36 Hours: Park City, Utah
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TO ski or not to ski. That's the luxury of Park City, Utah, the rare ski resort that offers lively diversions on and off the slopes. Historic Main Street still evokes a silver mining town, with local delis mixed in among upscale restaurants and fashion boutiques. And thanks to constant refinements, the powdery slopes remain a favorite of hard-core ski bums -- not to mention the United States Ski Team, which calls Park City home -- and the fur-trimmed celebrities who invade during the Sundance Film Festival. But its best asset may be location: Park City is 30 minutes from Salt Lake City and a short hop to several of the most popular slopes in the Rockies.
4:30 p.m.1. FORAGING ON MAIN
As dusk shrouds the Wasatch Range, the Old West-style storefronts of Main Street light up with the hubbub of shoppers and après-skiers. Wedged among the ski shops and real estate windows are a sprinkling of stylish newcomers. Flight Boutique (562 Main Street; 435-604-0806; flightclothing.blogspot.com) carries such brands as Elizabeth & James, and Theory, with nothing on its second floor priced above $100; a second store opened this spring at 577 Main Street. Another fashionable addition is Cake Boutique (511 Main Street; 435-649-1256; shopcakeboutique.com), which carries brands like Rag & Bone. For local culture, the Kimball Art Center (638 Park Avenue; 435-649-8882; kimballartcenter.org) is the region's nonprofit arts anchor, housed in a historic stable.
6 p.m.2. DINING CAMP
The buttermilk fried chicken is free-range, organic and, in all likelihood, raised in Utah. Yes, hipster fare has arrived in Park City, and it comes at a steep price at Talisker on Main (515 Main Street; 435-658-5479; taliskeronmain.com), a fine but casual restaurant that ranks among the town's best. Clever dishes might include lobster hush puppies and short rib shepherd's pie, with entrees hovering around $35. The décor also invokes whimsy. With its tin ceilings and checkerboard floors, the cozy dining room feels like an English clubhouse squeezed inside an ice cream parlor. Service is crisp yet relaxed, with a dress code that welcomes both fur coats and wool beanies.
8 p.m.3. SHOW TIME
Channel Sundance's glamour at the Egyptian Theater (328 Main Street; 435-649-9371; egyptiantheatrecompany.org), the pharaoh-themed landmark in the middle of town. When the 1926 theater isn't used for red carpet premieres, it features concerts, comedy acts and other live performances. Check its Web site for coming shows. For a more cinematic experience, the Park City Film Series (1255 Park Avenue; 435-615-8291; parkcityfilmseries.com) offers a stellar lineup of indie films at the Park City Library Building.
9 a.m.4. TOWN LIFT
One of the underappreciated things about Park City is that the entire town is practically ski in/ski out. A triple lift on Main Street whisks riders to the Park City Mountain Resort (parkcitymountain.com), so if you're staying in town, there's no need for parking or shuttles. There are 3,300 acres of terrain to cover, so it's a good idea to check the morning's grooming reports before clicking in. Warm up on the Crescent and King Con mountain zones before tackling the black diamonds.
1 p.m.5. DINE IN/SKI OUT
The town lift goes both ways, so if you're hankering for more than just burgers and pizzas, skip the slopeside cafeterias and ski into town for a more civilized lunch. For upscale fare in a dress-down setting, waddle over to Zoom (660 Main Street; 435-649-9108; zoomparkcity.com). Opened by Robert Redford in a former train depot, Zoom offered refined American fare like braised lamb shank ($35) and fish tacos ($14). After lunch, just hop back onto the lift. Trails can get packed along the lower runs, so work your way to the right side of the trail map.
5 p.m.6. GETTING STEAMED
After an exhausting day of skiing, there's nothing like soaking half-naked with a bunch of tipsy strangers. That's the idea anyway at SkyBlue, the rooftop bar at the Sky Lodge, Park City's hippest hotel (201 Heber Avenue; 435-658-2500; theskylodge.com). Since last winter, the hotel opened its large outdoor hot tub, which looks out onto the Wasatch Range, to nonguests. Black terry robes are provided. The fancy, cocktail-free version of that is found at Spa Montage in Deer Valley (9100 Marsac Avenue; 435-604-1300; spamontage.com), a Roman-style wellness center with steaming whirlpools, volcanic saunas, massage services and a quiet room for a little nap. Day passes for $40.
