Park City

Utah, USA

Park City has a combination of several elements that make it one of the best ski resorts in North America. Not only is it a world-class ski mountain but it’s a charming and happening town, all within 35 minutes of a major airport. There aren’t many places you can fly to in the morning and be skiing in the afternoon. Park City is also famous for hosting a third of the events during the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, as well as the annual Sundance Film Festival that sees the town bursting at the seams while the well-heeled and famous party. When a gondola was built connecting neighbouring Canyons resort to Park City Resort the area became one and the name Canyons was eventually dropped. Park City Mountain now offers a mammoth amount of terrain to explore (with two village bases - Mountain Village and Canyons Village), exceptional facilities for families, and lodging options to suit all budgets.

Scout Loves

  • Bar hopping down the main street. Endless options for a night out on the town.
  • Free resort bus service connecting the area’s three ski resorts and town areas.
  • More than 360in (9.1m) of annual snowfall
  • A family-friendly resort with great Kids Signature Programs at the ski school, and non-snow activities in town.
  • Small homely cafes scattered throughout the town (Harvest is our go-to!)
  • Exceptional terrain for all ability levels.
  • A hike to Murdock's Peak on a powder day – it doesn’t get much better for advanced skiers.
  • Some of the lightest, driest powder of all the Park City resorts.
  • Backcountry gates allow those with avalanche training and gear to access more terrain.

Scout Tips

  • Sufficient snow at both resorts is required to run the connecting gondola.
  • Fresh-made doughnuts at Cloud Dine, perfect for mid-morning snack!
  • Park City (the town) is great to use as a base if you want to ski both Park City and Deer Valley. You can also catch shuttle buses further afield to AltaSnowbird and Solitude.
  • If staying in downtown Park City, you will need to catch a shuttle bus in the morning (about 5-10 minutes), or use the town lift and ski down to the resort base.
  • Advanced skiers will want to head to the back areas where Jupiter Bowl offers some challenging runs.
  • Main street Park City has fantastic dining options, however, reservations are necessary most nights throughout the season.

Scout Review

Park City ski resort is highly regarded as having some of the best intermediate terrain in the world. Whether it’s the wide open, rolling, groomed runs or the gladed runs where the trees are perfectly spaced apart, intermediate skiers will have an absolute ball. However, the area also has some excellent beginner terrain, and advanced skiers will find some challenging terrain in the back bowls. Freestylers will also have some fun here as the terrain parks and pipes are excellent. Fortunately all this great terrain is backed up by an efficient lift system, including four high-speed six-seater chairs plus four express quads, all of which lift 31,000 guests an hour. 

Since Vail Resorts purchased Park City and added a new gondola connecting the Canyons side into the mix, the resort now covers over 7,300 acres. Canyons Resort alone has acres and acres of terrain over nine different peaks which means it would be hard to get bored no matter what level of skier you are. For advanced skiers staying in the Park City area, this is the mountain for you. From the chutes off Murdock bowl to the tree runs over on Ninety-Nine 90 or a fast burn down G-force, there’s so much variation and fun on offer. And true-to-form for Park City-area skiing, there are elements of luxury too. Whether it’s staying at the sublime The Waldorf Astoria or taking the heated Orange Bubble Express chair, a ski vacation in Park City won’t disappoint the most discerning skier.

The village area at Canyons is much smaller than at Park City, however, it is great for families that enjoy having everything in the one spot - rentals, ski school, a few restaurants and retail stores are all within walking distance. Vail Resorts has been investing and working hard to bring the village to life and it is fast becoming the go-to area for families to set up base for their ski vacation.  

Downtown, Park City’s Main Street is a bustling affair, with plenty of great restaurants and bars scattered amongst some fun shops and galleries. It’s guaranteed you won’t get bored no matter how long you’re here. Enjoy fantastic Japanese cuisine at Yuki Yama (flown in fresh daily), Handle for farm-to-fork American dining, or No Name Saloon for a true American honky-tonk time. There is definitely something for everyone along the main street of Park City. There’s even a lift right to the middle of Main Street so your après activities can start from the moment you step off the lifts.

From its beginnings in 1872, when the town went up almost overnight after silver was discovered in the mountains, Park City has gone through several iterations, but it’s as a ski resort (and now the United States' biggest) that it’s firmly established its presence on the circuit of ski fans around the world.

Park City Skiing

If you took out the Canyons side of the resort, Park City is still a massive ski area, with over 3300 acres of terrain to explore. To make it easier, we've split the resort profiles into each main village area. On the Park City side, the resort is easily distinguishable into two - the long wide groomers and trails lower mountain, and the multiple powder filled bowls and gladed tree areas of the upper mountain. Overall, Park City has a fantastic variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels. 

