Once a rough-and-tumble silver mining town, Utah's Park City has transformed itself into one of the best ski destinations in the West.
Getting there is easy: The flight from SFO to Salt Lake City is quicker than driving to Tahoe and then it's a short and scenic 36-mile drive from the airport to this bustling Wasatch mountain community (elevation 7,000 feet). Once you're there, check out these cool winter activities.
Ski Utah's Interconnect Tour
The 25-mile Ski Utah Interconnect backcounty adventure is designed for advanced and expert skiers ages 16 and older. Guests ski through as many as six resorts in one day, all while experiencing the magnificent beauty and incredible wilderness of the Wasatch Mountain Range. Tours operate seven days a week, weather and conditions permitting. Interconnect Adventure Tour guides are trained in snow safety and backcountry etiquette and two Interconnect guides accompany every tour. The day requires walking, hiking, traversing, and skiing in diverse snow conditions. // 150 500 South (Salt Lake City), skiutah.com/theinterconnecttour
The town's new megaresort, Park City Mountain, is big news in snow country this season. Vail Resorts acquired and linked Park City Mountain Resort to their adjacent Canyons Resort to create the largest snow sports arena in the United States, with 7,300 acres of skiable terrain and 300 trails. That's second only to Whistler/Blackcomb in North America. And with El Niño at bat to deliver a whopping amount of precipitation this winter, it's shaping up to be an epic ski season here in PC. A new gondola named Quicksilver now connects the two mountains. The eight-passenger, high-speed, two-way transport brings guests from the base of the existing Silverlode Lift at Park City to the Flatiron Lift at Canyons. It's a magic carpet ride to a vast playground for skiers and snowboarders. // 1345 Lowell Ave (Park City), parkcitymountain.com
High West Distillery and Saloon
High West Distillery and Saloon is the first legally licensed distillery in Utah since the end of Prohibition and has become a magnet for spirits lovers. Located in Old Town at the bottom of Quittin' Time ski run and next to the Town Lift, High West Distillery & Saloon is the world's first and only ski-in gastro-distillery. Take a seat at a bar made of reclaimed wood from the Great Salt Lake Trestle Bridge of 1904 and sip housemade rye and oat whiskeys, and vodka made with pure mountain water. // 703 Park Ave (Park City), highwest.com
(photo via Deer Valley Resort)
Fireside Dining at Empire Canyon Lodge
Deer Valley's Fireside Dining at the Empire Canyon Lodge involves a series of gourmet food stations set up next to the lodge's massive stone fireplaces. You can enjoy warm Swiss raclette cheese, cured meats, salads, specialty entrees, hearty sides, fire-roasted leg of lamb, fresh baked breads and dessert fondues. Horse-drawn sleigh rides are available for hire before or after dinner or you can arrive via an adventurous trek before dinner on snowshoes. // 9200 Marsac Ave. (Park City), deervalley.com/firesidedining
Sundance Film Festival
From January 19-29th, Robert Redford's famed Sundance Film Festival will take Park City by storm, filling its hotels, restaurants, streets and, of course, movie theaters with legions of film fanatics and a celebrity or two. The annual program of dramatic and documentary films, shorts, New Frontier films, installations, performances, panel discussions, and dynamic music events has been running since 1985 and many of the films that debuted here have gained critical recognition and commercial distribution. // sundance.org/sundancefilmfestival