Great News! Utah is open for skiing and riding. But while the snow is falling and the chairlifts are spinning, the logistics of realizing sweet, wintery nirvana is, during this endless pandemic, not quite as it has been in the past. Following is a rundown of what Park City’s skidom looks and feels like this winter. Please note: As has occurred countless times before, the rules can change at a moment’s notice. Plan ahead, have patience, and, above all, wear a mask.
Coronavirus Local Updates
As of this publication’s print date, there were no Covid-19 travel restrictions in Utah, meaning out-of-state visitors were not required to quarantine upon arrival. In the event you think you may have contracted Covid-19 during your visit to Park City, call one of three testing centers in town for information and to make an appointment to get tested: Redstone Clinic, 435.658.9200; Snow Creek Medical Center, 435.655.0055; and Intermountain Healthcare Park City Hospital, 435.658.7000.
On the Mountain
Face coverings are required everywhere on Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain property (and at all of Utah’s other 13 resorts). And while one of those thin neck gaiters is OK for when you’re actually skiing, it is not enough for riding chairlifts or spending any time indoors at the resorts. Have a mask on or with you at all times. Please also remember to cover both your nose and your mouth—Park City may be in the West, but holstering your mask under your nose or chin is not kosher here.
If you’ve got a Deer Valley Season, IKON, or IKON Base Pass, you can stroll directly to the lifts at Deer Valley as you have in the past. (Note: IKON passholders can go straight to the lift at Alta or Solitude as well, but they do need to reserve lift access at Brighton, and will need to make parking reservations before skiing or riding at Snowbird). Advance reservations are required for Epic passholders to ski or ride Park City Mountain, but Epic passholders do have priority over day-ticket purchasers. Make those reservations through the EpicMix app, parkcitymountain.com, or by calling 435.649.8111. Park City Mountain opens a week’s worth of reservations every Wednesday at 2 p.m.
This winter, all day tickets for Deer Valley and Park City Mountain must be purchased in advance through deervalley.com or parkcitymountain.com. What’s more, each resort is limiting daily ticket sales to accommodate their respective passholders, so be advised to reserve your day tickets as soon as you know when and where you’ll be skiing or riding while in Utah.
Many of Utah’s other 13 resorts are requiring advance purchase as well. For up-to-date day ticket info about all 15 Utah resorts, visit skiutah.com. As in years past, Ski Utah is offering the 5th & 6th grade passport, which allows multiple days at the Utah resorts for just $45 for 5th and 6th graders from anywhere in the world. Some Utah resorts have blacked out the passport on Saturdays or Sundays this season, however. Go to skiutah.com/passes/passports for details.
Ski & Ride School
Deer Valley’s children’s Reindeer Club, Bambi Club, and Fawn Special ski lessons will not be offered this season, but private lessons are available for ages 6 and under, as long as they are also attended by an adult. Reservations are required; call 435.645.6648. Over at Park City Mountain, all ski and ride school classes will have a class size of six, with the exception of group lessons for ages 5–6, for which the class size will be four. Lessons for ages 3–4 will be limited to one hour of individual instruction. Reservations are required; call 435.658.5530.
Advance reservations are required for ski and snowboard rentals from Deer Valley and Park City Mountain. If you’re an adult and have rented from DV before, you may reserve and pick rental gear without being fitted at the rental shop. At PCM rental shops, gear delivery is available and rental shop hours have been expanded to allow for social distancing. Also consider renting gear from one of the many other shops in Park City, a number of which also offer rental delivery services.
Another detail to consider: While Deer Valley will be offering its popular free overnight ski storage this season, it will not be offering free boot storage, so plan accordingly for your on- and off-mountain footwear.
Dress for Success
With seating limited in all ski-resort day lodges to allow for ample social distancing, plan to dress to stay outside longer than you might in typical times. Consider accessorizing your on-mountain outfit with a backpack, where you can stash an extra layer or two, some handwarmers, extra face masks, sunscreen, some snacks, and a water bottle.
Eating and Après
On-mountain dining and drinking is significantly different this season. Deer Valley’s cafeterias at Snow Park, Silver Lake, and Empire Canyon Lodges have all been converted to table-service restaurants with full bars where reservations are required (435.649.1000). Grab-and-go items are available outside the dining areas at Snow Park and Silver Lake lodges. Park City Mountain is encouraging guests to use Time to Dine (exploretock.com/group/park-city-mountain) to reserve a table at its on-mountain restaurants. EBS Lounge, at the Snow Park base, will be open for après-ski, but reservations are required. Packaged beer and wine will be available in most PCM day lodges, but the bars are closed for the season.
Note: Park City Mountain is going cashless for this season, so be sure to carry a card or set up your Apple Pay.
The childcare centers at both Deer Valley and Park City Mountain are closed this season due to Covid-19. A few of the local childcare agencies that continue to operate with precautions through the pandemic (you can request a sitter who’s had and recovered from Covid-19, for example) include: Guardian Angel Babysitting, 435.640.1229; Mother Goose Childcare Services, 435.503.4896; Park City Sitters, 435.640.7193; and Qubercare, 435.901.9518.
Keep Those Masks On
The State of Utah requires face coverings—medical masks, N95, or cloth masks that cover both nose and mouth; single-layer face coverings (e.g., buffs) are not approved—to be worn in all indoor public places and outdoors when six feet of social distance is not possible. In Park City this applies to places like Main Street, the Resort Center ice rink, parking lots, and waiting areas outside of restaurants and bars.
While the service hours and frequency of Park City’s free bus system have been scaled back a bit due to the pandemic, its service imprint—which covers Park City proper, Kimball Junction, the resorts, Summit Park, and Kamas—remains the same. Passengers are required to wear nose-and-mouth-covering masks when both riding and waiting in line for buses. You can research routes and hours and see how full buses are in real time on the city’s myStop mobile app. All that said, this winter may be the season to splurge and rent a large SUV or van for your clan to get around town and as a place to boot up, warm up, and have lunch.
As you might guess, lodging deals are in abundance for this winter season in Park City. Properties like Stein Eriksen Lodge and Montage Deer Valley are offering unheard-of wintertime booking incentives including flight vouchers, generous resort credits, and relaxed cancellation policies. Consider booking a condo or home when you do decide to come, as it allows more flexibility for cooking and eating meals versus a hotel room. And why not extend your week or weekend to two weeks or more? The advantage of our new-normal, Zoom-fueled work life is that you can work from anywhere with a dependable internet connection, including next to the slopes in Park City.
Winter in Park City is not made up of skiing and snowboarding alone. Snowshoeing, snow biking, snow tubing, cross-country skiing, and sledding are just a few of the inherently socially distanced activities that winter lovers enjoy here. For some ideas on safe ways to spend a day off the slopes, visit parkcitymag.com/park-city-for-the-non-skier.
There are plenty of services in Park City that will stock your condo or house’s fridge for you (including wine, liquor, and beer), many even before you arrive, minimizing the chance of exposure—and the hassle—of making a trip to the supermarket: Grocery Girls, 866.278.2254; Park City Grocery Express, 435.729.0090; Store 2 Door, 435.633.1650.