Park City Resort Guide
Why Park City?
The location of the town of Park City in Utah is pretty much unbeatable. Just 45 minutes from Salt Lake City International airport, it offers 7,300 acres of superbly varied terrain and boasts the ‘Greatest Snow on Earth’.
The old mining town is a relaxed, low-key kind of place with an attractive and traditional Main Street, all the amenities you would expect from a year round destination and a good variety of accommodation from ski-in ski-out condos to friendly hotels with bars filled with locals.
Park City is our most popular place to stay in Utah for a couple of reasons:
- Big ski terrain and fantastic snow.
- Vibrant and colourful town. It has a great selection of bars, restaurants, shops and cafes. Home to the Sundance Film Festival, it is perfect for people watching at any time of year.
- Lots of 'off the slope' activities and sight-seeing.
- Lots of accommodation options. Whether you are travelling as a family, in a group of friends or as a couple there will be accommodation to suit and more than enough to keep everyone entertained both on and off the slopes.
There are three access points to the terrain: Main Street (take the Town lift on the way up, the ski bridge on the way down), Resort Plaza (choose from one of six chairs) and Canyons Village (take the Bubble Express or Red Pine Gondola). The town's complimentary ski shuttle whisks skiers between all three and you can ski to them too.
The resort has runs suitable for all abilities, mostly beneath the tree line and spread across the 17 peaks and 14 bowls. It's a true intermediate paradise with a huge amount of variety. The resort extends across tree-clad canyons, with four gondolas and multiple high-speed quads spanning the gaps between them. The glade skiing is fantastic and the resort is so vast you'll nearly always find untracked powder, even well into the afternoon.
While the runs are ideal for intermediates and above, there is also a huge amount of easily accessible off-piste terrain for advanced skiers and boarders. The resort is also particularly good for snowboarding with six natural half-pipes, gullies and superb terrain parks.
The terrain - There are loads of great groomed runs, fantastic glade skiing and bowl skiing that is easily accessible for an upper intermediate skier. Its multiple terrain parks for first-timers to advanced boarders and skiers feature over 150 pipes, jumps and rails.
Beginners - The First Time lift is perfect for beginners. Tucked away so that nobody witnesses that first attempt at using a chair lift and then lovely green runs to get you moving. Some of the green cat tracks can get very busy at the end of the day so be prepared to stand your ground! There are dedicated areas at Red Pines Lodge and High Meadow. There are then some lovely, long greens off the Eagle Chair and blues like Kokopelli are perfect for building confidence.
Intermediates - The King Con area is blue run heaven and you can play here all day. Confident intermediates will also enjoy the blue and black runs off the Motherlode and Thaynes chairs - although the moguls can get pretty huge.
When the powder is down - Park City can be unbeatable for those that love playing in the trees and whizzing on and off the marked trails. Two of the best runs we've had are in and out of the Condor Woods down Boa and then messing about in Snow Meadow - it really is as heavenly as it sounds.
Advanced - Quite simply Jupiter Bowl is where it's at. Alternatively, McConkeys is great fun although can get very moguley very quickly. The trees off Thaynes are excellent - the gladed runs are everywhere so just go and explore. Dream Peak is always quiet and offers acres of trees and also some great mogul runs if that is your thing. The most challenging terrain is off the 9,990 chairlift.
Park City’s terrain parks were also rated #1 by Transworld Snowboarding magazine and for something a little different why not try out night skiing? The Payday and First Time Lifts are open until 19:30.
The resorts of the Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons (Snowbird, Alta, Solitude and Brighton) are only a 45 minute drive or shuttle away (two miles as the crow flies) and receive over 500" a year of the 'Greatest Snow on Earth'. These resorts are completely different to Park City - more rugged, bigger mountains with more challenging skiing. On a snowfall day you can often find that Snowbird/Alta have a foot more snow than Park City - with this in mind having a car so that you can chase the powder is a great investment.
Off the Slopes
Park City is a reasonably sized town so there is a lot on offer once you are done with the day's skiing or riding. Historic Main Street has restaurants, both simple and sophisticated, as well as snug bars and swanky shops. It's also home to the world's first ski-in ski-out distillery! Star-spotting is popular, especially during the Sundance Film Festival held in January each year (expect to pay more for accommodation but enjoy slopes practically to yourself). The legacy of the Winter Olympics is still strong - the Olympic Park is a fun place to visit and try the Bobsled or Skeleton. There is money-saving designer outlet shopping in Kimball Junction, plus all the activities you would expect in a ski resort. From Family sleigh rides to hot air ballooning in and around the resort.
Park City and the surrounding area offer just about every winter activity you can think of - and some you have probably never even considered before! From bobsled rides at the old Winter Olympics site to horse-drawn sleigh rides to historic tours of the mines, you have no excuse for being bored here.
