Nestled in the mountains, it might seem like Park City's year-round population of about 8,000 and historic mining roots makes it something with a minimal draw. That is, of course, until people consider Park City's awesome location and capacity as a tourist destination. These days, Park City brings in over half a billion each year in tourist dollars, particularly focused on the fun and delights of winter. However, Park City has a great deal to offer in any season.
Early spring may be one of the best times to enjoy an excellent day of skiing in Park City. The days are longer, the weather is not quite as biting, and there is still plenty of powder on the slopes. Most ski resorts in and around Park City are open until early or mid-April, allowing skiers a long season of great exercise and views. After the weather starts to thaw a bit, the city opens up for Spring Gruv, a big blast of outdoor entertainment to suit any style. Spring Gruv, held once a year in late March and early April, fills over two weeks with free outdoor concerts and other activities. Brave souls can showcase their skills at the Pond Skimming Contest, a yearly spectacle in which contestants put on a costume and attempt to ski or snowboard across a 100-foot pond. Spectators only need a lift or gondola ticket to join in the fun.
Although much of Park City's enjoyment emphasizes winter action, the mountains are full of entertainment options in the height of summer. People who want to experience the delights of a bobsled down the green, flowery hills can try out one of several alpine coasters. An alpine coaster, also called a “mountain coaster,” relies on gravity to create a speedy descent down a track. Those who want to delight in the area a bit more slowly are welcome to partake in the region's many outdoor features, including:
- horseback riding
At 7,000 feet in elevation, Park City has a much milder summer temperature than that of Salt Lake City, about 30 miles to the west. As a result, people can enjoy the long days and cool nights without as much worry about overheating.
As summer bleeds into fall, many Park City residents start to count down the days until November, when the ski resorts usually open for winter sports. Until then, the Wasatch Back is still an excellent place for a day out. While the days and evenings are still mild, many resorts offer outdoor concerts. As the leaves turn, spending a day on a scenic drive, such as the Guardsman Pass Scenic Backway, is a wonderful way to catch the vibrant hues of the fall foliage. Some of these paths are closed once the snow arrives, so fall may be people's last chance to take in the views until the following summer.
If Park City nails any season just perfectly, it has to be winter. In the middle of winter, the temperatures are low and the snow-covered roads are high. Yet, the atmosphere is one of infinite possibility. There are many ski resorts within easy driving distance of Park City, varying in price, skill level, and available amenities. People who want something a bit different can go to Utah Olympic Park, which was built for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Now, visitors to the park can sign up for winter tubing or a bobsled ride. Last, but certainly not least, is the world-famous Sundance Film Festival, held once a year in January. Here, the homely and the Hollywood elite all crowd in together for a chance to ski, attend some fabulous parties, and watch the best independent films of the year.
Making a day of fun in Park City is not difficult in any season, whether you're visiting Old Ranch Road or another area. With a selection of activities ranging from films to fishing, Park City offers enough entertainment for anyone's preference.