Skiing and Snowboarding in Park City, Park City
Concierge.com's insider take:
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