Meet the man behind most of the ski maps in America

Jan 09, 2019

The ski trail map at your local mountain was probably painted by James Niehues. Now you can see his life's work in one beautiful book.

There’s good chance that any time you slide off the top of a chairlift, you’ll be faced with James Niehues’s work. The 72-year-old Coloradan has hand-painted the maps used by more than 200 ski resorts. But skiing’s most prolific artist says he stumbled into it by luck. In 1987, Niehues had just moved to Denver from Grand Junction, Colorado. He had a couple of kids, and he was looking for work as a graphic designer after his work at an auto-parts manufacturer dried up. He reached out to local artist Bill Brown, who gave him a one-off job working on the trail map for Winter Park’s Mary Jane Mountain. Brown, who was the only resort-map artist at the time, was looking to retire, and he passed the ski-map mantle on to Niehues.

Aside from ideal timing, Niehues says he thinks he has an innate ability to see a whole mountain in one shot. We’d have to agree—his maps are incredibly accurate, down to the parking lots, but with a nostalgic wash of pastel color that’s instantly recognizable.

Thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that runs until January 3 (and has far exceeded its goal), he plans to release a book this summer showcasing three decades’ worth of work. Niehues told us about his book project, the mountains he’s always wanted to draw, why you can’t beat a hand-painted trail map, and how technology has changed his job for the better.

On His Process: “I always fly over the mountain and photograph it. Today I can go in deep on Google, but aerial photography gives me an idea of what it looks like that I can quote from. Then the first step is to go into a small pencil sketch. If it’s a complicated mountain, and I see different ways to illustrate it, I’ll send different thumbnails to clients. Then I’ll go into a comprehensive sketch that will be as big as the map. Once it’s approved, I’ll project the image onto my painting surface, trace every detail, and then airbrush. I start with the sky and work from the top down filling in details.”

On the Details: “It’s a puzzle to put together. I struggled early on getting the back sides of mountains right. I’m constantly trying to get all the flow lines correct and running down the page. Resorts know what they want and need, but sometimes they want to show their mountain bigger than it is. My job is to bring it back to reality. My favorite mountains are the ones where I can paint cliffs or rugged peaks and the mountains beyond. But I really like to do the mountains in New Zealand, because there are no trees there.”

On Skiing: “I learned in ski in Europe when I was in the Army. A couple of us guys took leave and went to down to Switzerland. Mine was the fastest time down, so I thought I was pretty good. When I tried to ski again at Powderhorn, outside Grand Junction, after I came back in 1969, I walked off the mountain because I couldn’t turn. On the job, I became an intermediate skier. It’s important, because I understand what other skiers go through in navigating the mountain.”

On the History of Ski Maps: “There are artists that have drawn a few maps, but there are really only two others who have done what I do. In the 1970s, Hal Shelton pioneered it here in the States. He was the first to paint trail maps, and he did it with an airbrush, because you can create subtle surfaces and lots of backlight. Bill Brown did it in the eighties, and then I took over for him. In the late nineties, everyone was looking at new technology because they thought computers could do a better job of mapping, but a lot of them have come back to my style. Now with the internet, it’s so important to have a good image. You’ve got a mountain that’s beautiful and challenging, and you’ve got to show that, and the computer images just aren’t as beautiful. This is one thing that is better done the way it was done 50 years ago.”

On Anthologizing: “Way back in the mid-nineties I started thinking that maybe I’d have enough illustrations for a book, so I started working book rights into my contract. Didn’t pursue it heavily, but then I started realizing, I’m 72 now, so it’s time to get it going.”

On Retirement: “I’ve tried to retire, but then someone will call me and I’ve always wanted to do their mountain, so I end up jumping back in. I’m doing a sketch of Mount Bachelor right now; they have 180 degrees of skiing, and I’ve always wanted to do that. An artist named Rad Smith, who is in Bozeman, Montana, is working as a protégé. He used to make maps with computers but realized he couldn’t do it as well, so he went back to painting. There don’t seem to be any others who are jumping into it. It’s a small market. It was a small market for me.”

On Art: “I think of the paintings as art instead of trail maps. In the early days, it was really about the map, but the values have shifted. Hal and Bill realized it was important to get the beauty and to give people something they could look at and dream about. I think a computer-generated map is a reflection of the office—it’s rigid. A hand-painted map reflects the outdoors. You ski to get into that environment.”

The Midway Ice Castles are officially open for the season

Jan 07, 2019

JAN 3, 2019

Since 2011, Utahns have visited a winter wonderland in Midway. This Saturday, Ice Castles opens for the season. KPCW’s Emily Means has this report.

Icy fortresses, slippery slides and frozen waterfalls decorate an acre of land at Ice Castles at the Homestead Resort in Midway.

Visitors are drawn in by interactive light and music displays. The design of the castles changes year to year, with 20 to 40 ice artisans tasked with creating structures formed from thousands of icicles. Construction on the castles began in November, and Ice Castles typically opens between Christmas and early January, depending on how many warm days there are during the building process.

With six locations—five throughout the U.S. and one in Canada—Ice Castles CEO Ryan Davis explains how the structures, comprised of more than 20 million pounds of ice, come to life each year.

“All of our ingredients come out of a fire hydrant. We make about five to ten thousand icicles in a day," Davis said. "Then we place them, we fuse them to ice and we spray them with water, and when they’re sprayed with water they thicken and they grow in mass. So, it’s basically we just hand place the framework that we freeze the ice on, and everything’s made out of ice.”

After a good snow, snowmen and forts can often be seen decorating front yards in Utah. Ice Castles similarly sprung up from the ground, when Davis says his business partner, Brent Christensen, got creative one cold day in Utah.

“He’d moved from California to Utah, so the cold weather was a novelty for [Christensen]. He just started freezing things in his front yard and figured out that he could use icicles and build—fairly quickly—really tall ice formations," Davis said. "The first place he did it was in 2010 in Zermatt Resort up in Midway at a larger scale, and then I teamed up with him about then, and we just keep growing bigger and bigger.”

If last year’s warm, dry winter is any indication of what to expect in years to come, though, Ice Castles’ cold-reliant operations might require some adjustment. Davis says he’s not sure what has led to the number of warm days, but the more mild weather is something Ice Castles is particularly sensitive to.

“The weather’s always unpredictable, and we noticed that the Midwest seems to be warmer than it has been in the past," Davis said. "You imagine Minneapolis being really cold, and sometimes it is, but a lot of times it’s been pretty warm in the winter there. Every now and then you’ll have a week with three or four days in the 40s, and then the next week it’s five degrees. The average is still pretty cold, but it seems like there’s more warm days than there has been in the past.”

Ice Castles remains open until the weather warms up, usually around late February or early March. Guests are advised to dress appropriately—wear boots to keep your feet dry during the warmer times of day. You can visit for hours of operation and ticketing information.

Don’t miss Park City’s Snowfest!

Dec 23, 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, unless you’re stuck in a dreadful airport in Denver or Newark, or course. The moral is to skip the year-end airfare surcharge and enjoy the holiday season in Park City where the eponymous mountain resort brings two weeks of festivities during Snowfest.

Every day from December 22, 2018 to January 6, 2019 Park City Mountain will host Après music and entertainment at both Park City base area and Canyons Village along with special events including an avalanche dog meet and greet, live ice sculpting, pub trivia and more. Get the party started daily without even changing out of your ski boots while listening live music at Umbrella Bar and Legends featuring a variety of performers from One Man Funk Band Simply B to bluegrass duo The Proper Way to local rock ensemble Snyderville Electric BandFor full article and calendar:

Deciding where to eat for the holidays in Park City, check out these amazing feasts

Dec 22, 2018

Five Feasts Worthy of Holiday Indulgence

Eat, drink, and be merry with these truly sumptuous Christmas and New Year’s spreads.

By Michaela Wagner 12/14/2018 at 3:37pm

Whipping up a feast—a must during the holidays—may not be at the top of your list this season. After all, Park City’s snow-capped mountains and hoppin’ town tend to draw us away from the kitchen as we time spent on the slopes... or the trails...or at the theater... or the local après shindig or... Thankfully, Park City restaurants have it covered.  Following is just a sampling of the smorgasbord of options for festive dining specials from Christmas to New Year’s Day. (For a complete rundown of dining options in and around Park City, visit our Restaurant Guide here.)


