Park City Mountain Resort
The first great thing about Park City Mountain Resort (435/649-8111 office, 435/647-5449 snow phone, www.parkcitymountain.com, adult lift tickets $89 adult, $58 seniors, and $56 ages 7-12) is its convenience to downtown Park City: The Town Lift loads right above Main Street!
The other thing skiers and snowboarders love about this place is its expanse. There's a lot of terrain, good bowl skiing for experts, and some of Utah's best terrain parks and pipes for snowboarders. In spite of all this space, the resort can get very crowded, especially on weekends and holidays.
The price of lift tickets varies depending upon conditions and time of purchase. Prepaying for a multiday pass offers the best deals. Purchase multiday tickets online or by calling guest services at 800/227-2754.
Ski season usually runs mid-November-mid-April. Lifts operate 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Night skiing runs 4-9 p.m. late December-March.
Though Park City locals began messing around on skis and building ski jumps in the 1930s, the resort didn't open until 1963. Skiers and snowboarders can check out signs erected by Park City Historical Society to mark old mining sites around the resort. Intermediate-level skiers and snowboarders can join a historian for a free two-hour Mountain History Tour; check the website or ask at the ticket counter about these tours.
Park City Mountain Resort hosted all the snowboarding events and the men's and women's giant alpine slalom in the 2002 Winter Olympics. The resort is owned by POWDR Resorts, which also runs Mount Bachelor in Bend, Oregon, and Killington in Vermont.
Terrain and Lifts
Though many people access the ski area via the Town Lift, the main base area is actually about 0.5 mile north, at the Resort Center. This is where the main resort parking lot is, and from here, lifts can get you to various points on the mountain.
Four six-passenger high-speed lifts, three high-speed quads, six triple chairs, and three double chairs carry up to 20,200 skiers per hour high onto the eastern slope of the Wasatch Range. More than 100 trails range in length from 0.25 to 3.5 miles (17 percent easier, 52 percent more difficult, and 31 percent most difficult). Three terrain parks and a super-pipe are part of Park City's successful effort to attract snowboarders. Experienced skiers and boarders can enjoy the powder in five open bowls near the top of the mountain—a total of 650 acres. The total drop is 3,100 feet in elevation from the top of Jupiter Bowl to the Resort Center.
Blue runs dominate the lower and mid-mountain. Intermediate skiers and boarders will appreciate the hillside full of blue cruisers off the King Con high-speed quad; even beginners can get a nice long run from the mid-mountain (it's easy to get to by riding first the Town Lift, then Bonanza) by following the Home Run trail back to the Town Lift base.
The Jupiter and McConkey's lifts ferry expert skiers and boarders to a series of steeper bowls. Actually, the lifts get you to only a couple of areas near the bowls; after debarking the lifts, many people hike along the ridges to find just the right run down.
For skiers and boarders who like a structured approach, the resort's website has a pretty slick planning feature (www.parkcitymountain.com/winter/pmt) that will help you select the best runs for your ability and energy level. Mountain hosts are posted around this sprawling resort, helping visitors find their way back to the Town Lift base or over to the challenging Jupiter Bowl area.
Park City ski area and the adjacent resort village offer night skiing, a ski school, rentals, ski shops, ice-skating, and restaurants (three are on the slopes).
Skiing at Park City Mountain Resort is one of several outdoor activities that people with disabilities can learn with the help of the National Ability Center (435/649-3991 voice or TDD, www.discovernac.org), located on the edge of town. The center provides special equipment and instruction at affordable rates, offers programs to people of all ages, and is open for summer programs as well.
Winter or summer, thrill-seekers can ride a toboggan (11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. mid-June-Labor Day, shorter hours mid-May-mid-June and Labor Day-mid-Oct., noon-4 p.m. winter, $20) through the aspen glades on an elevated track as it winds over a mile of curves, bends, and loops. Ride a lift to the top of the track, suck in your breath, and plummet downhill in this roller coaster-like ride.
Although the Park City ski area shuts most of its lifts down for the summer, the resort remains open and maintains 30 miles of trails for mountain bikers, hikers, and horseback riders; for $11 you can ride up the Town or Payday Lift with your bike or picnic hamper. A free map of designated mountain biking trails is available from the resort and local bike shops.
In addition to the Mountain Coaster, which runs on tracks, the ski area has an Alpine Slide (11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. mid-June-Labor Day, shorter hours mid-May-mid-June and Labor Day-mid-Oct., $11 adult per plunge, $3 passenger under 48 inches in height and older than 2 years), which is like a toboggan on a giant curving sliding board. A chairlift takes you to the start of a half-mile track that twists and winds down the hillside. No special skills are needed to ride the little wheeled sled.
Even more frightening is the ZipRider (11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. mid-June-Labor Day, shorter hours mid-May-mid-June and Labor Day-mid-Oct., $20), a cable ride that makes a 60-second, 500-foot plunge along 2,300 feet. At its highest point, the rider is suspended 110 feet off the ground. Riders must weigh 75-275 pounds.
Other summer activities include a climbing wall, horseback rides, miniature golf, and hiking.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition