I don’t know if you have ever been skiing or boarding in the state of Utah but it is something every mountain enthusiast has to experience. Andrew McLean, a local to the Utah Mountains, gives us an in depth look into three of the to mountains in Utah. Park City, Deer Valley, and The Canyons. I get a unique feeling from each mountain I visit and while I’ve only skied The Canyons from those three, I’ve gotta say it was truly different.
Andrew showcases Park City in the first installment of a trilogy of epic mountain synopsis. You can check out Andrews insight on The Canyons and Deer Valley at greatoutdoors.com
Andrew McLean – GreatOutdoors.com
Park City began life as a silver mining town in the late 1800’s, boomed in the early 1900’s, went fallow from 1930-1950 and was reborn as a ski resort in 1963. In 2002 it hosted the Olympic Giant Slalom events and for the last two decades PCMR has been known as a world class destination ski resort.
While skiing PCMR in February, I met up with Debbie Battersby who works as a Mountain Host. Debbie’s daughter, Ashely , is a veteran of the Park City terrain parks and has competed in the Dew Tour and X-Games. According to Debbie, what sets PCMR apart from its neighbors is organized programs (especially for kids), Parks & Pipes, good snowboarding terrain, history and last but not least, “we don’t have houses on our slopes,” as both Deer Valley and The Canyons do.
The kids programs range from learning how to ski all the way up to the US Ski Team. Racing has been a historical mainstay for PCMR, but recently the Parks & Pipes have dominated the scene. Over the last twenty years of skiing, the resorts have gone from almost banning jumping to nowadays encouraging insane air-time by using snow cats to build a massive succession of monster kicker jumps. In PCMR’s case, one terrain park wasn’t enough, so they built four, including a beginner’s park, which is suitable for small children or terrified adults (like me).
Park City is one of the few Utah resorts with night skiing, and when they shut the regular lifts down at 4:00 each day, the grooming cats come out to play. Each morning brings endless miles of perfectly groomed corduroy and with an uphill capacity of over 30,000 people per hour, it is an all-you-can eat carving fest until your legs give out.
On average, Park City gets 360” of snow per year, and when it arrives as a classic Utah dump, the skiing can be as steep, deep and bottomless as anywhere on earth. For steep, off-piste skiing, the East Face of Jupiter Peak offers chutes, cliffs and wide open faces that will challenge any skier. Days later, if you are still hungry for freshies, they can always be found in sheltered trees on the shady slopes, which are right off of the ridgelines throughout Park City.
Aside from the skiing, PCMR has beautiful on-slope amenities like restaurants and lodges. If you haven’t burned up all of your adrenaline by the end of the day, a quick ride on the Alpine Slide (a mountain roller coaster of sorts) should finish you off and leave you gasping for air right at the base lodge. From here, it is a short walk into the resort center for an après-ski drink, snack or meeting. For lunch, you can either eat on the slopes, or ski into town for a bite, then catch the Town Lift back up.
All told, you would have to try hard not to have a good day at the Park City Mountain Resort. There is something for everyone and whatever you choose will be high quality. The hardest part might be deciding which of many options to pick, and when to do go. From there, it is all downhill, just as skiers and snowboarders like it.
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