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There is only one Park City

Utah, USA

Park City has struck it rich with two worldclass ski resorts, writes Helen Hayes.


It was an exciting season in the town of Park City, Utah, with the birth of the biggest ski resort in the USA. Park City is the marriage of two resorts – Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort – with Vail Resorts linking them up with a brand-new gondola to create one giant snow playground. And it is a giant, with over 2950 hectares of terrain to whiz down, more than 300 runs (that’s just the named ones), 17 mountain peaks to conquer, 41 lifts, eight terrain parks, 14 bowls, one super pipe and one mini pipe. Phew.

Revisiting new territory at Park City
We can’t wait to see how it all links up so head up Payday and then Bonanza Express chairs, loving the conditions so much around the Silverlode Express chair that we lap it a few times before trying the new Quicksilver Gondola over to Canyons, admiring the stunning architecture of the brand-new Miners Camp restaurant near the base. We rediscover our favourite runs from our last visit years ago, zooming from chair to chair. Dreamcatcher, Dreamscape, Day Break, Peak 5, Tombstone, Saddleback, Sun Peak, the quirky Short Cut and the trailblazing Orange Bubble chair are our playgrounds, and we love skiing through The Colony, with its huge timber and stone houses on either side of the runs. We imagine ourselves living there – just for a moment.

The joie de vivre that Canyons had last time is still in abundance, and we ski down Doc’s Run to the base at Canyons Village, where there is a host of accommodation options, fire pits to warm up around, a ski beach and plenty of great restaurants. But we have itchy feet and a serious case of FOMO (that’s fear of missing out, for those not in on the lingo), as we don’t want to waste a minute of this blue-sky day and copious amounts of feather-soft Utah snow.




We make our way back to the Quicksilver Gondola, with the route easy to follow thanks to clear signposts, then head up the Silverlode lift for more fun and games. But first, we fuel up at the Summit House, charging up our phones at the multipletentacled charging station while we munch. Reenergised, we tackle as much of the terrain on the Park City side as we can, cruising down the many blue runs off the upgraded King Con lift. We gallop over to the Bonanza chair, zooming down Muckers and Jonesy’s runs for old times’ sake, before trying some beautiful trails off Pioneer (Hawkeye and Red Fox) and off McConkey’s. The views from up here on the Georgeanna run are something else; in fact, we can see Deer Valley just over yonder. This run might be my pick of the whole resort.

Service with a smile at Deer Valley
Like visiting an old friend, we feel right at home on the corduroy slopes of Deer Valley. There are so many things to love about this ski-only resort, including the fact that it is for skiers only, (sorry snowboarders!) and the level of service. If you aren’t staying in ski-in, ski-out properties, there are people to help you with your skis. Also, there is a free ski storage area with people to take your skis and hand them back to you next morning. There are friendly people at every chairlift, signboards to let you know which runs around that chair have been groomed overnight, and there are smiling, helpful people at the large trail maps dotted around the mountain to show you how to get where you want to go. No wonder Deer Valley has won so many awards for its service.

A sneaky hot chocolate at Snowshoe Tommy’s gave us a sugar hit before we do Stein’s Way, one of the prettiest runs on the mountain named in honour of the late Stein Eriksen – Olympic gold medallist, former director of skiing and a massive influence on this resort. This mostly intermediate run delivers mesmerising views out over the valley beyond. Serviced by the Sultan Express chairlift, we do it, and Tycoon, a few times, then branch out to try some lovely black runs off the Mayflower chair – another scenic delight. With six mountains, 101 runs and 21 lifts, there is plenty of ground to be covered so we skedaddle, falling in love again with the groomed Nabob, the beautiful tree runs on Flagstaff Mountain and, atop the Empire lift, we spy McConkeys on the next ridge.



We come across many instructors leading little charges, Peter Pan-like, down runs. The kids are happy, zipping down runs and through trees and over moguls, or doing their ‘slices of pizza’ down gentle green slopes. The food offerings at Deer Valley are divine. We have an incredible lunch at Royal Street Café and a boisterous afternoon at Daly’s Pub at the exquisite Montage. In the evenings, we booked in for the famous Seafood Buffet at the Deer Valley base and dipped into heavenly fondues and chocolates at Fireside Dining. As for the kids, you can’t beat the afternoon s’mores around the fire at either the Montage, or The St. Regis.

And then of course there is the town of Park City itself, its historic Main Street awash with excellent restaurants. It really is an ‘epic’ destination.

***PARK CITY REPORT CARD***


Information
Park City
www.parkcitymountain.com
Deer Valley
www.deervalley.com

Getting There
Fly to LA then it’s a short 2.5-hour flight to Salt Lake City and a 40-minute transfer to Park City.

Stay
Hyatt Centric Park City
www.parkcity.centric.hyatt.com
Montage Deer Valley
www.montagedeervalley.com
The St. Regis Deer Valley
www.stregisdeervalley.com

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