Famously known for being a regular family ski vacation destination, it comes as no shock that Park City Mountain Resort was named the 2012 “No. 1 resort for families in North America.” With 60% of its terrain marked as beginner or intermediate, and boasting the most skiable acres in the U.S. (7,300 acres), Park City is a great ski destination for families of all sizes, ages and skills. With a plethora of family-friendly activities like night skiing seven days a week, the alpine coaster, Gorgoza Park and ziplining, your kiddos will never want to leave.
If you’re looking for a family ski destination that is close to the airport, boasts diverse terrain options and provides enough activities to keep you and the kids entertained, look no further than Park City!
With the help of Mountain Travel Expert, Jamie Bangerter, we compiled a five-day sample itinerary that showcases key Park City experiences for families.
Specializing in mountain travel since 2009
Park City is great for families because there is more to do there than just ski. Park City actually has a charming Main Street with lots of history and things to see.
says Jamie Bangerter, a Ski.com Mountain Travel Expert
Day 1: Fly into Salt Lake International and get settled in your accommodations
One of Park City’s best selling points is its close proximity to the Salt Lake International Airport. Not many ski resorts can say that their guests can fly in, get settled into their lodging and hit the slopes all in one day! The 35-minute distance from the airport pins Park City as one of Ski Country’s most accessible resorts, which makes schlepping all your kiddos and their gear that much easier. Plus, with convenient shuttles from the airport, a free bus system and several ski in ski out options available, you don’t even need to rent a car!
For great ski in ski out access, an on-site day care and on-mountain activities like the alpine coaster and Flying Eagle Zipline, we recommend spending your family ski trip at the Grand Summit Hotel, located in the heart of the Canyons and within walking distance of restaurants and rental shops (if you plan on renting your ski and snowboard equipment). The Grand Summit also recently completed a $15 million renovation where no stone was left unturned.
Once you’ve settled into your accommodations, take a shuttle from your accommodation over to Historic Main Street to explore the many eclectic shops and restaurants. Park City includes 100-plus restaurants in walking distance, so finding something the whole family will love is an easy task. Afterward, be sure to stop by the bench around mid-Main Street to see the iconic Franz The Bear statue for a quick photo before finishing the night with a scoop of ice cream at Java Cow.
Day 2: Ski from Canyons Village and visit Gorgoza Tubing Park
Start your first ski day with fresh coffee, tea and assorted breakfast items at the First Tracks Café, located in the lobby of the Grand Summit. Afterward, pick up your rentals and life tickets (if you didn’t the day before) and check your kids into ski school. With world-class instructors, your kids will love ski school in Park City, which is divided up by age group. Serious skiers and riders aged seven to 14 can also enroll in the Ultimate 5 class, where they will cover the entire mountain in groups of five or fewer. Once your kids are taken are of, tackle your first day at Park City Mountain, which connects the old Canyons terrain to Park City via the eight-passenger Quicksilver Gondola, and consists of 7,300+ acres and 300+ ski runs.
Warm up your ski legs up with a few green runs off the High Meadow Chair, which can be reached via the Red Pine Gondola, before transferring over to the Dreamscape and Tombstone Express lifts to meander around their blue runs. Cold days will call for the Orange Bubble Express, located right outside the Grand Summit, which was the country’s first heated, covered chair. More experienced skiers and riders will enjoy the intermediate runs off the Dreamcatcher lift and Red Pine Gondola. Access to black runs and the Red Pine Bowl can be found off Ninety-Nine Express, or alternatively check out the Super Condor if moguls are more your speed.
When it comes time for lunch, the Canyons Village and the terrain accessed from it have several different options, both on-mountain and in the village. A local favorite is Lookout Cabin, which sits mid-mountain and can be reached via the mid-station of the Orange Bubble Express. You can enjoy gourmet fare, an excellent wine list and some spectacular views from both inside and the balcony. Families on a budget will want to try out the cafeteria-style Red Pine Lodge, which also offers great views from the upper patio.
Once you’ve gotten your ski legs warmed up for the rest of your trip, head in for the day a little early to take a nice soak in a hot tub (if your accommodations have one) before heading over to Gorgoza Tubing Park, located just outside Park City. Offering seven tubing lanes, mini snowmobiles, snacks and the Fort Frosty play area for little ones, there is something for families of all ages at Gorgoza. This lift-served tubing park is open until 8 p.m., so you’ll have plenty of time to race your kids to the bottom after a big day of skiing.
Tubing at Soldier Hollow is a great way to rest your tired ski legs. And…the tubes are pulled to the top! Minimal walking required.
For a quick bite after a long day on the slopes I recommend El Chubasco. The prices are right and the food is good!
