In my 30+ years in Park City, I’ve found skiers and riders mostly fall into two distinct categories – those who embrace “first tracks” no matter the on-mountain conditions, and those who prefer to be in the “Crack of Noon Club.” Of course, there are those who fall in that vulnerable mid-morning group: to those folks, I can almost promise you that you’ll be parking at Park City High School and being shuttled.
Our resorts have become increasingly popular with the advent of multi-area passes, so developing a solid parking strategy is critical. You won’t win the Superbowl without a gameplan…
Since the Crack of Noon Club will typically find parking at all our lots by slowly creeping through and watching for departing skiers, my only advice to you folks is to be patient and kind to the departing skiers – don’t hover too close or rush them inappropriately. And please remember, we are a “no idle” community.
Here are my best tips for you first trackers:
1. Ski-In, Ski-Out
If you have the means, consider owning a ski-in, ski-out property as you can then almost ignore this entire blog, unless you desire to sample some of our other great Utah resorts. There’s nothing more convenient than rolling out of bed at whatever time you please, enjoying a leisurely skier’s breakfast and then clicking on your skis to depart from your own residence at whatever time you please. However, I do realize these properties don’t fit every budget.
2. Embrace the Bus
Park City has an incredible free bus system and if you plan your day properly, this mode of transportation can be a Godsend. It’s also terrific when there are middle school or older aged kids who want to manage their own schedule. Let them take the free bus! The bus can be a fun social experience too, particularly if your driver has an engaging personality and has good taste in music! We now have two bus systems in greater Park City – the Park City Municipally operated bus system and High Valley Transit which serves the Snyderville Basin (think beyond the McPolin Barn heading north.) Yes, there is some overlap, so be sure to select the service best for you. For Park City proper, peruse the Park City map and
schedule here and then download the MyStop mobile app, which uses GPS to keep you updated on schedules and allows you to track your bus in real time. High Valley Transit serves Summit County, and routes can be found here. You can download their app by searching “High Valley Transit” in the Apple Store or Google Play.
3. Deer Valley or Park City Mountain Resort
To park at either Deer Valley or Park City Mountain Resort’s two base areas, early birds should plan to arrive by no later than 8:00 a.m. to obtain a reasonably close parking space. Currently, there is no charge to park at either resort, however that is likely to change in the coming seasons. When young kiddos are involved, it may make sense to leave them and their gear at the passenger drop off areas provided, rather than schlepping all that gear through a slippery parking lot. This requires packing your vehicle in an organized fashion (last in, first out kind of plan) as the resort staff will expect you to be quick at the drop off and it won’t be a good day if little Jimmy forgot his poles or gloves. Keep each kid’s stuff organized in their own bags and teach them the art of putting everything back in its place – a valuable life lesson! Oh, and leave an adult with the kids while the driver goes and parks. Then, take a picture of where your vehicle is parked. Really. This has saved me countless times as you’re likely to be fatigued after 30,000 feet of vertical. Many vehicles look alike!
4. Deer Valley® Resort
At Deer Valley® Resort, there’s a nice big drop off area and staff will help unload your vehicle and stash your gear on the abundant racks, which is their “difference.” Once directed by staff to your parking spot, look for the shuttle stop on the west side of the parking lots. This is a pickup truck pulling an open-air trailer with rows of seats to take you to the main base lodge at Snow Park. It’s quite convenient and will drop you beneath the lodge, where you ascend a series of indoor staircases to the base area. Head north to the ski racks for any gear deposited from the drop off area. Better yet, use Deer Valley’s complimentary overnight ski storage! If you choose to start your day from Silver Lake, know that the drop off area is a bit further to the slopes and all parking is paid (if available) in underground lots beneath the condominium and hotel properties.
5. Park City Mountain Resort
Skiing or riding Park City Mountain Resort requires a decision as to which side of the mountain you wish to ski. If you’re staying right in town, you should be able to walk or take the Trolley to the Town Lift, which is located on the west side of Lower Main Street in the 700 block. The “original Resort Center” as we locals call it, lies within Park City proper. If you plan to ski from the Resort Center which accesses the southern end of this huge resort, you’ll park in one of two sides of the big main lot. You can drop your passengers and gear off by the skating rink. The lot on the north side provides ready access to the First-Time beginner lift, so park there if you have little ones or brand-new skiers/riders!
6. Canyons Village
If Canyons Village makes more sense for your skiing/riding preferences to access what locals call the Canyons (or Wolf Mountain and/or Park West for earlier iterations!) you’ll be parking in the large lot just west of the Seven-11 store off Highway 224 at the Canyon Village entrance. Arrive by no later than 8:00 a.m. When you enter the roundabout off Canyons Resort Dr., you’ll go ¾ way around and head south to enter the lot. To drop off passengers, head towards the base of the Cabriolet, which is an open-air gondola your ride standing that is very apparent. Then follow the attendants to park, photograph your location and head back towards the Cabriolet. This will take your group up into the heart of the village known as The Forum where you will either get on the gondola or bear right down the walkway to the Orange Bubble Express quad chair adjacent to the Grand Summit Hotel. I personally prefer the Orange Bubble. Yes, the seats are heated!
7. Woodward Park City
Woodward Park City is being rapidly discovered by the Wasatch Front population and while their lot is large, it does fill up quickly. Get there by 8:30 a.m. and you should find a spot or take the High Valley Transit bus right to the drop off area.
8. The Cottonwood Canyons
If you’re going to venture over to Big or Little Cottonwood Canyons for skiing or riding, be aware of new parking rules.
a. At Solitude, they’ve adopted a Tap N Ski paid parking system using QR codes; paid parking is in effect 7 days a week. Ikon passholders might want to consider a full season parking pass.
b. Brighton still offers plenty of free parking, but those wanting to avoid missing out on a spot might wish to consider a $25 reservation.
c. At Alta parking reservation are required from 8 am – 1 pm on weekends and holidays. The day rate is $25, learn more here.
d. For the 2021-22 winter season, Snowbird will offer a variety of ways to park including the ability to park in free lots on a first-come, first-served basis, pay for reserved daily parking in advance or purchase a Preferred Parking Pass. As local guidelines allow, Snowbird will renew its focus on encouraging and celebrating carpooling with expanded carpool parking areas.
9. Snowbasin Resort
Snowbasin Resort is immensely popular with northern Utah visitors and locals so arriving early is still the best strategy, again 8:00 am is the magic hour. They have two large lots with plans to add significantly to their parking inventory over the next few years. Their lot also has a nice shuttle like Deer Valley, so don’t be too worried if you wind up parking far from their luxurious base lodges. They also have a large, convenient drop off area with rolling carts that make it super convenient for schlepping gear to the lifts. The culture of tailgating here is very much alive, despite some of the finest lodges in the state.
10. Powder Mountain
Powder Mountain is an oddly laid out, no-frills resort with the parking at the top with the exception of their beginner area. There’s a large lot at their main lodge area and an even larger one at the “Hidden Lake” area at the highest point of the mountain. Your biggest challenge here may well be getting a day pass since day passes are extremely limited and need to be purchased online in advance of your ski date. Click here for more details.