Park City Mountain Ski Vacation Guide

Park City Mountain Resort

Park City Mountain Resort is home to the U.S. Ski Team. This resort has everything the team needs, including excellent access from Salt Lake City. When combined with nearby Utah resorts The Canyons and Deer Valley, this region is one of the best all-around destinations in America.

Park City Mountain Resort is one of three major resorts surrounding the old mining town of Park City. Park City’s mining heritage is quite evident at the resort, where old mine ruins dot the slopes. The Park City Historical Society has put up signs describing each of the sites so skiers and boarders can get a sense of history as they enjoy the day.

Most reviews of Park City Mountain Resort characterize it as a cruisers’ paradise. While it may not have as many steeps as Snowbird or Alta, its bowl skiing and chutes are serious—even on the expert scale. It doesn’t have a huge amount of lower-end terrain, but beginners can get high enough to see the views—something they can’t do at every resort. Park City veterans say that it takes three days to ski every run on the mountain, then you can start on the hundreds of unlisted lines.

The Town Bridge that links the ski hill to the heart of Park City allows skiers and riders direct on-snow access to the Main Street hub of Park City. This means you can ski or ride straight to Main Street, have a choice of some 100 restaurants and shops to visit during lunch, and then ride back up the mountain on the Town Lift.

As mentioned, Park City Mountain Resort is one of three resorts here. To make the most of your vacation, consider visiting Deer Valley and The Canyons as well. See Lift Tickets to find out about the Silver Passport interchangeable ticket.

Park City Mountain Skiing

The Town Lift triple chair loads from the lower part of Park City’s Main Street to the base of the Bonanza lift part way up the mountain. Even on holidays or peak periods, the Town Lift is often empty, so you may want to take the free shuttle here and avoid the crowds.

If Payday has a line, try the Eagle chair (to the far right of the base area) and head down blue-square Temptation to the King Con chair.

  • Summit elevation: 10,000 feet
  • Vertical drop: 3,100 feet
  • Base elevation: 6,900 feet
  • Expert: ++++
  • Advanced: ++++
  • Intermediate: ++++
  • Beginner: ++++
  • First-timer: +++
  • Address: P.O. Box 39, Park City, UT 84060
  • Ski area phone: 649-8111
  • Snow report: 647-5449 or (800) 222-7275
  • Toll-free information and reservations:  (800) 222-7275
  • Internet: and
  • Number of lifts: 15—4 high-speed six-packs, 2 high-speed quads, 5 triples, 4 doubles
  • Snowmaking: 14 percent
  • Skiing Acreage: 3,300 acres
  • Uphill capacity: 27,200 per hour
  • Parks & pipes: 4 parks, 1 pipe
  • Bed base: 21,500 (town)
  • Nearest lodging: Slopeside, condos
  • Resort child care: None; lessons start at age 3½

Park City Expert & Advanced Skiers

Start off with a trip to the top of Blueslip Bowl off the Pioneer Lift. Reportedly, when this was the boundary of the ski area, resort workers regularly slipped under the ropes, made tracks down the bowl and then skied back into the resort. The management passed out blue (you’re fired) slips to anyone caught floating through this powder bowl.

If you can ski Blueslip with confidence, then try Jupiter Bowl and its neighboring bowls—McConkey’s, Puma and Scott’s. But if you decide Blueslip conditions aren’t, uh, to your liking, never fear because Homerun is near—it begins at the top of the Pioneer lift and takes you gently down to the base area.

Jupiter Bowl has every type of steep expert terrain. To reach the Jupiter lift, take the Jupiter access road from the top of the Pioneer or Thaynes lifts. It’s a long, flat traverse, so don’t lose your speed. To the left as you get off the Jupiter lift are wide-open faces, especially on the West Face, which is the easiest way down (a relative term). The West Face is as far from the Jupiter Lift as you can ski. It can be covered with a windblown crust, so you might want to ask about conditions before you board the lift. Narrow gullies and chutes, such as Silver Cliff, 6 Bells, and Indicator, drop vertically between tightly packed evergreens. Head to the right as you get off the chair and try Portuguese Gap, a run more akin to having the floor open below you, or traverse to Scott’s Bowl, which is just as steep. Main Bowl, closer to the lift, also offers some nice turns as it drops under the chair.

The adventurous (and those with parachutes) will find definite thrills in McConkey’s Bowl and Puma Bowl. McConkey’s is served by McConkey’s Hi-Speed Six-Pack. Puma still requires a long traverse across a ridge and some hiking from either the Jupiter or McConkey’s lifts to reach its steep faces and chutes on the backside of Jupiter Peak.

