Park City is a frogtastic family ski mountain and ski town. The former mining town is rich in history. Many silver seekers hunted fortune there from 1868 until the 1930s, when mineral prices fell and people turned their attention to the incredible snow on the mountains. Ski jumpers from around the world came to compete, and the first ski resort opened in 1946. During the 1960s the current Park City Mountain opened. Flash forward to 2002, when the Winter Olympic Games came, this time with competitors seeking a different kind of silver and gold. In 2015, Park City Mountain Resort merged with a neighboring resort to make it the biggest ski resort in the country! Today, Park City is a year-round resort destination. Hop along to discover this large family ski resort and historic but hoppening town with our Park City, Utah ski guide.
Keep in mind that 2020-2021 is not a normal ski season. Make all arrangements before you arrive in terms of purchasing lift tickets, reserving ski days on the Epic Pass or booking lessons. Everything needs to be purchased or reserved online in advance. And pack those face coverings as they are required. Download the EpicMix app for the interactive trail map (buh-bye paper maps), weather and the ability to reserve a table at indoor lodges and restaurants.
Park City, Utah Ski Guide
Park City, Utah, is a large ski resort west of Salt Lake City. It’s nestled in the Wasatch Mountains. One lift ticket provides access to what feels like two large resorts you can hop between. The Park City Mountain Resort combined with the nearby Canyons Resort during the 2015-2016 ski season to form one huge ski resort connected via the Quicksilver gondola. The two sections and their villages still go by the names Park City and Canyons to differentiate them, but they are all part of one Park City Mountain Resort. The resort has over 330 trails, 17 mountain peaks and over 7,300 skiable acres. The resort has two villages, and you can ski right into Historic Old Town!
If you are planning your first visit, this Park City, Utah ski guide will help you get there, find a place to stay, share general mountain info and give you the scoop on lessons, rentals and where to find some tasty grub.
Villages at Park City
At Park City, you can find the Park City Mountain Village at the base of Park City, the Canyons Village at the Canyons area and you can ski right down to the Town Lift in the town of Park City in the historic district for lunch or post-skiing aprés entertainment or drinks.
Getting to Park City, Utah, and Parking Tips
We love visiting Park City for the ease of traveling there. It's centrally located in the west whether you are hopping by via car or plane. It's a hub for Delta, so many cities have direct flights. The region has great signage when it comes to directing people to ski resorts and back to the airport. If you are flying in, you’ll land at Salt Lake City International Airport. Then it’s a quick 36-mile trip east along route I-80 to UT-224 S. to Park City. You do not have to worry about winding mountain roads on this journey. People in surrounding states can easily access Park City with many major highways passing through the Salt Lake City area.
If you do not want to drive, you can take a shuttle, taxi or ride share from the airport. Once you are in Park City, the free bus system can take you where you need to go. Check the schedule and routes online. The free bus system stops at the ski resorts. You can take it to the Cabriolet lot at the Canyons or to the base of the Park City Mountain.
To protect your family from COVID-19, having a car can keep you from mixing with other parties in public transportation. In more normal years, the free transit system is a great way to access the ski resorts, outlet mall and grocery store. During the pandemic a car rental is the safer way to go. Speaking of rental cars, opt for a 4-wheel-drive vehicle if available.
Parking at Park City
If you’ll be driving to the ski resort, parking can be limited at peak times. The Park City Mountain Resort offers both free and paid parking options. Lots open at 7:30 each day. Early frogs get the flies, and by flies we mean parking spots. If lots fill up on holidays (sometimes by 9 a.m.) you can also park at Park City High School. Shuttles run every 15 minutes (or less).
In terms of paid parking, the parking garage is under the Lodge at Mountain Village. Parking usually runs $20 a day, but is $25 on holidays and peak days. You will be reward for carpooling with a reduced rate of $10 for carpools with three or more adults.
