Our little ski town boasts 3 resorts, 230 days of sun per year, 350 inches of annual snowfall, and 10,000 acres of bodacious terrain. whether you’re here as a single, with your kids, or with a large group, Here’s your guide to what to do this winter in park city, both on and off the slopes.
Where to go and what to do when the kids are in tow.
Grab a Children’s Adventure Area Trail Map at the ticket window for a guide to Deer Valley’s Kids’ Adventure Zones, including Quincy’s Cabin, Bucky’s Backyard, and Ruby’s Tail. At PCMR, huge metal Snow Bug sculptures mark entrances and exits to kid-friendly Adventure Alley trails.On the flipside of PCMR’s trail map is a treasure map kids can follow and then turn in for a prize at the Eco Zone kiosk located on the Resort Center Plaza in front of the Legacy Lodge. The youngest skiers can bag their first skiing-in-the-trees experience in Canyons’ Alley Cat trail, a short green trail cutting through aspen trees adjacent to Meadow Way. Bigger kids like to drop in Pinball Alley and Tunnel of Fun, two of six natural halfpipes at Canyons, located off of the Saddleback Express chairlift.
At the end of each ski day, the base area near Canyons’ Umbrella Bar is transformed into a mini carnival complete with roving magicians, jugglers, and balloon artists. On Fridays, Canyons’ mascot, Murdock the Moose, leads a parade through the village at 4 p.m. Après isn’t just for adults at Daly’s Pub & Rec, located inside the Montage Hotel at Deer Valley (435.604.1300, montagedeervalley.com). Munch wood-fired-oven pizza or sip a frosty microbrew while the kids bowl, play classic video games, or throw darts.
PCMR’s snowmamas.com is an online community of real parents who either live in Park City or visit often, sharing advice about packing, family-friendly restaurants, off-slope activities, and avoiding the inevitable pitfalls of traveling with children. Information presented there does skew a bit toward PCMR rather than the other resorts, but by and large it’s relevant to planning a ski trip with kids just about anywhere.
With its brilliant internal harness system, Spyder’s Mini Harness Journey ski suit makes it easy to give your little skier a boost on to chairlifts, pick him up after a fall, and guide him down the hill. Available at Legacy Sports, located on the main level of Park City Mountain Resort’s Legacy Lodge (435.658.5544).
Off-Slope Good Times
Hundreds of miles of silver-mining tunnels snake underneath Park City’s resorts and surrounding mountains. The Park City Museum (435.649.7457, parkcityhistory.org) offers a super-fun and interactive glimpse of the city’s rough-and-tumble mining history, including the original territorial jail, affectionately referred to as the dungeon. Museum special exhibits include Line Drives & Lipstick, Nov 10–Jan 7, and Eat Well, Play Well, Feb 2–May 5. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 7 to 17, and free for kids 6 and under. Or check out a little no-skills-required snow sliding at Gorgoza Tubing Park (435.658.2648, gorgoza.com).
Dinner That Won’t Break the Bank
Park City is chock-full of high-end eateries that can put a strain on any family’s budget. For an authentic meal that won’t cost even half a fortune, check out Anaya’s Market (435.615.8454). The front is your typical Mexican market; in the back is a taqueria where for around $20 you can get enough yummy tacos, burritos, tortas, sopes, and quesadillas to easily feed a family of four.
Sunny days call for checking out the jibbing, hucking, and air at PCMR’s Olympic-venue Eagle Super Pipe and Three Kings terrain park while enjoying kid-approved noshables at Cobra Dogs. Sit inside an old gondola car or on the sun-washed deck; the grab-and-go menu includes all-natural dogs, brats, and veggie dogs with all the toppings, plus cookies, chips, and soda. Parent bonus: also on the menu is cold beer.
Your plan of attack for those boys' or girls' ski trips.
Ever wonder what it would be like to have the mountain all to yourself? With Canyons’ First Tracks (877.472.6306, canyonsresort.com), you can find out. For just $79 (plus the cost of a lift ticket), guests can take a private, pre-public ski/snowboard tour of the mountain followed by breakfast at Red Pine Lodge. First Tracks tours are offered for intermediate skiers and better on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
Utah is slowly chipping away at its teetotaling reputation due in part to the High West Distillery (435.649.8300, highwest.com), Utah’s first whiskey distillery since Prohibition and the only ski-in/ski-out “gastro-distillery” anywhere. Guide your pals down PCMR’s Creole or Quittin’ Time runs to this cool, industrial-chic eatery serving stick-to-your ribs classics like burgers, mac and cheese, and the to-die-for High West B.L.T. Groups can avoid the crowds at Canyons’ main lodges by booking a reservation at the beginning of the day at the Lookout Cabin (435.615.2892), located at the top of the Orange Bubble Express and Short Cut lifts. The views here are spectacular, the food is even better, and best yet are the full bar and thoughtful wine list.
There’s no better place to watch the game with a cold, post-slope brew than at Doolan’s Sports Bar (435.649.0888). Ski down PCMR’s aforementioned town runs, walk across Main Street, and belly up to the bar for a fresh craft brew and a basket of Doolan’s signature fried pickles. For a more refined outing, check out the civilized and hip atmosphere at the St. Regis Hotel’s J&G Grill (435.940.5700, stregisdeervalley.com). Ski in from Deer Valley’s Navigator or Deer Hollow ski runs, or take the funicular up from the Snow Park Lodge area. The mussels here are second to none, as is J&G’s signature cocktail, the 7452 Mary, made with a custom Bloody Mary mix and High West Distillery’s Vodka 7000.
