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Park City Area: 1 Destination, 3 Resorts

From Olympic fame and luxury to innovation and extreme adventure, discover a vast winter playground on three resorts.

Written By Kristen Pope

Deer Valley   |  Scott Markewitz

Park City is a mountain oasis located just 40 minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), your access to adventure. With the mammoth Park City Mountain, famed Deer Valley and the state of the art Woodward Park City just minutes apart, you'll find a playground of over 9,300 skiable acres. Revel in The Greatest Snow on Earth®, see why the 2002 Winter Olympic Games were held on Park City Mountain and Deer Valley’s legendary slopes, and experience the innovative and adventurous environment of Woodward. You can even ride the runs where skiers found their Olympic glory.

Riding the mountains is far from the only thing to do in this exciting mountain town. Watch the latest independent flicks at the annual Sundance Film Festival, which is held annually in late January. Park City's bustling nightlife is filled with concerts, jazz clubs, dancing, and film screenings, and you'll find over 100 restaurants and bars to choose from. 

And you don't even have to drive or wait in powder day traffic or find a parking spot! The city's free electric bus system will get you where you need to go. 

Pro Tip: chat up the locals on the bus to find out where the powder stashes, best eats and gear deals are.

Don't forget to stop at High West Saloon, the world's only ski-in distillery in the heart of Park City’s historic downtown. Of course, the biggest whiskey aficionados will head out to its standalone distillery and tasting room in the nearby town of Wanship, where the magic occurs.

Read: The Hills Are Alive With the Scent of Whiskey

Park City Mountain

Photo: Adam Clark

Deer Valley

Photo: Scott Markewitz

Woodward Park City

Photo: Scott Markewitz

Three Must-See Resorts:

Park City Mountain

Ski the largest mega-resort in the U.S. at Park City Mountain. In 2015, Vail Resorts merged two side-by-side Park City skiing spots — Park City and Canyons — in order to create the largest destination ski resort in the country with 7,300 skiable acres.

The two resorts were then physically joined for the 2015-2016 season via the high-speed, two-way Quicksilver Gondola which soars over Pine Cone Ridge, carrying skiers in eight-passenger cabins the 1.5 miles between Park City's Silverlode Lift and the Canyons's Flatiron Lift. Vail's initial $50 million transformation included other lift upgrades, the new 500-seat Miners Camp Restaurant, and other additions and renovations, making lift tickets well-worth the cost. The Quicksilver Gondola is worth the ride just for the view.

With 38 lifts, over 300 trails, and 14 bowls to explore, you'll never get bored. Pop a few tricks at the seven terrain parks or catch some air in the eight half-pipes (including six natural half-pipes and one super pipe).

After working up an appetite, grab a bite at one of the resort's many dining options that run the gamut from sit-down table service to fresh, locally sourced meals to places to score a quick bowl of bison chili or a slice of pizza between runs.

Deer Valley

Visitors will find Park City skiing paradise at Deer Valley, a skiers-only resort, which is only a 15-minute walk or three-minute drive from Park City's Main Street. [The Park City free bus takes riders to and from Deer Valley, as well.] Each year, an average of 300 inches of powder fall on Deer Valley's six mountains — Little Baldy Peak, Bald Eagle, Bald, Flagstaff, Empire, and Lady Morgan. Skiers of every level will love these legendary slopes with groomed corduroy runs.  Five of the six mountains feature runs suitable for children and beginners, while those off Daly Chutes will challenge the most seasoned skiers.

Tear through 2,026 acres on the resort's 101 different runs. The 21 lifts can carry 50,470 skiers per hour up the mountains to explore 3,000 vertical feet of terrain. Skiers itching for speed will love participating in NASTAR ski racing, which is the world's largest recreational ski race program. Daily races occur on the Dual GS venue most days.

Keep an eye out for three-time Olympian Heidi Voelker on these slopes — she's the mountain's Ambassador of Skiing. Eager skiers will appreciate the First Tracks program which allows private early lift access. Hungry ones will appreciate the famous turkey chili and chocolate chip cookies.