Parking at the Canyons
If you’ll be skiing at the Canyons, the Canyons Village lots usually take longer to fill up than the Park City lots (by 10 a.m. on peak days). Follow the signs to the free Cabriolet lot, with easy access to the village via the Cabriolet lift. It takes you into the heart of the village. (Don’t leave anything in your car or it will take a lift ride to get back to your car.) Preferred paid parking will get you closer to the Canyons Village. The Upper Village lot is $12 per day ($15 peak) and carpoolers with 3 or more adults pay just $5.
If you will be staying in lodging at the Canyons, you can take advantage of the free app-based ride service to get around. Download “Canyons Village Connect,” create an account, and request complimentary rides during the winter season. It services the Upper Village, Lower Village, Frostwood Village and Canyons Village Transit Hub (at the top of the bus stop stairs at the bottom of the Cabriolet lot).
Ski Valet and Lockers
One of the less fun parts of skiing parts of skiing is walking around in ski boats while lugging equipment. I look for ways to simplify the beginning and end of my ski day. If you are staying at the mountain, your hotel or condo may offer ski valet so you can hand off your skis at the end of the day and pick them back up in the morning on your way to the lift. If not, you can pay to valet skis and snowboards for about $10 per pair/board, per night. This is nice if you have a bit of a walk from your hotel.
The other thing I often indulge in at a ski resort, if I am not staying at a ski-in/ski-out location, is a day locker. It's a small indulgence at about $15, but so worth it. I wear my shoes or snow boots to the lockers then change into ski boots for skiing. I store my shoes and maybe spare gloves or other items in the locker while I ski. Then I can change back into better footwear to more easily hop about the village at the end of the day. The Canyons Village lockers are located next to Canyon Mountain Sports near the restrooms.
Where to Stay in Park City, Utah
You have several choices of where to lay your lily pad for the week. Do you plan to ski more at Park City or The Canyons Resort? The Canyons has a lot of lodging choices in or near the village for convenience of skiing, dining and entertainment. You might also want to stay in the historic part of town to be within walking distance of bars and restaurants. There are a lot of hotels around town. The Town Lift has access to the mountain, although on heavy snow days the normally blue run paths home may not be groomed. We learned that the hard way one year with a learning tadpole! Croak! For the most part, the resort does extensive grooming at night, turning about 120 bumped-up runs into corduroy by morning.
Elevation can be an issue at some ski resorts. The base elevation at Park City is 6,800 feet, which is better for sleeping than some higher resorts. The summit elevation is 10,026 feet. If you live at low elevation you may find our tips on how to prevent altitude sickness hopful before or during your trip.
Lodging at the Canyons Resort
For ski-in, ski-out access to the mountain, the Grand Summit Hotel (as low as $271 a night) has a heated pool and is in the heart of the village. It has standard rooms and also larger suites with multiple bedrooms and kitchens.
The Sundial Lodge (as low as $118 a night) is right in the Canyons village and near the Red Pine Gondola. It's close to lessons, restaurants and, really, everything! The suites have kitchens, balconies and fireplaces. It also has a heated pool and hot tub.
The Silverado Lodge Hotel is a luxury lodge just steps from the slopes and short walk or shuttle ride to the Red Pine Gondola. It’s within walking distance of the Canyons Village Base. It has smaller studio suites and more spacious suites that have gas fireplaces, full-size kitchens and balconies (be sure to request a balcony if it’s important to you). It has a small heated outdoor pool and hot tub. The Bistro Kosher Deli shares the same building.
Lodging in Town
You can save money by staying in town closer to Park City ski area. The DoubleTree by Hilton (as low as $99 a night) is a few minutes from Park City Mountain Resort. The Park City transit stop is just outside, and the hotel has a heated pool and hot tub. Some rooms have fireplaces.
