Thanks to a single objective, three separate entities and a coincidence, Olympic visitors to Utah can view a history lesson on Park City skiing — one than went from silver underground to white gold above the ground.

After 18 months of production, the finished product — "Silver and Snow: The Park City Story" — will be shown on the big screen in Park City and on the little screen throughout Utah.

The story dates to 1984, when TV reporter and filmmaker Larry Warren produced a piece for Park City's centennial celebration called "Minds to Moguls."

It was a good piece, he recalled, "but with a few mistakes and not really the whole story. Doing this film was always there, in the back of my mind. I began shooting footage on my own, but soon found it expensive and time-consuming."

The filming stopped, and the storybook closed. Two years ago, he approached Sandra Morrison of the Park City Historical Society and Museum. She, too, had given thought to the development of skiing and of telling the story to visitors. And the staff at KUED was looking at doing that very same story.

The film became the production of PCHSM and KUED, with Warren fulfilling his dream of being writer, producer and directory.

"All three of us wanted to do such a film," Warren said. "It was a marvelous convergence, and by working together, we were able to complete the film."

The story's beginning is one repeated time and again throughout the West — a mining boom followed years later by a total bust.

"What I found interesting is that Park City was one of the premier boom towns, second only to the Comstock Lode in Nevada," Warren said. "Park City was not as famous, mainly because it was overshadowed by the gold rush. But it was one of the major mining towns in the West."

In the 1950s, mining had all but stopped. The silver ore was too deep and the mines too wet to continue.

At that point, the township began looking for ways to survive. Some of the early Scandinavian miners used to hike the hills and ski the slopes and jump off mine dumps in the winter. In the 1930s, Works Progress Administration — an agency looking for work for war veterans — began cutting ski runs in an area called Deer Valley, which was then a smelter and a dumping grounds. Skiing, they thought, was the answer.

"So the town rallied. Park City, they felt, was too good of a town to abandon," said Warren, reflecting on his research. "They decided on skiing, and now Park City is one of the most famous ski areas in American, and is well known, now, around the world."

Transferring to skiing was not, he continued, a slam dunk. Skiing suffered the same economic waves as mining. There were good times and bad times — mostly bad in the beginning.

Eventually, Nick Badami purchased Park City Mountain Resort. In the film, Badami recalls that when he was looking at buying the resort, there was not a single restaurant in town that was open in the summer. Lunch consisted of bread and meat purchased from a grocery store.

Badami told Warren that it took five years from the time he purchased the resort to fix and replace lifts and make the resort presentable to skiers. The turning point, he said, came in 1979.

That was also when the final chapter in Park City mining was written — the year that the old miner's stop, the Cozy Bar, closed.

The 60-minute documentary will run nine times during the Olympics at the Egyptian Theater, located on Park City's Main Street. It will also air on KUED on Feb. 10 at 5 p.m., Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 25 at 8:30 p.m. Copies of the tape are also being sold at the Park City Historical Society and Museum in Park City for $16.

"As I expected in the beginning," said Warren, "there were a lot of things I learned. For example, the Olympic aerials at Deer Valley will be held on some of the original, old runs."


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