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Three Things That Make Park City a Must-Visit Ski Town

By: ZINA HARRINGTON
Author, Let’s Lasso the Moon blog
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As I turned onto Historic Main Street with my husband, its many charms hit me all at once—the small-town atmosphere, the hints of its heritage and culture, and, of course, the beautiful Rocky Mountain scenery in the distance. I paused, soaking it all in.
 
Park City, Utah is the quintessential ski town.
 
I unzipped my shell and the cool mountain breeze snapped me back into the moment.
 
When planning a ski trip, choosing a top-notch ski town is crucial to your trip's success. It's often the in-between moments, when you're first embarking on (or later recounting) the day's mountain adventures—catching breakfast, enjoying a leisurely lunch, or sneaking away for some après-ski cocktails or boutique shopping—that truly make a ski vacation UNFORGETTABLE.
 
Just like snowflakes, no two ski towns are the same. Here are three reasons Park City is the perfect place for your next ski trip:

1. When you ski Park City Mountain, you can hit the slopes from three unique start zones.

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Park City offers three interconnected starting points to area slopes. Each starting point is distinctly different and features its own lifts.
 
No need to choose just one—with a plethora of transportation options (taxi, Uber, Lyft, free shuttles, etc.), we were able to pop back and forth between Canyons Village, Park City Base, and Historic Park City Town throughout our trip without any hassle.
 
During our vacation, we stayed at the ski in/ski out Grand Summit Hotel in Canyons Village.
 
On Day One, we walked for an early morning breakfast at Murdock's Café, then hopped right onto the Red Gondola and headed up the mountain for the first time.
 
On Day Two, we grabbed a quick shuttle and headed to Park City Base for a completely new set of trails.
 
Both Canyons Village and Park City Base are great starting points, but if you're visiting the area, you simply MUST make plans to kick start one of your mornings on Historic Main Street. Nestled in the heart of the city, the Park City Town Lift that goes up the mountain is truly a unique experience.
 
But before you head up, be sure to grab breakfast at one of the many local restaurants in Park City.
 
You'll find The Bridge Café conveniently located at the base of the Park City Town Lift but don't be afraid to explore other nearby eateries, too. I'd highly recommend stopping for a quick breakfast or fair-trade coffee at the locally owned café, Harvest.
 
And here's why...
 
As we step into Harvest, I'm engulfed in warmth. I unzip my coat and realize it's something more than just the shelter from the cold making me feel that way. I stand for a moment trying to put my finger on the sensation.
 
Then, I've got it: The warmth comes from the way the waitress smiles and says hello, the heavenly aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the unique wood counters, and the natural light streaming in the windows.

I read over the menu, sipping on a rich mocha coffee, and learn that they source many of their ingredients from local farmers. The café updates their menu with what's in season.
 
As I sit finishing my breakfast, I look up, and the owner is rushing toward our two daughters gleefully exclaiming,
 
"Girls! Girls! Come to the patio door!" He stands at the door, hands raised to the sky, shouting, "Look at this beautiful rainbow." He was so overjoyed, he simply had to share this moment of natural beauty right outside his glass door.
 
I'm telling you. The hospitality, food, and perfectly brewed coffee at Harvest make it a must-stop destination in Park City. 

 

 

2. Park City is a unique collection of complementary contradictions.

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When you're visiting Park City, you can't help but notice the striking mix of old and new. Many Rocky Mountain ski towns (like Park City and Breckenridge) have a strong mining history.
 
Park City strikes a unique balance between its silver-mining heritage and its modern, progressive vibe. The city retains its Wild West spirit to this day, amid new-era hints of chic sophistication.
 
As my husband and I walk down Historic Main Street, I can't help but notice the complementary contradictions of Park City. Restored mining cabins appear adjacent to fine-dining establishments. Vibrant Victorian architecture sits beside luxury hotels in perfect harmony.
 
But it's much more than that; it's the unique mix of local and international retailers (and artists). The one-of-a-kind boutiques, quaint bookstores, and beautiful galleries nestled alongside popular brand-name sportswear stores.
 
It's the lack of conformity that makes this city so charming.
 
When I stop to take it all in, it's evident that Park City has a deep appreciation of not only the mountains and the great outdoors, but also history, culture, the arts, and so much more.

 

3. Park City offers abundant opportunities to master the art of apr├Ęs-ski

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You've likely heard the term après-ski; it's French for "after skiing" and is a general phrase used to describe social activities after a long day on the slopes.
 
While the skiing on Park City Mountain is stellar, sometimes the best part of the day is finishing the story you started on the chairlift with your friends, family, or partner as you head out for a drink or a bite to eat afterward.
 
We all know that the best vacation destinations have a unique array of restaurants, bars, and cafés, and Park City is no exception.
 
Historic Main Street offers a one-of-a-kind après experience: the world's only ski in/ski out gastro-distillery. High West Distillery & Saloon has a full selection of fine wines and spirits, as well as their small-batch, award-winning whiskey and vodka.
 
As we sit together, my husband and I share a knowing look and we lift our glasses to the sky to toast the mountain.
 
Feeling warm inside and out, we step back into the cool mountain air and walk around the corner to Main Street. As we head to the hotel, I turn back to look upon Park City and I smile. Yes, a great ski town begins with skiing and snowboarding so good that people can't stay away.
 
But a truly amazing ski town requires more than that and Park City delivers. This must-visit quintessential ski town assures that the "in-between moments" of your ski vacation are unforgettable, too.

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