Park City, Utah Lift Tickets
Park City is owned by Vail Resort, and that means it’s on the Epic Pass. The Epic Pass is like a season pass that is good at multiple ski resorts, including several Colorado and Lake Tahoe family ski resorts. Whether you purchase a pass that's good for the season or a multi-day Epic Pass, you can save the most money by purchasing in advance. The Epic Pass is usually available from spring until the beginning of the ski season. Following COVID-19, Park City (like many other ski resorts) is limiting capacity on the mountain for the 2020-2021 ski season. You’ll need to reserve your days in advance. Hop over to our post on the Vail Resorts Reopening to learn all about the new systems and safety protocols in place to keep guests and employees safe during the pandemic.
Ski Lessons at Park City, Utah
If anyone in your family is new to skiing or snowboarding, snowboard and ski lessons are well worth the investment. Be sure to choose lessons at the area you plan to ski or that is near your lodging if you are staying on-site. You do not want to book lesson at Park City when you are staying at the Canyons unless you want to make your life more difficult. I’m sure you don’t. As parents, we want to make it as simple as possible when traveling with tadpoles and schlepping all the ski equipment.
From private lessons to group lessons, lessons for kids, teens or adults, you have a lot of choices at Park City. Kids ski school includes lunch. Adult Never Ever lessons are a good deal and have Lesson+Rental packages. Family private lessons are a great idea for family members who are all at a similar ski level. It's also smart thinking when you want to keep your family from mixing with others during a pandemic.
For the best rates, book at least 48 hours in advance. Book much farther in advance if you are skiing at a peak time. There will be no walk-up lessons for the 2020-2021 season. It’s also a good idea to book for multiday lessons.
This season is an unusual season due to the pandemic. All ski lessons have reduced capacity for 2020-2021. We go over what to expect in lessons in our Vail Resorts reopening post. All ski and ride school classes have a maximum class size of six this year. The 5- and 6-year-olds have a maximum class size of four. The 3- and 4-year-olds have limited choices this year. They can attend one-on-one, one-hour private lessons, or they may join their family in a full- or half-day private lesson. (It's because so much of their program is indoors, which is not the safest plan right now.) So if you have preschoolers, family private lessons or private lessons for your tadpoles are a great way to go this year.
Childcare is normally available at Park City, however, not for the 2020-2021 season
Skiing is a sport anybody can do. If someone in your family has any kind of disability, look into adaptive lessons. The National Ability Center works in conjunction with Park City Mountain Resort to offer ski and snowboard lessons to people with disabilities. It’s a great program. We’ve used it with our niece who has autism when we skied at Park City, and she loved it. The National Ability Center has specialized equipment and techniques to teach people with any type of disability, including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, paraplegia, quadriplegia, limb amputations, brain injuries, blindness, developmental disabilities and more. They work with all levels of ability-from beginners to competitive racers! Call (435) 649-8111 or email email@example.com for more info.
Exploring Park City, Utah Ski Territory
You come to Utah for the snow. It has the lightest, fluffiest powder. It's like skiing through clouds. Park City is a family-friendly mountain with something for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. (Deer Valley, the other large ski resort in Park City, is for skiers only, so if you have riders in your family, then Park City is the resort for you!) At 7,300 acres, 330 trails and 43 lifts, Park City, Utah, is the biggest ski resort in the United States. As mentioned, there are two major sections of the resort — Park City and The Canyons. They are connected to a gondola and each has its own base and village.
Park City is home to one of the longest green runs in the state — Home Run. There are plenty of uncrowded beginner runs with 8% designated green runs, 42% intermediate and 50% expert runs. The easiest way down is always marked on the map and with signage. If you are new to skiing or riding, you have to check out High Meadow Park. It’s the ski and snowboard learning area just for you! Be sure to explore the three Adventure Alleys. Look for the signs with a moose on them. The tadpoles will love searching for hidden creatures. The resort improved the condition and safety of the natural terrain so that all guests can experience some off-trail, groomed adventures.