It’s no secret that if you get a group of guys together on a ski trip, they’ll beeline it to the black-diamond runs. After a storm, machismo fills the air around Canyons’ 94 Turns, Charlie Brown, and Lower East Face runs, all located off the Ninety-Nine 90 chairlift. Deer Valley’s Empire Canyon area offers plenty of challenge in Daly Chutes and Daly Bowl, with an intermediate escape along Orion. PCMR’s two-seater Jupiter chair accesses 600-plus acres of double-black-diamond terrain only; the McConkey’s chair offers more expert bowl skiing flanked by the intermediate Georgeanna and Tycoon runs. For those interested in a more leisurely chat-and-ski experience, they can’t go wrong with Deer Valley’s vast collection of wide-open cruisers like Hawkeye, Lucky Star, and Lost Boulder, skied off of Deer Valley’s Northside Chair. The meandering Upper Crowning Glory winds past million-dollar homes off of the Peak 5 chair at Canyons. On sunny days, PCMR’s intermediate King Con offers run after run of meticulously groomed corduroy.
Go to Camp
All three Park City resorts offer single-sex skiing/riding camps. Check out Deer Valley’s specialty clinics, including their Men’s (Jan 25–27, 2013) and Women’s (Jan 25–27 and March 1–3, 2013) Weekends or the Men on Thursdays or Women on Wednesdays series. Canyons offers women’s-only three-day workshops hosted by Olympian and World Cup champion Holly Flanders (Jan 4–6, Feb 1–3, and March 1–3, 2013) and a three-day Steep Skiing Camp hosted by extreme skiing champion Brant Moles (Feb 1–3 and March 1–3, 2013). PCMR offers the Ladies Club (two-hour group lessons/guided tours) and a women’s snowboard camp (Feb 1–3, 2013).
Tech lovers are sure to be giddy over Zeal Optics’ new iON goggle, equipped with a 1080p True HD video camera capturing real-time video, sound, and eight-megapixel photos. Even better, it’s operated by glove-friendly buttons on the side of the goggles. Available at Shades of Deer Valley, on the lower level of Snow Park Lodge, and All Sports Eyewear, 751 Main St. For added insulation and style, there’s Skboot’s (801.588.9828, skboot.com) Neoprene Helmet Glove (NHG). This sleek helmet cover offers the warmth of an under-the-helmet balaclava, but because it fits snugly over any helmet, it won’t leave you looking like a drowned rat at lunch or during après.
Skiing with a group? Here’s how to chart your course.
Off-Slope Good Times
Private zip-line tours, spanning far above the deep gullies making up Canyons, are available to groups during the day and in the evening, as is PCMR’s Mountain Coaster ride. Another fun group activity is ice skating, available both outside at the Resort Center Ice Rink (435.615.8165, resortcentericerink.com) and indoors at the Park City Ice Arena (435.615.5700, parkcityice.org). Or for something a little less strenuous and more adult-centric, why not host a group wine-tasting event? Park City’s Fox School of Wine (435.555.9463, foxschoolofwine.com) hosts group event themes including Wines of the World, Choosing Party Wines, and Wines in the Movies.
The massive size of Canyons, at 4,000 acres, makes it an ideal venue for group skiing and riding. Keep everyone together with laps on the high-speed quad Saddleback Express, which services 12 runs ranging from beginner to advanced, including smooth groomers, tree-filled glades, and bump runs. Foot passengers can ride the Red Pine gondola, allowing easy access to a lunch with the group at Red Pine Lodge. Deer Valley’s Bald Eagle Mountain offers ideal terrain for skiers of all abilities. Beginners can hit the gentle Wide West, while intermediates slowly advance from the gentler Last Chance to the steeper Solid Muldoon and Big Stick. Nonskiers can ride the Silver Lake Express high-speed quad to the Silver Lake area. PCMR’s convenient My Mountain Planner (parkcitymountain.com/winter/tours) creates a customized, downloadable tour based on terrain type and how challenging you want the day to be and includes fun stats like vertical and mileage. And check PCMR base signage for the day’s Signature Runs, groomed trails particularly suited for intermediate skiers and riders.
All three resorts offer group discounts on lift tickets and special services for large parties, including ski races, mountain tours, skiing with an Olympian, and more (Canyons Group Sales: 435.615.8082; Deer Valley Group Sales: 435.645.6510; PCMR Group Sales: 435.647.5453).
Souvenir with Style
No group event at a locale as memorable as Park City is complete without sending everyone home with a thoughtful memento. Go for a personalized local gift such as house-made chocolates from Buzz at Montage Deer Valley (montagedeervalley.com),homemade mustards from Deer Valley Grocery~Café (deervalley.com), or eco-friendly apparel from Locals Have More Fun.
A Little Culture
Groups of 20 or more get 20 percent off tickets to Park City Performing Arts Foundation’s Eccles Center events (435.655.3114, ecclescenter.org). This winter’s performances include Sara Watkins and Ruth Moody of Nickel Creek on January 5, folk rocker Delta Rae on February 2, and Cirque Mechanics’ “Birdhouse Factory” on March 2.
Many of Park City’s 100-plus restaurants offer group dining services. A few standouts: Café Terigo (435.645.9555, cafeterigo.com) located in Park City’s proverbial and literal heart, Main Street, serving delicious northern Italian cuisine; the Goldener Hirsch Inn (435.649.7770, goldenerhirschinn.com), the Deer Valley Silver Lake area’s quintessential mountain inn complete with fireside-served fondue and charming European décor; and for a casual gathering, the Wasatch Brew Pub (435.645.9500, wasatchbeers.com), Utah’s first microbrewery, which offers both satisfying pub fare and tasty draft beers.