Woodward Park City

This state of the art, innovative venue is the nation’s first all-in-one action sports and ski resort and is only 25 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City.. Woodward boasts a 125 acre campus with an indoor action sports hub, outdoor action sports facility and outdoor mountain park. From lift-accessed snowboarding, skiing and tubing in the winter to mountain biking, skateboarding, BMX, scooter, parkour, cheer and digital media in the summer, the resort is designed to offer a multitude of opportunities for passionate action sports athletes of all ages and abilities to play (beginner to expert). 

Woodward Park City will be open year-round with day and night sessions, packages and monthly memberships available.

Lodges at Deer Valley

A snowy Historic Main Street in Park City.

Photo: Mike Schirf

Cross-country skiing at Soldier Hollow.

Photo: Steve Greenwood

Where to Stay

Staying in Park City is a great way to be right in the heart of the action, with on-mountain options available at Park City's base area and Canyons Village as well as Deer Valley properties. Lodging options are abundant and varied, from ski-in/ski-out slope-side luxury condominiums to hotels and bed-and-breakfasts. Montage and St. Regis at Deer Valley and Waldorf Astoria near Park City Mountain's Canyons Village are three names that immediately come to mind for your top-tier winter home away from home. But those only scratch the surface. You should also check out Main & SKY Lodge, Hotel Park City, Canyons Grand Summit and the boutique luxury of the Washington School House Hotel.

Pro Tip: Check your hotel loyalty programs, e.g. Marriott, Hyatt (both have numerous properties), for using points or points plus cash for Park City accomodations. Also, check their vacation club listings. Many will allow non-club members to stay at properties with vacancies.

Though Historic Main Street is charming and walkable, the Park City area is much larger than many realize — it has to in order to accommodate two large mountain resorts, including America's largest. Even Deer Valley's six mountains stretch beyond the reach of Park City roads, onto the Jordanelle Reservoir side in the Heber Valley. Travelers may find their ideal accommodations in this striking alpine valley, which also accesses Olympic-caliber cross-country skiing at Soldier's Hollow.

Pro Tip: You can stay in Heber Valley – Midway and Heber City – for less and catch the Mayflower Lift at Deer Valley. It’s just off Highway 40 on the “Wasatch Back.”

To save on your Park City skiing getaway, be sure to ask about lodging and lift ticket packages, which many properties offer at a discounted rate. Some visitors prefer to stay in Salt Lake City to enjoy big city nightlife and amenities before heading to Park City each day to hit the slopes.

Pro Tip: There are several new (and much more affordable) hotels at the base of Parley’s Canyon and just off I-80 in Sugarhouse, less than 20 minutes from the Kimball Junction exit in Park City. You can, also, find discount lift tickets at most Salt Lake City ski, sports and even grocery stores for all area resorts. 

High West Distillery in Park City

Photo: Michael Kunde

Bobsledding at Utah Olympic Park

Photo: Michael Kunde

Don't Miss Destinations:

Before Park City was a winter sports paradise, it was a silver mining town. In 1870, the Transcontinental Railroad brought miners who hoped to find the motherlode. Learn about the town's rich heritage at the Park City Museum near the center of town where you can take in tales from a bygone era. Stroll down the streets of Historic Main Street and marvel at the 64 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But you won't see miners today. A walk down modern day Main Street yields opportunities to shop, dine, and enjoy art galleries.

Skiing and snowboarding aren't the only options for outdoor fun nearby. Strap on some snowshoes or cross-country skis and explore the network of nearby trails with a guide. Explore this winter wonderland on a sleigh ride or try your hand at dog sledding behind a team of Siberian huskies. Hop on a snowmobile and roar through the mountains on a guided tour or join an experienced fly-fishing guide to find out what's biting year-round. Soar high above the mountains with a hot air balloon ride or bring the whole family snow tubing.

Spend your day like an Olympian at Utah Olympic Park. This 400-acre park is still used as a U.S. Olympic training site. Sign up for a Comet Bobsled Ride and experience five G's of force with a professional bobsled pilot maneuvering around the track, reaching speeds of up to 60 mph (riders must be 16 or older and reservations are required). Wander through the free Alf Engen Ski History Museum or the Eccles 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum, or enjoy other activities, including a drop tower and adventure courses.

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