Intermediate skiers can cruise down runs for days at Park City. Definitely drop in any run off the King Con Ridge (accessible by the King Con Quad chairlift). Sunrise is a popular intermediate run for intermediate skiers. Good grooming also makes some of the more difficult runs, such as Jupiter’s Access, more accessible for intermediate skiers. Other must-do runs include Prospector, Parley’s Park and the Silver King Trail.
Over at the Canyons, there's so much intermediate terrain. You can spend a chunk of your day off the many runs off Tombstone Express and the Peak 5 chair. (And when you get hungry, Tombstone BBQ has the best mountain food we've ever tasted.) When it's time to head back to the Canyon's Village, hop on the Over and Out chair. We love an easy path home when our frog legs are losing their kick. It really makes Park City and the Canyons so easy to get around. If it's been awhile since you last visited the Canyons Resort, give it another go. The mountain has undergone tremendous improvements. For our family, it went from one of our least favorite mountains to one of our top favorites. In fact, we have made the jump to skiing the Canyons side more than the Park City side now! It's just so hard to want to leave the great snow and wide open terrain we find there.
If you are in search of a challenge, you’ll find a lot of double black diamond expert terrain at the top of the mountain. From the Jupiter Lift you can access the Jupiter Bowl. Powder hounds in search of fresh tracks head there. Scott’s Bowl is another sometime untouched spot you’ll want to explore. If you want to make to the very top at Jupiter Peak, be prepared to hike it. At the Canyons, expert runs are sprinkled throughout the terrain, especially off Dreamcatcher and Dreamscape, as well as Super Condor Express. Only expert double black diamond skiers should find themselves heading up the 9990 chair though.
Utah’s fluffy powder is considered the “greatest snow on earth.” No other state can claim this as the state of Utah has trademarked this saying. But we’ve skied a variety of resorts across Utah, and the snow really is wonderfully airy and light. It's nothing to float through chest-deep to knee-deep powder. Park City gets an average of 355 inches of snowfall each year. On top of that, it also has 500 acres of snowmaking, so even on lower snowfall years, they’ve got you, or the ground actually, covered. If you cannot get enough of the snow during the day, the resort offer night skiing seven days a week (during normal years)!
Free Ski Tours
If you want to learn more about the mountain and its history, take a free ski tour. The Silver to Slopes tour for intermediate skiers and up explores historic mining buildings and hidden relics across the resort. Tours depart daily from the Park City Mountain Village at 10 a.m. near the Eagle Statue and at 1 p.m. at the Trail Map near the top of Bonanza Express chairlift. Tours are first-come, first served and have a limit of 10 people. Check in a with a Guide when you arrive to secure your spot (in other words get there early).
At Canyons Village, a complimentary Mountain Experience Tour meets at the top of Red Pine Gondola at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. It's a great way to learn your way around the mountain.
Do you have any terrain park rats in your family (or aspiring jibbers?) Our tween snowboarder, Tad, loves jumping and sliding through the seven terrain parks and the halfpipes and minipipe with challenges for beginners to advanced skiers and riders. Beginners can give it a try at the Kittle Kings park by the Park City Base (just off the Bonanza chair) and the Pinedraw park at the Canyon Village base.
Ready for the next step? Intermediate terrain park fans will strike it rich with the mining-themed Pick Axe Park in Park City. Over on the Canyons side, the Transitions terrain park has over 40 features with creative smaller to medium obstacles.
Skiers and riders with advanced skills will flip for 3 Kings, where they’ll have a blast on medium to large jumps, rails, wallrides, boxes and bonks.
Olympic fans saw the 22-foot Eagle Superpipe in action during 2002. You can also find the smaller and more mellow 13-foot Merill Minipipe.
Even though it’s a popular ski destination, we’ve skied Park City during the busiest weeks of the year (Christmas holidays and President's week) and and did not come across long lift lines. The only issue is getting off the bottom of the mountain in the morning. At the Canyons Village, the Red Pine Gondola and Orange Bubble Express lifts have long lines as everybody heads up the mountain in the morning. Physical distancing guidelines are slowing down the access. However, once you hit mid-mountain, you'll find almost no lift lines, and the ski runs are wide open. The resort does a frogtastic job of moving people around the mountain while keeping skiers and boarders feeling like they have runs to themselves.
