A skier’s guide to Park City, Utah

Downtown Park City. Photo: Park City Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau/Mark Maziarz

Downtown Park City; photo by Park City Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau/Mark Maziarz

Blame the Sundance Film Festival and its appeal to B-grade celebrities, but Park City, Utah, gets a bit of a bad rap as a fancy, soulless ski destination. It doesn't help that US Weekly posts pictures of the Kardashians skiing groomers there, and the New York Times runs stories about how hard B-grade celebrities and PR people party there. But those stories are a bit misleading because Park City, which is also home to the Olympic ski and snowboard teams, is a bona fide ski town—full of dirtbags, serious skiers and riders, and some of the most fun terrain (and places to party) in Utah. Here’s our guide to the underrated ski destination.

Park City

Matt Rink skiing powder at the Canyons Resort in Park City; photo by Matt Tittel

Where to ski: From Main Street it's an easy bus ride to three separate, and very different, ski resorts. Hit Park City Mountain Resort to ski the same park and pipe that Olympians train on, head a little farther down the road to the Canyons to ski perfectly spaced trees and the steeps of the 9990 lift, or go to Deer Valley for immaculate groomers, and the nearly-vertical Daly Chutes.

Caffeinate: Atticus, on lower Main Street, is part coffee shop, part used bookstore. If there is a better combo than that we have no idea what it is.

Local breakfast: If you want a solid breakfast before you head to the hill try The Eating Establishment, which has been serving skillets and huevos since the '70s. Make sure to sit in their sunny dining room.

Lunch on the mountain: Deer Valley is known for its food, which can be super high end and pricy. If you want a taste of this but don’t want to break your dirtbag budget, head to the Royal Street Café for lunch. In addition to delicious food, you’ll get awesome homemade cheese. At Park City Mountain Resort, hit Silver Star Café at the base of the Silver Star lift.

Park City

Lunch at Royal Street Café in Park City; photo courtesy of Deer Valley Resort

Treat yourself: Park City has so much good food that it's probably worth it to take yourself out to one really nice dinner. There are a lot of stellar options along Main Street, including The RiverHorse, which serves delightful, often locally sourced, food.

Utah's drinking town: For years, Park City has pushed the boundaries of Utah's stringent drinking rules. High West Distillery, which makes bourbon and rye, owns the distinction of being the state's first distillery after Prohibition (they opened in 2007). Wasatch Brewery brews strong beer, and O'Shucks is a classic ski town dive bar where you can throw peanut shells on the floor and drink huge schooners of beer.

Park City

High West Distillery in Park City; photo by Dan Campbell

Where to watch music: Park City Live pulls in musicians from Avicii to Mike Gordan. If you're craving karaoke—a favorite of Park City locals—head to Cisero's, an Italian restaurant that morphs into a late night dance club.

What else: Want some time off your skis? At the Canyons you can snowshoe through the aspen groves from the top of the gondola. Sled heads can go across the valley from Deer Valley to go snowmobiling in Brown's Canyon with Summit Mountain Adventures. If you want to stay inside for a bit, check out Kimball Art Center, an interactive art museum right at the base of Park City Mountain Resort’s Town Lift.

No need to drive: The best part of Park City is that you don't need a car at all. Take a shuttle from Park City Transportation from the airport, then take the free town bus.

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