Escala Provisions Restaurant at Hyatt Centric Park City

Christmas Eve: Buffet, $55 per person, $27.50 for children ages 6-12 New Year’s Eve: Buffet, $65 per person, $32.50 for children

A great option for families staying in Canyons Village, Escala brings classic fare to diners on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. The dinners will feature selections such as mustard-crusted prime rib, cranberry glazed ham, Mary’s chicken with a sour cherry reduction, and herb-crusted salmon, plus an array of sides and starters such as bacon mac and cheese, corn pudding, celery root and pear soup, salads, breads, and a host of pies and cakes for dessert. New Year’s Eve features special desserts including chocolate fondue and fig-bread pudding with eggnog sauce.

Powder at Waldorf Astoria Park City

Christmas Eve: Family-style prix fixe; $69 per person, $34 for children ages 4-12 Christmas Day: Three-course prix fixe; $55 per person, $35 for children New Year’s Eve: Five-course prix fixe, $95 per person

Also set in Canyons Village, Waldorf Astoria’s Powder is offering three special family prix fixe experiences.  Christmas Eve features a modern mountain menu driven by the holiday season and the finest ingredients, including lobster-tuna salad, Niman Ranch roasted lamb loin, and five spiced-roasted butternut squash soup, followed by seared diver scallops, duck two ways (breast and confit), wagyu bavette, and dessert of Vienna-style cheese cake.

Tuck into a Christmas Day lunch full of inspired selections, starting with a choice of lobster lemon grass soup or roasted brussels sprout salad, followed by a choice of rack of lamb, salmon filet, roasted organic chicken breast or mushroom ragu. For dessert, choose between praline white chocolate mouse, raspberry mascarpone or flourless chocolate terrine.

Powder’s famed New Year’s Eve celebration opens with caviar blini and oyster, followed by a choice of yellowfin tuna and scallop tartare or beets and goat cheese. Enjoy porcini mushroom consommé and a champagne intermezzo, then an entrée of either venison and veal loin or Chilean sea bass, followed by New Year’s Surprise for dessert featuring Tahitian vanilla, fromage blanc and raspberries.

For article and more dining options: Five Feasts worthy of Holiday Indulgence

Here’s everything you need to know about spending the holidays skiing in Utah

Dec 21, 2018


Utah ski resorts and towns don’t hold back when it comes to festivities! In fact, Park City Mountainhas been named one of the top ski areas to spend Christmas by and Curbed.

If snow conditions are your priority, Alta Ski Area is considered one of the most reliable destinations for holiday turns (,, “On Christmas day, an average of 96% of Alta's terrain is open for business,” explains Christopher Steiner on

Spending the holidays skiing in Utah will deliver lots of powder, cheer, and fun, for the whole family, but a pinch of planning can make your stay even more enjoyable.

Snow Play Off the Slopes

Don’t limit your snow play to skiing and riding. Try something new or different! Sneak out with the kids to build a snowman or ride a sled. Snowshoeing is super fun, especially early or late in the day when the light is low and wildlife is browsing about. Many ski reposts offer guided snowshoe tours and rentals so you don’t even need to travel.

As odd as it may sound, another fantastic activity is riding fat-bikes. Their huge tires float across the snowy trails, a perfect mix of exercise and adventure. The first time I rode one I couldn’t stop smiling. They are available to rent at Jans Mountain Outfitters, White Pine Touring, and several other locations across the state.

While all of these ideas sound fun, one of my favorite things to do on a snowy day is curl up by the fire with hot tea and good book. Now there’s a tradition I’ll keep!

Food is a central theme throughout holidays across the world. Luckily, Utah has some of the most progressive food scenes in the country. During the holidays, local chefs unleash their creativity.

For my first Thanksgiving in Utah, I made reservations for the Lodge Bistro at Snowbird. The menu was a perfect balance between creative and warmly familiar…nostalgic flavors of warm squash and tart cranberry, without grandma’s fruitcake and green Jell-O mold.

