The picturesque mountain village of Park City may be known predominantly as the Hollywood hub of the prominent Sundance Film Festival, but there’s a lot more going on in the peaks than indie film glitz and glamor. Situated a few miles east of Salt Lake City, Park City was formerly a mining town. As that industry declined, so did the population, and the city turned its attention towards the tourism business. Robert Redford also took a liking to the place and set up Sundance there in 1978. But the majority of Park City’s $500,000,000-plus contribution to the Utah economy comes from the burgeoning ski scene.
The city’s tiny population of around 7,500 people is dwarfed by the influx of eager skiers, who trek to Park City every winter, skis, and snowboards in hand. If you’re an eager skier yourself and are thinking of planning a bucket list ski trip in the near future, you could do far worse than journeying to the gorgeous, snowy surrounds of Park City, which really is the winter wonderland of your bucket dreams.
To get inspired, check out BUCKiTDREAM and connect with other intrepid travelers who may have skied their way through Park City’s resorts, and keep that BUCKiTDREAM planner handy as we take you through the ultimate guide to Park City skiing!
Make Your Way to the Slopes The first step is getting there. As it’s tucked away in the mountains, Park City is a little tough to reach by anything other than a car. Your best bet is to fly into Salt Lake City International Airport and grab a taxi from there. The car journey takes around an hour so the cab fare can be somewhat intimidating, but it’s very manageable if you’ve got a group of pals with you.
Address: 776 N Terminal Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84122
Hit Those Slopes So, you’re here, surrounded by some of the softest, most beautiful snow in America. The question now is: where’s the best place to ski? With Park City, you essentially have two (big) options. While it was undoubtedly awesome before, Park City has very recently been bestowed a multimillion dollar infrastructure upgrade, which firmly establishes it as the biggest ski resort in the US. The upgrade connected two different resorts – the Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons – forming one gigantic terrain featuring 7,300 acres, 300-plus trails, and 40-plus lifts.
Confusingly, this new resort is also named Park City, but once you get a grip on the difference between the town and the resort, you’ll be flying. The second resort is the skiers-only Deer Valley, located on the other side of the City to Park City. A bit confusing, right?
Get the Most Out of Park City Resort Largely considered a resort of intermediate to expert skiers, Park City also has its fair share of beginner courses. The Canyons is the best side for first-time skiers, with many easy and short trails snaking around its base. It has a collection of gentle green trails, served by the High Meadow chair, which is uniquely situated at mid-mountain level. This is opposed to the traditional crowded low-mountain point that most resorts direct beginners too.
Canyons also feature the Super Condor chair, one of the best chairs in the skiing game; it serves thirteen black trails which are perfect for more advanced skiers looking for conventional trails – as opposed to tricky bowls and long-haul twisters.
Spend a Day at Deer Valley Unlike a lot of ski resorts, which try to be all things to everyone, Deer Valley knows what it does – and does it well. It’s the place for family-oriented, straight-forward skiing over meticulously groomed, classical terrain. There are no extreme slopes that veer off into the backwoods here; just some of the finest snow you could ever wish to set your skis upon.
There are 101 runs on Deer Valley served by 21 lifts, with over two-thirds designated for beginner and intimidate skiers. Even the black stuff isn’t that tough; Deer Valley is orientated more towards casual skiing groups and families, while hardcore veterans will probably be more attracted to the Park City resort.
Address: 2250 Deer Valley Dr. S, Park City, UT 84060
Decide Where to Stay When it comes to accommodation in Park City, much like the slopes, there are two main options. The first is to stay in the resorts themselves. The plus side of this is obviously easy access to the hills and a general hassle-free vacation with regards to transportation and meals. The downside is the lack of character and color.
While the facilities are lovely in both resorts, there’s a slight feeling of isolation. If you want to be in amongst the action, then staying in the beautiful Park City main is a better option. The tiny town essentially comprises one street, but that one street is crammed full of fine dining, quaint boutique shops and lively, friendly bars. Plus, the locals in Park City are unfailingly warm and welcoming to their seasonal guests.
The only downside here is that it takes longer to get to the slope base camps from town, but the good news is the local buses are free to ride. It’s entirely up to you what kind of vibe you want your bucket list ski trip to have!
Keep an Eye on Altitude Sickness The city is 7,000-odd feet above sea level, the kind of height where altitude sickness can set in, so make sure you give yourself a day or two to acclimate before hitting the slopes. Or maybe stay a night in Salt Lake City, which is itself 4,000 feet above sea level, to give your body fair warning. People react differently of course, and the majority of folks won’t have any issues, but just in case, you should give yourself the best chance and not launch into any strenuous activities the moment you touch down in Park City.
If reading all about the cool slopes of Park City has made you anxious to get out there, what are you waiting for? Grab those skis from the attic (or buy some new ones if you want to learn) and start planning that bucket list dream ski trip today! And for an equally exciting winter wonderland excursion outside of the US, try Skiing in Niseko, Japan.