One of three separate ski areas adjacent to Park City, Utah, just 50km east of Salt Lake City, Park City Mountain Resort is sandwiched between the exclusive Deer Valley ski area to the east and the Canyons ski area to the north-west; the slopes of the three resorts actually touch at a couple of points and it is possible to ski across from one to the other, although Deer Valley doesn't officially support the practice and is an exclusively skier-only resort (i.e. snowboarding is not permitted there).
Park City Mountain Resort is the most accessible from central Park City itself, its main slope-side base area and principal access ski lifts are located just off the city's main Park Avenue highway, and there are pisted footbridges linking the slopes right into the heart of Park City's quaint downtown Main Street area.
There are a number of large hotels at the main base, but the surrounding urban area effectively serves as one large resort, offering a wide choice of accommodation and amenities within a pedestrian-friendly radius from the slopes.
Park City Mountain Resort has a sizeable ski area, with seven distinct sectors spread over a series of lightly wooded ridges and bowls that stretch back deep into the mountains to the south-west of the city. The layout of the area is very user-friendly, with spacious beginners' slopes at the main base area and a great range of immaculately groomed long green trails and blue runs directly accessible via the nearest fast chairlifts.
The slopes immediately above the main base area also house a couple of good terrain parks and a halfpipe, as well as the resort's competition pistes and a number of groomed black runs; most of these home-sector slopes are also floodlit for evening access.
The highest and toughest terrain is found off the summits of Jupiter Bowl and Jupiter Peak, furthest away from the city-side base areas; Jupiter Bowl, Scott's Bowl, Puma Bowl, and McConkey's Bowl here are laden with steep ungroomed double-diamond black runs, a number of which can only be accessed by passing through control gates, open only when conditions are good enough and safe enough.
Off-piste access beyond the ski area boundary is not permitted, but much of the high-end in-bounds terrain in the hike-to summit sectors and off the non-lift-served Pinecone Ridge, at the easternmost edge of the area, feels very much like backcountry-style territory.
At the end of the day, or at the end of the evening after night-skiing sessions, a good choice of home-run pistes lead back to the main base area, and, thanks to a series of pisted footbridges, directly into the city's lively downtown Main Street district, perfect for those who don't want to miss a minute of apres-ski time.
Off the slopes and apres ski
The plaza at the big slope-side Lodge development at the main base area at Park City Mountain Resort houses a handful of shops, cafés, restaurants and bars, plus a small outdoor ice-skating rink; it's a pleasant enough place and the bars are fairly lively during late afternoon and early evening apres-ski hours, but the large adjacent car parks and quiet surrounding suburbs make this area feel a bit soulless at other times; the Corner Store bar is the prime apres-ski spot here, with live music most days.
A little further to the south, a pair of home-run blue pistes converge and flow across a series of pisted footbridges to the base of the town chairlift in a buzzing little elevated plaza at the upper end of Park City's bustling downtown district; this is by far the most attractive base and is just a few steps away from the many shops, cafés, restaurants and bars that line the 'historic' Main Street.
Main Street provides the heart and soul to this otherwise unusually urban-feeling ski resort, and is the main focus for Park City's nightlife, offering a wide range of good restaurants and a host of lively bars and nightclubs: the key downtown apres-ski spots nearest to the lifts are The Brewhouse and Doolan's; live music enthusiasts gravitate to the Spur Bar and Sidecar, whilst lounge lizards and clubbers head for Downstairs, Ciseros or Harry O's.
NB: 21 is the minimum legal drinking age in Utah; some venue-bars and clubs also require patrons to pay a membership fee on entry.
Bars and clubs
No Name Saloon
High West Distillery