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Best Ski Towns in North America: Park City, Utah

From its beginnings as a silver mining town, this ski town has blossomed into a hub for dining, lodging, culture, and great skiing.

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Where can you schuss world-class slopes by day and take in a concert by a Grammy-winning blues artist in a historic theater by night? How about ride an Olympic bobsled course, then hit the outlets for the afternoon? Park City isn’t just a ski town with some other stuff to do when you’re not on the mountain; it’s a straight-up resort destination that happens to have almost 10,000 skiable acres across two wonderful and varied ski resorts. So come for the skiing—Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley both cater to all abilities and terrain preferences—or come for an innovative dining scene, an array of lodging options from resort hotels such as The Montage and the Waldorf Astoria to historic B&Bs, or for the art galleries, museum, and cultural outlets galore. It’s impossible not to find your niche here.

5 Great Ski Towns: Take SKI’s North American Ski Town Challenge

As if there’s not already enough going on in this bustling town—where the “rush hour” traffic and parking woes have been an unintended consequence of its growth and popularity—Park City continues to debut new and exciting projects. First and foremost this season is the new Woodward Park City, which opened in December. This is the 6th snow-focused Woodward park or facility in the U.S. but the first fully integrated campus featuring its own slopes, lifts, terrain parks, tubing hill, and barn in one location. Woodward Park City, located on the way out of Park City toward Salt Lake, will be open year-round and offer programming at every skill level for 10 disciplines, including skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, scooter, and parkour.

More Utah: Streets to Peaks in Salt Lake City

Also north of Park City, Auberge Resorts opened the Lodge at Blue Sky, a sprawling, 3,500-acre Western ranch with plenty of room to roam. City slickers looking for a cowboy experience with a silver spoon in its mouth should make this home base for a truly different take on a ski vacation. From horseback riding and sleigh rides to its own lounge at the base of Park City Resort exclusively for Blue Sky guests, this ranch truly elevates the entire town. No matter where you hang your hat, everyone who visits Park City strolls historic Main Street, one of the most colorful and charming downtowns in all of skidom. Dine, have a cocktail, shop, peruse artwork, listen to music…it’s all here.

Park City by the Numbers

Population: 1,755
Average Income: $66,375 (USD)
Male/Female Ratio: 56/44
Median Home Price: $750,200 (USD)
Median Age: 34.4

(Updated with 2020 stats)

Park City Highlights

Midway Ice Castles

Young girl in pink and purple snow outfit running through midway ice castles with father
This little one is enjoying her time at the Midway Ice CastlesPhoto courtesy of Midway Ice Castles

These ice formations are built in only six locations in North America, one of which is in Midway, 30 minutes south of Park City. Crafted by professional artists who hand-place each icicle, the elaborate castles feature ice tunnels, turrets lit with LED lights, slides, fountains, and architectural details that are a sight to behold.

Park City Museum

If you’ve ever wanted to step inside Park City’s original jail, here’s your chance. Located in the basement of the Park City Museum, that cell has no doubt seen some nefarious characters from the town’s mining days. Also find rotating exhibits on local history plus permanent exhibits on mining and the Great Fire of 1898.

Twisted Fern

Chef Adam Ross has found a way to accommodate vegetarians and vegans yet also provide delicious options for carnivores on the same menu. Not surprisingly, Twisted Fern’s cuisine is quite varied, from an open-face braised short ribs sandwich to jackfruit paprikash (a paprika-based stew from Hungary). A great new option.

Daly’s Pub & Rec

Whether or not you’re staying at the stately Montage Deer Valley Resort, do bring your crew to Daly’s Pub & Rec for pin bowling, arcade games, darts, shuffleboard, and a full menu of casual eats including brick-oven pizzas and plenty of local microbrews on tap. Kick back, let the groms play, and enjoy the chill vibe.

Park City Gin Experience

Gin distillery in Park City, Utah
Alpine Distilling is a good place for those looking for après and an activity all in one. Photo courtesy of Alpine Distilling

Gin lovers, rejoice. Alpine Distilling, a draft distillery on Main Street, invites guests to cozy up to one of the copper stills and distill their own gin. Guests learn about the gin-making process, history of gin, and enjoy a four-course meal from upstairs neighbor 350 Main’s chef Matt Safranek. Take home a bottle, too.

Waldorf Astoria

Hotel lounge at the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, Utah
The Waldorf Astoria’s location lets you enjoy your hotel while also staying near the slopesPhoto courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

The 159-room hotel that originally anchored The Canyons before it was bought by Vail Resorts and folded into Park City Resort just got a facelift. The property refreshed its rooms with new furniture and décor plus more spacious configurations. A home base for those who want all the amenities close to the slopes

Park City Local Tip

Matt Schiller at Deer Valley
Matt Schiller, Owner, Park City Boot Room, SKI Magazine ski + boot tester.
Photo credit: Keri Bascetta