And so to Park City Mountain Resort…
13th January 2020
Last modified on May 22nd, 2020
PlanetSKI’s trip in Utah moves round to one of our favourite large resorts in North America. But can it live up to expectations?
It was always going to be a hard act to follow.
A day in Deer Valley with the former Olympic racer and Deer Valley Ambassador, Heidi Voelker.
PARK CITY MOUNTAIN RESORT: ON THE SLOPES
Things looked good as we switched over to Park City Mountain Resort.
The resort is the second largest resort in the USA after Powder Mountain further north in Utah above Ogden.
It was formed after Vail Resorts bought Park City in 2014 and the two were then linked shortly after.
And this is the gondola connecting them.
Now one of the great things about the USA is everyone just chats away as soon as they get on a lift together.
And aboard with me on this ride is David Viteh.
You won’t have heard of him… yet.
We got chatting.
The 26-year old is aiming to be the first Mexican snowboarder to represent his country in the Winter Olympics.
He is a snowboard cross athlete.
“It would be so cool to take part at Turin/Cortina 2026 and be the first Mexican snowboarder to get into the Winter Olympics.”
“We don’t have any snowy mountains in Mexico, but we love our snowsports and I could help encourage that.”
“I am determined to get there in 2026.”
“See you in Cortina,” I said as we went our separate ways.
“Sure thing, look out for me buddy.”
And with that he shot off on his board.
I then headed into the trees to ski my favourite variety – aspen trees.
Park City Mountain Resort:
It has 340 runs and 3,000 hectares so it is comparable in size to one of the decent medium sized resort in the Alps.
But size is not everything.
The advanced terrain off Jupiter and Ninety Nine 90 will provide enough challenges for any expert skier or snowboarder.
Unlike neighbouring Deer Valley where snowboarders are not allowed on the slopes, they are positively welcomed in Park City Mountain Resort.
The slopes are also littered with the remnants of the area’s mining history.
And the names of the runs and lifts certainly reflect that: Silverlode Express, Silver King, Mine Cart, Mule Train and many others.
Next time PlanetSKI is in town we intend to look at the mining history of the town.
The resort runs special 2-hour tours which I’m told are fascinating.
The resort is on the EPIC Pass which sadly doesn’t allow you to ski in neighbouring Deer Valley or the other great resorts in this area such as Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude.
They are on the rival IKON Pass.
So, if you come here you will need to make a choice.
You can of course buy a day pass at the ticket booth, but they come in at $179 – that’s a whopping £137.
For 1 day of skiing.
Seen through European eyes it is a ridiculous situation and a major downside to skiing here.
You have come all this way and are in touching distance of another great ski area but are unable to ski it on a single pass and have to fork out a small fortune to do so.
IKON & EPIC are locked in a giant battle with no love lost between the two organisations and any joint lift ticket is highly unlikely.
One alternative is to take the Interconnect Tour that is a fabulous day out taking in Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, Brighton, Solitude, Alta and Snowbird.
UPDATE: THE EVENING ACTIVITIES IN PARK CITY:
Now one of the questions I am often asked is “Can you get a drink in the Mormon state of Utah?”
You can not only get a drink, you can go one further and make you own gin in a distillery on Main Street.
And that is exactly what I did after my day on the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort.
So, how do you go about making your own gin?
Step forward Rob Sergent from Alpine Distilling.
First you chose your ‘botanicals’ – these give it the flavour.
Juniper is a must and with three different varieties I went for the strongest.
Plenty of Coriander too.
Then you simply make your selection from Orris Root, Angelica Root, Licorice Root, Ginger Root Lavender, Rose Hips and several more beside.
I decided not to hold back and got a bit carried away.
Then my choice went into the hands of Rob’s wife, Sara, and I walked in to have a look.
“Sorry James this is known as an ‘explosive area’ due to the flammable and explosive ingredients here and the public aren’t allowed in.”
So, I watched her making my gin through protective glass.
We were then asked to come up with a name for our gin.
There was only one choice for me.
And then the moment of truth.
I wonder what adventures await tomorrow in Utah.
I’m heading round to the resort of Sundance owned by a certain man called Robert Redford.
I met him when I was here back in 2002.
So it’s bye, bye Park City and its resorts of Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort and hello Zermatt in Midway and the nearby resort of Sundance.
There’s skiing to be had with the legend that is Max Jensen.
And I’m off for a spot of cross-county skiing too.
And more snowshoeing.
And swimming in the thermal waters of a 10,000 year old underground crater.
And visiting an ice castle.
Who said ski resorts are just for skiing?