When you look at the spread of the resort it's easy to think that there is only a small proportion of terrain for beginners, however, due to its size, there are quite a lot of trails perfect for first-timers. Dedicated slow zones and a 'First Time' lift at the base of the resort are perfect for beginners, and the adjoining runs allow for good progression into harder terrain. Over half the resort caters to the intermediate skiers, with plenty of trails streaming off each chairlift. There are even Park City's "Signature" runs, which are just groomed black runs, which are a good spot for intermediates to take their skiing to the next level.

The Motherlode Meadows and Black Forest provide some exciting double black trees, where skiers can be rewarded with some decent powder stashes. A trip to Park City is not complete without a run through the legendary McConkey's Bowl, with a nice steep pitch, however, you better head there first on a powder day to get the best runs. Head to the highest point on the Park City Mountain and there are endless double black trails likely to thrill the most avid expert skier. The Jupiter Bowl offers up nice wide slopes, glades, and some gnarly chutes, all with a decent pitch to match. Pinecone Ridge is a decent hike up from the chairlift, however, worth the extra effort to enjoy the 600 acres of powder bowls and glade that provide a perfect in-bounds backcountry experience.

Park City is home to great lift infrastructure, with most of the chairlifts running at high speeds. The all-important Interconnect Gondola between Park City and Canyons provides even easier (and quicker) access to the entire resort terrain. Lift lines are to be expected on weekends, and during holidays or peak periods, however, the resort has good signage to advise skiers of the possible wait times for some of the lifts.

The Canyons side of the resort boasts fantastic skiing for all ability levels, and is another great option for families. Over the years, Vail Resorts has undertaken significant upgrades to lifts, facilities, and buildings - Canyons resort was already a fantastic ski resort but the additional development has just made it an even bigger and better place to ski.

With over 4,000 acres of terrain, there's plenty of variety for all ability levels. The majority of the resort caters to intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders, with some great fall-line cruising runs, and fantastic tree skiing. Natural half-pipes are also a highlight at Canyons and super fun to hit. For beginners, the magic carpet area at the village base is fantastic, and parents can sit and relax and keep and eye on the little ones. The other main beginner area is near Red Pine Lodge, and skiers will need to catch the gondola up and back down for their lessons. 

Canyons is home to some amazing advanced skiing, with many double black diamond trails. Over 40% of the runs are rated black or double black, with many mogul options, and couloirs. For those who love tree-skiing, the terrain doesn't disappoint, with wonderful gladed areas with pockets of powder, including the Mystic Pines and Peak 5 areas. For something even more extreme, the top of the 9990 Chairlift provides some nail-biting tree runs and steep chutes - 100% of the runs from this lift are double blacks. Easily accessible from the resort is also some great side-country (gated access), with amazing cliff drops and alpine bowls, however, appropriate experience and safety equipment is a must.

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Park City For Families


Park City is a fantastic choice for families. A wide variety of terrain means there are runs for all ability levels, including great dedicated slow zones and 'First Time' lift at the base of the resort. The town bridge also makes it easy for families to ski directly from the mountain to the lower Main Street of Park City.

The main base of Park City Ski Resort has a vast amount of facilities and services, alongside a second base on Main Street in downtown Park City. Between these two areas you have plenty of options for rentals, retail shops, restaurants, and childcare. The resort itself offers a combination of childcare and ski school for the younger children (from the ages of 3.5), but no childcare only programs, meaning if you were just requiring babysitting, a private session is required. The ski school on-mountain has a good range of programs, and a great instructor to child ratio. All lessons meet at the base of the resort, so generally recommended to choose accommodation nearby for convenience.

Both on-mountain and downtown provide a seemingly endless array of eateries and dining options for the whole family, so not matter what time of day or where you are on the mountain, when the cravings hit, you can easily grab a quick bite or settle in for the afternoon.

Park City has a stack of family friendly non-snow activities to keep the kids entertained, including the Alpine Coaster, and snow tubing at Gorgoza Park. The Utah Olympic Park has tubing, zip-lining, and museum tours, sure to fill a spare afternoon.

When looking at accommodation in Park City, there are a few bases to choose from: the Park City Mountain Resort base, downtown Park City and Main Street, Canyons, and futher out in the suburbs. We recommend choosing the best location based on your requirements as a family. For those who want the convenience of ski-in/ski-out and are participating in ski school, there are a variety of condos and hotels at the base of the resort. These are at premium prices, however, you're right in the heart of the action. Staying downtown Park City and Main Street means you're super close to all the restaurants, bars, and shopping, and you can easily access the resort via the Town lift and bridge. Also here, there are an array of condos and hotels for every family. In Scout's opinion the base of the resort would be a better choice for families to stay at - particularly young families - as it is closer to all the ski facilities and a bit quieter than Main Street. 

Canyons has world-class facilities and services to cater for families. The main village is relatively small compared to its Park City counterpart, however, it houses a good variety of amenities including rentals, ski school, restaurant, and convenience store. 

