Once, you went to Park City hoping to strike silver. Now the mother lode is snow—340 sunlit inches a year. For Portlanders, these riches are definitely within reach: from Salt Lake City—a nonstop flight of under two hours—the world-class ski resorts of Deer Valley and Park City Mountain are just a 40-minute drive east.
Increasingly, this Victorian mining town’s appeal is year-round, drawing both hip young skiers and families lured by area jobs (its new nickname: Silicon Slopes). Chic dining is on the rise, along with an emphasis on the arts. (This fall, the city launched a bid to build five urban acres into a cultural district anchored by the Kimball Art Center and the Sundance Institute.) And don’t worry about getting a drink; Utah’s liquor laws are looser these days, and Park City’s even a bit of a lush—home to vintners, brewers, and distillers.
DO: The largest ski resort in the Lower 48 is Park City Mountain; to see it all, book a guided boundary tour of its 7,300 acres. Headed to highbrow, ski-only Deer Valley? One of six resident former Olympians will help you stretch your skills, for a price. Ten miles north, hit 3Gs on a bobsled at the Utah Olympic Park or, a few miles farther, no-skills-required sliding at Gorgoza Park. Come evening, locals make tracks back to Park City’s underground concert venue O. P. Rockwell.
STAY/EAT: Last summer, the 212 suites at Park City Mountain’s family-focused Grand Summit Hotel (rooms from $259) got a polish from a $15 million renovation. At hotel restaurant the Farm, local ingredients—Gold Creek cheddar, Beltex andouille—are key to chef Manny Rozehnal’s oxtail onion soup and crispy seared duck. (Ask to dine in the Farm's glass-walled yurt.) Old Town Park City’s circa-1889 limestone-sided Washington School House Hotel (rooms from $380) is pure luxury; here, a private chef whips up scratch breakfasts and après ski snacks—included, like beverages, with your stay. For raucous fine dining, head one block east to Tupelo Park City—trust us, you’ll be dredging your plate of Maine crab fritters for extra hot butter sauce. Nightcap? Try the High West Saloon—the world’s only ski-in, ski-out gastro-distillery.
GOGGLES OFF: Not a skier? Snowshoe to yoga. Park City Yoga Adventures offers vinyasa flow in a woodstove-heated yurt 20 miles from town. (Or go high-end at Deer Valley’s Stein Eriksen Lodge Spa, Utah’s only Forbes five-star-rated spa.) Rev back up with a snowmobile tour of the Wasatch Mountains backcountry organized by Lofty Peaks Adventures (18 miles from Park City).
GET THERE: December direct round-trip flights from $277. alaskaair.com, delta.com
Lift tickets: parkcitymountain.com, deervalley.com
Insider tip: Fifth graders can snag 42 ski days at 14 resorts with a Ski Utah Passport ($35 through January 31). skiutah.com/passes/passports