Park City and Canyons merged in 2015 to create the largest ski resort in the US. The largest ski area in the US + arguably the best snow in the US = EPIC (pun intended)! Take the Quicksilver gondola back and forth all day and ride your heart out. Thanks to Vail and the Epic pass, you can ride at both of these all winter long for $600-$900, depending on purchase date and pass selection. If you’re planning a ski trip make sure you buy your pass by mid-November, otherwise you will be stuck paying expensive day rates.
As mentioned above, Deer Valley is a skiers-only paradise. You may have heard of the “Deer Valley” difference, and let me tell you, it is a real thing and it IS magic. Just not cheap magic. A season pass at Deer Valley is around $2,400 and if you get the pass you need to have the brand new gear to match. Deer Valley is known for rolling runs, world class groomers, and DV chili. Get the chili.
Park City is located about 25 miles and 30 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport. Getting to and from Park City is fairly painless compared to other mountain towns. From the airport, you can take a shuttle, rent a car, or grab an Uber for $40-70 each way.
There are two main parts of town. Kimball Junction is the newer part of town, right off the highway, with all of the big box retailers. Think shopping centers with Whole Foods, Walmart, Smiths, TJ Maxx, World Market, movie theater, bowling alley, restaurants, etc Old Town is only a 10 min drive down one main road and has the historic mining town vibe. Old Town is considered ‘downtown’ and you will find local restaurants, shops, and bars.
Getting around town is extremely easy. There is a free bus that will take you almost anywhere you want to go and Ubers are also cheap and readily available.
Other than the claim to having The Greatest Snow On Earth®, Sundance Film Festival puts Park City on the map. Once a year, for 10 days at the end of January, celebrities, celebrity wannabes, film producers, and film connoisseurs gather in our little town to hold business meetings, preview movies and party. Main Street is nearly unrecognizable during the festival. All of the local spots are transformed into event spaces, pop-up night clubs, and brand activations. While the town is preoccupied watching movies, the mountains are empty. If you dare to brave Park City during this 10 day craze, get yourself to a chairlift! The masses are busy in town and you can enjoy the peaceful runs.
For a town of only 8,000 people, Park City has a lively scene and plenty of restaurants, bars, and attractions to keep you occupied from sunrise to the wee hours of the next morning. Start your ideal morning with the best coffee in town at Campos Coffee, an Australian joint, located right at the base of PCMR. Try the flat white for a cozy, warm start to your day on the mountain.
If you’re looking for a cafe to sit, sip, and relax for a while check out Atticus on Main St. It’s owned by locals, Randy and Ericah, who’ve crafted the perfect eclectic mix of tea, coffee, smoothies, healthy treats, books, and mismatched (but somehow still matching) furniture.
Park City has no shortage of great lunch/brunch spots as well. Some local favorites include Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Five5eeds, Harvest, and Back Door Deli.
A successful night out starts with a large dinner and lots of water. Seriously, don’t forget you are at altitude! If you want to make it all night, you need to eat and hydrate. Try pizza at Vinto or burgers at Wasatch Bagel, or the Spur for a less expensive options. If you want to splurge, Handle, Riverhorse, Fletchers, and Yuki Yama are at the top of the list.
After dinner, make your way to the iconic No Name for a beer and shuffleboard, then plan to rage with the locals at Rock ‘n Reilly’s (or just Reilly’s as the locals call it). The late night party is at Downstairs, the only night club in town.
Looking for evening alternatives to going out? Jupiter Bowl, Gorgoza tubing hill, Heber Hatchets, and glass blowing at Red Flower studios are fun and sure to leave you feeling fresh for your next pow day adventure.
If you’re lucky enough to experience a powder day in Park City, make your way to the lifts around 8:30 am – they start running at 9 am and you don’t want to be late. If you’re at Park City beeline it over to Pioneer lift. Suffer through the slow Pioneer lift line and reep the benefits as you take Jupiter lift up to the top of the mountain. You can drop in anywhere and ride through amazing tree terrain, good for advanced and expert riders. You could also take McConkey’s and hike up to Jupiter Peak. Jupiter Peak is the snow day go-to and often tracked out by lunch time.
If you’re on the Canyons side, ninety-nine 90 is the obvious choice. There are some areas at Canyons where you are permitted to go out of bounds (cough, cough square top), but do so at your own risk and never do so alone nor without proper equipment. This is expert level terrain and should not be taken lightly.
If you want to relax and skip the crowds head to Deer Valley. Most people don’t think of Deer Valley as deep powder skiing and because of this, you can ride Lady Morgan over and over and pretty much have the deep, fluffy runs all to yourself.
For beginners/intermediate skiers and those looking to improve your skills without a pricey lesson, or for the history buffs out there, I highly recommend the historic mining tour at PCMR. It is FREE and all of the tour guides are expert skiers and often ski instructors. It is a fun way to learn about the mountain and essentially get a free 2-hour lesson.
After a long day of riding you deserve to après. Ski into town for a whiskey lemonade at High West Distillery or ride into the PCMR base for a beer at the Corner Store. If you’re in Deer Valley, end your day at the St. Regis bar for the traditional champagne sabering at 5:30 pm each evening.
WHERE TO STAY
There are quite a few options when staying in Park City and since the town is only about 10 miles long, anywhere you book will be convenient access to the resorts.
As mentioned above, Park City is broken up into two main sections – Kimball Junction and Old Town. They are 10-15 minutes apart and the Canyons base area is right in the middle. Kimball Junction hotels and house or condo rentals are slightly cheaper as they are further away from the bases of Park City Mountain and Deer Valley (again, about a 10 -15 min drive).
Hotels and houses or condos on Park Ave and Main Street are all walkable to the Park City Mountain base area, town lift, and nightlife, however, will come with a heftier price tag. For the ski-in ski-out experience, check out Marriott mountainside and the Canyons Village. If you are really looking to #treatyourself, the St. Regis Deer Valley, the Montage, and Stein Eriksen all boast exemplary service, tradition, and luxury.