Park City – Winter Guide
Living in Dallas does not allow for a lot of snow and certainly not much elevation gain. So, when looking for a quick winter getaway to learn to snowboard and do a bit of snowshoeing, Park City was the best choice for a myriad of reasons.
Salt Lake city is the capitol of Utah, a 2.5 hour flight from Dallas and only 35 minutes drive to Park City. The city itself is a tourist attraction with over 5 million people visiting the Church of Latter Day Saint’s religious center known as Temple Square.
Compared to places like Aspen, Park City’s accommodations, skiing, restaurants & nightlife are affordable to have a pleasant weekend with breaking the piggy bank entirely open. My last minute four day trip cost $1200 for an airbnb, $300 for a day’s snowboard lessons, an average of $50 per person for dinner and $140 for a lift pass when bought online.
We rented a car but had we known how walkable the town is and about the free bus service If booking accommodations within town, you can easily walk to Park City Mountain’s lifts, grocery stores, and the shops / restaurants of the Old Town center. If walking isn’t your thing and you don’t desire a rental car, a shuttle from Salt Lake quickly takes you to town, Uber / Lyft are available and there is a free bus system.
Day 1: Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City – 15 minutes
After landing at Salt Lake City Airport, we took a short drive to downtown SLC and crashed for the night. The next morning we visited Temple Square. The city is home to the LDS community – founded in the mid-1800’s by members who were being persecuted in other parts of the USA. Having been to Temple Square many times in my past work as a travel director, I knew the highlights to show my boyfriend in this 10 acre complex would be the majestic Temple (only church members permitted inside), the Tabernacle where we witness the organist rehearsing for a Christmas show, the Lion Houe, and a tour of the Beehive house (home to the Church’s second president and his many wives, Brigham Young). Entry to all buildings and tours were free. To learn more about the LDS community check out their visitor center.
We then walked a few blocks Ollie & Mollie for a healthy lunch.
Drive to Park City – 50 minutes to check into Airbnb.
Day 2: Snowshoe
No winter adventure would be complete without snowshoe hiking! Essentially, these platforms complete with crampons to dig into the snow/ice are elongated flattened surfaces that allow the wearer to “float” on the snow. We rented ours from White Pine for $18 per day/per pair complete with shoes & poles then trekked the trail next to the adventure center to get used to the feel then drove 10 minutes out of town to hike a relatively easy trail at Round Valley. Both trails are easy and took less than one hour. If looking for an adventure, try a trek with some elevation gain.
Next up: picking up our snowboard gear. I had only attempted boarding once many years ago in the icey snow of the Poconos on the Appalachian mountains and Sam is an experienced boarded. So, I opted to book adult lessons the next day for $350 USD which included gear and then paid for boot and board rental for the subsequent two days. In order to save time in the morning, we drove to Park City Mountain – Canyons to get our gear and avoided the morning rush.
TIP: to save money on lift tickets book a few weeks out or, at the least, online the day before!
Wine Stop & Visit Old City
Park City is a very charming mountain town that’s as known for it’s Sundance Film Festival as it is for having the “Greatest Snow on Earth”. To soak up a bit of the charm, we went into the Old City for a sip of wine, ducked in and out of some art galleries and enjoyed a causal dinner at Chimayo.
Day 3: Snowboard
As a beginner to snowboarding, I decided to book the Never Ever lessons at Canyons that would last from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm with a one hour lunch break. The lesson came with an instructor who first showed me how to ride a ski lift (the most stressful part of being on a mountain), how to clip into the board and stop both facing up and downhill on the bunny slope. After lunch and getting some grasp on the basic mechanics the group went to the only green slope on the mountain to practice our technique. I fell about 1000 times but it was well worth it because by the end of the day I was feeling way more confident and proud to say I can offically snowboard.
If you are wanting to explore more than one green slope on your first day, I recommend going to Park City Mountain where there are more trails to choose from.
To warm up after a day on the snowy slopes we slipped into the The Farm for a bit of mulled wine.
Old City Bars
A wild hair always seems to get the best of me during travel with a friend so we opted to explore the Nightlife scene of the Old City. We found the live music at the Spur to be quite entertaining and drinks extremely strong. However, the liveliest spot was No Name Saloon. This bar seemed to be packed with visitors and locals alike who filled both floors and the heated outdoor deck.
Tip: Don’t drink and drive! Use the free bus system.
Day 4: Snowboard
Snowboarding – Park City Mountain
When selecting our Airbnb we made an excellent choice to book a beautiful condo that sits at the base of Park City Mountain and a stones throw from many lifts. We spent the day on many of slopes here. Sam is a patient man and helped advance my technique with tips and lots of patience as he guided me down Homerun and a few blue runs.
Tip: get started early. The lifts close at 4 pm.
We were here of the Christmas holiday and celebrated with a lovely bottle of bubbles and some nibbles at the elegant 350 Main.