Mid-January brings more than powdery snowdrifts to Park City, Utah. The glittery elite of Hollywood descend on the rustic ski town for the Sundance Film Festival, bringing private cars, entourages—and tons of paparazzi. The only way to get in on the action and beat the crowds is to book early, and so we've rounded up everything you'll need to plan ahead for a fabulous trip.
Where to Stay
Have travel funds to spare from the holidays? Treat yourself to the mountainside craftsman riches of Montage Deer Valley. The one-year-old resort with 154 guestrooms and more than 66 suites and private residences is stepping up its game this ski season, with a new, two-story home designed by Philip Gorrivan and Alison Pincus of One King's Lane. Expect the finest (read: custom artwork, 10-foot dining room banquette, and luxurious neutral-on-neutral finishes). And if you're not in the mood to take advantage of its ski-in, ski-out location, there's always the Spa Montage, where customized all-day packages start at $395.
Book It: The "Montage Memories" package has rooms that start at $695 a night, and include a daily breakfast for two worth $50 (enter promo code: BB).
What to Do
There's plenty to do in Park City beyond star-spotting in between premiers. There are tons of activities here, from skiing at a newly redone resort to shopping at upscale, slope-side boutiques, to spend the afternoon at a luxe spa.
Ski Local Mountains
The long-ignored little brother to the Park City ski game, Canyon Resort has upgraded its mountain offerings. Since it was completely rebuilt in 2010, it has gone international with a new mountain cafeteria (aptly named Cloud Nine), 182 trails over 4,000 skiable acres, and the wonderfully heated Orange Bubble Express high-speed quad lift.
Book It: Lift tickets go for $89 a day when you buy online.
Guests at the St. Regis Deer Valley can take advantage of a special half- or full-day ski package with Olympic freestyle medalist Shannon Bahrke. Try to keep up with her high-octane ski style, fueled, no doubt, by Silver Bean Coffee, which Bahrke founded in nearby Salt Lake City in 2008.
Book It: Call 435/940-5700 to book through the hotel's concierge.
Have a Spa Après-Ski
Nurse slope-worn limbs and joints at the Waldorf Astoria Park City's Golden Door Spa. The 16,000-square-foot space has long been an après-ski favorite. Bonus: tack on a session with the on-site naturopathic physician, Dr. Trevor Holly Cates, and you'll be well on your way to your New Year's detox.
Book it: Call 435/647-5503 for an appointment.
Hit the Slopes in Style
You can't spend all your time in your snowboard getup. For slope-side style, dress like the latest ingénue in hip but relaxed threads from Cake Boutique. With two locations in Park City, the chic retailer offers tops and dresses by BB Dakota, James Perse, and 12th Street Cynthia Vincent. Layer those pieces over skinny jeans by Citizens of Humanity and tuck them into plush, shearling Emu Australia boots. With prices hovering in the $74-$495 range, you'll have the Sundance starlet look down without busting your travel budget.
Buy It: Visit the boutique at 511 Main Street or 1635 Redstone Center Drive, Suite 120.
Where to Eat
Reward yourself from a day on the slopes by booking a table at Riverhorse. This Main Street restaurant has been around since 1987, and has earned a reputation for its delicious, light American fare, with an emphasis on seafood and fresh catch. Executive chef Seth Adams churns out inventive hits like the Leeland Farms Utah red trout breaded in pistachio nuts, and Chardonnay-poached lobster and scallops. For vegetarians, there's also an impressive selection—as opposed as to an afterthought—including the Oregon wild mushroom gnocchi.
Book It: Call 435/649-3536 to reserve.
The stars come out at night—or in the case of Sundance, to Glitretind. This Deer Valley restaurant, located at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, attracts plenty of celebrities, along with foodie fans of executive chef Zane Holmquist. Tuck into hearty comfort food (think top-notch burgers with aged white cheddar, and chicken pot pie), or bolder choices such as Rocky Mountain elk tenderloin, or the Stein Eriksen Lodge wild game chili made with buffalo, elk, and wild boar. The wine list is outstanding, too, with 750-plus offerings. Sommelier Cara Schwindt was a 2010 James Beard award semi-finalist for outstanding wine service.
Book It: There's a popular Sunday brunch buffet, but we prefer the posh tranquility of dinner. To reserve a table, call 435/645-6455 or book online at Open Table.
Photo credit: Age Fotostock America, Inc.