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Park City Primer: Reaching the Slopes from Salt Lake City

December 17, 2012 at 11:52 AM | by | ()

You know Kai. Earlier this year he surfed Costa Rice and scuba-ed Bermuda. All this week, he'll be hitting the fresh snow on some Utah slopes and bragging about it, just in time for ski & snowboard season.

Spoilt for choice doesn't even begin to describe Park City, Utah. Whether we're talking skiing or snowboarding, snow-shoeing or simply building snowmen, there's a huge amount of varied terrain, most of which is very accessible and a great mix for all abilities. In fact, the three resorts closest to Park City are all easy to get to without a car (one is walking distance from downtown Park , and there are another half dozen ski hills within an hour's drive.

The 14 resorts in Utah have about 31,000 feet of vertical combined; that's a full six miles of drop. For some context, that's comparable with what Colorado offers, but Park City has the advantage of being much nearer to a major airport. It's a 35-minute drive from Salt Lake City, and the SLC airport is small enough that you can comfortably be on the Utah slopes 45 minutes after picking up your bags. Hang on to your boarding pass too, because area resorts will swap it for a free ski pass for the day you arrive. Neat, huh?

Five reasons why we picked Park City:

1. Snow
First of all, the most important reason! The snow in Utah is absolutely incredible. Light and fluffy, it's up there with the best in the world, and although they technically can't call it Champagne Powder (that term is trademarked by Colorado's Steamboat resort), it's not too far off. A number of hills average 500 inches a year, and it's not unheard of for conditions to be skiable from November all the way through to late April.

2. Options
Of the 14 ski hills in Utah, 10 are within an hour's drive from Salt Lake City, five of which are within 40 minutes. Three of the hills (Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort & Canyons) are within only a few miles of each other in Park City, and a handful of others like Solitude, Alta, Brighton and Snowbird are easily drivable from here. There are few places on earth with so many varied skiing and snowboarding options in such a small area.

3. Accessibility
There are non-stop flights to Salt Lake City from most major cities, and with a layover it's easy to fly from every corner of the country. A weekend trip from NYC is not a pipe dream.

4. Town Lift
There is a ski lift in downtown Park City that will take you from the street right to Park City Mountain resort. Getting a lift from "downtown" up to the mountain itself is a truly unique experience.

5. Park City proper
Located just 32 miles southeast of downtown Salt Lake City, the old mining town of Park City is the center of Utah's mountain sports universe. A quaint little town built around the hill of Main Street, Park City's mountain backdrop is quite spectacular. It's so spectacular in fact that in 2008 Forbes Traveler named it one of the prettiest cities in the US. It's also the home of the country's largest independent film festival, Sundance.

[Photos: Kai MacMahon]

Archived Comments:


I think it's also important to mention that staying at the St. Regis helps to make your stay more enjoyable :)


That is very true! A truly spectacular hotel, in a Bond villain type spot. Stunning!