You can’t control the weather but you can take some essential steps to make your Park City ski vacation the best it can be. And, you can pick some months that are known for better snow and shorter lift lines to increase your chances of legendary days. No matter what variations you plan, picking the right time of the year, deciding on the right resorts, finding the right place to stay, getting your lift tickets, and renting gear without a hassle are all things you can plan for long before you get here.
Picking the Right Time of Year
Picking the right time of the year to come to Park City is something lots of people don’t think about. The mountains average 350+ inches of snow by the end of the season, and it can come in any month of the year. But, there are some common patterns and some months are busier than others. December is the busiest month, thanks to the holidays, and comes with limited lodging options and bigger lift lines.
In some years we’ve had a huge base by December, but it’s not always the best skiing either—especially early in the month. It’s just an easy month for everyone to get away. January gets cold and has been bone dry for the last few seasons. But, it can still be great, and that cycle can always change and bring big storms. If you’re in town during Sundance and want to ski, no one else will be on the slopes.
Late February to early March is the sweet spot for the best skiing and the smallest crowds. Huge storms followed by mild sunny days with clear blue skies are notorious in this time slot. Spring breaks start in March, so if you want to avoid the college crowds, aim for February.
Choosing your Resorts
You don’t have to ski at one resort the whole time you’re here, but it makes a few things easier if you know where you’re going ahead of time.
First thing to remember is that Deer Valley doesn’t allow snowboarders on its lifts. So, if you have one or two in the family, they can’t go here. One of the best things about Deer Valley is that they limit lift ticket sales every day to keep the crowds thin. Their lifts could handle a lot more, but they want you to have the best experience possible.
Canyons and PCMR both allow snowboarders and have some of the best terrain in the world. Vail owning both of these resorts is a huge consideration because the Epic Pass works at both now. You may find bigger crowds at these mountains, but they both have more skiable terrain than Deer Valley so it’s easy to get away from them.
Those are the most basic, surface considerations, and I’ll be doing an in-depth resort comparison in another article.
Deciding Where to Stay
This decision is a combo of preference, convenience, and budget, but once you pick your dates to visit, make your lodging reservations right away. You have every option from luxurious experiences like the 5-Star Stein Eriksen at Deer Valley, 4-Star Waldorf Astoria, and Montage Deer Valley to ski/in-ski/out experiences like this spacious 3-Bedroom Deer Valley Condo.
Staying in a spacious home in Old Town offers ski/in-ski/out access and a quick walk to Historic Main Street’s shopping, dining, and nightlife. Or, dive right into the heart of Park City with a stay at the decadent Sky Lodge Penthouse.
Whatever you need, Park City has it. You just have to decide what kind of experience you want. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, give me a call and I’ll help you out.
Getting Ski Passes
Now that Vail owns Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort, the Epic Pass works at both and might be your best new option. If you ski in other towns near Vail Resorts around the globe, it probably is.
An adult Epic Pass is $749 if you get it by October 12th and you’ll be able to ski at PCMR & Canyons, any days you want, while you’re in town. Now, 7 days of Canyons Lift tickets, if you order early enough, is around $350 for an adult, and $175 for children (5-12), so if this is the only ski trip of the year, there are better deals. Vail will even price match for Canyons and PCMR if you find cheaper deals.
Deer Valley limits the number of tickets they sell every day to create a more exclusive experience and you can order your lift tickets early. Holidays 12/26/2014 – 1/4/2015, and 2/13 – 2/18/2015, get more expensive and you can’t use flexible passes during these times. Paying for the guaranteed passes is the way to go
Taking Care of Ski Rentals
Buying skis & boots makes sense if you know you like, use them enough, and have somewhere to store them all year. Buying boots and getting them custom-fitted at Surefoot is an especially great idea for anyone. Rental boots are often uncomfortable and nothing compares to a skillfully fitted pair of boots. But, you probably don’t want to lug skis on the plane.
No matter what, if you rent gear, waiting in line on a powder day is the last thing you want to do. So, don’t rent at the mountain unless you can be first in line. Use one of the handy ski rental delivery services in Park City like Ski Butlers. You can reserve the equipment you want online, they’ll fit you and your family at your home, and they’ll come by to pick up the skis at the end of the day.
If you have any questions about planning your Park City ski vacation I’d be happy to answer them. Give me (Scott) at 435.901.4309 or email me at email@example.com. I’ll have plenty or more info coming on Park City resorts and things to do while you’re here on my blog and in my email newsletter.