These Popular Utah Resorts Are a Spring Skier's Dream — With Record Snowfall and Outdoor Après for Days
For fresh powder, Western charm, and a ski-in bourbon distillery, head to Park City, Utah — the ultimate “Old Fashioned” ski resort — this spring.
Having spent much of my childhood skiing various famed mountains spanning Europe, my move to Los Angeles three years ago presented me with the opportunity to indulge in the “special snow” I’d heard so much about from my British friends who had been lucky enough to ski in North America growing up.
For the last three seasons, I have thrived on exploring some of the States' most revered ski resorts — from Tahoe to Aspen — and this year, I was excited to check both Park City and Deer Valley off my ever-growing snowy bucket list.
The western U.S. has seen an incredible 2023 season as far as snowfall is concerned, and that includes Utah, where more than 700 inches of the white stuff have fallen in record time.
I could not have timed my trip to Utah more perfectly; over five feet of snow fell during my six-day visit. It's not too late to plan your own, either, as Park City Resort has extended its season to April 23 — marking its longest season since 1993. Emily Summers, senior communications manager at Deer Valley Resort, recommends April skiing due to smaller crowds, better weather, and ample outdoor après ski opportunities, paired with end-of-season lodging packages. "With a snow year like this, there is plenty of snow to be enjoyed right up to closing day," she told Travel + Leisure.
Once a booming mining town, Park City oozes charm with traditional saloons and leather goods outfitters lining Main Street, but from a skiing perspective, its beauty can be found in the vast amount of ski terrain at your fingertips. Combining Park City (which now includes Canyons) and Deer Valley resorts gives you access to more than 9,000 acres of skiable terrain.
As this season stretches into the depths of spring, don't miss your chance to find that perfect combination of high-quality snow, blue skies, and open-air après.
How to Ride
There isn’t a single pass that will give you access to both Park City and Deer Valley. Park City Resort, the largest skiable area in the U.S., encompasses more than 330 trails and 40-plus lifts and is included in the Epic Pass. Adult day passes start at $188 in April. Deer Valley has 103 runs and 24 lifts, including four magic carpets for beginners, and is only open to skiers. It's part of the Ikon Pass. Adult day passes start at $169 in April.
Where to Stay
We began our trip with three nights at the Montage Deer Valley, a grand, picturesque resort perched four miles above the historic town of Park City and offering everything you could need from a luxury ski-in, ski-out resort, including expansive rooms to spread out in, a piste-view heated pool and hot-tub, a relaxing spa, two resident Bernese mountain dogs, and a bowling alley and arcade for kid-friendly après fun. Restaurants range from casual burger and wood-fired pizza options to elegant sushi. On-site ski rental center Compass Sports makes getting out on the mountain as simple and efficient as possible, and with no snowboarding allowed at Deer Valley, the Montage offers a true haven for skiers. A complimentary shuttle takes guests into town and back every hour.
From the Montage, we made our way 8 miles across town to the Pendry Park City, a chic, modern, and vibrant ski retreat set at the heart of Canyons Village. The hotel offers a selection of beautifully appointed rooms and multi-bedroom apartments, all with access to a wonderful rooftop pool complete with bar and fire pits overlooking the white mountains which surround it. Here, guests will find lively après scenes with live music, upscale Japanese and Mexican dining, and a funky pizza spot kids will love.
Where to Dine
Our first night, we managed to snag a table in town at the popular Riverhorse on Main, a lively venue in the middle of Main Street which boasts an impressive array of land and sea dishes sure to refuel the calories burnt on the slopes. The Alaskan halibut is a favorite, and the trio of wild game (buffalo, venison, and elk) is a chance to sample local flavors. Be sure not to overlook the vegetarian selection, however — you’ll find an incredible tempura cauliflower in Thai peanut sauce and yellow curry.
Accustomed to eating currywurst in the Austrian Alps, I’ve never really associated sushi with skiing, but Yama Sushi at Montage Deer Valley changed my traditional view of winter dining forever. Open Wednesday to Saturday, epic signature dishes include the Wasatch roll with spicy avocado aioli and the truly unmissable Surf N Turf roll, which combines A5 wagyu with king crab. You can't go wrong with the chef's choice sashimi, either.
Pendry Park City brings a range of dining options to Canyons Village. Try the traditional Mexican chicken tinga tacos, inspired by executive chef Carlos Segura's mom's recipe, at Dos Olas, accompanied by a spicy mezcalita. Disco Pizza is also a lively stop for old-school arcade games and classic red sauce pizzas and milkshakes, but for something special, head to Kita. Having been recommended to dine at Kita by multiple people during our trip, I was pleased to say that the hype of what had been described to us as “Park City’s best restaurant” did not disappoint. The Japanese grill concept allowed us to follow Hamachi crudo with Kansas City bone-in steak, a winning combo.
For a quick but hearty pre-ski breakfast, don't miss The Eating Establishment, a longtime favorite diner on Main Street, or Australia-inspired Harvest for lighter fare and fair-trade-roasted espresso.
Where to Après
As a big fan of an Old Fashioned, imagine my excitement when I found out that I was at my first ski resort with a ski-in bourbon distillery... needless to say, I did not “ski out.” Accessed via a challenging yet enjoyable blue run down the face of the mountain and into the old town, High West Distillery brought us the classic cocktail in a variety of forms as our bartender played with the ratios of their different bourbons.
For a real twist on an Old Fashioned, drop into Alpine Distilling Bar in the heart of town to enjoy a gin-based version that's surprisingly tasty. You can even book a blend-your-own-gin experience. Nearby on Main Street, No Name Saloon is an institution. Stop by for local draft beers and buffalo sliders.
For the most elevated of Après-ski experiences, don’t miss the Veuve Clicquot yurt (formally known as The Après Lounge) at Montage Deer Valley, where you’ll find a log-burning fire and all the yellow-label Champagne you could ever need to celebrate a memorable day spent knee-deep in pow.
Those in Canyons Village can take in live music while retelling stories of the day’s adventures on the slopes at Après Pendry. The fireside tunes are complimented by an extensive wine-list and fondue.
For those who prefer to get "piste" on piste, be sure to point your skis toward the Snowed Inn, a beautiful wooden cabin serving drinks from their outdoor terrace which basks in sunshine on a clear, blue-sky day.
Where to Shop
Main Street is full of boutique stores intertwined with big names from the snow world such as The North Face and Helly Hansen. You'll want to shop for stylish merino wool winterwear at We Norwegians, but the most memorable experience, head to Burns Cowboy Shop, in business since 1876.
Here, I was fitted for my first custom cowboy hat, complete with my initials branded into the brim, all done while I was comfortably sat on a big leather saddle. The store is full of beautiful leather boots and traditional Western accessories so that even a Brit can leave confident that he will blend with the locals.
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