Structures like the old California Comstock Mine building, found on Park City Mountain Resort’s Thaynes Canyon run, provide a rare sense of place not found at other winter destinations.

The Sundance Film Festival, the Olympics and skiing have made Park City, for many living outside the state, Utah’s most immediate reference point. I called Park City home for four years after moving here in 1997 and loved every second I lived there.

The place was full of outdoorsy 20-somethings from all over the country who, like me, worked just enough to ski in the winter, bike in the summer and party year round. It wasn’t until that first winter melted into summer and the tourists cleared out that I began to appreciate Park City’s authentic, communal vibe.

I realize now that the town’s legit personality is, at least in part, attributed to how carefully it preserves and recognizes the past.


Interpretive signs give skiers and riders a quick dose of area history while schussing it up at Park City Mountain Resort.

Mormons arrived in Park City on their way to the Land of Deseret (a.k.a. Salt Lake City) in the mid-1800s. But in 1868, when the Army discovered rich silver, gold and lead veins in the Park City mountains, the once sleepy outpost was transformed into a raucous boomtown. Mining hey day remnants can be found all over town, but are particularly evident along ski runs at Park City Mountain Resort.

The Mid-Mountain Lodge restaurant was once a boarding house and dining hall for Silver King Mine workers and management. In 1987, the building was slated for demolition until historic preservationists stepped in and had the 144-ton building pushed uphill by a fleet of bulldozers and restored to its original grandeur. The Crescent Mine buildings, located next to the Thaynes chairlift, are gateway to an underground railway system used as a “Skier Subway” to transport skiers from the base area up the mountain when Park City Mountain Resort (then named Treasure Mountains) first opened in the 1960s. And along the Thaynes Canyon run is likely the most photographed Park City Mountain Resort mine ruin, the California Comstock mine.

Park City Mountain Resort’s Mountain Host department offers free history-themed tours of the mountain every day at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Check in at the Legacy Lodge information desk for details. For a more on Park City history, pay a visit to the Park City Museum, located at 528 Main Street and parkcityhistory.org.