With the historic mining town of Park City within a ski-runs reach, a rich legacy of championship events (including a little shindig called the 2002 Olympic Games), and enough manicured and off-piste terrain to keep skiers and snowboarders of every experience level coming back for more, Park City Mountain Resort truly is the one-stop shopping resort for ski bums and vacationing families alike.
Known simply as “PCMR” by those-in-the-know, a rainbow of choices abound on this world-class playground. Picture miles of manicured beginner through expert groomed runs, plenty of gut-checking ‘big stuff’ to keep the heart racing, and for the new school free riding mix, one of the very best Super Pipes and terrain parks on the planet…most of which is accessed by a well-plotted high speed lift system. The spirit of Park City is casual, fun, and progressive. Visitors blend right in with the easy-going attitude of the local set, which is proudly diverse in age and background…and always friendly.
The aptly named First Time chairlift is a perfect learning venue for beginners, with gentle groomed slopes and a friendly staff of experienced ski and snowboard instructors ready to guide novices. Intermediate to expert skiers and riders have 3300 acres of mountain to explore, whether chasing powder from the top of Jupiter Peak or McConkey’s Express, to the famed US Ski Team training grounds and bump runs off of Thayne’s, to the rolling cruisers that criss-cross Park City Mountain Resort from Payday to Silverlode Express.
The recently renovated Mid Mountain Lodge is a quaint throwback to Park City’s rich silver mining heritage, housing it’s straight-forward lunch menu under the stylish “nouveau-Victorian” vibe, which includes a huge sundeck from which to take in the Utah sunshine over a draft Wasatch Brewery pint as the parade of skiers and snowboarder glide past.
PCMR keeps a long list of activities flowing after the lifts close down. Kid-friendly activities include ice skating under the winter stars, horse-drawn sleigh rides to fine dining at the on-hill Snowed Inn, or tubing at Gorgoza Park and warming up over hot cocoas in the nearby yurt. Shopping and dining opportunities are endless, with swanky boutiques, kitschy t-shirt shops, and high-end sports shops, such as Cole Sports and Jan’s Mountain Outfitters, each well stocked with the latest gear and clothing, along with many other specialty stores snuggled in with eateries like Baja Cantina Mexican Restaurant, or Legends Bar and Grill. The Corner Store Bar and the Pig Pen Saloon are local hot spots for après ski action (just following the live music and the goggle-tanned faces).
All of this is conveniently packaged right at the foot of the ski area itself, but save plenty of time to stroll Park City’s historic Main Street, where visitors and locals alike savor Park City’s diverse art
galleries (my picks include the cornerstone Kimball Art Center, or the funky and contemporary Terzian Gallery).
No real ski town is complete without a dizzying list of great restaurants, and in Park City’s case, it includes those that are used to catering to the Hollywood A-List crowd which pours into town during Sundance Film Festival each January. To eat like the stars, and sometimes right along side them, don’t miss Chimayo, 350 Main, or Shabu. If celeb-spotting isn’t your game, pop in to No Name Saloon for a burger, beer, and a solid dose of Park City’s local color.
*all photos courtesy of Park City Resort