With over 330 groomed trails, 8% beginner, 48% intermediate and 44% expert, Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) has variety for everyone. Beginners and timid intermediates will be confident on the Home Run, 3.5 miles, to Park City or Lower Boa to the Canyons Base, two gentle cruisers from mountain top to bottom. For experts, McConkeys six pack express, or the Jupiter Bowl lift access uncharted double blacks off Jupiter Peak, 9998 ft, and Jupiter Bowl, 10,026 ft, with the Ninety Nine 90 Express quad or Super Condor Express at Canyons opening up acres of double blacks, many above the treeline. New in 2015, the Quicksilver Gondola links the two areas, Park City base and Canyons.
A plethora of blue runs off the Tombstone Express on the Canyons side link with more challenging double blues off Dreamcatcher. Over at Park City, intermediates should head for the King Con lift, upgraded to a fast six pack, with a choice of 13 routes. Canyons is best suited for the skier who likes to ski the natural mountain, with less wide trails devoid of trails, and good variety of black and blue runs.
With six natural halfpipes, and two terrain parks, Canyons is acknowledged as a leader in the terrain park world.
With 41 lifts, 17 peaks, 500 acres of snowmaking and average snowfall of 360 inches, there is little waiting in lift lines. At Park City base, there is a children’s Magic Carpet, and new enclosed surface lift and designated beginner trail to provide a comfortable, spacious learning area for those learning to ski or ride. Lifts operate from 09.00 to 4.00 pm, and at Park City from 4.00 to 6.00 pm for night skiing, with a capacity to carry in excess of 25,000 people per hour.
With more ski pass options than ever, the best value must be the Epic Pass ($859) which offers unrestricted access to all Vail Resorts’ 15 ski areas including Park City Mountain Resort. With some restrictions and a lower rate, there is the Epic Local Pass, Epic 7 day or 4 day Pass, Park City Youth Pass and Park City 4-pack. The Ski Utah Silver Pass ($3150) entitles 60 days skiing or riding at Park City, with 30 days at other Utah ski areas.
Park City has two designated slow-skiing areas of green trails, one at the base, the other off the Silverlode lift. Canyons has a dedicated 7 acre beginners area at the top of the Flight of the Canyons gondola. It is possible for a beginner to ski from mountain top to base at Park City on a green trail via PayDay and Bonanza lifts, and Homerun, or Claim Jumper to the base of the Silverlode express. At Canyons, beginners should return to the village base by Boomer, Zap and Willow Draw, before progressing on to Snow Dancer from the Saddleback Express lift.
Half the Park City side of the ski area is intermediate terrain, many runs clustered around King Con - no longer a bottle neck with the new 6 pack express lift. Hidden Splendour, Powder Key, Assessment and Mel’s Alley are easier blues than Sunnyside, Single Jack or Parley’s Park.
At Canyons, off Dreamscape and Day Break, there are wide open blue trails with spectacular views, often deserted. Of the long blues which wind their way through tree lined valleys, try Crowning Glory and Harmony from Peak 5 which return to the Tombstone Express lift base. For greater challenge, seek out Another World trail which is steeper and often mogulled.
Jupiter Bowl and McConkey’s Bowl at Park City, and the Ninety Nine 90 Express quad at Canyons access the steepest, ungroomed terrain with light powder and or moguls. While backcountry skiing is not permitted here, the adventurous can take a 20 minute walk along the ridge to Jupiter Peak and down the East Face into Puma Bowl. All terrain is classed black, or double black.
At Canyons, the Devil’s Friend off the Super Condor Express is particularly good for moguls, with the best powder off Murdock Peak. Expert skiers trained in avalanche safety and with proper equipment might try backcountry skiing through the access gates, but never go beyond a sign saying "Closed: Avalanche Danger "nand be sure to read the warning signs.
There are four terrain parks of differing levels across the Park City side of the area, with two terrain parks at Canyons. Payday Park is for riding and jibbing, Pick N Shovel is under the Three King’s Lift, Jonesy’s on the upper mountain and the King’s Crown Superpark close to the base. There is also a Superpipe with 22 ft walls off Eagle Chair. Adventure Park at Canyons has smaller features and is best suited for those learning new tricks or beginners. Respect Park, as the name implies with 22 features, is geared towards advanced skiers and riders.
There are also six natural half pipes around the resort - a snowboarder’s dream - but riders must beware of flat spots on green trails!
Park City has four on-mountain restaurants, Canyons five.
