A Tale of Two Park Cities

Park City is the consummate destination resort, whether for budget backpackers looking to ski-and-save or big-money travelers after some select pampering. So rest assured that whatever the color of your charge card, Utah's 2002 Olympic star has got you covered.

Accordingly, we offer two versions of a destination guide for Park City and environs -- one for those on a shoestring budget and one for those seeking pleasure in the Park.


The Scene

The erstwhile stoner sport of snowboarding came of age at the 2002 Winter Olympics -- and Park City was its turn-a-blind-eye chaperone. The telegenic halfpipe competitions, plus equally telegenic acrobatic stars like Kelly Clark and Danny Cass, raked in record crowds, not to mention a new generation of vert-obsessed groms.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Park City is the place both to play and party, this despite its location in the heart of Utah's buttoned-up Mormon country. Indeed, Park City was shaking things up long before the 2002 Olympics' X-Games vibe introduced the former mining town to millions of TV viewers.

In 1868 the discovery of silver in the mountains brought a flood of businesses, miners, and chancers to the Wasatch slopes for a shot at striking it rich. Sixteen years later, in 1884, Park City was officially incorporated and the mines kept things growing right up until their final closure in 1949. Walk up and down the historic Main Street today and you'll still get a sense of that hardscrabble 19th-century graft, even if the jail and old flophouses are now flanked by high-end galleries and ritzy restaurants. Fox fur and Dior sunglasses may intermingle with the weathered hoodies and baggy jeans, but you get the picture....

The Slopes

Rock up to a ticket kiosk at any of Park City's three resorts -- Park City Mountain, Deer Valley, and The Canyons -- and any self-respecting powderhound will reel from sticker shock. With some of the highest prices in the country, any budget will be blown if you're spending upwards of $70 for a daily lift ticket.

So be a good scrounger and save by buying in bulk -- in other words, check out the deals on multi-day tickets. The Canyons (435.649.5400; www.thecanyons.com) offers a free day's skiing if you buy multi-day lift tickets from their central reservations office at least 48 hours in advance; call 888-226-9667. Not a bad deal for 3,500 acres of primo powder, 100 runs, and five terrain parks in which to hone those wanabee Ross Powers skillz.

Another way to save up your nightly beer money is to sign up for Park City's Quick START program, offering a complimentary ticket to any one of the town's three resorts on the day you fly into Salt Lake City. Simply register online for a redemption voucher, hop the next SLC-bound flight, and present your voucher and your boarding pass along with a photo ID to the resort of your choice. Then you've got what remains of a snow-filled day to kick off your vacation in grand style. Visit www.parkcityinfo.com/skiing/quickstart/ for more information.

The Crib

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