Park City, Utah (in Winter)
Park City is located in the Wasatch Back, a region in the Rocky Mountains and lies mostly above 7,000 feet (2,100 m) above sea level. It is a beautiful place if you like the outdoors with mountains and streams providing a natural playground. We spent last winter here and so it's fitting our first post is about our new home.
These days Park City houses more tourists than residents. Finding silver in 1868 sparked a silver rush that brought Park City to life with a population of 7500 in the late 1800’s. But nothing lasts forever. When the silver was gone, so was the lifeblood of the town. The price of silver dropped in the 1950’s and so did the population. With only 1150 residents the city nearly became a ghost town. Skiing revived the town in 1963 with Treasure Mountain Resort, a small ski resort. Today Park City hosts 3 world class ski resorts, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort and the Canyons as well as The Sundance Film Festival which is the largest independent film festival in the US.
Skiing and Snowboarding:
Skiing and snowboarding are world class. If you prefer a mountain that is a skier’s only paradise, then Deer Valley is a must. With over 20 lifts and over 100 runs that will satisfy any skier from beginner to expert. If you like Tree skiing like I do, then Centennial Trees or Triangle Trees will keep your attention. For nice groomer runs it is hard to beat Flagstaff mountain. And for the ungroomed slopes on a powder day then head to Mayflower lift. The food is great at Deer Valley too. Lift ticket sales are limited so the lines are never large.
Snowboards and skiers are both welcome at Park City Mountain Resort or Canyons. I have never skied the Canyons but I hear it offers lots of good tree skiing. At Park City Mountain, the Jupiter lift, one of my favorites, but is expert only. For groomers the PayDay, Bonanza and Crescent Lifts give you a great variety of runs and plenty of vertical feet. The town lift takes you up the mountain from downtown Park City’s Main Street.
There is great cross country skiing too. They have groomed trails at the White Pine Touring center. There are also groomed trails in Round Valley and the Rail Trail. If you head to Heber about 15 miles away there is a wonderful world class facility called Soldier Hollow. They held the Olympic competition here in 2002.
Chocolate and Coffee:
The best place is the The Ritual Chocolate Factory and Cafe. It is literally a chocolate factory. The chocolate bars are made right there. There is a small cafe that serves great coffee and small snacks. I highly recommend a mocha with toast and a home made chocolate almond spread. Yummy!!!
There is great cycling in the area. You can take a road bike up Royal Street to Upper Deer Valley for a nice 1000 foot climb on a nice low traffic road. You can go up Guardsman’s Pass if you are interested in something a bit more challenging. In the summer Guardsman takes you down to Heber and from here you have miles and miles of road.
I bought a fat tire bike this year. It has been great riding in the snow. I really enjoy riding the Round Valley Trails and the Rail Trail. They are both multi-use and groomed for the snow bike.
Mountain biking is unbelievable here. There are literally 100s of miles of trails. You can take a ski lift to the top of the mountain in summer and let gravity take you down. We used to do this with the kids when they were young. The rails are marked beginner/intermediate/advanced just like the ski runs. You can also ride up the mountain yourself. Here is a map to all the trails. One of my favorite rides is going up the Armstrong trail (it is a one way trail) to the Mid Mountain trail. I ride the Mid Mountain trail for as long as I wish, then ride down one of the other trails back to town.
We love the Bicycle Bakery bread, especially Crack Bread. You can buy it at The Market.
Our favorite expensive restaurant is The Riverhorse on Main Street.
Our favorite Mexican Food is the Tarahumara Mexicana.
Our favorite Asian/ Fusion is Shabu on Main Street.
Our favorite Bar is at the St. Regis at Deer Valley. You take a funicular up the mountain. That is part of the fun. While waiting you can make Smores over the fire outside. It is a bit expensive, but the food is good and the experience very very nice.