Park City, Utah
A flight in the morning and hitting the slopes by afternoon
By Marguerite Cleveland
Photo by Marguerite Cleveland
Park City, Utah, is one of the best destinations in the United States to ski—especially if you need to fly here. You can fly to Salt Lake City’s brand-new airport, which opened in September 2020. Its oversize baggage claim utilizes state-of-the-art technology to deliver ski bags vertically, eliminating the wait for oversize baggage. Accessing your rental car is a breeze with an entrance to the parking garage near the baggage claim. Arrive in the morning, and after a short 35-minute drive to Park City, you can hit the slopes the same day.
Park City really does live up to its reputation as a premier winter vacation destination. Alaska Airlines offers nonstop flights from Seattle and one-stop flights from Spokane. You can snag some great rates with their promotions. Usually, hotels and resorts are fully booked six months out, but due to the pandemic you can still find availability and some great rates.
When you exit Interstate 80 on your way into Park City, stop at the Kimball Junction Center, the main visitor center for Park City. It’s a great spot to get recommendations for your visit as well as exclusive offers. They even have coffee. Also in Kimball Junction is an outlet mall and shopping.
Where to Stay
Park City offers a variety of lodging types in all price points. The Sheraton Park City offers a centrally located property and is a good fit for families. The complimentary shuttle does ski runs during the day to Park City Mountain, and in the evening runs to Main Street for dining and shopping. Timbers Bar and heated patio offer a complimentary après-ski appetizer and hot beverage each afternoon, and children are welcome. The indoor atrium pool, hot tub and sauna hit the spot after a day of skiing.
For a truly luxury stay, head to the Deer Valley Resort to stay at the Stein Eriksen Lodge. The authentic European lodge welcomes you from the moment you arrive with warm, crackling fireplaces and touches of Olympian Stein Eriksen’s Norwegian heritage. With opulent dining, great ski-in/ski-out access and a high-end spa, the lodge truly earns its Forbes Five-Star hotel and spa rating.
What to Do
People from all over the world flock to Park City for its famed dry powder snow, so it is no surprise the premier winter activity is skiing at two renowned ski resorts. Park City Mountain is the largest in the United States at over 7,300 acres. Deer Valley provides a luxury experience to their day guests. The pricey lift tickets include free parking and complimentary ski storage, and they limit the number of skiers on the mountain so there are no big crowds. Spread out over six mountains, this is the place to go for uncrowded slopes. Both properties have procedures in place for COVID-19, and you will be required to wear a mask on the slopes. Purchase lift tickets in advance, and those with epic passes must reserve their ski days.
Historic Main Street is the place to be for dining and shopping. It is located on a hill, so wear shoes or boots with a good tread, as it can be slippery in the ice and snow. Make sure to allow time to visit the Park City Museum. This museum covers the early mining and skiing history, as well as the Sundance Festival. Great imaginative interactive exhibits bring that history to life. Sit on a train bench and watch historic videos from the “windows.” Experience being a miner and set off TNT for a simulated explosion. This is not a large museum, but all the space is well used. Adults and children alike will enjoy it.
Utah Olympic Park is just a short drive from downtown Park City and is worth a visit. The main building houses two museums: the Alf Engen Ski Museum and the Eccles Salt Lake 2002 Winter Games Museum. Admission is free to both. Olympians from all over the world train and compete here, so you may have an opportunity to see a competition. The museums have some fun simulators. One lets you try your skill at ski jumping. There is also a Winter Bobsled Experience where you hurtle down the Salt Lake 2020 Olympic Winter Games Sliding Track with a professional pilot at the helm.
Where to Eat
Dining in Park City is a treat, and there is such a variety at all price points. The Eating Establishment is located on Main Street and is a must for breakfast, which you can order all day. They have an interesting take on traditional egg dishes. Try the loaded baked potato omelet—it tastes as good as it sounds.
For a true splurge, head up to the Stein Eriksen Lodge for their Alpenglobe experience. It is like being inside a snow globe. The clear domes sit on the deck of the Mountain Lodge and are climate controlled with a panoramic view of Deer Valley. Absolutely stunning. For a less expensive option, come up and enjoy breakfast at Glitretind. The Norwegian Potato and Bacon Pancake topped with poached eggs, Jarlsberg cheese sauce and cranberries is a unique memorable dish that makes it worth the drive to Deer Valley.
Chimayo is located on Main Street and is such a special place. The service is impeccable, and the Southwestern décor and Mexican tile floor add a cozy feel. The freshly baked bread is served with a house-made cilantro bread oil that elevates this humble starter. At least one person at your table needs to order the Crown Roast of Barbecue Spareribs. It is one of those dishes that arrives, and everyone exclaims at the presentation. Caramelized chipotle-glazed spareribs are rolled to give the appearance of a crown pork roast and filled with mashed potatoes on a bed of hominy salpicon. Truly divine.
The Silver Star Café is in the Silver Star Village. You’ll want to make dinner reservations, as it is very popular—especially with the locals. The owners focus on their “four legs of our table”: great food, ambiance, service and music (COVID-19 dependent). A must-try dish is the Pork Osso Bucco, which was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. This meal has a lot going on with coconut creamed corn, nestled around a locally sourced pork shank, and topped with fresh tomatillo salsa, cotija cheese, cilantro and pork jus.
Two health notes: Park City has COVID-19 policies in effect to ensure your safety. Most restaurants are open for indoor dining with limited capacity. Shops and attractions are open as well. You must wear a mask for most activities and maintain social distancing of 6 feet. With an elevation range between 7,000 and 10,000 feet above sea level, you may experience some altitude sickness for the first 48 hours if you come from lower levels. Some symptoms include fatigue, headaches and nausea. The key is to drink lots of water, take it easy and avoid alcohol your first day or two.
Where to Stay
Park City Sheraton - Marriott.com/hotels/travel/slcsc-sheraton-park-city
Stein Eriksen Lodge - SteinLodge.com
What to Do
Park City Mountain - ParkCityMountain.com
Deer Valley - DeerValley.com
Park City Museum - ParkCityHistory.org
Utah Olympic Park - UtahOlympicLegacy.org
What to Eat
The Eating Establishment - TheEatingEstablishment.net
Stein Lodge Alpenglobes - SteinLodge.com/dining/stein-alpenglobes
Chimayo - ChimayoRestaurant.com
Silver Star Café - TheSilverStarCafe.com