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Park City Abounds with Year-Round Activities

by Susan Barnes

Dec 1, 2018
December 2018

PARK CITY, UTAH, HAS LONG BEEN KNOWN as a premier destination with its luxury resorts, fine-dining options, relaxing spas and small-town vibe. And with its close proximity to the international airport, travelers can be on the slopes within an hour of touching down in Salt Lake City in the wintertime.

Not all skiers who visit the mountain are ready to swoosh down the slopes, and that is perfectly fine — everyone is welcome in Park City. In time for the 2018–2019 winter season, the new High Meadow Park at Canyons Village makes its debut. Designed exclusively for beginning skiers, the park offers a terrific place not only for beginners but also for families to come together to ski, a place where everyone learns and builds skills together. Complementing High Meadow Park, a new highspeed, four-passenger lift will take skiers up the mountain faster than before.

One of the most popular spots on the mountain in Park City is Cloud Dine, a ski-in, ski-out restaurant with sweeping views of the Wasatch Range. It comes as no surprise, then, the skiers’ favorite added 200 seats to increase its capacity by more than 60 percent. Another favorite on-mountain dining spot that underwent significant change is the historic Mid- Mountain Lodge. The renovations to the 120-plus-year-old miners’ boarding house pay tribute to its historic nature while at the same time creating an atmosphere of relaxed mountain luxury through its interior design and dining experiences. If a morning of skiing makes you ravenous, dig into the popular Mid-Mountain burger.

Cloud Dine © VAIL RESORTS

Cloud Dine © VAIL RESORTS

In regards to resort renovations, Grand Summit Hotel, A RockResort recently underwent $15 million in renovations when it joined Vail Resorts’ RockResorts portfolio. Renovations included an overhaul of all 212 suites as well as conference and meeting spaces, the café and the spa. In 2019 Waldorf Astoria Park City will undergo renovations of its guestrooms and see meeting space expansion and a new health club and spa area.

Looking ahead, Canyons Village is developing a set of condos at the base — The Lift and Apex — along with another condo concept, YOTELPAD Park City, and Hotel Ascent, a full-service condo hotel property. In spring 2019, The Lodge at Blue Sky, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, will open its 46-room property in nearby Wanship.

Aside from renovations and new properties on the horizon, much is changing in Park City. For one thing, the “shoulder season” continues to shrink. “We used to turn into a ghost town after Miners’ Day (our version of Labor Day) and not reactivate until Christmas,” says Park City Mayor Andy Beerman. “Our fall season has become much busier, with more restaurants staying open, more activities and more local events.”

Beerman also notes the growth in second homes — and baby boomers retiring to those homes — makes the community feel larger than the 8,000 full-time residents. “One of our growing challenges,” he says, “is how to balance this ongoing vibrancy with the community’s need to recover and enjoy their own town.”

The city is building hundreds of affordable housing units with the belief it will help its struggling middle class, fortify its sense of community and reduce congestion. Beerman says, “We hope to become a model for social equity: a town where all of its residents feel safe, welcome and valued.”

Park City is on track to be one of the first net zero communities as it aggressively moves toward 100 percent renewable energy, an electric fleet, high-efficiency buildings and protecting the soil and forests with conservation purchases. “This will be part of our identity,” the mayor notes. “We will continue to expand upon our cutting-edge electrified transit fleet and our active transportation efforts (urban trails, e-bikes) until we become a ‘car-optional’ town.”

When asked which activities he recommends to family and friends visiting Park City, he first points out the Utah Olympic Park. “It’s loaded with fun activities for kids and adults,” Beerman says. “A walk up Historic Main Street is a must, and plan plenty of time to visit the local shops, have lunch on a street dining deck and take a stroll through the PC Museum to get a taste of our mining town history. Also, check out the 400-plus miles of gold-level trails (for nonmotorized use).”

In addition, the mayor invites visitors next summer to “check out the new trails on Bonanza Flat, a 1,400-plus-acre alpine meadow recently preserved with a massive regional fundraising campaign. If you don’t see any moose up there, you aren’t looking very hard.”

SCENIC DRIVES

If you need a break from the slopes, hop in the car and take a drive. From Park City, drive east 16 miles to the town of Kamas, where you will meet up with the Mirror Lake Highway. This scenic drive ascends to 10,687 feet at Bald Mountain Pass and takes you past small lakes, waterfalls, trailheads and perhaps even wildlife as it travels through the Wasatch-Cache National Forest and into the Uinta Mountains

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