SlopeLab’s Review of Park City Mountain Resort

SlopeLab Ratings

Overall
0%

Detailed Scores:

Beginner Terrain
70%
Intermediate Terrain
80%
Advanced Terrain
80%
Expert Terrain
70%
Tree Skiing
70%
Bowl Skiing
80%
Crowds
40%
Snow Rating
60%
Ski Town
100%

Park City Mountain Stats

Photo Gallery

Park City Overview

Featuring some of the largest skiable terrain in the world and an unbeatable ski town atmosphere, Park City Mountain Resort is one of the most popular ski resorts in the United States.

Located in Park City, Utah, this beautiful mountain town has a rich mining history paired with modern investments, thanks to its role as host of the annual Sundance Film Festival and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

For years, Park City Mountain resort operated as two separate ski resorts:

  • The “Park City” resort featured chairlifts that ran right into the heart of the town’s Main Street, and it was known for its mix of beginner-friendly terrain as well as Jupiter Bowl – one of the premier advanced/expert areas of any ski resort.
  • The “Canyons” resort, located just half a mile away, featured endless intermediate and advanced runs across its its nine mountain peaks, as well as its own base village and one of the most extensive mountain home developments in the country.

In 2015, Vail Resorts purchased Park City and merged the two areas, installing a nearly 1-mile long Gondola to connect the two sides.

Today, the combined resort is one of the largest in the entire world, and certainly one of the flagship resorts in Vail’s portfolio of properties.

Park City Trail Map

Park City Trail Map
Park City trail map (click for larger size)

Lift Info - Park City side

Lift High Speed? Vertical Rise (ft.)
Town Lift
No
1,180
Crescent Express
Yes
1,751
Bonanza Express
Yes
1,115
Silverlode Express
Yes
1,296
Jupiter
No
1,020
King Con Express
Yes
1,202
McConkey's Express
Yes
1,178
Motherlode Express
Yes
1,276
Thaynes
No
861
Pioneer
No
965
Payday Express
Yes
1,268
First Time
No
267
3 Kings
No
429
Eagle
No
1,144
Eaglet
No
251
Silver Star
No
769
Quicksilver Gondola
Gondola
369

Lift Info - Canyons side

Lift High Speed? Vertical Rise (ft.)
Red Pine Gondola
Gondola
2,084
Orange Bubble Express
Yes
1,519
Super Condor Express
Yes
1,768
Sun Peak Express
Yes
1,080
Saddleback Express
Yes
1,094
High Meadow Express
Yes
289
Tombstone Express
Yes
1,732
Ninety-Nine 90 Express
Yes
1,533
Peak 5
No
1,006
Daybreak
No
800
Dreamscape
No
860
Dreamcatcher
No
1,508
Iron Mountain Express
Yes
1,480
Flat Iron
No
4
Timberline
No
15
Over and Out
No
362
Sunrise
No
459
Short Cut
No
342
Rip Cord
Rope Tow
20
Silver Lining
Rope Tow
5
Cabriolet
Cabriolet
188
Frostwood Gondola
Gondola
158

Park City Terrain Overview

With over 7,300 acres of terrain, it’s no surprise that Park City offers plenty of whatever type of terrain you happen to be looking for.

However, I personally find Park City’s terrain to be a little more “quantity over quality” than other destination resorts. At first glance, the never-ending spiderweb of a trail map may look more impressive than my personal experiences have been.

Park City for Beginners

Park City is a great beginner’s mountain.

Most of the best green runs can be found on the Park City side. Beginners can take big lifts all the way near the top of the mountain, and then ski any number of long, gentle slopes all the way back to the base.

Along the way, these runs offer beautiful views that are sure to get beginners hooked on the sport.

One note that starting skiers should be aware of – the Canyons side of the resort is far less beginner friendly. Canyons has basically just one small green run midway up the mountain. It’s actually not possible for beginners to ski to the bottom of the mountain; they’ll instead need to load the gondola back down.

Park City for Intermediates

Take one look at the trail map, and you’ll immediately notice that Park City Mountain Resort is loaded with blue terrain all over the mountain. And this intermediate terrain mostly lives up to the hype, with some caveats.

Many of the never ending blues on the trail map actually feature short steep sections followed by long and uneventful run outs back to the lift. They also feature tons of “double fall lines” which tend to be a love/hate among skiers. (A double fall line occurs when the run is cut alongside the mountain, so you’re skiing at a tilted angle across the slope, rather than straight down.)

In any case, to find the best blue groomers, you’ll probably want to head to the Canyons’ side. Of note, the Iron Mountain chairlift services a ton of faster blue groomers that are perfect for letting the skis fly. (Back in the day, many of these were labeled “double blue” because of their added steepness.) Intermediates will also want to stretch their adventures to the Orange Bubble chairlift and the Super Condor lift; both of these areas have fun blue groomers that seem to run forever and ever.

Lastly, intermediate skiers on the Canyons side will definitely want to hit the Dreamscape lift, whose mellow slopes often holds interesting ungroomed terrain and easier trees.

On the Park City side, the King Con lift is a fantastic spot for blue groomers, although this terrain doesn’t quite have the length of some of the longer runs found on the Canyons side of the resort.

Advanced Terrain at Park City

Due to the mountain’s size, Park City offers plenty of terrain for advanced skiers and boarders. (Noticing a trend yet?)

