Park City Local Guide
If you’ve visited Park City in the past, you likely know of Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley resort, two world-class resorts that are located right in town. What you may not know about are the 8 other resorts within a one-hour drive, offering some of the best snow and most unique terrain in the West. Park City was home to the 2002 Olympic games, an event that has left an incredible legacy in town with an energy still felt to this day. With a bid in for the 2030 games, Park City brushed up on its’ event hosting with the 2019 FIS World Championships. Even with a growing population, Park City has maintained its’ quintessential ski town feel. From locally owned businesses to the ability to ski to Main Street, grab a drink or lunch, and then take a chairlift back up onto the mountain, Park City truly is a remarkable place.
With so many destinations to ski in Utah, Park City Mountain is without a doubt the biggest. After Canyons joined with Park City Mountain Resort in 2015, Park City Mountain is now the largest ski resort in the United States. It boasts over 7,300 acres of skiable terrain spread over 17 peaks and two distinct base villages. With a summit elevation over 10,000ft, it is blanketed with 350+ inches of the “Greatest Snow On Earth” each season. As you can probably imagine, there is no shortage of terrain for every type of skier. Park City Mountain is home to some of the best learn-to-ski and ride programs in the country, making it the perfect family getaway. For the more aggressive skier, check out McConkey’s Bowl on a powder day or head on over to 9990 lift for some incredible powder turns. Park City Mountain is one of two resorts in Utah featured on the EPIC Pass, so if you plan to visit multiple EPIC resorts this season, make sure you consider it for your next trip.
While Park City Mountain may be the largest, it is certainly not the only ski resort in town. Deer Valley Resort sits on the south end of Park City and is the official training site for U.S. Freestyle ski athletes. Ski resort is a quite literal term at Deer Valley- it is one of only three resorts in the United States that does not allow snowboarding. With over 2,000 acres of terrain spread across 6 mountains, Deer Valley is proud to own “Best of the West” in the grooming category. With a children’s program that is second-to-none, Deer Valley is the perfect place for your little one to get acquainted with skiing. While it may be perfect for kids, don’t get the wrong idea- Deer Valley is made up of 27% beginner, 31% intermediate, and 42% advanced terrain. With over 20 lifts, you will rarely wait in a lift line, even on a powder day- locals will tell you guests prefer to stay on the groomers anyway. For a real challenge, head to the chutes off of Empire and try to ski them all. You may even catch a rope-drop if you are lucky.
With amazing lifts, terrain, and views, how could Deer Valley get any better? With the service, and the food! As one of the first resorts to provide tissue boxes in lift lines, Deer Valley’s employees are world-famous for their passion, attention to detail, and local knowledge. They pride themselves on providing their guests with “The Deer Valley Difference.” This is especially apparent in each of its lodges at lunch time. Deer Valley has dining halls in all three of its main lodges: Snow Park, closest to ski school, Silver Lake, at the mid-mountain level, and also over at Empire just a stone's throw from the Montage. Chilly and craving pho? Head right into Silver Lake and have a bowl of either beef or mushroom pho expertly prepared for you. In the mood for a steak sandwich? Head on over to Empire for a made-to-order, mouthwatering meal. Don’t forget about Deer Valley’s famous turkey chili, which is adored by locals and celebrities (like Stephen Colbert) alike. - making it a ski resort you can’t skip. As of the 2018-2019 season, Deer Valley is featured on the IKON Pass and should be a must-visit for any skier, or family.
Park City, Utah is such an incredible ski destination with more than enough to occupy just about any group of skiers for over a week. For those that are looking to branch out from town and explore the other resorts that Utah has to offer, we recommend starting with Big Cottonwood Canyon. Located about 30 minutes from the airport and 45 minutes from Park City, hop over to Big Cottonwood, drive the scenic 13 mile canyon and you will come to find Solitude Mountain Resort. Widely considered to be a hidden gem, Solitude, which comes with an unlimited number of days on the IKON pass, often gets passed up by locals heading to Brighton. It offers 1200 skiable acres, with 50% of the terrain falling in to the advanced category. On a powder day, head straight to the top of the Summit chair and drop in to Honeycomb Canyon for some of the best turns available in Utah. Continue past Solitude and you’ll run right into Brighton Resort. Brighton averages over 500 inches of “The Greatest Snow On Earth” each season and has some of the best backcountry access in the state. That said, always be sure to wear your avalanche safety gear and ski with a partner when heading out of bounds, or into the trees.
Just to the south of Big Cottonwood sits Little Cottonwood Canyon- home to Alta and Snowbird. Both resorts average over 550 inches of snowfall each season and are known for being home to the most challenging terrain in the state. Each resort offers roughly 25% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 35% expert terrain. Snowboarders beware, Alta is another ski-only resort. For those heading to Snowbird, take the tram to the top and explore “The Cirque” or traverse out Road to Provo and then head to the Gad 2 zone. If you are planning to make the drive from Park City on a powder day, make sure to leave extra early- the road often close for avalanche mitigation early in the morning and doesn’t open until mid-day. With all four resorts in the Cottonwoods accessible on the Ikon Pass, including a full-season pass to Solitude, add a few days to your itinerary and checkout what lies just to the south and west of Park City.
Drive an hour north to find a three resorts that are part of the Ogden-area ski scene. Snowbasin Resort, is the most known of the three. With lush lodges and uncrowded slopes, you can access Snowbasin with the EPIC Pass as of the 2019-2020 season. Just north of Snowbasin is Nordic Valley ski area- a perfect resort for beginners. Continue past Nordic Valley and you will run right into Powder Mountain.
Sundance Resort, founded by Robert Redford, sits in a unique location just about 30 minutes south of Park City in picturesque Provo Canyon. Sundance is arguably the least crowded resort in the state with the most magnificent views. Catch it on a sunny day and you’ll be staring straight up at Mount Timpanogos. With more than enough resorts to hit, you may be wondering if Park City locals do anything but ski and snowboard. Check out part two of our Park City Local Guide to learn more about the plethora of options off the slopes!