Park City is almost better known for its star-studded Sundance film festival than for its skiing these days. So we wondered how it would be as a family winter destination. We took a chance and headed out there in April for some late season skiing and winter fun. To our surprise we still found plenty of snow…and an abundance of family amenities.
Here are the essentials for your family’s winter stay in Park City.
Where to Stay
We chose the *Canyons mostly for the Grand Summit Hotel, which is super family friendly. The outdoor pool is heated and open year-round. Splurge for a suite and you can have a kitchen and fireplace. Kids love starting out each ski day with a gondola ride up to the school and main lift.
The Canyons kids’ programs are very popular (book ahead for classes). A 3-and-under program is part daycare, part snow introduction. Ski camps start at age 4. Be prepared for the fact that even beginners will ride the main lift up to their bunny hill.
Note: If you are traveling with teens, Park City Mountain Resort might be a better bet for you. It has the best snowboarding in the area and you can access it directly from downtown. Deer Valley is the original ski park and has a more upscale feel than the others. Families might like Lodges at Deer Valley because of amenities like free hot breakfast during the ski season, onsite ski rental shop and lift ticket desk, outdoor heated pool and hot tub, general store and coffee bar.
Where to Eat
The Canyons offers a variety of food choices. For us the standout was The Farm, with yummy seasonal dishes that emphasize local ingredients. Try the bison chili or Utah sturgeon. The amazing breakfast buffet at The Cabin at the Grand Summit is worth the splurge of a hotel breakfast. Even picky kids will find something they like. And it kept us fueled well into the afternoon.
Downtown is a taxi-ride away if you don’t have a car. The standouts for us included Vinto for wood fire pizzas, Chimayo for a modern take on Mexican food (think duck enchiladas and avocado stuffed with grilled veggies), Kneaders for sandwiches and Shoyu for sushi. Vinto and Chimayo have kids menus. Kneaders, a regional chain, offers kid-size versions of their sannies with grapes, juice and a cookie.
Try the chic and modern Silver Restaurant if you want a date night or your kids are mature enough to be enticed by dishes like grilled baby octopus or pig cheeks.
What to Do Off the Slope
• The 2002 Winter Olympics were in Park City and the Olympic Park (above, left) is open to the public. Bigger kids can try an outdoor obstacle course and zipe line. Skate on the speed skating oval and if your kids are old enough to stay up late try to catch a disco-skating night.
• Tween and teens will like Red Pine Adventure’s snowmobile tours. We went without the kids and greatly enjoyed a ride high up onto the mountain where we could run wild. They pick up from all local hotels.
• Gorgoza Park, 30 minutes outside of town is a family friendly activity park with several tubing hills and mini-snow mobiles for ages 5 and up. Completely worth the trip!
• If your kids are sick of the snow and cold head to Monkey Mountain, an indoor play area with 4,000 square feet of climbing and pretend play. They offer drop-off babysitting for up to 3 ½ hours at pretty reasonable rates.
• The Paint Mixer holds Paint, Wine and Dine events where guests all paint the same picture over the course of an evening. Parents can sip wine or beer, the family can nibble on small plates of food from local restaurants and everyone can paint the night away.
• The Park City Museum is a great way to slip some education into your visit. Explore the history of this wild-west city from mining to skiing. Be sure to ask for a History Detectives activity at the front desk to guide your kids through the exhibits.
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Jessica Glorieux is the momma to two kids and co-founder of Brooklyn BabyFEST and Willy
Point Kids. When she’s not working she loves to travel, play tennis or read a great biography. You can also find her on Twitter and Pinterest.