- - Monday, January 19, 2015

Instead of risking your weekend spent shoveling snow, how about taking a direct flight from DCA or BWI to Park City, Utah, for some winter ski fun?

Families with children ages 3 and up can learn to ski at one of the three resorts that make up the picturesque, small-town landscape of Park City: Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, and Canyons Resort. This year will bring a $50 million renovation to connect Canyons Resort and Park City Mountain Resort to make it the largest ski resort in the United States. The destination offers hours of fun and active adventures for families — from skiing and snowboarding to sledding and exhilarating adventure parks. Additionally, for the first time in 25 years, the Sundance Film Festival will start the week after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, beginning Jan. 22 and making it a perfect spot to spend an extended holiday.

Do the Ski Thing

Deer Valley has an impressive 565 ski instructors, and at the height of the ski season, there could be 1,000 kids learning how to ski on the mountain. The ski lifts are tailored so that younger skiers can reach the base without having to ski difficult terrain. Deer Valley also has a daycare, a ski school and teen programs. Kids will also love the 12 adventure zones located throughout the resort, which positively impacts their ability to ski off trail. After skiing, one of the mascots like Quincy the bear or Bucky the deer will be waiting at the base to say hello to children.

“We train to have families together. There are skills you need to give lessons to families with different age groups,” explains Canyons Resort ski instructor, Steve Parker. Canyons is also a destination for sleigh rides before dinner and free snow play, like colored water for snow graffiti and snowman making kits.
The third resort, Park City Mountain Resort, has four different terrain parks, two half pipes, an alpine coaster, and a zip line. According to Andy Miller, Communications Director of Park City Mountain, “There are calm runs through the trees that are easy to navigate,” making off trail skiing easy for kids.

Hang Out

Park City’s Utah Olympic Park was the location of the 2002 Olympics, so there are many activities and structures still in place for tourists. “The Utah Olympic Park is a popular place for families,” says Visit Park City’s Communications Manager, Christian Boer. A ride on the bobsled can send visitors zooming at speeds of 80 miles an hour. Also, one of the biggest draws of Park City is the historic area of Main Street, where families can ski-in/ski-out from Park City’s Mountain Resort’s Town Lift right into town. Check out some of its quirky attributes like the three bulletproof enclosed glasses of Banksy art in hidden alleys along the street. Other interesting places along Main Street are Mountain Body Spa, which gives out free herbal hand therapy treatments (perfect after a day of skiing); Atticus Coffee, Books & Teahouse, a used bookstore; and the Egyptian Theatre, which puts on live music performances, such as zydeco, rock and ‘60s music.

A can’t-miss activity is the Gorgoza Park for tubing, which also has mini-snowmobiles for children. For a look into the town’s history, the interactive Park City Museum ($10 for adults and $5 for kids) has a wide variety of exhibits, showing its silver mining history, skis and ski boots from 50 years ago, as well as the oldest underground jail in the West. For something fun and unusual there is paddle board yoga in a hot springs at the Homestead Crater. Families can splash into the steamy mineral waters following a day of skiing and be led through a series of yoga poses by the founder, Julia Geisler. For some pampering, mom and dad can ride the scenic funicular to the St. Regis Deer Valley’s Remede Spa.

Many Dining Options

Each ski resort has a restaurant that caters to families taking a lunch break during a day of skiing. For example, at Deer Valley Resort, the Royal Street Café has both grown-up food and a kids menu. There is a cheese-making facility in the basement, where you can try one of six cheeses paired with their homemade bruschetta.

Park City comes alive at night, and its winter landscape can be ethereal. The destination offers a plethora of dinner venues. Take Grappa, a family style Italian restaurant located on Main Street, where all of the pastas are made in-house. Some of the most popular menu choices are osso buco, the dry-aged New York strip, the scallops, and lobster ravioli.

Another upscale, but family friendly dining option can be experienced at The Montage. Burgers & Bourbon has a hunting lodge feel to it with a wood-burning fireplace. Twelve different burgers make up the menu, like the foie gras, classic, veggie and Southwestern, and kids will look forward to desserts of roasted s’mores and banana Nutella shakes.

Where to Stay

The excellent customer service provided by Park City Lodging makes it the premier choice for families vacationing in Park City. The company provides vacation rentals throughout all of the ski resorts, like their 3- and 4-bedroom condo options located at the Town Pointe complex adjacent to Main Street. The condos come with full-sized kitchens, washer/dryer, hot tub and decks for stargazing. Park City Lodging also provides other accommodation types, from studio hotel rooms to large private homes. The efficient check-in process allows you to receive keys for the condos within minutes.

Ski Equipment

Aloha Ski Rentals offers outstanding customer service, assisting with fitting into the right skis, boots, helmets, and other equipment. The average rental is only $35 per day with a shop conveniently located on Main Street in Park City. Temperatures can dip to -10°F or lower, therefore, it is essential to pack the right ski gear to stay warm. Some of the leaders in comfort and quality include Helly Hansen (for ski pants); Julbo (performance ski goggles); Outdoor Research (the White Room Ski Jacket); Dare2b (warm fleeces); and Gordini (Polar Mitt).

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