Holiday meal reservations book up early, so make yours as soon as possible.

Traditions and Faith on Snow

Holiday travel doesn’t mean giving up fun traditions or observation of faith, but it does provide a new setting. From Santa to Christmas Eve Service, Carols to Shabbat, there’s no need to forsake either.

For example, Deer Valley Resort offers ski-in/ski-out Shabbat services on Fridays and Non-Denominational church services on Sundays. Snowbird offers Hanukkah Candle Lighting December 2nd to 9th, a Christmas Eve Parade and Candlelight Service, plus Mr. and Mrs. Clause “Ride the Bird” on Christmas Day.

At Park City Mountain you can see Santa ride down the town lift on December 15 and a Christmas eve torchlight parade on December 24.

The key is planning ahead so you are in the right place at the right time. Visit our events calendar or holiday events post for more information.

Gifting on the Go

Traveling may complicate gift-giving depending on the size. A great way to gift large items without complicating travel is to wrap a picture of the surprise waiting at home. Our family did this and it’s still super exciting.

Naturally, this strategy works best with older children and adults. For the younger set, you may want to pack a few small gifts and save the rest for a “mini-Christmas” after returning home.

Celebrating with Family and Friends

Okay, I saved the toughest one for last. What about family and friends who can’t travel with you? I’m going to answer with a brief story.

I was a firefighter before moving to Utah. My 24/48 shifts lined up such that I worked nearly every major holiday. But we didn’t let that dampen the celebration; we simply looked forward to a different date than most. Our whole family still shared big meals, opened gifts, and made beautiful memories.

You can do the same thing. Plan an early or late celebration with family and friends on a date that works for you.

And Don’t Forget…

If you’re staying near Salt Lake City, take a break from the slopes to see the lights at Temple Square. With easily a million lights, the display is spectacular beyond words. Dress warm and plan to grab a bite while downtown. Some of our best restaurants are in the area.

Find you home in Park City, Utah

Dec 20, 2018

The Winter 2019 Living Mountain Real Estate Guide is now available.

Click here for the digital flip book:

Local Neighborhood Guide is Here

Dec 18, 2018

The Winter 2019 Local Neighborhood Guide is now available. Check it out at

Salt Lake City gets the greenlight for Winter Olympics bid

Dec 17, 2018

PARK CITY, UNITED STATES: This 14 January, 1999, photo shows a boy training with the Rocky Mountain Luge Club making a run down the luge track at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah, where the luge and bob sleigh skeleton runs for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City will be held. The Olympics are scheduled for February 2002. AFP PHOTO GEORGE FREY (Photo credit should read GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images)


December 15, 2018

Salt Lake City got the green light to bid for the Winter Olympics — most likely for 2030 — in an attempt to bring the Games back to the city that hosted in 2002 and provided the backdrop for the U.S. winter team’s ascendance into an international powerhouse.

The U.S. Olympic Committee said Friday it was selecting Utah’s capital, which stood out as a predictable, slam-dunk pick in a process that also included Denver and Reno, Nevada.

With venues still in place — some of them upgraded — from the 2002 Games, Salt Lake claims it can host again at a lower cost than other candidates, which aligns with the International Olympic Committee’s new blueprint for the Games.

It’s almost a certain bet the bid will be for 2030, though the USOC left open the possibility of other dates. There are only two bidders for 2026: from Sweden and Italy, after voters in Calgary, Alberta, rejected a proposed bid.

Read full article:

"Canyons Village Connect" On-Demand Ride Service has started

Nov 26, 2018

"Canyons Village Connect" On-Demand Ride Service to Debut on November 21

Canyons Village Connect The Canyons Village Connect is a new, complimentary on-demand ride service that will begin on Wednesday, November 21, the opening day at Park City Mountain. From November 21 through closing day on April 7, 2019, this app-based pilot program will be available to guests daily within Canyons Village at Park City Mountain.