8 p.m.7. WESTERN BEEF
As Utah's first distillery since Prohibition, the High West Distillery and Saloon (703 Park Avenue; 435-649-8300; highwest.com) gets high marks for its small-batch whiskeys and vodkas. But it also gets props for its Western-inspired menu, which includes nouveau cowboy fare like dry-aged bison with a porcini sauce and pan-seared trout. Try the tasting menu, which pairs a five-course dinner with individual whiskeys. Another option, for those seeking a more club-like atmosphere, is Silver (508 Main Street; 435-940-1000; silverrestaurant.com), a three-story restaurant that draws the martini set with sleek décor, D.J. booths and a young-at-heart mood. The grilled arctic char is pretty good ($25).
10 p.m.8. ROUGH AND TUMBLE
The brothels and casinos are long gone, but party seekers won't have any trouble finding a bar stool or a dance floor to keep the night going. An old reliable is the No Name Saloon (447 Main Street; 435-649-6667; nonamesaloon.net), a packed and friendly spot with the motto "Helping People Forget Their Names Since 1903." For a younger singles crowd, follow the cologne trail to Downstairs (625 Main Street; 435-226-5340; downstairspc.com), a throbbing disco partly owned by Danny Masterson, the curly-haired actor from "That '70s Show." Expect bottle service, waitresses who dance on tables and guys who fist pump to rap music.
9:30 a.m.9. GO FOR GOLD
See how the pros do it. Built for the 2002 Winter Olympics, the vertiginous Utah Olympic Park (3419 Olympic Parkway; 435-658-4200; olyparks.com) remains an active training center for Olympic-class skiers. Call ahead to see if anyone is barreling down the K120 Nordic ski jump. Or catch some air yourself: the park now offers Sunday ski clinics for intermediate skiers ($39). Speed demons, however, will gravitate toward another sport: the Comet Bobsled. The mile-long track offers 80-mile-per-hour speeds and up to five G's of force. It is $200 a person, and reservations can be made online. Those with heart problems may want to stand on the sidelines.
Noon10. GRANDER CANYONS
If you have time to ski only one other resort, point your tips toward Canyons (canyonsresort.com), just north of Park City. The resort has undergone huge upgrades in recent years, and now counts 4,000 acres of terrain -- so wide that it had trouble fitting it all on a trail map. Start at the new Orange Bubble lift, a covered, heated chairlift that feels like riding inside a pair of toasty ski goggles. At the summit lookout, direct your gaze at Iron Mountain, the resort's ninth and newest peak. To ski there, connect the trails that lead to the left side of the map. It's a veritable winter wonderland.
IF YOU GO
In Park City, the Sky Lodge (201 Heber Avenue; 435-658-2500; theskylodge.com) is a sleek condo-hotel with 33 suites that opened in December 2007. Suites offer private hot tubs, kitchens, dining tables and even some pool tables. Rates start at $600.
The Waldorf Astoria Park City (2100 Frostwood Drive; 435-647-5500; parkcitywaldorfastoria.com), in Canyons, has 174 luxurious guest rooms, many with outdoor decks, high-end kitchens and travertine-tiled bathrooms. Rates from $669.
In Deer Valley, Montage Deer Valley (9100 Marsac Avenue; 435-604-1300; montagedeervalley.com) opened in December 2010 with 154 opulent and spacious rooms equipped with gas fireplaces, private balconies and bathrooms that look like a Restoration Hardware catalog. The spa offers 35,000 square feet of pampering. Rates start at $720.
For a quirky, more affordable stay in Park City, the Treasure Mountain Inn (255 Main Street; 435 655-4501; treasuremountaininn.com) is a clean, eco-friendly place with a mom-and-pop staff and a diverse clientele. Junior suites start at $275.
Correction: February 2, 2012, Thursday
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the type of chairlift that takes skiers from Main Street to the Park City Mountain Resort. It is a triple lift and not a quad.
First Published February 5, 2012 12:00 am