This former mining town at the foot of the Utah’s Wasatch Range has serious Hollywood and Olympic cred—plus it’s America’s most accessible mountain playground. Alex Pasquariello has your guide to the best skiing, snowboarding, eating, drinking and shopping in one perfect long weekend.
Hollywood discovered this former silver mining town back in 1981 when Robert Redford first hosted the Sundance Institute Filmmakers/Directors Lab to incubate independent film. The Olympics followed 21 years later when Park City planted its flag as one of the globe’s premier winter playgrounds. You’re coming for this intoxicating mix of sport and art, available all winter long.
Best of all, you can get in, get the best of, and get out of town in 72 hours, no problem. Hop an early morning flight, and you can be shredding gnargnar within an hour or two of landing at Salt Lake City International airport, a Delta Air Lines hub that is just 35 minutes from the slopes. It’s possible to hit all three of Park City’s ski resorts—Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort—in one weekend. Your correspondent being a snowboarder, this itinerary skips Deer Valley, though he dutifully reports that a meal at the stellar St. Regis Deer Valley’s J&G Grill (from Michelin-starred mega-chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten), is worth the ride up the hotel’s private funicular for the locally sourced Paisley Farm pork or Koosharem Valley trout and a table by the windows at Utah’s top slopeside dining room.
If you arrive in town ill-equipped for the slopes, stop in at Jans for the latest helmets and goggles by Shred, designed with and tested by Park City’s own Olympic champ Ted Ligety. You can head straight to Main Street without schleping your snowboard or skis thanks to Ski Butlers, experts that come to your pad, discuss your skills and style, and take your measurements to deliver the optimal performance package right to your door.
Stock up on apres ski duds at Prospect, which merges mountain man function and fashion, (think sturdy Timerland Earthkeeper hikers and cozy Sorel snowboots) and at Mary Jane’s with locally designed jewelry and American-made boots.
Rock your new duds over dinner at Robert Redford’s Zoom, housed in Main Street’s former Union Pacific train depot. Sit among photos from Sundance Film Festivals of yore while supping on trout pulled from local waters and served over herbed risotto with a delicate tomato butter sauce.
With more than 4,000 skiable acres, Canyons Resort is Utah’s largest and it delivers a mind-melting array of terrain. The best way to tackle this behemoth is to book a ticket with the resort’s First Tracks program so you can lay down lines while everybody else is sipping their morning coffee. By the time the slopes start to fill, you’ll be a couple hours into a powder day and sliding into a gourmet breakfast at Red Pine Lodge.
If you’re looking to get far from the madding crowd all together, Canyons Resort has a heli-pad from which Wasatch Powderbird Guides will whisk you into more than 500 inches of backcountry powpow. No matter how you ride Canyons, stick around the resort for dinner at Farm at Canyons where everything is sourced within 200 miles of the restaurant. Lucky for you, there are a plethora of fine purveyors nearby, including Zoe’s Garden honey, cheese, Creminelli cured meats, Beehive cheese and Morgan Valley lamb.
The 3,300-acre Park City Mountain Resort has become a freestyle fave because of its Eagle Superpipe, host of the 2002 Olympic competition, and Neff Land Terrain Park, a new treat for jibbers. Hike Jupiter Peak off its eponymous lift, below which you can find great glades and the famously narrow Portuguese Gap.
But the best part about skiing Park City Mountain Resort? You can ski right to the bar. The Town Lift picks you up on Main Street and you can ski or board down the Quit ‘N Time trail right into the James Beard-award winning saloon High West Distillery. Utah’s first distillery produces killer bourbon, rye and vodka onsite, pairing it with rib-sticking, locavore comfort food. Take a tour of the distillery while sipping a Quit ‘N Time, a hot cocktail with their double rye and spiced lemonade.
Keep the approach to dinner hyperlocal and sidle up to No Name Saloon for craft suds and the house buffalo burger topped with cream cheese, jalapenos and chipotle mayo. This Main Street mainstay tolerates the beautiful people, but really rocks when the celebs hit the highway and locals toast to having the bar mostly back to themselves.