The on-demand service will be available daily from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. This service will include stops at Canyons Village Transit Hub and the existing bus stop between the Grand Summit hotel and Westgate Park City hotel, coupled with on-demand, door-to-door service throughout the Frostwood area (Waldorf Astoria, Miners Club, Wyndham Park City, Juniper Landing, Fairway Springs and Frostwood Ski & Golf Villas). Park City / Summit County Bus Transit Info There have been some bus route changes to the free transit system this year, including the Pink and Lime lines that are so important to our Canyons Village guests and employees; Pink is the only line that now services the Grand Summit / Westgate stop and Canyons Resort Drive above Canyons Village Transit Hub.

  • Guests looking to go to Historic Main Street: Pink to Electric Xpress
  • Guests looking to get to Park City Mountain Village: Pink to Lime
  • Guests looking to get to Kimball Junction: Pink, Lime or Electric Xpress
Please visit Park City Municipal’s transit page or see attached for details and messaging from Park City and Summit County


Gorgoza Park is transforming to Woodward Park City

Nov 23, 2018

Gorgoza Park is transforming to Woodward Park City Woodward Park City recently broke ground at the former Gorgoza Park location. Woodward Park City will bring a world class facility that connects sport, community, and culture with youth inspired programming in one of the greatest outdoor regions in the world.

Woodward Park City will offer a playground for progressive sports experiences for residents of the Wasatch and destination visitors. Programming will provide sports and recreation opportunities including year round daily sessions, seasonal options, and multi-day camps.

The 125-acre campus will include day and night lift serviced snowboarding and skiing, terrain and skate parks, biking trails, tubing, and an indoor training facility for a dozen plus sports, including skateboarding, BMX, mountain biking, cheer, snowboard, and ski. The indoor training facility will be roughly 52,000 sq. ft. and built with a dedication to protecting where we love to play through sustainable investments in solar energy, a green roof, and the use of recycled materials.

Sourced from Ski Utah

Opening Day at Park City Mountain

Nov 21, 2018

Park City Mountain is officially open for the season! Get out there for the first turns, hopefully we’ll get some more SNOW this weekend!

Winter Fireworks // Canyons Village at Park City Mountain

Nov 21, 2018

Winter Fireworks // Canyons Village at Park City Mountain

Park City Mountain and Canyons Village have exciting new firework shows for the upcoming season. Beginning with the Holiday Tree Lighting and Fireworks event this Friday, November 23, there will be nine free fireworks displays this winter. There will be a new series entitled “First Friday Fireworks” that will take place on the first Friday of each month; additionally, there will be fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve, Presidents’ Weekend and two during the 2019 FIS World Championships. All fireworks will take place on Willow Draw Road as they have in the past.

Friday, November 23: Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

  • Live holiday music, crafts, hot cocoa, photos with Santa, lighting of Christmas tree
  • Fireworks: 5:55pm, approximately 5 minutes long
Friday, December 7: First Friday Fireworks
  • Fireworks: 5:00pm, approximately 5 minutes long
Monday, December 31: New Year’s Eve Celebration
  • Annual party with live music on Village Stage
  • Fireworks: 7:30pm, approximately 10 minutes long
Friday, January 4: First Friday Fireworks
  • Fireworks: 5:30pm, approximately 5 minutes long
Friday, February 1: First Friday Fireworks
  • Fireworks: 6:00pm, approximately 5 minutes long
Saturday, February 2: 2019 FIS World Championships // Opening Ceremonies + Big Air Skiing
  • Parade of Nations, live music, activities, Big Air Skiing (night)
  • Fireworks: 9:45pm, approximately 6-8 minutes long
Tuesday, February 5: 2019 FIS World Championships // Big Air Snowboarding
  • Live music, activities, Big Air Snowboarding (night)
  • Fireworks: 9:00pm, approximately 6-8 minutes long
Saturday, February 16: Presidents’ Weekend
  • Fireworks: 6:00pm, approximately 5 minutes long
Friday, March 1: First Friday Fireworks
  • Fireworks: 6:30pm, approximately 5 minutes long

Park City News

Nov 12, 2018

Park City Mountain will open on November 21st

Renovate and your budget

Nov 10, 2018

Planning to renovate in 2019?

Here are some things to consider and ways to budget

Vote Now for your favorite ski town & ski resort!

