Nestled in Utah’s Wasatch Range, Park City is internationally known as a powder-filled winter playground and the home of Sundance. When the festival isn’t running, it’s one of America’s most popular destinations for a ski trip without the fuss (i.e. complicated travel logistics). Direct flights to Salt Lake City and a 40-minute drive to Park City means you can, for example, wake up in Portland or LA or Phoenix and be skiing in snowy Park City by lunch.
While a trip to Park City is worth planning well in advance, the aforementioned convenience factor makes it ideally suited for a spontaneous trip. And, with a ski season that lasts until mid April, you’ve still got plenty of time to squeeze in one last winter adventure before summer takes hold.
Wait! If you absolutely can’t make Park City within the next month, I recommend booking a trip for summer, when mountain biking tracks open up (you can still take the ski lifts), creeks are running, and the locals are at ease. Summer in a mountain town is an absolute joy and this is one of the best picks in the country for an adventurous mountain summer.
Wintertime in Park City is all about the skiing (except for 10 days near the end of January when it’s mostly about the movies). While the greater Park City area is packed full of mountains to ski — Alta, Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton are all good picks — the main draws, and the mountains that’ll allow you to experience Park City proper are Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley. — TM
Park City Mountain Resort — With 7,300 acres of skiable terrain and over 300 trails, Park City Mountain Resort is the largest ski resort in America (thanks to a 2015 merger and new gondola that connected Park City Mountain with neighboring Canyons Resort). Within, you’ll find runs for every skill level, from beginner to expert, as well as eight terrain parks and 14 bowls for those looking to throw down.
Skiers and riders can also cruise directly from the mountain into the center of downtown Park City via a snow-covered bridge that crosses Park Avenue (a main artery through Park City). For those looking to explore Park City as much as the mountain, Park City Mountain Resort is the place to be.
Deer Valley — Just a few minute drive from downtown Park City, Deer Valley is known for catering to an upscale clientele with its 5-star hotels, fine dinning restaurants and services like ski valets to help you carry your gear. The resort, while also known for being very family friendly, features terrain for more advanced skiers looking to ditch the kids and ski some black diamonds (note: “skiers” — Deer Valley doesn’t allow snowboarding).
The mountain is also known for having a large base of return visitors who make a trip yearly.
Eat & Drink
— Eat —
On The Mountain – Refueling with a hearty meal is one of the best parts of any ski trip. For the most memorable dinning experiences, try Lookout Cabin, a waiter-served restaurant with killer views serving up Rocky Mountain cuisine like horseradish-honey glazed grilled salmon, or the ultra casual Tombstone Grill, an all-outdoors outpost for delicious smoked BBQ dishes. After the mountain closes, hop on the snowcat-pulled sleigh and ascend the mountain to a six-course Norwegian dinner at The Viking Yurt (just be sure to make reservations in advance — the yurt only serves 40 people per night). — TM
In town – If there’s one thing that Park City nails above all else, it’s food. There are plenty of very talented chefs out there who think: “So I get to live here, cook for people who are spending vacation fund money, and all of Hollywood descends once a year? Yeah, I’m in!” It’s not a bad rationale and the whole town has benefitted. Make sure to check out Riverhorse on Main. It’s a place that celebrities would still flip over in LA or NYC — incredible ingredients, tons of skill in the kitchen, and more than enough big ideas to fill a menu. Try the frog legs with black garlic gnocchi or the foie gras duo and really make it feel like vacation. — SB
— Drink —
Drinking in Park City starts early — sometime between 4 and 6pm as the ski lifts close and skiers and riders look to celebrate a successful day on the mountain. Everyone’s #1 pick is the famed High West Distillery, which is universally beloved with good reason. Get a whiskey flight and bacon and cashew caramel corn and you’ll be in pretty good shape to start. As the volume increases (this place gets packed) try the stew or the mac and cheese with one of the bespoke cocktails.
NOTE: If you don’t have the boozy fondue, it’ll be tough to convince anyone that you ever actually went. — SB
Park City is packed with accommodations — from 5-star and boutique hotels to condo crash pads great for groups. — TM
Big Spender: For those looking to not lift a finger, ski-in-ski-out convenience or a romantic escape, the majority of Park City’s high-end hotels can be found at Deer Valley. Long a favorite a skiers with a taste for the finer things, Stein Eriksen Lodge offers a heated outdoor pool, complimentary shuttles into town via black SUVs and the mountain’s best spa. Further up the hill, the swanky Montage Deer Valley is a one-stop shop featuring luxurious rooms, restaurants and an aprés scene (you’ll never really have to leave). Both are ski-in-ski-out.
Boutique-Minded: With just 12 rooms, Washington School House Hotel is Park City’s most Instagram worthy property. Built in 1889 as a school, the totally refurbished building now features elegant interiors and a heated outdoor pool. Plus, it’s just a few steps to the restaurants and bars of Main Street and a five-minute walk to the Town Lift (Park City Mountain Resort’s chair lift located in the center of downtown Park City).
Get The Job Done: With its clean, comfortable, spacious and surprisingly affordable accommodations, Treasure Mountain Inn is a great place to crash after a full day on the mountain and night on the town (with the Inn’s convenient location at the southern end of Main Street, you’ll be near all the action).
Home Rentals: Park City is overflowing with awesome home rentals — from condos and quaint downtown homes to mountainside mansions. If you’re traveling with a group, this is the way to go (because splitting the cost of a home rental is almost always cheaper than staying in a hotel). You’ll find most rentals are within walking distance to a ski lift, have fully equipped kitchens that’ll allow you to cook group meals and save on grub, and most importantly, have a hot tub.
Some examples of what you can expect include this three bedroom/three bathroom condo, this house located within walking distance to Park City Mountain’s main lifts, and this slope side mansion at Deer Valley.