No Better Time to Head for Park City

The view from Canyons Village. | Photo by Scott Markewitz

The view from Canyons Village. | Photo by Scott Markewitz

A new era has begun for Park City, one of Utah’s toniest skiing destinations.

When Vail Resorts announced that it would be conjoining the existing Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort in time for the 2015-2016 winter season, the newly formed and minimally named Park City became home to America’s largest ski and snowboard resort. The megaresort offers two access points, the Park City Village and Canyons Village, to access a combined 41 lifts, more than 300 trails and 7,300 acres of skiable terrain. All of the $50 million in improvements—including the new eight-passenger Quicksilver Gondola connector—will open to the public this month. For winter sports enthusiasts, this means two mountains for the price of one. And for Epic Pass holders, this is the greatest thing since the Canyons’ heated Orange Bubble Express chairlift.

How to get there

Chances are you’re flying either Southwest or Delta, as both maintain hubs in Salt Lake City. From there, either rent a car (preferably a four-wheel drive, if there’s snow on the ground) or hop into a shuttle ( or UberSki. In less than one hour, you should be unpacking your things somewhere fancy with a fireplace and a view of the mountains.

Where to stay and play

The Forbes four-star Montage Deer Valley pays homage to Park City’s historic role as host of the 2002 Winter Olympics with a series of experiences in which skiers are paired with an Olympian. You can book a day of one-on-one skiing at Deer Valley Resort with two-time Olympic medalist and Montage Ski Ambassador Shannon Bahrke ($2,500 full day, $1,250 half day, $500 for children). Or, be an Olympian for a Day: After a full day of skiing, Bahrke teaches your group how to fuel up for optimum performance, cool down with stretching and foam rolling and rejuvenate with a sports massage ($500 per person). Bahrke also hosts a ladies-only ski clinic Ski Like a Girl ($250) and a fireside s’mores meet-and-greet every Wednesday and Saturday from December 12 through April 9 (complimentary), and you can meet her from 1-2 p.m. every Friday at the Montage’s Compass Sports shop for a complimentary ski-along. Deer Valley Resort has also purchased and is now operating Solitude Mountain Resort in nearby Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Who to meet

If winter sports aren’t high on your to-do list this winter, you can meet Parker, the newest Bernese mountain dog to join the Montage family. As of Thanksgiving, Parker was a 46-pound, 4-month-old fluffball with paws the size of submarine rolls. You can find him in the Montage’s lobby at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. almost daily. Then grab a hot chocolate and some treats from Buzz and sit by the massive central fireplace while you ponder what one 7-year-old declared was “the best gingerbread man ever.”

Where to après

At the base of the new Park City resort, the Waldorf Astoria Park City offers guests a visit from its Après Butler (starts at $400). After a great day on the slopes, return to find your preferred libations, a shaker, mixing ingredients and a recipe laid out before a roaring fire along with cheese and charcuterie. Your Après Butler can even draw a warm bubble bath for you—just another reason to park it in Park City this winter.