Most Utah ski areas have a great mountain, some lodging and that’s pretty much it. Park City makes up for the rest of the state’s sins of omission with a vengeance. Here’s a vibrant town, and while its roots as a mining outpost have been largely overgrown after two decades of expansion and a dose of pre-Olympic spit and polish, Park City still feels authentic and offers more off-hill options than the rest of Utah combined. Readers extol Park City’s mountain for its high-speed lifts and the breadth and diversity of its terrain. The mountain’s versatility combined with activities in and around town make Park City a preeminent family destination. Amping up the energy level this season is the 2002 Winter Olympics, Feb. 8-22. Park City will host the men’s and women’s giant slalom and all snowboarding events, while the nearby Olympic Winter Sports Park presents ski-jumping, bobsledding and luge. There’s no better home base for taking in the Games. One of the virtues that makes Park City such a fine Olympic venue is its accessibility to Salt Lake City’s airport (about 40 minutes), a blessing that will endure long after the 2002 Olympic flame is snuffed. On the downside, many readers lament the high cost of fun. “Surprisingly pricey,” is a typical refrain. The Olympics will eliminate the surprise, but won’t lower the cost. But whether you dive into the Olympics or dodge them, one reader’s assessment will forever ring true: “A great town coupled with the skiing makes for a perfect combination.”
WHAT’S NEW A new bridge links the resort to the downtown core.
A GOOD DEAL The Silver Passport, which allows destination visitors to ski the region’s three resorts-Deer Valley, The Canyons and Park City-on a multi-area lift ticket; 435-649-8111, www.parkcitymountain.com.
MEDALS GOLD Terrain, Challenge, Lifts, Weather, Access, Lodging, Dining, Après-Ski, Off-Hill Activities; SILVER Snow, Grooming, Service, On-Mountain Food, Family Programs.
HIGH/LOW RANK Access (2), Dining (2), Off-Hill Activities (10); Terrain (42), Value (51), Scenery (53).
DON’T MISS The Olympics. How many chances will you have to see a Winter Olympics on American snow?
READER REMARKS (+) “Great family resort. Bought a time-share.” “Fun town, like Aspen without the fur coats.”
(-) “Doesn’t get as much good snow as other Utah resorts.” “Runs are too short.”