Park City in Utah can be found just 35 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport. With non-stop flights from over 70 U.S. cities into Salt Lake City International airport, it’s easy to get to Park City from just about anywhere. Once you land, you can go from concourse to the slopes in 40 minutes by bus, taxi or car. So after your flight touches down, you can be on the slope the very same day. It is a world renowned resort for both summer and winter activities, filled with exceptional food and activities outside of skiing that will take your breath away. You can try your hand at the bobsled ride, tour the town in a hot air balloon or simply kick back and enjoy a drink overlooking the Historic Main Street and relax and rejuvenate at one of the many world-class spas located throughout the town.
Long before Park City became a world renowned mountain resort and venue for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, it was famous as a silver mining town and is very proud of its lively and colourful past. Park City was discovered in 1868, when soldiers stationed in Salt Lake City, traversed the mountain from Big Cottonwood Canyon to find silver. The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1870 brought hopeful miners in droves to Utah, with their eyes set on becoming rich overnight. The discovery of incredibly lucrative silver ore brought George Hearst, the father of William Randolph Hearst, to Park City. His Ontario Mine, purchased for $30,000 at the time, produced over $50 million in its lifetime.
In 1884 Park City was incorporated and by 1889 the town’s population was a little over 5,000. With the introduction of modern conveniences such as electricity and running water, Park City became one of the most sought after mining towns in the West. By 1898 the population of the town reached 7,500, a number not far from today’s current full-time residency. Sadly in 1898 tragedy struck the town when 200 of the 350 structures, homes, and businesses burned down in one of the worst fires reported in the state. Three quarters of the town was destroyed, 500 people were made homeless and $1 million in property was lost, but the locals came together and rebuilt the town in just one and a half years. Many of the new buildings were built to be more substantial, made of brick and stone to withstand fire, should a disaster like that occur again.
By 1930, the idea of skiing had begun to catch on, with the installation of a ski jump on the Creole mine dump. Downhill skiers were few and far between in those days and skiing was mostly a spectator sport. But as interest in the trend of winter recreation continued to grow over the next few decades, by 1946 the first lift was installed at Snow Park (now Deer Valley). At the same time, mining prices dropped and by 1949 many of the historical mines had shut down, putting 1,200 miners out of work.
1951 was a dismal year for what had been, for many decades, a prosperous mine town and Park City saw itself becoming a Ghost Town with a population reduced to just 1,150 people. The city limped on until 1963, when it qualified for a federal loan from the Federal Area Redevelopment Agency. With government assistance and other contributions, the town was transformed into a new ski resort. Treasure Mountain Resort opened with a gondola, a chairlift and 2 J-bars. As word of the new ski area spread, people start moving back to Park City. In 1966 Sports Illustrated included Treasure Mountain Resort’s PayDay run among the finest ski runs in the country.
In 1995, Salt Lake City was awarded the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. More than 40% of the events were held in Park City at the Utah Olympic Park, Deer Valley, and Park City Mountain Resort and the event brought international fame to Park City, whose population and development have continued to grow as a result.
Outside of skiing, in 1970, the first Park City Art Festival debuted on Main Street. In 1981, Deer Valley Resort opened and the United States Film and Video Festival, highlighting independent films, opened in January. The festival has since become the Sundance Film Festival and runs to this day.
Skiing in Park City
Park City is home to over 7,300 skiable acres, over 300 trails, 41 lifts, eight terrain parks, 14 bowls, six natural half pipes, one super pipe and one mini pipe, plus many diverse ski-in/ski-out and village adjacent lodging properties. Park City is an easily accessible, world-class mountain destination located in an authentic and historic western town. With an incredible mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain this wondrous resort is accessible for all levels of skier. During the summer of 2015, the resort undertook the largest improvement project in the history of American skiing, one that linked it with its neighbour, Canyons Resort, to create the United States’ largest ski area.
Lodging – Any year-round resort bold enough to call itself world-class, has to feature a signature hotel worthy of the distinction and Park City doesn’t disappoint. It doesn’t have just one, but a plethora of them, six are located slope-side in Canyons Village.
Parking –If you choose to self drive to Park City, there is plentiful parking, depending on your length of stay. If you are lodging in one of the hotels, you will likely find they have underground car parking facilities. If you are visiting for the day, park in Cabriolet car park (just past the 7-Eleven) at the bottom of Canyons Resort Drive. Once parked, you can catch a free ride on the Cabriolet, an open-air lift with room for 8. The Cabriolet will whisk you up to the heart of Canyons Village and to the lifts at Park City. Just remember that fees for parking may apply.
Lift Tickets – You can purchase lift tickets in Park City. Day tickets may be bought at ticket windows located at each of the resort base areas. Here you can buy single or multi-day lift tickets. If you want to save some money for other important things such as a long luxurious lunch, purchase your lift tickets online in advance. You are guaranteed to get the lowest price going, meaning you can splurge your savings on the mountain.
Events at Park City – There is always something going on at Park City; whether it’s a concert in the Forum or a skiing or riding competition up on the mountain. Sometimes, it’s both. Park City is well known for its free Spring Concert series.
Eating out – Park City offers a variety of choices for incredible food and drink, both on the mountain and off. While skiing or boarding at Park City, try lunch at Lookout Cabin, a sit-down, table-served lunch with spectacular views of the Wasatch Range or ski into the new Miners Camp restaurant, located at the base of the new Quicksilver Interconnect Gondola. Why not finish your day with an elegant meal at The Farm restaurant, located in the lobby level of the Grand Summit Resort Hotel.
Activities Outside of Skiing
It is claimed, by those in the know, that there is just as much magic off the mountain as on. You can enjoy year round activities at Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort, as well as Utah Olympic Park. In the snow free months you can close to 400 miles of maintained trails for mountain biking and hiking.
Time your visit right and you can experience one of the annual traditions from the Sundance Film Festival in January, the Utah Symphony/Deer Valley Music Festival throughout the summer months, to the ever-popular Kimball Arts Festival each August. Mother Nature also encourages you to enjoy fly-fishing, mountain biking, hot air ballooning, horseback riding, river rafting and golf all summer long.
If you’re into thrill seeking, try the Utah Olympic Park bobsled ride aptly called “The Comet”, one of the longest slides in the world, with over 3,000 feet of fast and furious gliding and sliding. The Park City Mountain Resort Alpine Coaster is an elevated track featuring toboggan style cars that take you through more than a kilometre of scenic curves, bends, twists and loops. Or how about zip lining? Soar above the tree tops at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. You can try your hand at this fun activity at Park City Mountain Resort or Utah Olympic Park which features a 500-foot vertical drop, the steepest in the world.