Advanced skiers and boarders can take steeper black terrain (sometimes groomed, sometimes not) off basically every single lift on the mountain. The sheer number of options means that they’ll never get bored, although to get nitpicky, I’d argue that the black diamonds at Park City aren’t quite as memorable as what’s found at other world class resorts, like Whistler’s glaciers, Vail’s back bowls, or Jackson Hole’s steeps, to name a few.

In any case, advanced skiers are sure to find plenty of great runs. And confident advanced skiers could probably tackle the easier parts of the mountain’s legendary Jupiter Bowl.

Expert Terrain at Park City

Park City advertises 50% of its skiable acreage as expert terrain. And while the mountain probably doesn’t have the truly expert chutes, cliffs, or steeps found at next door neighbor’s Snowbird, Solitude, or even Deer Valley’s Daley Chutes, the Park City side of the mountain is surrounded by loads of steeper double black terrain.

The main attraction is Jupiter Bowl, which is certainly one of the best advanced/expert sections at any resort. This is helped by the fact that Jupiter Bowl consistently receives the most snow on the entire mountain, by a lot. Even better, unlike most expert terrain at other mountains, it’s pretty easy to lap this area until your heart’s content, thanks to the Jupiter lift. Perfect for powder days!

Those wanting to earn their turns a little more can hike up to Jupiter Peak either via Jupiter lift or McConkey’s Express. But for the truly untracked stuff, the hike off the Quicksilver Gondola and up Pinecone Ridge offers a massive amount of double black terrain that seems to stretch the entire length of the resort.  

How is the snow at Park City?

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Average Inches of Annual Snowfall

Snow at Park City is an interesting case, and a tale of many stories. 

Although Park City is located just 3-4 miles from Utah’s famous Cottonwood Canyons powder traps, storms tend to lose steam as they pass through Park City’s neighboring ski resorts – Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, and Brighton.

This phenomon results in Park City snow totals which wane in comparison to many of its neighbors. While Snowbird and Alta pick up upwards of 500-700 inches of snow a year, Park City is stuck with the leftovers, usually receiving less than 300.

Of course, that’s still nothing too complain about – the Wasatch’s leftover snowflakes still makes the mountain one of the snowier places in the United States.

Even more interesting, snow across Park City’s 7,000+ acres varies widely.

Jupiter Bowl, which sits perched atop the rest of the resort (and only about 1.5 miles from Solitude and Brighton) gets far more snow than the rest of the Park City. On a typical year, snow stakes off Jupiter chairlift will record over 350 inches of snow.

Meanwhile, lower mountain snow totals average less than half of that – often only 150 inches, although this is offset by extensive snowmaking infrastructure brought about by the deep investment pockets of Vail Resorts.

The most representative snow totals at Park City are probably those taken at the mid-mountain Summit House snow stake, since this is most similar in elevation and location to the rest of the mountain. Here, Park City reports an average of 290 inches a year.

Meanwhile, the Canyons side of the resort receives similar totals, although this part of the mountain has some lower elevations and less north facing terrain, so the snow quality doesn’t always hold up as strong. Then again, this is all still Utah’s famous “best snow on earth!”

Where is Park City?

Park City sits just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, about 30 minutes from the downtown area.

Getting to Park City

Park City is one of the most conveniently located ski resorts in the country.

SLC international airport is just 35 minutes from door to door, and visitors have tons of convenient options for making that drive, including extensive rental car companies, luxuries shuttle companies, budget buses, and convenient Ubers, Lyfts, and Taxis.

For a detailed breakdown on each of these options, check out SlopeLab’s first-hand guide – How to Get to Park City, Utah.

Park City as Ski town

Park City is without question one of the great American ski towns.

With a rich mining history that dates back to the 1800s, Park City’s downtown main street still retains its historical charm. In the 1980s, the town began hosting the annual Sundance Film Festival, which brought about all the modern amenities you could ever expect from a Hollywood retreat. In 2002, Park City even hosted the Winter Olympics, which upped the caliber of ski town to an even higher level.

Today, whether you’re looking for high-end dining, trendy breweries and distilleries, modest dive bars, or luxurious shopping, Park City will have it in droves.

Even better, with infrastructure like The Town Lift, you can literally ski right onto main street – going from slopes to shopping as fast as you can ski!

When is the best time to visit Park City?

January - March

Park City is usually a safe bet any time from January to March.

The mountain doesn’t need a ton of coverage to ski well, so it’s no surprise that it has a good track record for early openings.

From there, the mountain’s respectable elevation (7,000 to 10,000 feet) does a pretty good job preserving snow throughout the season.

How are the crowds at Park City?

As a crown jewel in the Vail Resort’s portfolio and a flagship attraction in the company’s unlimited Epic Pass, Vail advertises the resort with the full force of a multi-million dollar marketing budget.

Combine that with a location that’s just minutes from a major metro area (and one of the most convenient airports in the country) and it’s no surprise that visitors flock to Park City in droves.

On weekends, you can expect 10-20 minute lift lines across the mountain. Weekdays are much more moderate.

And while the mountain’s 7,300 acres do a good job dispersing those crowds once they’re up the mountain, you aren’t likely to have runs to yourself unless you’re on some of the more difficult to access (and ski) advanced to expert terrain.

Official Website

Further reading