Ski Butlers’ mission is to make ski vacations convenient, and it doesn’t get much more convenient than choosing to vacation in Park City, Utah. Located about 35 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport and home to a Delta hub, Park City is the ideal ski vacation destination.
Image Credit: Visit Park City
If you’ve visited Park City in the past, you likely know of Park City Mountain and Deer Valley Resort, two world-class resorts that are located right in town. What you may not know about are the eight 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 is truly a remarkable place.
WHERE TO SKI
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 now 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.
Image Credit: Park City Mountain
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 phở? Head right into Silver Lake and have a bowl of either beef or mushroom phở 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 (including Stephen Colbert) alike. 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 of skiers.
Image Credit: Deer Valley Resort
RESORTS OUTSIDE OF TOWN
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 iconic Little Cottonwood Canyon (known as LCC to locals), 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. During the 2018 – 2019 season, these resorts saw over 600 inches of fresh snow! Each resort offers roughly 25% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 35% expert terrain. Snowboarders beware, Alta is another ski-only resort, but Snowbird allows snowboarders. 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 closes for avalanche mitigation early in the morning and if so, it won’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 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 well 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 Resort- a perfect resort for beginners. Continue past Nordic Valley and you will run right into Powder Mountain, famed for its Cat skiing option.
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.
HIT THE TOWN
With so much terrain to ski, you might not want to skip a day on the slopes, and who can blame you? If you manage to step away from “The Greatest Snow On Earth” for a day, we can assure you that you will not be bored here in Park City.
To start, Main Street in Old Town, Park City, is booming with local art galleries featuring everything from trinkets to oversized originals. In addition to the art scene, right in the middle of Main Street sits the Egyptian Theater where you can catch a live show or movie depending on the day. If you find yourself in town the third week of January, you’ll be bumping elbows with A‑Listers during the Sundance Film Festival. Which, by the way, is the quietest time on the slopes if you are looking to avoid lift lines. If you want a unique look into the impact the Olympics has had on the region, head up to the Utah Olympic Park in the Kimball Junction neighborhood. On any given day you will see aspiring Olympians training for the next Games. This includes those who compete in aerials, racing, jumping, and even bobsled. The best part of the UOP is being able to experience a ride in the bobsled with an actual driver- it’s worth every penny.
If you are looking for a different thrill, there are snowmobile tours offered in the Uinta Mountain Range, Browns Canyon, and out of Midway, Utah. Snowshoeing is a popular way to keep the legs moving albeit at a much slower pace. Try White Pine Touring for a guided snowshoe excursion.
APRES & DINING
With seemingly endless terrain and activities to keep you busy in Park City, it should come as no surprise that the dining scene is equally as robust. Wake up in the morning and head straight to Alberto’s to get your breakfast burrito- the best in town. Once you’ve gotten a few runs in on-mountain at Park City, make sure to stop in Mid-Mountain Lodge for a unique menu and a great pub atmosphere. Head towards the Quicksilver Gondola and Silverlode Express to grab a drink on the deck at Miner’s Camp, the flagship lodge of the resort. Work your way over the Gondola to Canyons Village and make sure to grab some wings and BBQ at the base of the Tombstone Lift. Once back in the village, stop at Umbrella bar for the best apres on the Canyons’ side. If you start at Canyons and end up at Park City village for apres, head to the locals favorite Corner Store for a drink and a quick bite- we recommend the waffle fries. If you find yourself a bit hungry at Deer Valley, work your way towards the St. Regis and head up onto the deck for a 7452 Bloody Mary and get in on the annual sabre-sword champagne toast at sunset. After a bite and a drink, head down the funicular and take the bus over to Empire to get to the Montage’s Apex for a plate of their famous Nachos.
If you are enjoying a day on Main Street, check out The Eating Establishment for breakfast or brunch and then No Name Saloon for a famous Buffalo Burger. Craving breakfast all day? The Spur, a local favorite, serves its breakfast options from 10am-1opm. Ask for the Jazz Hands, featuring a belgian waffle and fried chicken. If you are exploring Kimball junction, make sure to grab a slice of pizza at the best sports bar in town, Maxwells, which was one of our local eateries featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” on the Food Network.
Looking forward to a sit-down meal after a long day on the slopes? Once you have allowed yourself a good soak in the hot tub, get dressed and start your night with a drink at Butcher’s Chop House, located just next to the Town Lift, in between Park Ave and Main Street. From local beers to craft cocktails, Butchers has it all. Head up to Riverhorse on Main Street for our favorite (and always changing) menu in town. Some highlights are a Macadamia Nut crusted Alaskan Halibut and a Trio of Wild Game featuring Buffalo, Venison, and Elk. They also have a wine list to impress any sommelier. Deer Valley offers some of the best restaurants in town, highlighted by the Seafood Buffet at Snowpark Lodge, Mariposa at Silver Lake Lodge, and our favorite, Fireside Dining at Empire Lodge. Fireside showcases four courses of European alps-styled dishes, prepared and served in front of five roaring fireplaces. A truly unique dining experience, Fireside even offers horse-drawn sleigh rides before, during, or after your meal. Our advice? Take it slow and try everything, including at least two plates of the Raclette cheese. Wash it down with a carefully selected wine pairing or an Espresso Martini. An added tip would also be to book your Deer Valley meals early- especially that Fireside Dining reservation. That mouth-watering raclette has been known to sell out quickly!
Image Credit: Deer Valley Resort
After your meal, wherever it may be, check out the nightlife by starting at The Spur. The Spur has live music seven nights a week and three separate bar areas, so you’ll find an all-ages dance party here most nights. Work your way down Main Street to the famed No Name Saloon. They may be famous for their burgers, but No Name’s heated upstairs patio is the star of the show. If you are lucky, you’ll catch it during a snowstorm, an amazing way to spend an evening in Park City. To top off your night, walk further down Main Street and make a decision: do you head one block over to Park Ave. and hit up famed High West Distillery for a nightcap with a view of the town lift? Do you head to Downstairs for a “club-like” experience? Or do you hang with the locals at Collie’s or The Cabin? Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Image Credit: No Name Saloon
- Public Transit: https://www.parkcity.org/about-us/transit-bus
- Chamber of Commerce: https://www.visitparkcity.com/
- Deer Valley Resort: www.deervalley.com
- Park City Mountain: www.parkcitymountain.com
- Utah Olympic Park: www.uop.com