Advanced skiers looking for steeps or moguls, try the blacks off the Motherlode triple or the neighboring Thaynes double. Glory Hole and Double Jack offer a good challenge. Or, ski the front face on the runs off the Ski Team Lift. Most of the deliciously long trails here are left au naturel, but Willy’s is on the occasional grooming list. Hit it on the right day, and it’s fun.

For a steep cruiser that is groomed daily, head down nearby Silver Queen. Or try out Silver King, a steep, smooth boulevard used by Resort Ski Ambassador Picabo Street to train back from rehab before the 2002 Winter Games.

The new Silver Star triple services a treed area and also opens up three new intermediate runs.

Park City Intermediate Skiers

Choices are mind-boggling. If you want to start with a worthy cruiser, take Payday from the top of the lift by the same name. The views are spectacular, and at night it becomes one of the longest lighted runs in the Rockies. Probably most popular are the 11 trails served by King Consolidated (called “King Con” by just about everyone). These runs have a steep, wide, smooth pitch.

Both intermediates and advanced skiers will enjoy the runs under the Silverlode chair. To avoid crowds, try the four blues under the Pioneer chair. Or, board McConkey’s, enjoy the spectacular view and take the intermediate ridge routes down from the top. If you want to test yourself, look for a grooming report to find out which black-diamond runs have been groomed. The new Silver Star lift opens up intermediate runs.

Park City Beginner & First-time Skiers

Even those just getting into their snowplow turns can take the Payday and Bonanza chairs to the Summit House and descend the 3.5-mile-long, easy run appropriately named Homerun. For an adventure and to see a different part of the mountain, take the Mid-Mountain Run to the Pioneer chair, where you can have lunch and watch experts head down Blueslip Bowl.

The only complaint about the beginner runs here is that everyone else uses them too. The upper parts of the green-circle trails are used as access routes, while the bottoms are the end runs for skiers coming off more advanced terrain. The greens here are wide and gentle, but they wind in and around tougher stuff. If you’re just starting out and concerned about getting in above your head, carry a trail map and pay attention to the signage. And head to the bottom well before day’s end if you like plenty of room.

For first-timers, the First Time high-speed quad, which slows down during loading and unloading to help ease apprehensions of getting on and off the lift, serves two nice and easy trails. The Three Kings chair takes you a bit higher to more good learning terrain.

Snowboarding Park City

Park City Mountain Resort has some long, nearly flat runs that snowboarders will want to avoid. The two worst ones are Jupiter Access and Thaynes Canyon, both of which are used primarily to reach other parts of the mountain. In particular, Jupiter Access road from the top of the Pioneer or Thaynes lifts is a long, flat traverse, so don’t lose your speed. You can avoid the worst traverses with advance planning. However, snowboarders have a bit of an advantage in Park City’s hike-to powder bowls, because they get to hike to the best stuff in soft boots.

The best all-around freeriding area is below Home Run between the Claim Jumper and Parley’s Park runs. Three lifts can get you there: Silverlode Hi-Speed Six-Pack, Motherlode Lift and Bonanza Hi-Speed Six-Pack. There are some good cuts through the trees, plenty of bumps and some wide smoothies good for kicking up the speed.

Parks and pipes

Both the Town Lift and the Payday Hi-Speed Six-Pack deposit you above the huge terrain park on Payday. The park has a sound system and is lit for night riding. You’ll also find a superpipe on Eagle, similar to the one used in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Three additional terrain parks spread out the tricksters on Pick N Shovel, Jonesy’s and the King’s Crown Superpark. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the Park City All-Star riders and skiers jibbing in the parks.Twice named “Terrain Park of the Year” by Transworld Snowboarding magazine,” new additions for the 2006-07 season are rails, funboxes and jumps.

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

White Pine Touring (615-5858) offers 20 km. of track and skate skiing, plus track, skate and telemark lessons at the Park City golf course and an adjacent dairy farm. For those who want to get off the flats, half-day snowshoe (Wednesday and Sunday) and ski (Tuesday and Friday) tours in the Uinta Mountains are available. If you venture out on your own, this is a good stop for advice and maps of the local mountain bike trails that are perfect for snowshoeing (many are accessible from downtown Park City).

The Homestead Resort (654-1102; 800-327-7220; above), 14 miles southeast of Park City in Midway, has 12 km. of skiing at Homestead Golf Course and 18 km. at Wasatch Mountain State Park. Snowshoeing and snowmobiling also are available. Nearby Soldier Hollow, site of the 2002 Olympic cross-country competitions, offers 26 km. of both track and skate skiing for all levels.


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