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What to do in Park City: the perfect ski destination

Park City, Utah is as close to winter sports nirvana I’ve ever come. While there may be bigger or taller mountains, for sheer breadth of amazing slopes, nothing beats Park City. From the slopes of Park City to the amazing secluded Canyons, you can ski for a week and never touch the same slope. The bowls are intense but so much fun. Ski bums will absolutely dig the place.

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The town of Park City has enough to keep even those without a penchant for powder occupied and entertained. There’s awesome food, places to get a local brew, a fancy drink, and you might even see a moose walking down the street. You know what they say about moose, everyone thinks they want to see a moose until they see a moose. You can even ski straight into town from the mountain right over a bridge onto the main street.

As great as the town is, the big attraction is obviously the mountain. Beginner skiers will find a little, but not a ton here. Only 8% of the mountain is green. The rest is a wide range of blues and blacks, including some truly unique bowls with untouched snow. The mountain is so massive it never feels crowded and lift lines don’t get long. The runs are so nice and long too that you never get bored.

As much fun as the Park City slopes are, I really love the Canyons. Incorporated into Park City a few years back, they are a bit more secluded. While less high, the runs are just as long since they meander down the mountain a bit more. Some even feature winding through the condos, roads, and bridges of the housing. The best part is a gondola that connects the main town and offers great views. Another connects the Canyons to the Park City side up and over the mountains. You could almost spend a whole day just traversing the gondolas and taking in the wonderful views.

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If you get lucky, or just stay long enough, some fresh powder can make the slopes even better. Since they’ve so high, large, and long, there’s a good chance at least some portion of the mountain will be getting snow. Because some peaks face in different directions, the sun doesn’t bear down as strongly either, so the conditions stay good. Fresh powder can make the crazy bowls a bit more manageable as a fall just ends in a gentle embrace in a pillow-like snowbank.

Park City is just a short 40 minute drive from the airport, and Ubers come equipped with ski racks, so it’s an easy journey from elsewhere. Compared to other slopes further from airports where a rental car is needed, getting to Park City is incredibly easy and economical. Logistics won’t be a problem during a visit to Park City.

After the slopes close, there are some great apres options right on the slopes. On the Park City side, there’s Corner Pub and Bistro, a surprisingly spacious bar with an incredible outside patio with heaters. Inside is a cozy bar that gets cramped when the live music starts as the lifts shut down. Grab a pitcher of Utah’s craft beer, and because Utah is only allowed to sell beer up to 4% ABV on tap, it won’t be too heavy.

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Below the Canyons, Umbrella bar has another great open patio, perfect for when the sun is out. Somehow even when it’s 35 degrees, with the sun blazing it’s comfortable in just a shirt. There are a ton of heaters, a communal fire pit, and a pretty good selection of craft beer too. It’s the perfect spot for kicking your feet up, sans boots, and enjoying a brew in the sun after a long day thrashing the powder.

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In town, the hottest spot is High West, a distillery with their own bourbon and vodka and plenty of incredible cocktails to go with them. It’s not just the drink though, the food is amazing too. There’s an elk chili, boar baked beans, pork tomahawk, bison short rib, and an incredible burger. Nothing goes together like game meat and malt bourbon after a day in the mountain air. Service is phenomenal and the locale is awesome inside what feels like a classic mountain home. Be prepared for a long wait even if you get there right when the lifts close. Forget it if you get there after 6.

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As a backup, there’s Fletchers, another upscale meat-forward restaurant down the main street. The biscuits are life-altering while the buffalo sirloin is a tender, succulent chop of meat that has magic restorative powers after a day with dead legs. The poutine may not fool a real Canadian, but this take on it is delightful.

For drinks, everyone heads to the No Name Saloon, the most unique and touristy bar in town. The massive western bar has shuffleboard, a moose’s head, and wood for miles, conjuring up images of the wild west. The beer selection is varied and the 4% drafts will make sure your head stays clear while tossing the shuffleboard.

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For truly local beer, the Wasatch Brew Pub, toward the end of the main street, offers a wide range of beer brewed on site. The locals know to order the cans, a loophole in the brewing law that allows the same brews, but with more flavor and potency. You’ll even find some unique seasonal and experimental beers like a jalapeno blonde depending on when you go. It may look crowded downstairs, but upstairs at the larger bar there’s usually plenty of room. It’s a great place to head to wait out that table at High West.

Park City is the perfect destination for skiers looking for adventure and high cuisine. The slopes are world-class as is the dining scene. While Utah’s strange brewing laws mean you won’t find a ton of strong craft beers, they are all good and perfectly refreshing after a day on the mountain. With such great food and snow this close to the airport, there’s no reason to go anywhere else.