Brighton & Solitude
Located in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Brighton & Solitude (which are separate mountains, though you can access them with one pass if you choose) feel a little less commercial and a little more local than their bigger counterparts in other areas of the Wasatch. It's true that you won't find the same masses of terrain, but you will find shorter lift lines—in fact, this can be a great place to come on a powder day, since you won't be battling for fresh turns with the rest of Utah. Brighton's on-mountain terrain isn't huge, but they've got a great terrain park and an open-bounds policy that makes it remarkably easy to cross over into the backcountry. Solitude has historically been a locals' secret for great powder, and a recent buyout by Deer Valley means big infrastructure upgrades are likely in the works.
Nestled in the Wasatch Mountain range, Deer Valley Resort consistently tops lists for its customer service. In skiing parlance, that translates to on-site ski valets to help you unload your gear, immaculately groomed slopes, and well-appointed lodges. (Stop for lunch at Royal Street Café at Silver Lake Lodge—it's far cry from the cafeteria-style dining you're used to mid-mountain.) What's nice about Deer Valley is there's a little something for everyone, making it a great mountain for families—there are easy cruisers like Bluebell and Lucky Jack, plus some solid steeps like Daly Bowl and Lady Morgan. Deer Valley is one of the last skiers-only holdouts, so like neighboring Alta, no snowboarders are permitted. Photos courtesy of Deer Valley Resort
565 N. Main St., Heber City
This local bowling alley, with its original ball returns and pin machines, is a bit of a time-warp—and it’s awesome. The same family has run Holiday Lanes since 1964, and they’re known for their classic malt, which they make using hand-mixing machines from the 60's. We recommend the burgers and fries, too, which are almost as much of a draw as the bowling.
1600 Park Ave., Park City
The experts at Jans can pretty much get you through any mountain adventure—in the winter, they focus on the three major ski groups: alpine, nordic, and backcountry. In the summer, book them for fly fishing—they make the sport fun for first-timers, and have access to locals-only spots where you’ll have the best chance of catching something.
Kimball Arts Festival
1401 Kearns Blvd, Park City
Every August, Utah’s longest continually operating festival heads to town, taking over blocks-long Main Street and checking the requisite food, art, and music boxes along with it. Over the course of three days, some 225 jury-selected artists across categories like drawing, photography, and woodworking head to town to show off their wares. For the artists, it’s the opportunity to go home with a “Best in Show” award, and for the visitors, it marks the chance to discover and take home works from up-and-coming artists from across the country. (Proceeds from the festival allow the Kimball Arts Center to provide free year-round exhibitions, tours, and gallery talks for its patrons.) Local food trucks like Bruges Waffle Bus and Black’s Sliders decamp throughout the festival blocks, and there’s a rotating roster of live music acts.
The big news in Park City this year is that the town's namesake resort was purchased by Vail, which could be good or bad news depending on who you talk to. Vail already owned the formerly-named Canyons, Park City's northern sister, and the acquisition gave them the opportunity to install a brand-new, eight-person gondola connecting the two resorts from peak to peak and expanding the ski-able terrain to an (astonishing) combined 7,300 acres. Über-convenient for people staying near Main Street, you can actually access Park City from right downtown, making the entire town virtually ski-in, ski-out. A mountain this huge is guaranteed to have a wide range of terrain, but considering the unbelievable number of groomed runs, the sweet spot here is for intermediate skiers. Needless to say, it's also great for littles who've graduated from the magic carpet. Tip: If you're planning on multiple ski trips this year, consider investing in the Epic Pass, Vail Resorts' multi-mountain pass, which gives you unlimited access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Whistler-Blackcomb, and plenty more for a fixed price.
Park City Institute
1750 Kearns Boulevard, Park City
Located in the heart of Park City on Main Street, this cultural hub brings big-name acts to the alpine village. In the summer, the Big Stars, Bright Nights series, held in Deer Valley’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater at the base of the resort, is a huge crowd-pleaser. (Past seasons included Willie Nelson, Esperanza Spalding, and Mike Posner.) Throughout the year, the performing arts center hosts a varied roster from the likes of Alan Cumming, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, for a series of performances and intimate-yet-engaging talks.
Snowbird & Alta
While Alta and Snowbird are distinct mountains (note that Alta isn't snowboard-friendly, while Snowbird is), the next-door-neighbors offer a joint pass called the Altabird, so it's fun to hit them both on the same day if you can. Alta is Utah's classic advanced-skier mountain, with some of the steepest terrain in the Wasatch—it's here that you'll find a lot of hardcore locals, in part because you can access plenty of backcountry via Catherine's Pass. Snowbird is famous for its aerial tram, which takes you all the way to the top of the mountain in one ride and has stunning views—like Alta, it's also home to some steeper, more advanced terrain than the other mountains in the area. Both of these mountains are excellent on a powder day, but you'll have to beat the locals to get any of the good stuff—expect them to be tracked out by 11am at the latest.
Snowmobiling at the Deer Valley Resort
2250 Deer Valley Dr. S., Deer Valley
Sure, snowmobiling is kind of an athletic cop-out—but if you’re going to do it while you’re in Park City, this is the place. Summit Meadows Adventures offers guided tours (for groups, or just you) in Browns Canyon where you can explore 7,000 acres with spectacular views of the the Wasatch Mountains. They also offer complimentary transportation from Park City (it’s just ten minutes from Main Street), plus helmets. Photos courtesy of Deer Valley Resort
Summer at Park City Resort
Park City Mountain, Park City
When the snow finally melts for the summer, Park City turns the base of their mountain (including the bottom-most runs) into a playspace for littles, with zip lines, a ropes course, a summer tubing track, rock climbing wall, mini-rollercoasters, and a temporary playground, plus ample areas to sit out in the sun and watch. It's also home base for gondola rides, mountain bike trails, and some great hiking.
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