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Discover The Charms of Park City: From The Ski Slopes to Apr├Ęs

Writer, Conde Nast Traveler
I wish I didn’t have to leave tomorrow.
That was all I could think as I sat at the bar of No Name Saloon with a few friends. It was well past midnight on my final night in camp, as they say, and my dreamy ski vacation in Park City was coming to an end. Locals and tourists alike were hanging out, watching sports, and drinking all around me at Park City’s oldest après spot—and I desperately didn’t want the fun to end.
It seemed like just the day before, I had flown into Salt Lake City International Airport. (It was actually five days before, but time flies when you're having fun.) I had landed late at night and was relieved by the short, 35-minute drive to Park City.
After flying from my home in New York City, where it’s especially difficult to get to any decent slope on the East Coast and beyond, it’s a rare treat to find a world-class ski resort so easily accessible from the airport.
Once I made it to Grand Summit Hotel in the heart of Canyons Village at the base of Park City Mountain, I stepped out of the car and took in a big breath full of that crisp, mountain air. It was so dark at that point I couldn’t see much but I could feel the energy and the unparalleled beauty of the surrounding mountains. I would have to wait until morning to really take it all in.
Shortly after checking in, I dove into my bed and fell asleep almost instantly.
Did I even get undressed? I’ll admit it; I don’t think so. The bed was so cozy it lulled me right to sleep. I was quickly dreaming of Epic bluebird days before I could count a single sheep.

Snow with a side of luminous sunrise

When I woke up early the next morning (extra early, since I was on East Coast time), I was greeted by the luminous sunrise lighting up the glistening, snow-capped mountains.
The view from my room was a far cry from the remarkably unimpressive views from my tiny East Village apartment.
Park City looked even more breathtaking than I remembered.
When you live in a massive urban jungle like New York, which is beautiful in its own way but lacks a lot when it comes to earthly natural wonders, you quickly learn not to take this kind of thing for granted.
In that moment, I decided it was time to get to the slopes (I had the country’s largest ski resort just outside my door) as fast as possible. After getting a coffee and some breakfast at Red Tail Grill downstairs, my friends and I were finally on our way to do our first run of the trip and the weather was shaping up to be a dream.
Crisp, but not freezing cold, with the skies crystal-clear blue and the sun beaming down on us. Did I mention there was plenty of fresh powder and almost no lift lines (in February, no less!)?
My friends and I spent the next several, glorious days taking in everything that Park City has to offer, from the skiing, to the incredible dining, to the expansive après scene. Has food ever tasted better than after a long day on the slopes?
I think not. That sensation might even be superior to the skiing itself.


Eateries: something for everyone


From the on-mountain eateries, like Lookout Cabin (where you have incredible views of the Wasatch Range) to Miners Camp at the base of the Quicksilver Gondola (a perfect spot to catch all the action while you refuel), to more fine dining establishments like The Farm (named one of the top restaurants in the state of Utah by Salt Lake Magazine), there’s something for everyone here.

The locals will tell you not to leave without trying the bison chili and the burgers (and I agree with them—they’re a must), but I took a particular liking to the wide array of French fries with fry sauce (a local favorite that is one part ketchup, two parts mayonnaise).

From thinly cut, truffle fries at The Farm to steak fry wedges at Red Tail Grill to the rosemary French fries at Lookout Cabin, one could spend his or her entire time tasting the killer fries around town.

And what’s a ski vacation without hitting the après scene?

High West Distillery and Saloon, the world’s first and only ski-in/ski-out and gastro saloon (it’s so close to the mountain, you can even get back on the slopes after a snack here), is an absolute must.

Especially if you’re a whiskey lover, but even if you’re not, they have an impressive roster of wines and small plates—the pretzel and beer cheese whiskey and the High West burger are all not to be missed.

Does beer make you smart?


Main Street, the heart of Park City (also conveniently located just a few steps from the slopes), is sprinkled with a host of gourmet dining options, live music venues and local watering holes where you can continue the fun well after the ski slopes have closed for the day.
One of Main Street’s most popular spots is Fletcher’s, a perfect place to sit around the fire at sundown with a craft cocktail in hand. I like the Fletcher’s Fries with rosemary, reggiano, and Utah aioli; and the Kir Royal with Prosecco topped with Chambord. Or, for local brews and bar snacks, try Wasatch Brew Pub.
If you are still looking for a nightcap after that, head on over to Downstairs for cocktails, dancing and live performances, or the iconic No Name Saloon, where the philosophy at Park City’s oldest bar is, "Beer Makes You Smart."
As I sat there at No Name, with just a few hours until takeoff back to NYC, I enjoyed a local brew, a buffalo burger, and the tots—let’s just call it my last supper before returning to normal life. I couldn’t help but fantasize about coming back as soon as possible.
There is truly no better way to spend a few days unwinding from the craziness and stress of everyday life than a ski vacation like this. Being in the wilderness, surrounded by the majestic snow-topped mountains of Park City, is the purest, best form of healing for the mind, body and soul.


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