Park City See And Do
Park City , Utah
There are several choices for cross-country skiing around Park City. White Pine Touring, right in town, has 12.5 miles of groomed trails that skirt along the mountains and past the pretty white McPolin Barn, a historic dairy farm; rentals are available. Soldier Hollow, the cross-country and biathlon venue for the 2002 Games, is just east of Park City and has a 20-mile trail system, rentals, and a tubing hill with 1,200-foot lanes served by a tow-lift.—Updated by Sarah Tuff
Park City , Utah
When the snow melts, Park City is transformed into a vast adventure land for mountain bikers and trail runners, with bright blue skies, dry air, and very few tourists. You could easily hop on a fat-tire rental from White Pine or lace up your all-terrain shoes and begin exploring the 150 miles of trails that spider-web through the hills. But for more service (and downhill thrills), you'll find lift-served mountain biking and hiking at Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort, and the Canyons. The Mountain Trails Foundation has trail maps for much of the area, including the spectacular 26-mile Mid Mountain Trail, a steady singletrack that cuts through the Wasatch Mountains at 8,000 feet.—Sarah Tuff
1541 Thaynes Canyon Drive
Park City , Utah
Tel: 435 615 5800
The rolling countryside, expert landscaping, and dramatic views of the surrounding mountains give the Park City Golf Club an exclusive feel. Happily, however, it's public. And tough. Most holes have water hazards and sand bunkers, and playing at altitude makes the 18 holes a lot more strenuous.
Park City Mountain Resort is the mountain for Everyman: The food comes on paper plates, snowboarders rocket down every run, and at the base area, the lift lines are a bit long. But the sheer size of the place (16 lifts and some 3,300 skiable acres), means that with a little exploring, you can have a corner of the resort to yourself for much of the day. Head for 10th Mountain, a Black Diamond trail that runs through a dense birch forest; it's fast and feels secret. Zealous boarders love the Eagle Superpipe and its 22-foot walls, the largest in North America. At lunchtime, you can ski right up to the back door of Davanza's on Park Avenue to nosh on piping-hot slices of pizza or French fries with the state's ubiquitous and delicious "fry sauce" (a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise) as you check out the beer-can collection—sure beats bumping elbows in a ski lodge cafeteria. For après-ski thrills, there's the Alpine Coaster, a toboggan ride down the mountain on an elevated steel track. Ski season usually runs from mid-November through mid-April, and there is night skiing from the end of December through the end of March.
The posh option around these parts is Deer Valley, which allows only 6,500 people on its mountain each day—and not one of them is a snowboarder. With 21 lifts on 2,026 acres of skiable terrain and china plates at the eateries, the air-kissing crowd here is well pampered. The service is almost frighteningly attentive; it's not unusual to wipe out and have a polite, athletic employee ski up and check if you're okay. Though the majority of the runs are groomed intermediates, there are a few barely used expert runs such as Daly Chutes, with 40-degree pitches and massive cornices. Deer Valley is also a regular stop on the FIS Freestyle World Cup Tour, meaning that you can let others do the skiing for you as you kick back and watch the truly elite master the bumps and the jumps. The ski season runs from December through mid-April.
The once homely girl next door who just keeps getting hotter and hotter each year, the Canyons has 4,000 lift-served skiable acres—the most in Utah. The goods here have always been plentiful: wide-open boulevards, rocket chutes, fluffy bowls. And now, the resort (a mom-and-pop ski area until the early 2000s) has finally figured out how to get people moving around the mountain quickly for maximum schussing. In 2011, the Canyons finished Phase 1 of its re-creation, including a heated orange "bubble" chair that makes you feel like you're tucked inside a pair of ski goggles as it zips from the base area to the summit in just nine minutes, increasing uphill capacity by nearly 50 percent. Meanwhile, the resort has also realigned the gondola for better flow and has added a fancy "ski beach" and an even fancier Waldorf Astoria at the base. For the regulars who loved this formerly understated place back in the day, she's barely recognizable—until they begin dancing through the powder, now quicker than ever. The season usually runs from mid-November through early April.
Two other (interconnected) resorts are a one-hour drive west of Park City: Alta is a ski-only resort with a good mix of difficult and intermediate terrain and 2,200 acres of skiable slopes, and Snowbird, a mile from Alta, is a ski and snowboard mountain with 2,500 acres. The ski season at both Alta and Snowbird runs from mid-November through mid-April.—Updated by Sarah Tuff
Park City , Utah
If you've got a nonskier in the group who'd like a view of the slopes (or if your thighs are screaming for a break), hitch a horse-drawn sleigh ride up Park City Mountain's groomed runs with the Snowed Inn Sleigh Company. The trip takes your crew to the mountain lodge, where you can eat dinner, and then head back. Something about the jingle of the horse bells and the lurch of the ride seems to inspire snowball fights (866-647-3310; www.snowedinnsleigh.com).
Park City , Utah
There are many experiences to be had at Sundance: fabulous Miramax parties, seeing the next Golden Globe–winner before anyone else, gawking at the attending celebs. The Festival takes place each January, and the downside of being in Park City at this time can be the long lines for movie tickets and events, the overcrowded everything, and the affectations of wannabe stars. The upside includes sitting next to starlets on the free city bus and having unscreened DVDs shoved into your hands.
Some survival tips: Book your flight, hotel, or condo through the all-in-one Sundance travel service (877-733-7829). Also consider buying the $2,500 Express Pass, which gets you into every screening. (Due to limited quantity, passes are sold via online lottery. Log on to the website in September or October to sign up—if you're one of the lucky ones selected at random, you will be assigned a specific time to call and make your purchase.) Otherwise your best bet is to buy your tickets on-site. Individual tickets go on sale in January, but screenings are often canceled or rescheduled, so it's easier to make your picks at the last minute, after hearing the latest buzz. Although this means standing in line, you'll find the scene social, chatty, and fun.
Once you're inside the theater, don't be afraid to walk out on a picture that's not grabbing your attention—there are far too many great films to be wasting your time. Also worthwhile: the indie sideshow festivals such as Slamdance, which show more avant-garde fare (323-466-1786; slamdance.com).
3419 Olympic Parkway
Park City , Utah
Tel: 435 658 4200
This 389-acre facility is an official U.S. Olympic training site (several 2002 Olympic events were held here), but it's also a playground on steroids that includes swooping ski jumps and a twisty, turn-y bobsled, skeleton, and luge track. While athletes are still seriously prepping for Gold here, virtually everything is open to the public, either for gaping or for participating. In winter, you and two pals can feel 5Gs as a pro bobsled pilot zooms you down the track at up to 80 mph. Or try a 50-mph skeleton ride—belly down, face first—by your lonesome. Come summer, visitors can experience the world's steepest zip line and rocket down the alpine slide. True adrenaline junkies can sign up for introductory clinics in aerials (now there's a cool way into the pool) and other sports. The more mild-mannered can safely peruse the park's museum, watch films of Olympic events, and see costumes, medals, and the giant buffalo made of off-white silk used in the 2002 opening ceremony.—Updated by Sarah Tuff