Nov 08, 2018

Vote now for your favorite ski town and ski resort


Voting for the poll goes until November 26th. Click here to cast your vote.

Other categories include Best Après Ski Bar, Best Cross Country Ski Resort and  Best Ski Hotel.

Park City overwhelmingly approves acquisition of Treasure

Nov 07, 2018

In a Momentous Vote ?Park City Overwhelmingly Approves the Acquisition of Treasure

Park City voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a $48 million ballot measure that will fund most of the cost of the acquisition of the Treasure land in a conservation deal, ending more than three decades of uncertainty about the acreage overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift.

According to preliminary totals released on Tuesday night, 2,839 people, or 77 percent, voted in favor of the measure, while 836, or 33 percent, cast nay votes. The voters approved the bulk of the funding needed for the $64 million acquisition of Treasure, as well as a contribution of up to $3 million for an unrelated conservation deal in Thaynes Canyon.

The approval will allow City Hall to finalize the acquisition of the land from the Treasure partnership, consisting of the Sweeney family and a firm called Park City II, LLC. The partnership had spent years in discussions with the Park City Planning Commission about a development proposal encompassing approximately 1 million square feet.

Pat Sweeney, who represented his family in the discussions about the development proposal, said on Tuesday night he is pleased with the result. “They created the opportunity for the citizens to decide the fate of our property. They negotiated an acceptable situation for us,” he said, adding, “The citizens had a chance to make the decision and we’re happy with their decision. I think it’s a fine way for Treasure Hill to turn out.”

Support of the ballot measure was well organized and drew people from across Park City. An opposition movement appeared late during the election season but was unable to sway the campaign.

City Hall projects the property tax increase approved through Tuesday's successful vote will be $194 annually on an $800,000 residence classified as a primary home. The increase is predicted to be $353 each year on a vacation home or a commercial property. The bond will repaid over a term of 15 annual payments.

The results did not include ballots cast in person on Tuesday, ballots placed in drop boxes after 3 p.m. on Election Day or ballots postmarked by Nov. 5 that had not arrived to the county clerk. Summit County Clerk Kent Jones said updated results that factor in those ballots will be released Friday.

Soured from The Park Record: Click here for the full article.

Slope Side Living- Hyatt Centric

Nov 07, 2018

Quick Ways to Build Equity

Nov 04, 2018

Equity is the percentage of market value that you own in your home. Your lender owns the rest, so your goal should be to pay the lender’s share (the principal) down and build your share (equity) up.

You don’t need to go to extreme lengths to pay down your mortgage. Just follow these few easy tips:

  1. Buy wisely. Buy as much home as you can without straining your resources, so you can occupy your home longer. Moving and closing costs eat away equity.
  2. Pay a little extra. Pay a little more every month toward reducing your principal. Use bonuses or cash back on your credit cards to apply to your mortgage. Making one extra payment a year could shorten your loan payoff by as much as four years, saving you thousands of dollars in interest.
  3. Pay off other debts. Don’t incur new debt. Spend less on automobiles, dinners out and other expenses. Pay off credit cards and student loans as quickly as you can, so you’ll have more money available to pay toward your mortgage.
  4. Make improvements. Keeping your home repaired and updated helps you preserve equity by making market value higher.
  5. Let time work for you. Think of your home as a savings account where the money you put in can be retrieved one day – with interest. Historically, homes have increased in value as much as three percent a year in normal markets, which is a great way to build instant equity.

Waldorf Astoria Park City Residences

Nov 02, 2018

This is your guide to early season skiing in Park City

Oct 30, 2018

Everything you need to know about visiting Park City before the holiday rush.

By Michaela Wagner 10/22/2018 at 10:13am

Opening day 2017 at Park City Mountain

The air is getting nippy, the mountains are tipped in snow, and you keep glancing at your skis, wondering when you’ll first get to strap in. If you can’t wait to get back on the mountain, you’re probably looking  at booking a ski/snowboard trip as soon as the resorts open, knowing full well early season can be hit-or-miss if your primary goal is getting in those turns on the slopes. Sometimes Mother Nature sends us foot after foot of fresh powder and, other times, the resort snowmaking teams have to pick up the slack. Although the weather looks promising, if you’re planning on coming to Park City for early season skiing and snowboarding, it’s best to expect a limited number of runs to be open and variable conditions. That said, there are still dozens of ways to fill your days while in town and we guarantee you’ll have a great time, even if you aren’t knee deep in powder. Here’s what  you need to know about early season in Park City.

