Park City, Utah, has transformed itself from a small mining town to one of the top ski and snowboard destinations in the country. Home to the Olympics and the annual Sundance Film Festival, Park City combines the best of a historic town featuring arts and cultural amenities with spectacular snow and postcard-worthy views at every turn. Here are 10 reasons why Park City has become the perfect spot a ski getaway.
1. The Biggest Resort in the U.S.
The Park City Mountain Resort is the largest in the United States, with 7,300 skiable acres. In 2015, the resort underwent the largest improvement project of any ski area in U.S. history, as it combined with the neighboring Canyons Resort. Visitors to Park City will now find more than 300 trails, 41 lifts, eight terrain parks, 14 bowls and six natural half pipes among three distinct base areas. No matter how many times you’ll come back, you’ll always find new areas to explore.
2. A Place for Everyone
In addition to the sheer size of Park City Mountain Resort, you have a wide variety of terrain that enables skiers and snowboarders to find a perfect fit for their ability. Beginners will find this family-friendly resort a great place to learn, with a huge amount of space open to them from day one on skis or a board. You’ll find more than 120 trails groomed nightly, offering plenty of smooth riding, and the longest run is 3.5 miles long. Those looking for more of a challenge can take on the higher peaks, many of which top 9,000 feet. The popular Jupiter Bowl tops 10,000 feet and offers plenty of routes to challenge the experts.
3. The Snow
Utah likes to brag that is has the "Greatest Snow on Earth," and the science backs it up. Climate conditions in the Wasatch Mountains help produce light snow that allows for good “flotation,” meaning that skiers and boarders are able to stay above the base and enjoy the powder. Fresh powder comes to Park City often, as area averages more than 350 inches of snow each year.
4. Easy In, Easy Out
Park City Mountain Resort is only 35 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport. For many parts of the country, that means you can take a morning flight and be skiing on the mountain by the early afternoon. You’ll find no major ski area in the country closer to a major airport.
5. Arts and Culture
Park City is known as the home of the Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the United States. Usually held in late January each year, the 10-day festival draws some of the top names in moviemaking to Park City, as well as a countless film-lovers looking to see the latest in top-notch independent projects. But Park City has much more in cultural amenities than Sundance. The Kimball Arts Center offers exhibits, educational arts programming, and events throughout the year. The Egyptian Theatre and the Eccles Center host musicians (both local and touring), Broadway shows, and other live entertainment.
6. Park City Dining
You can find everything from fine dining to classic pub fare in Park City, plus everything in between. Find high-end American cuisine at Handle, which transforms local and seasonal ingredients into works of art. Grappa features rustic Italian meals in a farmhouse setting, while The Butcher’s Chop House and Bar has everything you could want from a steakhouse. The Wasatch Brewery was the first brewery in Utah, and 30 years after it opened it is still creating handcrafted beer for you to enjoy. You can actually ski-in to the High West Distillery, which offers a variety of locally made spirits.
7. Spending the Night
Park City offers a huge variety of lodging options within minutes of skiing to fit every budget. Park City Mountain Resort offers three different villages to choose from: downtown Park City, Park City Base Area, and the Canyons Village. Whether you’re looking for a one-bedroom condo, a hotel room, or a luxury home for the whole family, you can find the perfect accommodations just steps from the mountain or a lift to get you there.
8. Downtown Park City
When the skiing day is done, head to historic Main Street in Park City to enjoy a wide variety of shopping, including small boutiques, art galleries, and one-of-a-kind shops. What makes Park City so unique is that you can actually ski to town. Lift access on Main Street can take you back to the mountain.
9. Cross-County Skiing and Other Sports
Downhill isn’t your only option in Park City. For those who enjoy cross-country skiing, the White Pine Touring Center offers three groomed loops (3K, 5K, and 10K) with spectacular mountain views. Lessons and rental equipment are available on-site. Other off-the slope activities include tubing, snowmobiling, and horse-drawn sleigh rides.
10. Utah Olympic Park
Utah Olympic Park was home to the bobsledding, luge, ski jumping, and Nordic combined events at the 2002 Olympic Games. You can explore the grounds and take advantage of two free museums that highlight the skiing history in Park City and the U.S. as well as a retrospective on the Olympics. Elite athletes continue to train at the park, so you just might get to spot the next generation of medalists training on the bobsled or lifting off from the ski jump. The park’s signature activity, however, is a ride on the Comet bobsled. A professional pilot takes three riders at a time down the Olympic track, and you can see for yourself just what it’s like to participate in this exhilarating sport.
Originally written for Vail Resorts.