What does it mean to strike vacation gold in Park City, Utah? Upon landing in Salt Lake City airport, you can be skiing in a little over an hour, provided that you already have ski passes and equipment. Not only is the drive a quick 35 minutes from the airport, it feels safe even in winter conditions, thanks to its wide highways. There’s also a variety of mountain resorts that fulfill every heart’s desire, all in close range of town.
Speaking of safety, as we're all asking the big question right now—to travel or not to travel?—here’s what to expect if you do decide to hit the slopes during the 2021 season in one of the finest ski towns around.
The mountain, known for its proximity to town, allows folks to ski right onto Main Street or hop on the town lift back out. In the summer of 2015, Park City Mountain Resort was combined with the Canyons, the next mountain up, to create the largest resort in the U.S., with a skiable area of 7,300 acres, 185 trails, and 41 lifts.
Passes: Ski Park City and Canyons with the Epic Pass, which can only be bought online and picked up at the ticket window (because of Covid restrictions) to avoid crowd gatherings.
These mountain resorts, located 40 miles away in nearby Little Cottonwood Canyon, are a powder paradise. The arid conditions of the area, in addition to the lake-effect enhancement from the Great Salt Lake, bring in more than 500 inches of very dry, powdery snowfall per year. Alta is a skiers-only mountain (no snowboarding), while Snowbird has no restrictions. The two resorts are connected via lifts, and you can get a joint pass or individual ones for each resort. With 26 ski lifts and 4,700 acres of skiable terrain, these mountains simply can’t be missed.
Passes: The Ikon Passes include access to Alta and Snowbird mountains, or these can be purchased separately.
A preferred destination for families with kids, these slopes are reserved only for skiers–no snowboarders. You can easily find different piste levels surrounded by million-dollar houses and finish the day with an après ski at a five-star hotel overlooking endless mountains on the horizon.
Park City’s charming Historic Main Street is filled with winter gear shops, restaurants, art galleries, and theaters that host the Sundance Film Festival every January—a result of the successful efforts of Robert Redford in putting the town on the map. Indulge in Southwestern-Mexican style food at Chimayo, a delicious steak at Butcher’s Chop House, or experience fine dining at the classic Riverhorse on Main, among many other superb food options that are enough to make the trip a culinary experience if you so desire.
Plan ahead for these Covid-19 safety measures
- Face coverings and social distancing are required at all times.
- Lift tickets need to be purchased in advance as ticket windows will not offer them or will have limited quantities (check with specific resort for details).
- Park City requires reservations for ski days, giving priority to pass holders to limit the number of skiers on the mountain. Alta and Snowbird will also limit the number of skiers at the resort based on parking availability (needs to be reserved in advance).
- Cashless transactions will be used.
- Chairs and gondolas: social distancing in lines; ride with related party; no one will be required to ride with someone they don’t know.
- Cleaning and sanitization strategies will be enhanced in lifts, gondolas, restaurants, ski rental facilities, and all high-touch surfaces.
- Outdoor coffee shops and restaurants have been added to offer food to-go, and outdoor seating, as well as indoor seating, will be limited.