Some of our favourite activities in the area include:
- Utah Olympic Park - Site of 14 events during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, this is still an active training facility but is also open to the public for tours and activities.
- “The Comet” Public Bobsled Ride - Go up to 80 miles per hour and experience 5 G’s of force on the winter bobsled ride with an experienced bobsled driver.
- Horse-drawn sleigh ride - Bundle up for an unforgettable sleigh ride through the Wasatch mountains, hot chocolate provided.
- Alpine Coaster - Take an alternative means of transport down Park City's slopes on this exhilarating roller coaster.
- Tubing - Take an exciting ride down the mountain at Gorgoza Tubing Park and then warm up with some hot chocolate in one of their Yurts.
- Hot air balloon rides - Soar above the mountains and look down on the town of Park City from a hot air balloon. Don’t forget your camera!
- Ice Skating - Always a fun time, located at the base of Park City Mountain Resort.
- Jupiter Bowl-Ultra - Modern bowling lounge in Newpark Town Center. Offers cosmic bowling, full-service bar and dining options.
- Spring Gruv at Canyons - Spread over 10 days, experience free concerts at the resort base, the pond skimming contest and the Canis Lupus challenge.
In addition to recreational activities, Park City is the shopping mecca of the Rocky Mountains. This quaint, former silver mining town has many boutique shops and galleries that are unique to Park City. Along Historic Main Street, there is a range of charming, one-of-a-kind stores featuring everything from clothing and furnishings to jewellery and books.
Beyond Main Street, Kimball Junction offers mall-style shopping with the Tanger Outlet shopping centre for some serious bargains and a selection of other big name shops. This is all accessible on the bus system.
If these activities sound a bit too much like hard work after all that skiing, then don't worry. There is more than one way to relax in the Park City area. All three areas have a great selection of health clubs, spas and salons.
From a soothing massage in the privacy of your own room to the #1 rated, 23,000 square foot spa in the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley, there is something to suit every taste and budget. Whether it is an invigorating workout or a relaxing facial treatment, there is sure to be your kind of relaxation nearby.
Childcare - Children can start taking ski lessons at 3 years old in Park City. There is no big childcare option in town but there is a daycare facility in Canyons Village - The Little Adventures Children’s Centre in the Grand Summit Hotel offers full and half-day care for children aged 6 weeks to 6 years of age. They also offer a Parents Night Out programme. Leave the kids with them and they will provide dinner, activities, movies, and dessert while you go out and enjoy the town. For a list of childcare options see the Park City Business Directory.
Weather - 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!
Transportation - The free and efficient town shuttle system is truly excellent and runs all day and into the evening. There are a number of different routes and you can access all three ski resorts, Main Street and also Kimball Junction by bus. Alternatively if you would like to be independent hiring a car is easy and good value. This gives you the flexibility to explore the resorts and head over to the Cottonwood Canyons.
Supermarkets - There are loads of grocery shopping options in Park City. In the main town there are large supermarkets like Albertson or the 7-Eleven. Alternatively there is a large WalMart down in Kimball Junction. There is also a General Store located in the Grand Summit Hotel lobby in Canyons Village which stocks beverages, snacks, gifts, sundries and a selection of last minute ski accessories.
Bars & Restaurants
Park City has a huge selection of restaurants, from relaxed wild west bars to fine dining restaurants. All are family friendly.
Some of our restaurant recommendations:
- The Riverhorse on Main - award-winning fine dining
- Grappa - great Italian
- Chi mayo - popular south-western cuisine
- Zoom Roadhouse Grill - Robert Redford’s sophisticated all-American restaurant
- Wahso - Asian grill
- Adolph’s Restaurant - great for fondue and raclette
- Flying Sumo - excellent value sushi
Canyons Village offers a variety of dining options:
- For casual yet elegant fine dining try the Cabin in the Grand Summit Resort Hotel.
- The Farm was named the one of "Utah's 25 Best Restaurants 2015" and "Best New Restaurant in Utah 2012” by Salt Lake Magazine. It features an innovative menu that focuses on locally sourced ingredients from farms and artisans.
- For more relaxed dining try the Westgate Grill.
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. The supermarkets also stock good value hot food and huge ready meals.
Aprés Ski - It is a common myth that Utah is a 'dry state' - trust us, it really isn’t! 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. No Name Saloon and Ciseros are perennial favourites on Main Street.
The key to the night life in Park City is finding out where the 'locals night' is - on week nights this is where everyone goes, so if you are not there the town will feel dead whilst these bars will be rocking. Ask a local before you go out.
For a more sophisticated tipple head over to Deer Valley - 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 Ericksen Lodge or Goldener Hirsch.