At Park City, fun on and off slopes

Ski instruction at Park City Mountain Resort.
Ski instruction at Park City Mountain Resort.

Park City, Utah, offers hours of fun and active adventures for families, from skiing and snowboarding to sledding, yoga and exhilarating adventure parks.

This year will bring a $50 million renovation project that will combine Canyons Resort and Park City Mountain Resort into one ski resort, making it the largest in the U.S. There will be upgraded ski lifts, new skiable terrain, new restaurants and advanced snowmaking equipment.

Whereas other ski resorts will only offer lessons based on age and skill level, Canyons Resort ski instructors are willing to train the family together.

"There are skills [instructors] need to give lessons to families with different age groups," said Steve Parker, Canyons Resort ski instructor.

Canyons also provides free snow play such as snowman-making kits and snow graffiti (where participants use colored water to draw in the snow). Before dinner, families can sign up for Canyons' scenic 30-minute, horse-drawn sleigh ride on the Willow Draw trail. The cost is $27 per person, and children under 2 ride free.

The St. Regis Deer Valley.
The St. Regis Deer Valley.

Park City Mountain Resort is suitable for teens because of the variety of adventure activities offered, said Andy Miller, communications manager at the resort. "We have four different terrain parks and two half-pipes. The Eagle Superpipe has 22-foot walls on each side, while the Merrill Mini Halfpipe has 13-foot walls.

"There are calm runs through the trees that are easy to navigate, making off-trail skiing easy for children and teens," said Miller. The resort also has a zipline and an alpine coaster (a toboggan-style ride that whizzes down a mountain on nearly 4,000 feet of curves, bends and loops).

The third Park City resort, Deer Valley, is a ski-only (no snowboarding) property. At Deer Valley's Children Center, activities include storytelling, art projects and a lot of play time and toys, along with quiet time. The center also offers built-in reading nooks and outdoor and indoor playgrounds. Deer Valley's ski school offers hot cocoa and snow cone parties for kids. After skiing, mascots like Quincy the bear or Bucky the deer will be waiting at the base to greet children.

"The Utah Olympic Park is a popular place for families," said Christiaan Boer, Park City Chamber/Bureau's communications manager. Park City's Utah Olympic Park was the location of the 2002 Winter Olympics, and there are many activities and structures still in place for tourists, like the adventure course and extreme zipline. A ride on the bobsled can send visitors ages 16 and up zooming at speeds of 80 mph.

At the Gorgoza Park, families can take a spin on the tubing hill and also sign children up for the mini-snowmobiles. For a look into the town's history, the interactive Park City Museum ($10 for adults and $5 for kids) has a wide variety of exhibits, showing its silver-mining history, skis and ski boots from 50 years ago, as well as the oldest underground jail in the West.

For something fun and unusual, Park City Yoga Adventures offers a paddleboard yoga class in the natural hot springs at the 10,000-year-old Homestead Crater. 

Park City Yoga Adventures offers a paddleboard yoga class in the natural hot springs at the 10,000-year-old Homestead Crater.
Park City Yoga Adventures offers a paddleboard yoga class in the natural hot springs at the 10,000-year-old Homestead Crater. Photo Credit: Monique Beeley

Mom and dad can head over to Deer Valley Resort and enjoy the views on a funicular ride to the St. Regis Deer Valley's Remede Spa for a massage.

An upscale dining option can be experienced at the Montage Deer Valley. Burgers & Bourbon opened last winter and has a hunting lodge atmosphere with a wood-burning fireplace. The menu includes 12 varieties of burgers, such as classic, veggie and Southwestern. Kids will look forward to desserts of s'mores and banana Nutella shakes.

Park City Lodging provides vacation rentals at all of the ski resorts, like their three- and four-bedroom condos at the Town Pointe complex adjacent to Main Street. The condos come with full-size kitchens, washer/dryers, hot tubs and decks for stargazing. Park City Lodging also provides other accommodation types, from studio hotel rooms to large private homes.

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