Park City Mountain Resort, 1310 Lowell Ave., Park City, UT 84060 (tel. 800/222-7275 or 435/649-8111, or 647-5449 for snow reports; www.parkcitymountain.com), one of Utah's largest and liveliest resorts, is where the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Olympic team comes to train. It's an official training site of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association as well. What brings them here? Plenty of dependable, powdery snow and a variety of terrain and runs that offer something for everyone. Surveys continually rank Park City among the country's top resorts for both its terrain and its challenging runs. And, because it's located right in the heart of Park City, what more could you ask for in terms of amenities?
Beginners will find plenty of great training ground, blessedly free of that frequent mountain problem -- hordes of advanced skiers whizzing their way right through the green runs on their way to the bottom. After they have a good handle on the sport, beginners and novices can head up the lift to Summit House and then glide down their own scenic 3 1/2-mile green run. Intermediates will find good cruising ground and powder runs; experts can delight in some 750 acres of wide-open bowls and hair-raising narrow chutes. After a good storm, the locals know to rise early, race to the top of the Jupiter Bowl, and carve their way back down through fresh powder.
The resort has four six-passenger high-speed lifts, three high-speed quads, five triples, and three double chairs servicing 108 runs on 3,300 acres; plus one Magic Carpet people mover in the children's learning area. There's even a triple-chair access lift directly from Park City's Old Town onto the mountain, as well as two runs (Quit 'n' Time and Creole) that lead back into town, so those staying in Park City proper don't have to ride back and forth to the base resort every day. Trails are rated 17% beginner, 50% intermediate, and 33% expert. With a base elevation of 6,900 feet and summit of 10,000 feet, the vertical drop is 3,100 feet. The season generally runs from late November to mid-April, with lifts operating daily between 9am and 4pm. Night operations usually run from Christmas through March from 4 to 7:30pm, and include a snowboard park. Park City has snow-making capabilities on 500 acres.
The Resort Center, at the base of the mountain, houses the ski school, equipment sales and rentals, a restaurant and bar, lockers, and a ticket office.
Getting There -- The resort is off of Main Street, Park City.
Lift Tickets -- All-day lift ticket fees vary throughout the season, but average $85 for adults, $54 for children 7 to 12, and $60 for seniors. Night skiing is $54, $38, and $44, respectively. Half-day rates are also available. Children 6 and under ski free.
Lessons & Programs -- The Park City Mountain Resort Ski and Snowboard School (tel. 800/227-2754) offers a wide variety of choices for every level, plus a Kids Signature Program for ages 3 to 14 that includes equipment rental, a snack, lunch, and lessons. Group lessons start at about $90 for 3 hours; a half-day private lesson costs around $400; and the Kids Mountain Adventure starts at about $150. Customized packages are available.
Where to Dine on the Mountain
In addition to the wide variety of options in Park City, you'll find the following slope-side facilities. None require reservations.
The Food Court, at the Legacy Lodge, offers homemade breakfast and dinner buffets. For lunch it offers soups and stews, sandwiches, pizza, a salad bar, and fresh roasted meats. Legends Bar & Grill offers lunch and après-ski refreshments.
Mid-Mountain Lodge is at the base of Pioneer Lift on the Mid-Mountain Ski Run, at 8,700 feet. Built around 1898, the lodge may be the oldest original mine building in Park City. It's open daily for lunch, serving vegetarian dishes, homemade soups and stews, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and pizza.
Five-Way Café, with espresso bar and light fare, is in a yurt under the Bonanza chairlift; Summit House, at the top of the Bonanza chairlift, serves lunch and boasts an outdoor deck with magnificent panoramic views and a cozy fireplace inside. The Snow Hut, at the bottom of the Silverlode six-passenger lift, serves breakfast and lunch daily.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.