Park City Ski School at Canyons is a large operation, and provides a huge range of ski and snowboard lessons and multi-day programs. The ski school operates lessons for first-timers close to the main village, where parents can easily watch their little ones learn to ski. Most other lessons start from the top of the gondola near the Red Pine Lodge, which require a gondola ride up to meet the instructors. Childcare is available from the Little Adventures Children's Centre within the Grand Summit Hotel, and they offer a good variety of half and full-day programs.

Both on and off-mountain the Canyons main village has a decent variety of eateries and bars, although rather quiet compared to those found in Park City. Downtown Park City is only a few minutes away via the free bus system, so rather easy for families to head out for an evening. We recommend heading into Park City during your stay at Canyons to have a look around and explore the shops and main street.

Canyons village does offer a good amount of choice when it comes to accommodation, with options ranging from deluxe to luxury, mostly ski-in/ski-out or just a short walk. Families would appreciate the location and ease of access to the slopes. Canyons is particularly popular with families as the hotels and condos are so close to the ski school and childcare facilities. More economical options can be found over in Park City, where there is a larger variety of lodging for all budgets, and more in terms of restaurants, bars, shops, and resort facilities.

Park City Accommodation

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There are plenty of hotels and condos to choose from in Park City and surrounding areas. The two main options if you want to stay in Park City itself are at the base area and downtown/main street. The base area is great for families that want to be very close to the slopes and activities (including ski school). Main street and downtown is connected to the ski resort via a chair lift and ski run so still convenient to the resort and great for those wanting to have all the main bars, restaurants and shops and their doorstep. It's better suited to groups of friends and couples. Park City accommodation ranges from luxury to budget, and there is something to suit every family size and shape.

Canyons Resort has several huge hotels of varying quality. Most have condo-style rooms with kitchens so they’re easy to settle into for a week. The layout of the base area is such that most hotels are fairly close to a lift, with some requiring a longer walk or short shuttle ride. Ski school is centred at the base in front of the Grand Summit hotel. Ski-in/ski-out condos and hotels are also available, providing the easiest of convenience for families to hit the slopes.

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Resort Activities

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As well as a bit of window shopping, there’s a ton of activities other than skiing. From hot-air ballooning to winter fishing, sleigh rides or a mountain railroad adventure - there’s something for everyone. Park City can also be used as a base for heli-skiing. Park City has a stack of family friendly non-snow activities to keep the kids entertained, including the Alpine Coaster, and snow tubing at Gorgoza Park. The Utah Olympic Park has tubing, zip-lining, and museum tours, sure to fill a spare afternoon.

Wasatch Powderbird Guides operate from Red Pine Lodge at the Canyons Base Area. 

Getting There and Around

Getting to Park City/Canyons couldn’t be easier. It’s a 35-minute drive from Salt Lake City airport which is huge and a hub for many airlines, meaning there are frequent direct flights from almost every major city and plenty of small ones. Getting to the resort is easy via one of the many shuttle services with frequent shared shuttles (costing around $40pp one way) or private transfer options.

There’s a frequent and free public bus that services the mountain base and downtown areas and also extends to Canyons and Deer Valley. Uber is also incredibly popular. You won’t need a car in Park City.

When To Go

Park City has one of the longer ski seasons and is usually open from mid-November until mid-April.

Considering the amount of snow that falls on Park City, temperatures don’t get as brutal as other resorts in the US. January and February are reliable months and March skiing can be fantastic.

Accommodation is booked out well in advance during Sundance Film Festival and is hideously expensive so best to avoid the area. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the best times to ski as the slopes are relatively empty. Usually the festival is in the second last week of January.

Other holiday periods that are busy are:

  • Christmas and New Year.
  • Martin Luther King long weekend
  • President’s Day long weekend

Facts & Figures


Mountain Information   Lifts   Terrain    
Base Elevation 6900ft / 2013m Express Six Seater 4 Beginner 17%  
Summit Elevation 10,000ft / 3048m Express Quads 3 Intermediates 52%  
Vertical Drop 3100ft / 945m Triple Chairs 7 Advanced 31%  
Skiable Area 3300ac / 1335ha Double Chairs 2      
Annual Snowfall 365in / 9.2m Surface Lifts 3      
Longest Run 3.4 miles / 5.6km          
Operating Hours 9.00am –4.00pm          
Night Skiing (Dec 25-Mar 31) 4.00pm - 8pm          


Mountain Information   Lifts   Terrain    
Base Elevation 6800ft / 2072m Gondolas (servicing ski area) 1 Beginner 10%  
Summit Elevation 9990ft / 3045m Express Six Seater 1 Intermediates 44%  
Vertical Drop 3190ft / 792m Express Quads 6 Advanced 46%  
Skiable Area 4000ac / 1618ha Quad Chair 5      
Annual Snowfall 355in / 9m Triple Chairs 2      
Longest Run 2.5 miles / 4km Double Chairs 2      
Operating Hours 9.00am –4.00pm Surface Lifts 2      
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