When to Go
The ski season at Park City can last for five whole glorious months, from mid-November to mid-April. The start and tail end aren’t going to offer the best snow, so if you can aim your trip for any time between the beginning of February to the middle of March. This time of year gives you the best chance of scoring fresh deep powder with all the trails and lifts open. When it comes to snowfall, there is no reliable pattern in Utah, but the local consensus is that the second half of February is when the best powder is served, usually around the time of the Presidents’ Day national holiday. During the Sundance Film Festival, you may find the slopes surprisingly quiet, but restaurants get booked out months in advance and accommodation prices are usually turned up a notch, so make sure you've secured a ski and snowboard deal.
Getting Lift Tickets
Everything that a Vail-owned resort offers does come at a price: for the ’16-’17 season the walk-up single day lift ticket price was around $120-$130. If you’re going to be at Park City for five days (and with all there is to explore, why wouldn’t you be?), consider a pass. An Epic Pass is listed as $639 for 17/18 and you can also ski most of the other Vail resorts (with blackout dates; an unrestricted one is more expensive). This would let you combine your Park City visit with a trip to any of a number of North America’s other premier ski resorts. The Tahoe Local Pass is a cheaper option at $549 and it gives you five days at Park City (with some holiday blackouts), and offers a way to make a multi-destination trip with unlimited access to Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood around Lake Tahoe.
Exploring the Mountain
If there’s one thing that isn't intermediate about Park City it’s the terrain parks, of which the crown jewel is the Eagle Superpipe! Regarded as one of the finest engineered halfpipes in the world and with a whopping 22 ft transition, big air is the name of the game on this one. Next door is 3 Kings, the perfect park for freestylers of all abilities, with a huge range of rails, tabletops, and ramps to get even the pickiest park rat frothing.
Over on the Canyons side, you’ll find Transitions offering up massive booters ranging from 30to50 ft, and the Woodchuck Natural Zone nestled in the trees with creative transitions for progressive freeriding. All in all, there are eight areas dedicated to freestyle skiing and snowboarding on the mountain, so you really could ride parks all week here if you wanted to.
Crossing Between Ski Areas
You can get between the two sides of the resort by taking the Quicksilver Gondola. If you are traveling between the two sides of the resort we suggest you get there as quickly as you can, get to your chosen quadrant, and stay there all day. Technically, you could ski from one end of the resort to the other in a day, but we don’t recommend this. You’ll eat up at least half a day watching the scenery from the Chairlifts instead of getting in serious snow time.
There is an unloading station on the Quicksilver Gondola at the ridge top where you can get off and ski down either side of the resort. This is fairly easy run when going down the Canyons side, but Limelight – the run on the Park City side – is double-black diamond and faces southeast, which means the snow quality tends to be worse when the sun is out. On the Canyons side, The Highway is the easy road down, but we prefer Blaise's Way.
Where to ski - Best for Beginners
Newbies will find a wonderfully wide and mellow green slope called The Meadows just off to the left when exiting the High Meadow Chairlift (easily reached from Canyons Village via the Red Pine Gondola). The best thing about this run is that it’s unusually high up on the mountain for a beginner slope compared to other North American resorts, so you can be sure the snow up there will be good! There’s even a small banked terrain feature for beginners who want to push their boundaries. Advanced skiers on a trip with learners can also find excellent black runs nearby, just take the Saddleback Chairlift and turn through the trees before linking back up with your beginner buddies!
Best for Intermediates
Slide aboard the King Con Express and you’ll have the choice of around a dozen different blue runs once you disembark. All split between the trees leading down to the bottom of the lift, the wide pistes have the perfect pitch for skiers and snowboarders looking to improve their turns and speed control. Other great intermediate terrain is accessible from the top of the Silverlode Express and Bonanza Express Chairlifts, which sprinkle in a few greens and blacks among the blues to keep you on your toes!
Now to the Canyons side of the mountain, where the cream of the crop has to be Lookout Ridge. Hop off the midway stop on the Orange Bubble Express Chairlift and drop in on the right. This blue run is groomed every day without fail and is oddly overlooked by many skiers and snowboarders on the mountain, so the corduroy is rarely chopped up too much. Variety is the spice of this trail, varying in steepness and plenty long enough for a satisfying non-stop ride. Stunning views of the valley as you descend are the icing on the cake!
You should also stop by the Lookout Cabin, a café with an awesome view of the mountain.
For something higher up on the mountain get yourself to the Daybreak and Dreamscape Chairlifts, with each drop off point offering access to plenty of blue run options. If you've got the stamina check out one of our favorites: hop off the Dreamscape Chairlift and onto Alpenglow to Twilight, followed by Harmony all the way to the bottom of the Tombstone Chairlift. This ridiculously long run has some fairly steep sections as well as bridges, and tunnels with tons of twists and turns!
Best for Advanced
If you settle for nothing but steep and deep then it’s to the summit you must go! Canyons will provide if it’s maximum drop you crave, with the Ninety-Nine 90 Express Chairlift whisking you up to the Red Pine Bowl along with a few gullies and chutes to fly down.
As for the deepest snow, you should get yourself on the Jupiter Chairlift serving the Park City side. After a powder dump the queues quickly get big, so the earlier you're there the better! You can hike along the ridge in either direction to find fresh bowls if the Main Bowl is already looking tracked out. For one of the biggest challenges the mountain offers, take the McConkey’s Express Chairlift and hike up to Jupiter Peak, where the fearsome East Face and Puma Bowl awaits the adventurous.
Off-Piste & Backcountry
Despite its reputation as a ski resort for intermediates, Park City actually offers plenty of off-piste, sidecountry, and backcountry for intrepid skiers and snowboarders. In fact, all you have to do is take the Jupiter Chairlift to find nothing but ungroomed double blacks to get back down the mountain! A hike to the left will get you to Pinecone Ridge, where a selection of steep off-piste awaits. Make sure you’re up there early, as this side of the mountain faces southeast so the snow quickly warms up. Be ready to drop in once ski patrol have finished avalanche control!
Top sidecountry can be enjoyed after a short hike beyond the summit at Ninety-Nine 90, just to the left of the 94 Turns run. It’s a huge area of wide bowls and pristine powder (if you get there early enough) that you can’t access from anywhere else on the mountain. Proper avalanche precautions apply if you head this way, but on the whole it’s fairly safe and you can link back to runs and lifts without any issues.
You’ll also find the best true backcountry from the top of the Ninety-Nine Express Chairlift, over the other side of the ridge where the Saddleback Express Chairlift unloads. You’ll be way out of bounds once you drop in over the ridge, so a beacon, shovel, probe, and buddy are essential for safety. Even better, take a guide to show you the best routes. Ride down far enough and you’ll end up on the slopes of the Solitude ski area in Big Cottonwood Canyon!