We have a saying: The early frog gets the flies. If you want to hit that fresh powder, hop in line early. Sometimes the lifts start running about 15 minutes early. Get there an hour early, since if you show up on time you may be waiting an hour anyway. Ski school skips the line, so book a morning lesson to leap frog to the front.
Equipment Rentals in Park City, Utah
Choose a rental location near where you plan to ski day one or near where you stay. In Park City Mountain Village, choose Legacy Sport rentals. It’s in the lower level of Legacy Lodge. If you are staying at the Canyons, choose Canyon Mountain Sports rentals in Canyons Village. It’s near the Red Pine Gondola. For the sake of convenience, you can return your equipment to either location! Just place your equipment in the bins when you leave. So simple!
Here's a Park City, Utah, ski guide tip: You can pick up your equipment a day early after 3 p.m. for no extra charge and to make your first morning much easier. We always look for ways to eliminate hassle in the morning. Don't want to go to the shop? You can have your equipment delivered to your hotel or residence.
Off the mountain, these hotels also have nearby ski rental locations: Marriott, Snow Flower Condos, Doubletree, Canyons Village, Yarrow, Grand Summit, Sundial Lodge, Waldorf, Hilton, Westgate, Hyatt, All Seasons Resort Lodging and Park City Lodging. You can also have your equipment delivered to your hotel or condo in the Park City area. That includes Kimball Junction and Deer Valley. Just make a reservation at least 48 hours in advance. You can always exchange or return equipment to the shops.
Where to Eat in Park City, Utah
We really work up an appetite when skiing and snowboarding. The thirsty silver miners enjoyed frequenting the 27 saloons in town. Today, foodies from all over will find over 100 bars and restaurants. We love having so many choices to fill our hungry frog bellies. Even though there’s a lot of money and celebrities in the Park City area, the downtown area is low key and low maintenance.
On the Mountain Dining
We budget-friendly frogs are never too excited about eating on the mountain because ski resorts tend to have the priciest cafeteria food you'll ever eat. But these mountain dining spots might be worth hopping by. You can bask in the sun on the deck of Miner’s Camp with a burger or soup. They have vegetarian options too. You can also ski down to the Town Lift to access some lunch spot in town before heading back for more runs. On the Home Run, hop by the Viking Yurt or sandwiches and soups.
In the heart of Canyons Village (overlooking Ski Beach), The Farm offers indoor and outdoor dining. It's consistently ranked as one of Park City's best restaurants. The seasonal menu focuses on fresh ingredients from local farms and features a selection of find wines.
Our most favorite on-mountain food is Tombstone Grill. With smoked meats (such as pulled pork and brisket), wings, chili and more, it is the absolute best ski resort food we've ever eaten. No reservation needed. If you get anything out of this Park City, Utah, ski guide, it's to eat at Tombstone. event he other diners around us at other picnic tables were raving.
If you are looking for table-service Rocky Mountain cuisine on the mountain, the Lookout Cabin is just off the mid-station of the Orange Bubble Express. The beautiful views are free. Reservations are required. When it’s time for après ski, Legends Bar and Grill has drinks and snacks or items that could make a hearty early dinner. I don’t know about you but I am famished after a day of skiing. At the Canyons, there’s a Bistro Kosher Deli for dinner for our Kosher friends and anyone else who likes good deli food or matzo ball soup. (It's closed Friday and Saturdays but you can pre-order Shabbat meals).
