History of Canyons
In 1968, a small ski area named Park City West opened to the public just 5 years after Treasure Mountain (now Park City Mountain Resort) opened. In 1975, the ski area was sold and renamed Park West and in 1979, it was the first ski area in Utah to allow telemark skiers. In 1995, the ski area was sold once again and the new owners renamed it Wolf Mountain after a public contest was held to select a name.
Wolf Mountain was the first resort in Park City area to allow snowboarding. In 1997, American Skiing Company (ASC) purchased Wolf Mountain, renamed it Canyons and immediately began a $500 million expansion program adding the terrain at Red Pine, Sun Peak, Tombstone, Peak 5, Ninety Nine 90 and Dream Peak. This expansion also included Phase I of the Resort Village, Sundial Lodge, Canyons Grand Summit Hotel, the Cabriolet and the Flight of Canyons gondola. In 2002, Park City, Utah hosted the Olympic Games.
Click to view an area map of all Utah's ski resorts
- Park City, Deer Valley and Canyons are all right next to each other along the same ridge – you could throw a snowball between them. That is 8,600 acres of ski terrain and, if they were interlinked, would make this the largest ski area in North America. However as the domestic market only stays for a few days at a time, the resorts do not want to interlink and maintain very unique experiences at each. They can all be accessed by the free local shuttle from most accommodation options in the resorts - it's a 15 minute drive from Deer Valley to Park City.
- Every Christmas at Canyons, for one day the first 50 guests in full Santa attire ski or ride free. Registration takes place at the top of the Cabriolet in the Resort Village from 8:00am to 9:00am. Last season the day was Saturday 19th December. Watch this space for season 11/12...
- The resorts of the Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons (Snowbird, Alta, Solitude) are only a 45 minute drive or shuttle away (2 miles as the crow flies) and receive over 500" a year of the 'Greatest Snow on Earth'. These resorts are completely different to those of the Park City Valley - more rugged, bigger mountains with more challenging skiing. On a snowfall day you can often find that Snowbird/Alta have 1ft more snow than Park City - with this in mind having a car so that you can chase the powder is a great investment.
Like most resorts the slopes get busier at the weekends and on holidays such as New Year and President’s Week (generally 14th to 21st February). The key to avoiding the crowds is to get to the resort early - I know that sounds simple, but as breakfast is such a big deal in the US many skiers won’t start skiing until 10am. With jet-lag waking you up at 6am, it is actually quite easy to get going early. And if you can lunch early or late you can ski while everyone else is in the restaurants. Its worth bearing in mind that some resorts will 'sell out' as they will only take 60% of their skier capacity simply to preserve their customers' experience.
This area can get cold, although not as cold as Colorado or Alberta. Really cold days of -20°C tend to be on clear bluebird days so the great visibility really takes the edge off it! When it is stormy there's always shelter to be found and, as the runs are protected by trees, skiing while it is snowing Utah's light dry powder is a wonderful experience!
Eating and Drinking
- It is a common myth that Utah is a 'Dry State'…well maybe back in the 1930’s! Park City even has its own Wasatch Brewery which is a great hang out, as well as loads of other bars and restaurants around town, oh, and the cheapest Liquor Store I have ever been to!
- There are a couple of eccentricities to know about - in a bar you need to become a member - all you have to do is give your address and a $3 pp cover charge and you are a member for life (this doesn't apply to restaurants), and you're not allowed to 'double fist' ie. you can’t have a beer and a glass of wine at the same time, though you are allowed a beer and a shot!
Canyons offers a variety of dining options, and with 16 restaurants both on and off the mountain there is something to suit everyone. The Talisker On Main was recently named 'Salt Lake 2011 Dining Awards Winner'.
Click here for restaurant information
- If you're keeping to a budget or are too tired to eat out, most of the restaurants deliver and there are loads of cheap take-aways. Remember as well that Americans eat early (mainly between 6pm and 8pm) and food will stop being served from 9pm to 10pm.
- Most US resorts are relatively tame compared to Europe with Whistler, Vail and Aspen really being the only places that come close. Saying that, at the weekend Park City and Canyons often have live bands and drink promotions at the base of the lifts. Deer Valley is more sophisticated - a really nice place to have a beer, cocktail or brandy hot chocolate (recently discovered!) is in one of the exclusive bars in The Stein Erickson Lodge or Golden Hirshner.
- As Salt Lake City is a major US airport there are a lot of airline and routing choices which generally means cheaper airfares than many other destinations. It will always be a one stop flight, but do not let that put you off! The transfer to resort from Salt Lake City is only 45 minutes so the total travel time is very similar to Whistler or Breckenridge on a direct flight, and in many ways the shorter transfer makes it more comfortable.