Did you know Park City Mountain Resort in Utah is the biggest ski resort in North America? If you tried, you probably couldn’t ski every lift in one day; the mountain is massive. The Vail Company owns it, so it’s on the Epic Pass, which is a bit of a bummer for Utah residents because almost all other Utah ski resorts are on the Ikon Pass. However, it was not always the largest ski resort in the country. When I grew up learning how to ski and snowboard at Park City, the mountain was owned and operated by a small company called Powdr Corp, and it was about half the size. So what happened?
On April 30th, 2011, the ski industry’s most costly clerical error in history occurred. Powdr Corp failed to renew their very old and cheap lease on Park City mountain on time with Taliskier, the landlord, so Vail Company swooped in and claimed it. They ended up filing their renewal a few days after the deadline, but it was too late. Powdr Core had invested over $100 million into the resort, and the lease on the mountain is ridiculously cheap: $155,000 per year for 28,000 acres of land. Most ski resorts pay millions for similar contracts. They tried to fight it, however, a Utah District Court ruled on May 21, 2014, that Powdr Corp failed to renew their lease and they have to hand over the land they leased to the Vail Company.
Park City, Utah, has three main mountains; you can see the peaks and lifts of the adjacent mountains from each one. The first is Deer Valley, then Park City, then Canyons Village. The Vail Company had already owned the Canyons mountain in Park City, so when they were approved for the lease on the adjacent Park City mountain, they connected the two mountains with an eight-minute gondola ride, turning two ski resorts into one massive resort.
The Park City ski resort and town base sit at about 6,900 feet, while Jupiter peak reaches over 10,000 feet. Since Park City and Canyons Village merged in 2015, the resort boasts 7,300 acres, over 330 trails, 43 lifts, six terrain parks, and ski-in-ski-out access to historic Main Street.
Park City’s historic Main Street, once the basecamp of a silver mining town, is the heart and soul of the city. It offers a variety of unique shops and restaurants, direct mountain access via a town lift and ski run that leads right onto the sidewalk of Main Street, and historic saloons and cultural shops mixed with modern art galleries and clothing stores. While you’re in town, make sure to stop at the No Name Saloon for a beer after skiing.
During the summer in Park City, there are a plethora of activities to partake in. Tourists should check out the Olympic Park and go zip lining, alpine sliding, and much more! There are some great river rafting spots as well. Something I have never done (yet) but is on my bucket list is to check out the new Woodward Park City; during the winter, they operate an entire lift and terrain park run. The mountain biking is also amazing!
Park City was a silver mining town before it became a hub for tourists through its world-class ski resorts and beautiful scenery. Many remnants of the towns’ colorful mining history, such as old mines, brothels, and saloons, are scattered throughout the city and mountain, bringing a unique and old-fashioned aesthetic and culture to the city.
Some other interesting facts about Park City include that they host the countries’ largest independent film festival: the Sundance Film Festival every year. Park City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. It is home to the United States Ski Team and many professional winter sportspeople, including Sage Kotsenburg, who won the first-ever Olympic gold medal in men’s snowboard slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Many celebrities enjoy vacationing in Park City, either in their vacation homes or in one of the many five-star hotels Park City offers, such as the St. Regis, the Montage, and Stein Eriksen Lodge. I even rode up the chairlift with Justin Beiber one time.
- Base elevation: 6,900 feet (2,103 m)
- Summit elevation: 10,026 feet (3,056 m)
- Vertical rise: 3,100 feet (945 m)
- Total mountain peaks: 8
- Total skiable area: 7,300 acres (29.5 km2)
- Average Annual Snowfall: 365 inches (930 cm)
- Longest run: Homerun, 3.5 mi (5.6 km)
- Lift system: 41
- Gondolas: 4
- Chairs: 32
- 6 high speed six packs
- 9 high-speed quads
- 5 quads
- 8 triples
- 4 doubles
- Surface: 2
- 3 magic carpet
- Lift capacity: 31,000 skiers/hr
- Annual Snowfall: 355 inches (29.6 ft; 9.0 m)
- Snowmaking: 500 acres (2.0 km2)
- Night skiing: No
- Website: parkcitymountain.com
- Total Trails: 348
- Beginner: 15%
- Intermediate: 54%
- Expert: 31%
- Terrain Parks: 7
- Superpipe: 1
- Minipipe: 1
- 6 natural half pipes