During the ski season, you will be hard-pressed to find me anywhere other than Colorado. It takes a lot to convince me to leave the majesty and beauty of the Rockies, but last year, I ventured outside of colorful Colorado and discovered the gem that is Park City, UT.
Park City truly has something for everyone, offering a unique blend of mountains within a small eleven square mile radius. Just a short flight from Denver and an even shorter drive from Salt Lake City, Park City and its three diverse resorts provide a variety of terrain, exciting night-life, and a fantastic array of amenities making it a desirable alternative ski destination.
Here are some tips to make your stay unforgettable…some are a bit of a splurge, but well worth the priceless memories.
Fireside Dining at Deer Valley
Deer Valley has many perks, one being that if you ski, you don’t have to share the slopes with snowboarders. But the most unforgettable offering at Deer Valley, is by far the Fireside Dining restaurant. I highly recommend beginning your evening with a moonlit snowshoe hike with White Pine Touring. This quiet jaunt through the otherwise crowded slopes, sets the perfect tone for the romantic ambiance of the Fireside restaurant and helps to work up an appetite!
After the hike, warm yourself and your belly as you sample traditional European fare from any of the five glowing open-fire hearths. If you’ve had the pleasure of dining in Switzerland, Fireside will take you right back to the Swiss Alps, with the delicious aroma of raclette, the warm glow of each wood burning fire, and the swooshing of snowflakes outside the large lodge windows.
For an after dinner treat, sign up for a horse drawn carriage ride, just outside the lodge (complete with horse-drawn donuts!). This cozy experience under the star filled sky is an absolute must. Do not skip this!
Visit during the Sundance Film Festival
If you can handle navigating the in-town crowds, you will be rewarded on the slopes. During the Sundance Film Festival, Park City is packed with a variety of tourists, movie goers, movie makers and the like…but here’s the catch…few of them ski. So while all of the hotels and restaurants are filled to the brim, the slopes are blissfully wide open as your personal playground. The festival also provides great night-life options for your evenings off of the slopes. Après-ski while rubbing elbows with the next Spike Lee or dine with Robert Redford across the room. Park City’s downtown is abuzz with dining and entertainment options galore. It might take a little more foresight in planning, but your work will pay off, while you swish and swoop down the slopes with the locals as the rest of town plays indoors.
It may not have the flashiest exterior but the TMI (as the locals call it) is one of the most historic hotels on Main St. and it is also one of the most forward thinking establishments. It can’t compete with luxurious modern amenities of The Montage at Deer Valley, or the Sky Lodge downtown, but the rooms at the TMI are beautiful, spacious, and comfortable with a healthy dose of mountain charm. Coming from Boulder, the eco-conscious capital of the west (well, we give Portland a run for their money), eco-tourism is important when considering traveling decisions. The TMI can help you feel great about the impact you are making on our incredible planet while providing a comfortable home base for your snowy adventure. You might even get lucky enough to meet the proprietors Thea or Andy and hear first hand of their philosophy on their Hotel’s practices.
Finally, if you need a break from the downhill, a break from the crowds, or just a change of pace, check out the White Pine Touring Center. With its 20+ miles of Nordic terrain, you can explore Park City from below, surrounded by the panoramic vistas of the surrounding slopes. I recommend an afternoon jaunt on the course, which provides beautiful views of the mountains and the impending alpenglow.
For more information or to begin planning your Park City adventure, check out Visit Park City.