are here for the movie festival.

"People come up to me and ask why Main Street is so crowded, or why there are lines everywhere," said Bernice Ramirez a server at the Bandannas Grill in the Hotel Park City. "They come from all over the world to ski and don't know about Sundance."

The Lodge At The Mountain Village, a hotel and condominium complex adjacent to the Park City Mountain Resort, is a stone's throw from the ski lifts — and doesn't have a single room available just now.

"We have a couple of guests that checked in today that didn't know why they saw black clothes everywhere and long lines," said desk clerk Sheldon Beltran. An out-of-town owner of one of the condo units who did not know about the festival speculated movie people were in town to make a movie instead of watch them, he said.

There is a disconnect for many time-share owners, who stay in their own condos during the off season then rent them out when rates are prime. "One owner knew she could get more money right now but didn't know why," The Lodge desk clerk Brooke Christeson said.

Still, there are some perks to the star-studded diversion on Main Street where skiers are concerned.

"The locals told us this was a great time to come ski because everyone was either downtown or avoiding the crowds," said Erin Schoop, a University of Utah student from Illinois. "They said 'come around Sundance and the ski resort will be empty.' "

Sure enough, she and friends were peeling off their ski boots after a beautiful sunny day on a wide-open mountain. "It worked," she said.

e-mail: sfidel@desnews.com

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