Off the Mountain Dining
The dining scene in Park City offers a diverse assortment of restaurants and little hole in the wall spots. For sushi, check out Shabu. There are sophisticated restaurants like Ghidotti’s for Italian and 350 Main for seafood and steaks. Speaking of steak, there are a few steakhouses such as Grub Steak (since 1976) or the familiar Ruth's Christ Steak House. Adolph's offers casually elegant Swiss food. But you’ll also find affordable fare at the Back Door Deli and the Park City Bread and Bagel. Grab a Lobster Roll or a fun salad, “clam chowdah” or lobster mac ‘ n’ cheese from Freshies Lobster. In Kimball Junction, Bartolo’s offers breakfast lunch and dinner. Another fun activity is to go wine tasting at Fox School of Wine.
One of our favorite locations for brews and a wide variety of food — all delicious — is Squatters Roadhouse Grill. You'd find something for everyone. There's even a location in the airport in case you miss it! Another local favorite is 710 Bodego for tapas and wine.
What Not to Miss in Park City, Utah
Park City is a unique ski town with a lot of history and fun. In town you can hop along on a Historic Main Street Walking Tour. And of course, Park City is home to the Sundance Film Festival at the Egyptian Theater. There’s always something interesting to see there. The Park City Museum at 528 Main Street takes visitors through the mining town’s beginnings. In town, you'll find a vibrant nightlife as well as shopping and galleries. Whether you take a break from the slopes or explore after a day of skiing, there's so much to do!
Park City is home to the Utah Olympic Park, which was built for the Olympics. You can learn about the Olympics and skiing at the free Alf Engen ski museum there.
Budget some time for some family fun off the ski slopes. If you are visiting over the first Friday of the month, kick it off with a bang at the First Friday Fireworks at Canyon Village. During the afternoons, enjoy music, ice sculpting, complimentary doughnuts and then fireworks at 5 p.m. Be sure to check the events calendar to learn about other family-friendly events, food and drink events, music and arts events, races and other sport competitions.
There are a lot of winter adventures to be had in Park City. Take a sleigh ride from the Park City base. There are options for with and without dinner. Get a bird's-eye view on the Flying Eagle Zip Line (must be 42 inches and yes, you can do it in the winter in your ski clothes!) The 4,000-foot mountain coaster is open (for guests 42 inches tall and ages 3 and up) in both winter and summer. You can go Nordic skiing on groomed trails or try dog sledding, snowmobiling or snow biking.
Go enjoy some frogtastic indoor or outdoor fun at Woodward Park City. It's home to Utah's longest tubing lanes at over 1,200 feet long! It used to be know as Gorgoza Park if you've visited in the past.
If you visit during the winter holidays, keep an eye out for Santa coming down the town lift a few days before Christmas (Dec. 21, 2020), a Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade and a New Year's Eve Celebration.
Around spring break, get into the groove with the Spring Grüv Celebration. It brings concerts, pond skimming competitions, fireworks and more.
Just outside of Park City, there's more fun to explore. The Heber Valley Railroad has themed train rides, including a Harry Potter Wizard's Train and holiday trains such as the North Pole Christmas Express. You can also visit the colorful Midway Ice Castles. And Salt Lake City is just 30 miles away for dining and fun.
Park City in Summer
Come back for summer fun too! Summer is hoppening at the year-round Park City Resort. Check out the summer concert series, over 400 miles of mountain bike trails, an alpine slide and the mountain coaster. Activities at the resort also include miniature golf, a climbing wall and bungee trampoline. The tadpoles will jump with excitement over the kids' zip line, rope course and warm weather tubing. They can pan for gems, crystals, minerals and fossils at the base of Park City Mountain. The lifts access hiking and mountain biking. Most hiking trails in the areas are family friendly. You can golf with a view from Canyons Village or take a scenic gondola ride. Don't froget to catch the fireworks on the 4th of July!
Hopfully our Park City, Utah ski guide has gotten you excited to visit Park City. Don't froget to get a jump on saving for lift tickets when buying the Epic Pass early. Undercover Tourist is selling discounted 4-, 5- 6-, 7-day and unlimited Epic Passes for 2020-2021. Plus your favorite froggy friends can help you save on a Park City ski hotel.