Park City offers travelers a trifecta of good reasons to visit


PARK CITY, Utah -- One of the challenges of planning a Rocky Mountains ski vacation is choosing the right resort. Not only does the terrain vary widely from mountain to mountain, but each resort can differ dramatically in amenities and ambience.

The Park City area has a triple advantage over many of its competitors because it has three world-class ski resorts in the neighborhood: Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort and the Canyons. The three cooperate in cross-marketing their resorts and the Park City area as a whole.

When you come to the Park City area, you dont have to pick one resort, said Bob Wheaton, general manager of Deer Valley Resort. The ski areas are so close that visitors can come and experience all three.

Deer Valley garners top spot

Deer Valley continues to draw the lions share of attention, having just been awarded Ski magazines prestigious No. 1 spot as Best Ski Area in North America.

Our claims to fame are snow conditions, slope grooming, great food and guest services, Wheaton said. We also have some awesome terrain.

Deer Valley invested $8 million in improvements for the coming season, including replacing a triple chairlift with a high-speed quad lift and expanding the Silver Lake Ski Corral, Lodge Deck and Village Plaza.

The resort is also distinctive for being one of the few ski areas left in North America that does not allow snowboarding, which can be considered a blessing or a liability, depending on your point of view.

We are ski-only, but if you have a snowboarder in the family, there are two [boarder-friendly] resorts next door, he said.

In fact, not only does Park City Mountain Resort welcome snowboarders -- or riders, as they are colloquially known, but the mountain snagged the No. 10 spot for Excellence in Terrain Parks in Ski magazines ranking this year. There are four terrain parks in all, including the newly expanded Eagle Superpipe, with its 22-foot-high walls.

Park City Mountain Resort, which showed the biggest increase in Ski magazines overall rankings this year -- from No. 8 to No. 5 -- The lift at Park City Mountain Resort stops on Park Citys Main Street.has the added advantage of being accessible via a chairlift that stops on Main Street in downtown Park City.

The Canyons, perhaps the least nationally known of the three area ski mountains, is notable for its varied terrain, Wheaton said, as well as for its accommodations at the Grand Summit Hotel at the base of the mountain.

Ranked No. 14 in the Ski magazine survey -- up eight slots from last year -- the area scored well for its family programs, terrain, grooming, scenery and service.

All three resorts are accessible via free shuttle buses that link them with each other and with downtown Park City, Wheaton said.

But diversity is just one of the draws to the Park City area. Because of its proximity to Salt Lake City Airport, visitors can get from the terminal to the slopes in an hour.

The importance of this accessibility cant be overstated, Wheaton said, because it enables visitors to ski the first day of their vacation, maximizing their vacation dollars.

Free lift ticket on arrival day

To reinforce this message, the Park City Area offers a free lift ticket at any of the three area ski resorts on arrival day.

Visitors need to register prior to arrival at and present their airline boarding pass on arrival.

Wheaton also touted the attractions of downtown Park City, which boasts dozens of restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, cinemas and live theater.

The town plays a huge role in drawing people to the area because of the multitude of things to do here, he said.

Those who do, however, are not limited to the ski trails but can also try lift-assisted snowtubing, helicopter skiing, cross-country skiing and wilderness snowshoeing, Wheaton said.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of Park City is that it is one of only a handful of destinations that has hosted the Winter Olympic Games, which took place in Utah in 2002. Visitors can visit the Olympic Museum or attempt a pass on the high-adrenaline bobsled track.

For more information, call (800) 424-DEER or visit

To contact reporter Felicity Long, send e-mail to [email protected].

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For more details on this article, see Utah to kick off winter season with a blizzard of upgrades.


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