Park City, Utah on the Cheap


When one thinks of Park City, Utah, they likely picture the annual Sundance Film Festival and expensive ski lodges. But, you can easily plan a ski weekend in this gem, just a 30 minute drive from Salt Lake City.

Getting There: Fly into Salt Lake City International Airport and either rent a car or find one of the many buses and shuttles that can transport you from Point A to Point B. I opted for the car rental route so I’d have the ability to see the sights on my own schedule. The rental car counter is accessible via a people bridge right outside of baggage claim. Never driven in snow? No worries, I hadn’t either. Utah keeps their highways and major roads very clean so just drive slow in case of ice!

Where to Stay: Park City has a plethora of high-end resorts but you can find some affordable options within 5-10 minutes of the major resorts. My favorite place to stay is the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites located in Kimball Junction, right near Highway 80 (the main highway into town from Salt Lake City). For around $150 a night, you get a clean, comfortable room, free breakfast, free Internet and access to an on-site indoor pool, spa, sauna and fitness center. Oh yes, and they bake chocolate chip cookies every afternoon.

Looking for something a little more like home? Browse the rental properties at

Recreation: Park City is a winter sports haven! The most famous sites are the three ski resorts that make up this city: Canyons Resort, Deer Valley Resort (skiing only) and the Park City Mountain Resort. While lift tickets can be pricey, there is an awesome program called Quick START (Ski Today and Ride Today) where you can convert your same-day boarding pass into a same-day lift ticket at any of the three resorts in Park City. With dozens of flights that land before noon, you can be on the slopes before lunchtime (for free!). To take advantage of this program, ensure that your desired date is not on the blackout list (most major holidays and holiday weekends), register online, print your confirmation and bring that, along with your boarding pass, to the ticket counter. How easy is that?

Looking for something other than skiing? Have no fear! Everything from tubing to cross-country skiing to snowshoeing are options. Check out this website for a list of ideas.

Salt Lake City was also home to the 2002 Winter Olympics and you can check out some memorabilia and also learn more about the history of skiing at the Utah Olympic Park. Admission is free. And, if you have ever wanted to go in a bobsled down an actual track, you can ($200, available on select dates).

Dining: Park City has an endless list of dining options ranging all budgets and all cuisines. Visit the Main Street area or one of the three resorts for higher-end options but check-out the surrounding areas for other options. My favorite is Maxwell’s in Kimball Junction (walking distance from the Holiday Inn Express). Delicious pizza and pasta and a dessert to die for: Cookizza (a warm chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie served with vanilla ice cream). After all those hours on the slopes, you can indulge here and not feel guilty! If you are going on a Friday or Saturday evening, I recommend getting there before 6:30pm as the place definitely fills up.

Need more winter articles? Check out Snowbombing in Austria and the History of the Ski Holiday.

Written by DIWYY’s Kristina Wegscheider who skied and snowshoed Park City, Utah in February 2011.

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