Wasatch in the Winter: Park City Basecamp

The Wasatch Mountains are the heart and soul and backbone of Salt Lake City. This rugged range forms the backdrop for our cities. We look up every day and watch with anticipation as the first snow falls and covers the peaks in what we proudly proclaim the “Greatest Snow on Earth.” Exploring the Wasatch in winter is a multi-billion dollar industry with visitors arriving from around the world to ski and board (mainly) and more importantly the proximity and grandeur of the Wasatch. It’s something we locals get to do every day, and at times, sigh, at times we take it for granted. We bemoan storms, canyon traffic and, well, just the general hassle of winter (apart from the moisture, which we eagerly celebrate). This winter, let’s stop all the bellyaching and get up there and enjoy the adventures waiting to be had. 

Basecamp #2: Park City

Park City is a world-renowned ski destination and the home of Park City Mountain (the resort) and Deer Valley, both situated near the actual town of Park City and its lively Historic Main Street and iconic town lift (serving Park City Mountain). Lodging and nightlife abound, drawing visitors from around the world in every season.

Sundance Mountain Resort

Snowfall 300” • Acreage 450 • Vertical 2,150’

THE TERRAIN: Founded by film legend Robert Redford, who named the resort after his iconic turn in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Sundance is a dose of the Old West. The resort’s upper reaches are home to its advanced terrain, and there is no better place to be on a powder day than Bishop’s Bowl. The right side is where those who like to cruise will find beautifully groomed runs, and the lifts at the base area are home to varied and interesting beginners’ terrain.

PROVISIONS: The Tree Room is Sundance’s most elegant and award-winning restaurant. Locals from Provo often drive up the canyon just to dine at this restaurant named for the giant tree it was built around. Up on the resort’s highest peak, you can enjoy the views at Bear Claw Cabin while taking a break in this fast-casual lodge.

ONE COOL THING: Robert Redford had the wooden 1890s bar in the Owl Bar packed up and moved from Thermopolis, Wyo. to Sundance. It was once frequented by Butch Cassidy’s Hole in the Wall Gang. 

Park City Winter
Photo courtesy of Deer Valley Resort

Deer Valley Resort

Snowfall 300” • Acreage 2,026 • Vertical 3,000

TERRAIN: Deer Valley is known for its perfectly groomed runs and stellar service. With 21 lifts, including 12 high-speed quads, lines are the exception rather than the rule. Head to Flagstaff Mountain for a selection of blue cruisers. Sorry snowboarders, Deer Valley is a ski-only resort.

PROVISIONS: Dining is a significant part of the Deer Valley experience. The Alps-inspired Fireside Dining at the Empire Canyon Lodge is a guest favorite. Don’t miss Deer Valley’s famous turkey chili available at the Silver Lake and Snow Park lodges.

ONE COOL THING: Kids receive special attention at Deer Valley. Ski school is available for ages three and up, while state-licensed childcare options are available from two months of age. 

Park City Mountain

Snowfall 360” • Acreage  7,300 • Vertical 3,200’

TERRAIN: Variety and size set Park City apart from other ski areas. It sits on 7,300 acres, including 300+ trails, 41 lifts, terrain parks and eight half-pipes. The mountain is divided into two base areas, Park City and Canyons Village. For blue runs, there are a lot of great choices off King Kong lift. Powderhounds will find the goods off Thaynes and Motherload Express.

PROVISIONS: Try The Farm for elegant dining, including regionally sourced ingredients. On the mountain, you can’t beat the views over fondue from Lookout Cabin.

ONE COOL THING: Visit the ski-in/ski-out High West Distillery at the base of Park City’s Quittin’ Time run. 

The Story Behind Deer Valley’s Infamous Ski Run Solid Muldoon

 It was one of the most famous hoaxes of the era. In 1877, using a mixture of ground bones, blood, meat, mortar and plaster, a Colorado trickster named George Hullmolded molded a missing-link man, kiln-fired his creation, then half-buried him in a hillside. Hull’s paid associate, William Conant “discovered” him, and the whole nation wanted a peek at the “petrified man.” The oversized figure was touring the country when someone likened him to a famous wrestler, William Muldoon, nicknamed “The Solid Muldoon.” The name stuck. It’s rumored that P.T. Barnum was in on the hoax, ginning up hype by “offering” $20,000 for the creation. Finally, The New York Times dug up the truth and now all that’s left of the Solid Muldoon is a popular groomer near Deer Valley’s Carpenter Express lift. — Heather Hayes

Explore more of the Wasatch Mountains from the Salt Lake City base camp and the Odgen Basecamp.

Jeremy Pugh
Jeremy Pughhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
Jeremy Pugh is Salt Lake magazine's Editor. He covers culture, history, the outdoors and whatever needs a look. Jeremy is also the author of the book "100 Things to Do in Salt Lake City Before You Die" and the co-author of the history, culture and urban legend guidebook "Secret Salt Lake."

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