PARK CITY — Local ski bums have known one of the best-kept ski secrets for years. Park City skiing during the 10 days of the Sundance Film Festival has great powder, amazing views — and hardly any people. "It's true. It's painful for us to watch the town to be filled with lodging but no one's on our mountain," said Dirk Beal, director of sales for Deer Valley Resort. "We definitely see a downtick in business."

While stars like Paris Hilton and Jennifer Aniston might perfect the latest in skier chic, their styles rarely translate to the slopes. The celebs and high rollers tend to avoid the best snow on Earth, opting for warmer glamorous parties, press-filled screenings and crowded clubs.

"We're so slow on the mountain that we give up two of our big parking lots for the park-and-ride for the Sundance shuttles," Beal said. "That's how quiet it is on the mountain. We don't even use our day parking."

Park City Mountain Resort officials said conditions are similar. With fresh powder and few people, "What more could you ask for?" said Krista Parry, the resort's public relations manager.

"I think a lot of it, most people who come here for the festival are here for the movies. They're shown around the clock and throughout the day," she said. "They're most focused on going to the movies rather than getting to the slopes."

The resort employees love the festival, Parry said, because "it kind of allows us to have a breather between the holidays."

At Deer Valley, vacationers take up 80 percent of lodging year-round, so when the festival folks fly in, "The lodging that would be filled with vacationers is filled with festivalgoers," Beal said.

As the reservation travel center for Sundance, Deer Valley says business runs as usual — even with the dead ski runs.

From the four day and four evening restaurants, to catering large parties and business banquets, Beal said there is a real upswing for the banquet and lodging staff, in terms of hosting receptions and catering to lodges with a variety of clientele.

"That's probably the only part of the ski-resort business that's up. The client entertainment is a good part of the market segment."

So, while the epic snow may scare off Hollywood types, ski resorts encourage locals to take advantage of the skiing in the picturesque town.

At PCMR, guests can get a taste of Sundance when skiing and snowboarding because the run ends at the foot of Main Street, near hot spot Village at the Lift.

But one popular venue says they never have a shortage of skiers — the Sundance Resort itself.

Lucy Ridolphi, marketing and public relations manager, said the main market of the resort is in Utah Valley and many of the people who stay at the Sundance Resort for the festival end up skiing.

"It's the height of the season, so we have a lot of people here.

"People come and have their ski vacation and have their festival films and see some of the directors and actors," she said. "It's a nice thing for people to have that experience without staying right in the middle of it."

Like Deer Valley, lodging at Sundance was pretty much booked weeks ago. But the number of guests at Sundance gets bigger and bigger each year.

"I think a lot of people are starting to realize that there's a place called Sundance. I think a lot of times people come to Park City thinking that's Sundance. People are starting to become aware that Sundance is here and people want to come to the place where it all started."


E-mail: astowell@desnews.com