Miner’s Camp, at the base of the Quicksilver gondola linking Park City and Canyons, has a huge outdoor deck, lively bar, and wide range of soups, salads, and fresh local fare. Head for Cloud Dine, at the top of Dreamcatcher and Dreamscape lifts, with its spectacular views, for mid morning doughnuts, and healthy lunch fare.
At the base, Legends Bar and Grill at Park City, has a range of local brews, cocktails from 11.am while the Legacy Cafe at the base of PayDay lift opens at 07.30 for breakfast for early bird skiers and riders. The Farm at the Canyons base specialises on local sourced beef, the Bistro in Silverado Lodge serves kosher fare. Red Tail Grill in the Grand Summit Hotel is the perfect family-gathering spot, while Red Pine Lodge at the top of the gondola serve grills, sandwiches, pizzas and soups both inside or on the sun deck. Lookout Cabin at the Orange Bubble mid station is more upscale fine dining and you may need to reserve a table. The views of the Wasatch Range are magic. Mid Mountain Lodge, near the base of Pioneer and McConkey’s lifts, Summit House at the top of Bonanza, Sun Lodge (base of Sun Peak Express) and the Tombstone Yurt and Grill serve homemade soups, sandwiches, burgers and salads.
Park City was a thriving silver mining town in the 19th century, Canyons is a purpose built ski area known over the last 25 years in various incarnations as Park City West, Wolf Mountain and The Canyons.
Silver mining died out in the late 19th century, but since Park City merged with Canyons to form Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) in 2015, it has hit a legendary boom with year-round activities, the Robert Redford Sundance film festival each January, and bars, restaurants, art galleries and boutiques. Skiers and boarders can ski directly from the mountain into Main Street, and the free electric shuttle bus service runs every 20 minutes.
Canyons is purpose-built, centred on the Grand Summit Hotel, with a full range of shops, ski rentals, restaurants, bars and lodgings. There is also a children’s daycare centre.
Park City town has around 100 restaurants from Thai, Japanese, Chinese through Italian. For a special experience and gourmet meal, take a Snowed Inn Dinner & Sleigh Ride from the base to a mountain lodge. The sleigh takes 12 people at a time.
Legends Apres Ski bar in Legacy Lodge, with its large fireplace, is popular with locals and skiers/boarders alike, and has live music, a well stocked bar and appetisers. The Brewhouse on the second floor of Legends Lodge, has a giant wide-screen TV and sports bar.
Over at Canyons, head for Doc’s at the Gondola base with its full bar, tasty menu and great views. The Cabin Restaurant at the Grand Summit, American gourmet cuisine, has free kids’ meals with a paying adult, reservations recommended on 435-615-8060. This can be combined with a horse drawn sleigh ride. Or relax with an aperitif or after-dinner drink in the Cain Lounge. In the Village try Smokie’s Smokehouse and Tavern for casual dining, with fun flavours, or the Westgate Grill.
The Alpine House, a private club during the day, opens to the public at 4.30 pm in time for apres ski, and features decadent Mac & Cheese and delicious Gorgonzola Cheese stuffed sliders. It is open until 01.00 am - a great place for a night cap!
Among the trees above Red Pine Lodge, is the Viking Yurt at 8,000 ft, reservations required for a unique Norwegian styled experience.
Bars in downtown Park City tend to close around 01.00 am, and the minimum age for consuming alcohol is 21, although children can go to restaurants serving alcohol.
Utah Olympic Park was home to the 2002 Winter Games Bobsleigh, Skeleton and Luge as well as the ski jumping events. Try your nerve on the ski jumping hill, the length of one and a half football fields, or share a scary ride in a four-man bob with an professional driver, reaching speeds of 85 mph. There is an extreme zip line down the K10 Nordic hill, and a Quicksilver Alpine slide with 18 turns which ends at the foot of the K64 jump hill. The less adventurous family members will enjoy the Engen Ski Museum with artefacts of the 2002 Games.
Gorgoza Park, for snow tubing and jibbing, and Kimball Junction, for discount designer shopping, are worth a visit too.Gorgoza Park has seven lighted tubing lanes, three beginner and four advanced, with three lifts and a miniature snowmobile track. There is a Fort Frosty play area and a cosy yurt to warm up afterwards.
The Adventure Desk at the Canyons Grand Summit can organise heli-trips, dog sledding or snowmobile tours.
Art lovers will enjoy wandering through Main Street, Park City, while bargain hunters should head for the Factory Outlets at Kimball Junction.