Day 3: Ski Park City Mountain before embarking on a nighttime sleigh ride
Begin your second ski day by taking a shuttle or riding the free bus over to the Park City base area, where you can grab a quick coffee and bite at Jupiter Java, or enjoy a warm and hearty breakfast at Legacy Café. From there you can get checked into ski school before jumping on either the Crescent lift or Payday Express to Bonanza for an easy, meandering cruise down Claimjumper. Drift is also a favorite beginner run for skiers and riders who are looking to practice a little more skill and gain confidence in their speed.
Getting off the main drag of the ski slopes quickly is the key to any good powder day. Take the kids over to the King Con Hi Speed chair where there are multiple green and blue runs that are great for families.
When hunger strikes, hit up one of Park City’s many on-mountain grills. The Summit House is located at the top of Bonanza lift, and is accessible from five different chairlifts, so you’re likely to come across it at some point. With a variety of dining options, stunning views of the Uinta Mountain Range and a heated deck, it will be hard to leave for a few more afternoon runs. Other great on-mountain grills include Miner’s Camp at the base of the Quicksilver Gondola and Silverlode Express and the Mid-Mountain Lodge near the base of McConkey and Pioneer lifts.
After lunch if you’re looking to challenge yourself, or maybe your family is full of expert and experienced skiers, head over to the Jupiter Bowl, or tackle some of Park City’s 13 signature runs. The signature runs are mostly black diamonds, but, thanks to meticulous grooming, allow intermediate skiers the pleasure of steep skiing in a comfortable way. A few top signature runs to put on your list include Prospector, Sunrise and Parley’s Park.
Once you’ve had enough for the day, head back to your accommodations for a rest before embarking on a horse-drawn sleigh ride for the night. Located at the base of Park City, you have the option to choose a 30-minute sleigh ride without dinner, or opt for a dinner ride that leads up to a mountain lodge with food and entertainment for the evening.
Day 4: Take a day off the slopes to explore Park City’s top attractions
For your third day, take the day off to rest your legs and explore Park City’s many attractions and historic areas. Start your morning by taking the free bus system over to Main Street for breakfast or brunch. We suggest checking out The Eating Establishment, which serves up classic breakfast and comfort food at the right place.
Once you’ve finished with breakfast, take the morning to do any shopping along Main Street and the surrounding area that you may have missed on your first day before heading over to Utah Olympic Park. Built for the 2002 Olympics, the park features one of only four sliding tracks in North America, six Nordic ski jumps, a 2002 Olympic Games museum and many other activities, including a zipline and ropes course. Thrill seekers can even take a ride on the Comet bobsled!
After playing around the Olympic Park, take a shuttle or bus back into the Park City base area to try out the iconic mountain coaster. The elevated track winds you through more than a mile of loops and curves at speeds up to 30 mph, with use of hand brakes.
Finish off the night with dinner at Wasatch Brew Pub, where the kiddos can pick their favorites off the kids menu, and you can sample some of Utah’s best brews.
Day 5: Finish out your final ski day and soak it off in a mineral crater
As the largest ski resort in the U.S., it’s hard to ski everything in two days, so take your final day to enjoy the runs you may have missed, or even jump back on your favorites.
When you’re ready to grab a bite, ski to the Tombstone Grill at the bottom of Tombstone Express for authentic western barbecue. Here you can catch a few rays on the lounge chairs outside before taking the Quicksilver Gondola over to the Park City side to finish out your last ski day.
No trip to Park City can be complete without visiting the Homestead Crater, so once you’ve finished skiing, drop off your rentals and gear before making your way to Midway, just a short 15-minute drive from Park City. The Homestead Crater is a one-of-a-kind geothermal spring, hidden within a 55-foot limestone rock on the Homestead property, and is the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate after a long week of skiing. Here you can enjoy a therapeutic soak in crystal-clear mineral water while the kids snorkel around the crater in a safe and fun environment (don’t worry, life jackets are included!).
Once you’ve finished your soak and cleaned up for dinner, we suggest you treat yourself on the last day of your family ski vacation to one of Park City’s best—High West Saloon, located just off Main Street on Park Avenue. Known for their craft cocktails, house whiskey and delicious gourmet fare, High West is also family-friendly. Any whiskey drink will delight the palate, especially the High West Lemonade, while top dinner recommendations include the bison burger, pretzel and beer cheese plate and mac & cheese.
Born in Texas, but raised in the beautiful Salt Lake Valley, I've always known the mountains of Utah to be home. After pursuing duel marketing and business degrees in the Great White North of Logan, Utah, I re-settled near downtown Salt Lake City where I can enjoy the best of both worlds: city life and world-class mountain ranges. You can always find me exploring Salt Lake's foodie scene, skiing at Alta, rock climbing or hiking in the breathtaking Wasatch mountains.