When us Brits think of skiing in the USA, we tend to associate the reliable powder and friendly hospitality with the necessity of extended flight times, lengthy transfers and generally inconvenient journeys.
But what if we told you there was a charming US town with two world-class ski areas, just 35 minutes from a large international airport – meaning you can hit the slopes the same day you fly in?
Set at 7,000 ft in altitude, Park City offers exceptional snow conditions across two of America’s top ski areas, and has everything you could ask for when it comes to a ski holiday.
Don’t believe us? Here are eight reasons why we think Park City is the best destination for your next stateside ski holiday:
1. Direct Flights from London to Salt Lake City
It’s never been easier to get to Park City, with a newly reinstated direct Delta Airlines flight between London Heathrow and Salt Lake City, ensuring a early-mid afternoon arrival. Regular flights will run from December 19th 2019 throughout the ski season and beyond.
Park City resort is also just 35 minutes from Salt Lake City International airport and November 2020 will see the opening of a new $3.6 Billion airport, meaning visitors will arrive in to state-of-the-art luxury – a far cry from a crowded Saturday afternoon at Grenoble!
2. Free In-Town Transportation
If you’ve ever had to carry your skis further than a few metres from the ski slopes to your accommodation, you’ll know how much of a godsend a free ski bus can be – particularly If you’re travelling with small children in tow! Providing free and easy access to the Historic Main Street, recreation areas, both ski resorts, and the Utah Olympic Park, this free transport system allows your holiday to run just that little bit smoother.
A brand new fleet of Electric Xpress buses will whisk you from A to B. Not only more environmentally friendly than previous offerings, but they are highly state-of-the-art, with USB outlets, free wifi and oversized windows allowing unparalleled views of the surrounding mountains. The express route operates from 7:00 AM to midnight, seven days a week, and features stops at the Canyons Transit Hub and Fresh Market.
There’s even a free trolley so that you don’t have to make the climb all the way up Main Street with your skis. They’ve truly thought of everything!
3. The Main Street
Speaking of the town’s Main Street, this is definitely another draw for holidaymakers. A vibrant mixture of historic stores, unique art galleries and independent boutiques, this street provides a breath of fresh air from the kitschy souvenir stores of many ski resorts.
Mary Jane’s shoe store and DiJore boutique are two of Park City’s best kept shopping secrets, treasure troves of quality handmade goods, unique apparel and community events. Meanwhile, independent bookstore Dolly’s is also well worth a visit, sure to capture the imagination of the whole family.
Over 150 inventive restaurants are available to fill those rumbling stomachs after a day on the mountain. For a truly special meal, try one of our personal favourites, tupelo. Here, they combine local artisanal produce, sustainable production and huge flavours to create one of the most exciting menus in town. You will enjoy the story behind your food just as much as the meal you are eating.
Or, for the best way to fuel up before you hit the slopes, try local hotspot Harvest, which serves up exceptional coffees and breakfasts all the way through until 3pm.
4. Town Lift
Forget lengthy walks to and from the closest ski lift each day; in Park City, there is a chairlift located right in the heart of Main Street. This gives you easy access to both après ski entertainment and accommodation, whilst simultaneously offering some of the best views of the Wasatch peaks that overlook this street.
5. Diverse Lodging Options
Whether it’s the luxurious ski-in, ski-out resorts of Deer Valley or the great value suites of Kimball Junction (ideal for those on a budget), Park City offers pretty much every accommodation type you can think of.
Keen skiers should stay at the mountain hotels in Park City Mountain or Deer Valley, where you can enjoy the maximum time on the slopes.
In Deer Valley, stay at the Montage or Stein Eriksen, where you can ski right back to your door at the end of the day. In Montage, not only are the nightly s’mores a hit with both adults and kids, but so too are the delightfully comfortable beds and relaxing heated pools.
If you’d rather be closer to the energetic town centre, stay downtown, where you can enjoy walk-in access to the Park City’s many bars, restaurants, sights and events.
Newpark Resort in Kimball Junction might be a more budget option, but it’s by no means lacking in quality. Book a suite to get your very own balcony hot tub, overlooking the mountain peaks, and enjoy the spots’ close proximity to one of the best local pizza joints, Maxwell’s.
6. One Destination, Two World-Class Resorts
How many times can you say you’ve holidayed somewhere with not one, but two exceptional ski areas?
Deer Valley is particularly unique in that it is one of just three skiers-only resorts in the country, which makes it a great choice for skiers that might be less confident amongst crowds. Here, the slopes are rarely busy and you can often enjoy the piste all to yourself.
How? Well, ticket sales are limited each day to ensure that skiers have plenty of space on the mountain and that the slopes are never over-crowded. 2000 skiable acres and 21 chairlifts await skiers on the slopes, while off the slopes, the resorts legendary cuisine boasts signature favourites such as turkey chilli and huge chocolate chip cookies. For increased luxury, there’s even a Veuve Clicquot champagne yurt, where glasses of bubbly are paired with cheese and charcuterie plates!
The recent merging of Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort as part of its purchase by Vail has not only made this one of the largest ski resorts in North America, but has also allowed it to become part of the popular ‘Epic Pass’ program.
Park City Mountain Resort is one of North America’s most versatile ski areas, with terrain for every level of skier and snowboarder. Uniquely, you are also skiing in an area steeped in heritage, with mining shafts and buildings left over from the silver mining boom visible on the slopes. We haven’t skied many resorts where you are so immersed in the area’s history and can learn so much from your skis!
The slope-side eating establishments here are also fantastic – at Miners Camp you can enjoy filling flatbreads, salads and Mediterranean kabobs on the sunny terrace with stunning mountain views. Or head up the mountain to Cloud Dine, to sample the famous Cloud Dine doughnuts, with six types of dough made in house each day.
7. Ski-in, Ski-Out Happy Hour
Speaking of apres ski, Park City is home to possibly one of our favourite mountain bars anywhere in the world, the High West Saloon. A joyful combination of tradition, character and history meet here, in what is Utah’s first distillery since Prohibition. It’s also the world’s first ski-in gastro-distillery, so you can hop straight out of your skis and into the saloon! Located at the bottom of Park City Mountain’s Quit’N Time run, this livery stable turned saloon is famous for its award-winning whiskies. Warm up after a day in the snow with a hot toddy or spiked coffee or try one of the delicious hand-crafted cocktails.
8. An Abundance of Off Slope Activities
There’s no escaping that Park City is best known for its excellent ski resorts, but beyond the slopes, you will find plenty of excitement here. It’s a perfect destination for any groups who may be travelling with non-skiers, or for those who aren’t inclined to spend the whole day on their skis.
Explore the picturesque snowy landscapes through a range of alternative activities, such as dog sledding, snow biking or nordic skiing. Or, take on activities you will (probably) never have the chance to do again, such as paddle board yoga in a geothermal crater! Certainly one for the photo albums!
So, with all this and more so easily accessible from the UK, Park City might be the perfect place for you to finally take that stateside ski break you’ve always been dreaming of.
For more information, head to visitparkcity.com