Park City, Utah, was once a little mining town—but now its notoriety has shifted to skiing and the impressive nightlife that follows. And it’s not so little anymore: One of the town’s two resorts has grown tremendously in size since both the Park City Mountain and neighboring Canyons Resort properties were purchased and combined by Vail Resorts, making one gigantic, continuous Park City Mountain Resort.
The amount of terrain you can ski with one pass is enthralling. Last time we counted, there are 41 lifts. Yep, 41. Navigating across the resort from one end to the other is a tricky task for newcomers—and choosing where to eat can feel even more overwhelming.
That is where this handy guide may prove useful—7,300 skiable acres is a great thing if you know what to do with it.
Where to Stay and How to Get There
Park City’s geographic location and town layout are one of the area’s biggest assets. If you’re flying in, Salt Lake City International Airport is roughly 40 minutes away from the resort’s base. Rent a car, catch a ride, or arrange transportation with your hotel. Presto. You can land in the morning and ski by midday.
Thanks to the marriage of two resorts—Park City Mountain and Canyons—there are now two main base areas. The Park City Base Area is adjacent to town, making the town itself ski-in/ski-out. Canyons Village, a few minutes to the north, includes its own lodging with a set of hotels, condos, and restaurants. Everything is so close, you really can’t go wrong no matter where you stay.
The Most Important Part: Where to Ski
Beginners tend to gravitate toward either of the resort’s lower base areas where they won’t have to stray far from mellow beginner runs. If you venture into the upper bowls (of which there are 14), you gain a lot of breathing room and more challenging terrain, too. If you’re an advanced skier or rider, make your way to the resort’s highest reaches in Jupiter Bowl. With a little traversing and side-stepping from the top of Jupiter Lift, you can access some impressive, steep terrain that isn’t skied out as fast as the easily-grabbed goods further below. This bowl’s higher elevation means there should be better snow coverage and higher quality powder in the untouched spots.
One thing this mega-resort has going for it is lots and lots of quality food options—almost too many for a hungry skier’s mind to process. If you want a meal with a view (and really, who doesn’t?), stop at the aptly named Lookout Cabin for a midday meal and a beer. It’s a great vantage point for planning your next few runs. The same goes for Miner’s Camp, which is located at the base of the Quicksilver Gondola and Silverlode lift, and features 500 indoor seats.
Summit House is similarly situated on a ridgetop, at the top of Bonanza lift, and offers lovely vistas while you sip a pale ale and chow down on a nice warm pizza. For a late afternoon pick-me-up, Red Pine Lodge near the top of Red Pine Gondola, is a great place for salads and sandwiches or to grab a bite to go.
The Perfect Way to Après
Here we arrive at one of the lovely perks of the Park City area: There are countless après-ski options between the resort villages and town. The perfect place to go straight after skiing depends on your group and preferences. But if you’re a posse of cocktail-appreciating adults, you’d be remiss to not check out High West Distillery & Saloon, the World’s only ski-in distillery, located just off Park City’s main drag. It serves excellent food and even better whiskey.
If you have kiddos along and feel the world’s problems would be resolved with a good platter of nachos, the Baja Cantina at Park City Base Area is always a safe bet. Or head into town and belly up to an un-fussy bar like Wasatch Brew Pub on Historic Main Street for a pint and classic pub-style menu.
Originally written for Visit Park City.