Interstate 80 shoots east of Salt Lake City towards three of the Rocky Mountains’ pre-eminent ski resorts and Park City, Utah’s lively and sophisticated ski epicentre. A century-old mining town, today it is world-famous for hosting the annual star-studded Sundance Film Festival.
Only four miles north of downtown Park City, the Canyons Resort is the largest ski resort in Utah, encompassing 3,500 skiable acres on no less than eight mountain peaks. It’s a family-friendly place with more than 140 runs to keep beginners and experts coming back. Lookout Cabin sits high on top of Lookout Peak, perfect for an on-slope bite and breather, and glorious views of the Wasatch Mountains.
Park City Mountain Resort is where the U.S. Olympic ski and snowboard teams train. Lesser talents can choose from 100 trails, 14 lifts, nine bowls and seven peaks, not to mention the biggest ‘superpipe’ in North America, with 22-foot walls for launching aerial manoeuvres. Or you can sit fireside and take it all in from the comfort of the Hotel Park City, a wonderful old Rockies lodge updated with a Ralph Lauren aesthetic and boasting 54 luxury suites, a full-service spa and views of the slopes from the massive windows of the Sleigh Restaurant.
The destination of choice for those seeking the country’s top-drawer ski experience is Deer Valley, unquestionably Utah’s most elegant resort since its opening a quarter of a century ago. Its four summits—the highest is 9,570 feet—were home to the slalom, mogul and aerial events of the 2002 Olympic Games. Deer Valley doesn’t allow snowboarders (the other two resorts do) and provides impeccably groomed cruising runs, with two of skidom’s best hotels nearby.
The chic but unpretentious Norwegian-themed Stein Eriksen Lodge is known for a host of pampering amenities that include a spa, dozens of cosy fireplaces and the award-winning Glitretind restaurant. Friendly rival is the château-style Goldener Hirsch Inn, where European-style service and Austrian antiques might lead guests to believe they are at the inn’s sister property in Salzburg, Austria.
Relive the 2002 Winter Olympics at the 389-acre Utah Olympic Park five miles west of town, where sports fans go for a shot at the Olympic bobsleigh track, six Nordic jumps, a 750,000-gallon training pool for practising freestyle aerials, a day lodge and two museums to round out the facilities.