Advantages of Early Season

Sure, you won’t have the maximum amount of terrain available on the mountain, but you also won’t have to deal with exorbitant lodging rates or crowded lift lines. For beginner level skiers and riders, early season is as good a time as any to learn because you’d be spending most of your time on beginner runs regardless of how much snow is on the mountain. Plus, if you start practicing early season, you can come back for more! Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newbie, the first 30 days is also the perfect opportunity to get your legs back in shape. Unless you’ve been doing some pre-season, dry land training, don’t be surprised if you need a post-ski massage or extra long soak in the hot tub!

Reservations are a must during the holiday season and busy weekends for anyone wishing to experience Park City’s world class dining scene. It’s far easier to snag a table at popular joints around town and at the resorts when you come during the mellower early season. So you’re free to sample all of Park City’s most iconic dishesno problem.

Opening dates for the 2018-2019 season are November 21 for Park City Mountainand December 8 for Deer Valley ResortNote: opening dates are subject to change depending on snow/weather conditions. 

Off-Slope Activities for Early Season

Once you’ve gotten a few runs in on the mountain, here are few other ideas to get you started on planning the ultimate early season vacation.

Explore the Extensive Trail System

Park City is home to an extensive trail system, including over 50 kms of groomed winter trails. Depending on the weather and trail conditions, you may choose to go hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or fat tire biking. Before heading out, make sure you check out the current conditions. Great sources for up-to-date trail information include Mountain Trails Foundation and Basin Recreation.

Family Adventure Time at Utah Olympic Park

No matter the time of year, the Utah Olympic Park is a great place to spend a full or half-day if you’re looking for something interesting for all ages. Spend the day exploring their adventure courses, the Drop-Tower, and museum. Throughout the winter season, the UOP typically hosts a number of sporting events that are open to the public. Already on the docket for this year is the IBSF North American Cup (Nov. 18-21) and FIL Junior Luge World Cup (Dec. 5-8).

Horse Play

A number of local outfitters (Red Pine Adventures, Rocky Mountain Outfitters, Blue Sky Ranch) let you add a little western flair to you visit by saddling up for a cozy winter ride in the dazzling natural surroundings. But trail rides aren’t the only way to get in some horse play, you can also tap into a number of unique equine adventures with Park City Horse Experience, from horse meditation circles to family activities.

Namaste in a geothermal crater

Ditch the yoga studio and find your center with Park City Yoga Adventures. While there are a number of options to choose from, including hiking and snowshoeing paired with yoga sessions, the most interesting experience is paddleboard yoga inside the Homestead Crater, where the turquoise blue waters stay a balmy 95-degrees year round.

Rock On

Peak climbing season in Utah, which boasts some truly epic routes for craggers, is the summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a taste even in winter. Test your skills at the local climbing gym, The Mine Bouldering Gym (1764 Uinta Way, Suite G1), or bring your kids to the Swaner EcoCenter where they can scramble up the indoor climbing wall.

Improve your angling skills with fly fishing

Fly fishing is one of the few activities that can be enjoyed year round in Park City and, during winters, it’s a peaceful way to enjoy a bit of solitude in the mountains. We recommend booking a trip with a local guide (All Seasons Adventures or Park City Fly Fishing), who can show you where the fish bite best.

Check Out Local Exhibits

While Park City isn’t home to any major museums, there’s a little something to suite everyone’s taste. Take the kids out to the Swaner EcoCenter to explore the Art and Science of Arachnids (through Dec. 9) or experience ski-flying in the new interactive exhibit at the Alf Engen Museum. Art enthusiasts will find galleries galore to choose from and, if you’re in town at the right time you can join in the monthly Park City Gallery Association’s Last Friday Gallery Stroll (Nov. 30).


For full article:


Existing user sign in: 
Forgot Password?