While heading to a snowy slope for vacation when you don’t ski might seem counterintuitive, places like Park City have plenty of fun to go around for those staying off the mountains. From outdoor adventures and spa-induced relaxation to dining and après-ski, those looking for R&R will find something to love about this picturesque town. So, if you’re heading there in early April — Park City’s ski season officially ends on April 8 — pack a warm coat, a cozy pair of Danner boots and plenty of sweaters for fireside lounging and prepare for a Utah escape your way.
There are so many ways to enjoy Park City’s powder-covered landscape and get your heart rate going without ever strapping on a pair of skis. Start you adventure at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Star Montage Deer Valley (a 10-minute drive from downtown), where onsite outfitter Compass Sports handles gear rentals and a mountain host can set up private expeditions and snowmobile adventures along the foothills. Or explore the area on foot by grabbing a pair of snowshoes and tromping around the less-trodden trails of the Wasatch Mountains.
For all these activities you will want to wear the appropriate gear, including snow pants, a warm jacket, a hat and gloves; and consider packing a pair of Native Eyewear goggles for the snowmobile ride — it will help with the glare and keep the wind from stinging your eyes. Afterward, revitalize yourself in the resort’s casual eatery, Burgers & Bourbon, with comfort food and a whiskey and Coke ice cream float.
A gentler way to see the land is a cozy horse-and-carriage ride with Snowed Inn Sleigh Company, followed by a cowboy-themed dinner in a rustic mountain lodge.
Park City Sleigh Rides also offers 25-minute scenic jaunts from the Canyons Resort through Willow Draw. Or, hire a team of friendly dogs to pull you around the snow-covered meadows of the Wasatch and Uinta Mountain ranges, which can be arranged through Montage Deer Valley.
You won’t want to leave Park City without checking out the vast Utah Olympic Park. Originally built for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games, the facility has been maintained as an adventure park, museum and shrine to winter sports.
Indulge in the Spa
You’d be remiss to skip the services offered at Spa Montage Deer Valley. The serene, Four-Star haven’s pool and coed whirlpool area is an especially sumptuous spot, providing the ambience of a Roman bathhouse. The stellar services include a mountain stone massage, oxygen-infused baths and couples’ facials. If you’re a guest of the alpine resort, you can enter the spa even if you don’t have an appointment to take advantage of the steam room, redwood sauna, luxury showers, pool, gym and hot tubs.
For an equally indulgent day of relaxation, plan a detour to Four-Star Remède Spa at The St. Regis Deer Valley. This bi-level facility boasts luxurious lounging areas, hot bathing facilities and a 3,000-square-foot gym. Every service kicks off with a cucumber-infused eye treatment, the perfect start to an afternoon of pampering.
No one ever said you have to hit the slopes to enjoy après-ski. After all, this tradition is built around being snug by a roaring fire, having a glass of wine or a stiff cocktail and nibbling on high-end comfort food. A great place to bask in this popular pastime is The Après Lounge by the Montage, a bright yellow yurt loaded with Veuve Clicquot champagne and truffled popcorn that’s found at the base of Empire Mountain.
If you’re starting après-ski later in the evening, snag a reservation at Fireside Dining, a rustic restaurant in the Empire Canyon Lodge. The menu features four courses served from giant fireplaces situated around the venue — think melty raclette, legs of lamb roasting above the flames and rich chocolate fondue.
Or skip the fire and head to High West Saloon, a distillery and restaurant that makes some of the best whiskey in Utah and serves an array of tasty bites. Sidle up to the bar and go for a flight of spirits, the sarsaparilla-glazed chicken wings and a bowl of the dark-chocolate-laced elk chili, which comes topped with smoked cheddar. Get there as early as possible because most days the wait time can stretch into two hours and, once the list is full, you won’t be able to get in — it’s that good.
For fine dining, nothing beats Four-Star Riverhorse on Main. This lauded eatery features hand-cut buffalo tartare and a trio of wild game that includes elk, venison and buffalo, each served with its own sauce.
Another winning spot on Main Street is Tupelo Park City, chef Matt Harris’ informal new American restaurant with a menu full of goodies such as Koosharem Valley trout, Niman Ranch lamb and heirloom carrot soup with ginger.
If you’re feeling feisty, make your way to The Spur Bar & Grill for internationally inspired bites, wagyu beef burgers and live music every night. The venue also serves its own whiskey, which you can try straight or mixed into a cocktail.
Where To Stay
Even though Park City is a tiny town, there are many wonderful resorts that surround it and the neighboring Deer Valley. In addition to the aforementioned Montage Deer Valley, an exceptional Five-Star stay can be found at Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley. With a mid-mountain locale, ski valet service, Four-Star alpine restaurant and sumptuous Five-Star spa, this rustic resort provides all the creature comforts you need for a glamorous getaway on the slopes — no skis required.
Another venue to consider is the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Waldorf Astoria Park City. Each dog-friendly guest room comes with a fireplace, the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended restaurant Powder is one of the city’s best dining destinations and the vast spa is worth checking out. The property also offers unique experiences such as a beer-making master class with Park City Brewery and tubing in Gorgoza Park.