Without a flake of snow in sight, many might not consider Park City for a visit, but even sans snow it’s quite an experience.
The crisp, mountain air whipped through my hair while I wound my way through trees and down Park City Mountain. But it wasn’t winter and there was no snow on the ground. It was mid-September and instead of hopping on a set of skis I had just made my way down the mountain on the Alpine Coaster, one of the many attractions at Park City Adventure Park. Perfect for all ages, the park is what takes the place of the ski runs during summer. And as I quickly learned, even the warm months here provide just as much to do as the winter.
Park City, Utah is one of those places that just feels like home. Maybe it’s because it reminded me of a larger, more modern version of the small towns of Northern Arizona, somewhere I spent a lot of time growing up. The pine tree-lined streets, friendly faces and fresh air all brought me back to quiet days in our cozy cabin.
Located just 35 minutes from Salt Lake City, the ski town is a top destination for winter sports, with the proof in the snow. Park City is often known for being home to the best powder on earth (that’s scientifically proven, by the way) but the prime snow isn’t the only stuff making it a must-visit destination. I made my way to the former silver mining town this past fall when the treetops looked as if they’d been splattered with gold, orange and red paint. As the mountains transitioned into their fall outfits, I spent my days hiking scenic trails, shopping the Park Silly Sunday Market, exploring Historic Main Street and gushing over the colorful sights of the Autumn Aloft Hot Air Balloon Festival.
I had never been fly fishing before so I wasn’t expecting to reel anything in. But there I was standing knee-deep in the middle of the Provo River with my third catch tugging on the line. Whether I chalk this up to natural talent (doubtful) or beginner’s luck, I can’t say. My “win” on the river though was nothing compared to the types of wins that happened at Utah Olympic Park, the site of the 2002 Winter Games. The year-round attraction now offers guided tours, a museum and heart-pumping rides. And since it still remains an active Olympic training site, there’s a good chance you’ll catch sight of world-class athletes practicing.
After I left the Olympic Park, I couldn’t help but start dreaming of snowy days. During winter, the two ski resorts, Park City Mountain and Deer Valley, offer up a combined 62 ski lifts with more than 400 runs. If you ask my friends they’ll tell you I’m a pretty bad snowboarder and I don’t necessarily thrive in cold settings. But as the town prepared for the upcoming season, I couldn’t help to think that I might become an avid snow bunny here. With many of the high-end resorts offering things like true ski-in/ski-out lodging, ski valets and overnight ski storage, I think I’d find myself welcoming chilly days with open arms. New this winter season, Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley has just completed multiple property enhancements and added new amenities like a larger ski locker room, new pool, outdoor plaza area, movie theater and more. For more novice skiers, Park City Mountain is debuting a new beginner learning area along with an express lift, candy cabin and new snowmaking at High Meadow Park. The Mid-Mountain Lodge has received a complete interior makeover with new amenities and the popular Cloud Dine restaurant just debuted a new expansion.
Whether you plan a winter wonderland getaway or branch out to experience the endless warm-weather offerings, Park City will not disappoint.
2018-2019 Winter Season
Deer Valley: Dec. 8 – Apr. 7
Park City Mountain: Nov. 21 – Apr. 7