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.
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1310 Lowell Ave., Park City, 84060 Phone: 435-649-8111 Air Travel
Park City is incredibly accessible considering it is less than an hour from SLC airport. From the airport there are 70 different ground transportation operators. One example of a large operator is Park City Transportation. They have a desk at the airport if you don’t have reservations. PCT and other operators will also provide transport from other Utah ski resorts. There’s even a mini-bus operation that takes skiers to and from Jackson Hole.
If driving from the airport, the route is incredibly well sign posted and is via I-80 and highway 224. Driving Directions
From Salt Lake City airport: Upon leaving the SLC Airport Exit, head east on Interstate 80 for 4.4 miles. Merge onto I-15 South / I-80 east heading southbound for 2.5 miles. Continue on I-80 Eastbound for 21 miles. Exit I-80 at the Kimball Junction/Park City Exit # 145. Bear right heading southbound on UT-224 for 6 miles. Turn right onto Empire Avenue and follow road up to the base parking facilities.
If you are staying near the town center near a stop on the bus line, it won’t be necessary to hire a car, particularly if your vacation will primarily consist of skiing and going out at night time. It can be tricky to get to some activities out of town but taxis are readily available except during peak holiday periods.
Park City Transportation has a passport service which is included in some tour packages. The passport entitles the user to free taxis but they don’t operate outside a small radius of the town centre, so you can’t get to Olympic Park or Kimball Junction, and they don’t operate before 10am. It’s not really free either, as you have to pay a substantial tip.
The other option depending upon how warmly you’re dressed is to use the free public buses. The bus system has routes that cover the downtown area, major hotels, all three ski resorts, and the suburbs including Kimball Junction where the outlet shopping is. Your accommodation is likely to have a copy of the bus schedules and maps, otherwise they can be found inside any of the buses. The bus system is generally very reliable, except during peak holidays such as Xmas and Sundance when things go a bit haywire. The frequency of the service depends upon the route. The Canyons is every 20 minutes, Deer Valley is pretty frequent depending upon the time of day. Multiple routes cover the area between Main Street, along Park Avenue and up to Park City Mountain Resort, so buses here are very regular. The other option to get between downtown and the resort during the day is via skiing and the lifts. If you just want to get up and down Main St, there is the free historic trolley.