Park City and the Southern Wasatch Places


Park City

Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding

The Canyons Resort has similar mountain terrain to that of neighboring Park City Mountain Resort, but intermediates will find somewhat longer cruising runs here. Above-tree-line bowls feed into some fine tree skiing for experts, and first-time skiers and boarders have 7 acres designated just for them. Don't be deceived when you pull into the parking lot—most of the terrain is not visible from the base. The resort has 3,700 acres of skiable terrain, with 163 runs and is building a year-round base. As the first Park City mountain to allow snowboarding, this resort is popular with younger crowds. The Perfect Turn program bills itself as a "coaching" program, rather than an instructional program, for skiers and snowboarders of all ages. In addition to the advanced terrain park, The Canyons has a beginners' terrain park for first-time skiers and riders. 4000 The Canyons Resort Dr., Park City, UT, 84098. 435/649–5400; 888/226–9667 reservations; 435/615–3456 snow reports. Lift tickets $78–$82. 3,190-ft vertical drop; 3,700 skiable acres; 10% beginner, 44% intermediate, 46% advanced; 1 8-passenger gondola, 1 6-passenger high-speed chair, 1 open-air gondola, 4 high-speed quad chairs, 4 quad chairs, 2 triple chairs, 2 double chairs, 1 surface lift, and 1 magic carpet.

One mile south of downtown Park City, Deer Valley Resort set new standards in the ski industry by providing such amenities as ski valets and slope-side dining of the highest caliber. For such pampering, the resort has drawn rave reviews from virtually every ski and travel magazine. The careful layout of runs—all taking advantage of the best possible fall line—and the quality of the grooming leads to skiing's version of ballroom dancing. With the Empire Canyon and Lady Morgan areas, the resort also offers bona fide expert terrain. For many, part of the ski experience includes a two- to three-hour midday interlude of feasting at the Silver Lake Lodge buffet and catching major rays on the snow-covered meadow in front of the lodge—an area known appropriately as McHenry's Beach. The ski experience, in other words, fits right in with the resort's overall image. With lessons for kids from preschool through teens, Deer Valley's acclaimed children's ski school is sure to please both children and parents. 2250 Deer Valley Dr., Park City, UT, 84060. 435/649–1000; 800/558–3337 reservations; 435/649–2000 snow reports. Lift tickets $86. 3,000-ft vertical drop; 2,026 skiable acres; 27% beginner, 41% intermediate, 32% advanced; 1 high-speed gondola, 11 high-speed quad chairs, 2 quad chairs, 5 triple chairs, 2 double chairs.

With 107 trails and 750 acres of open bowls, the Park City Mountain Resort is one of Utah's largest complexes. Roughly half the terrain is rated as intermediate, but the slopes that line Jupiter Peak are revered by experts. The east face of Jupiter has some particularly hairy rock-lined chutes. Portuguese Gap is an elevator shaft lined by trees, and a "six-pack" (six-passenger) chair in McConkey's Bowl provides access to additional steeps. Motherlode Meadows and Mid-Mountain Meadows provide a gentler approach to tree skiing. Snowmaking covers 500 acres, and night skiers will delight in the well-lit Pay Day run and terrain park. Park City's main drawback is lack of length. Despite a vertical drop of 3,100 feet, it's hard putting together a run of more than about 1,400 vertical feet. The area is made up of a series of ridges and peaks rather than a single mountain face. That said, Park City probably has the best overall terrain mix of any area in Utah—enough to keep skiers of all abilities happy for days. The Eagle Superpipe, with 22-foot walls, is one of the largest in North America, and combined with four terrain parks with state-of-the-art rails, jumps, and funboxes, makes this resort an important destination for snowboarders, too. The Kids Signature 5 programs limit lesson groups to only five students. There are also excellent programs for skiers with disabilities. 1310 Lowell Ave., Park City, UT, 84060. 435/649–8111 reservations and snow reports; 800/222–7275 reservations. Lift tickets $83. 3,100-ft vertical drop; 3,300 skiable acres; 17% beginner, 51% intermediate, 32% advanced; 4 high-speed 6-passenger chairs, 3 high-speed quad chairs, 5 triple chairs, 4 double chairs, 1 magic carpet.

Ski Tours

Strong intermediate and advanced skiers can hook up with the Ski Utah Interconnect Adventure Tour for a guided alpine ski tour that takes you to as many as six resorts (Deer Valley, Park City, Brighton, Solitude, Alta, and Snowbird) in a single day, all connected by backcountry ski routes with unparalleled views of the Wasatch Mountains. Guides test your ski ability before departure. The tour includes guide service, lift tickets, lunch, and transportation back to the point of origin and costs $250. You'll even walk away with a finisher's pin. The Deer Valley Departure Tour operates Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; the Snowbird Departure Tour operates Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Reservations are required. Park City, UT. 801/534–1907.