The Ski Town Showdown
Park City and Vail are known to have a lot in common: both have phenomenal ski resorts, both provide an amazing escape to the mountains, both are on the Epic Pass, and both are famous for their glitz and glamour. But between two towns where it’s not uncommon to see a Porsche with a ski rack, one is better than the other. These are 8 reasons why Park City is better than Vail.
#1: More Skiable Acreage
Boasting 7,300 square acres of skiable terrain, Park City Mountain is the second largest ski mountain in North America. This means, no matter what level of skier or boarder you are, there are endless runs to try during your vacation. Plus, the town has a second ski mountain, Deer Valley, meaning you will never have to ski the same terrain twice. Vail’s 5,829 ski acres simply can’t compete.
#2: More Snow
Trust us, there’s a reason Utah boasts the “best snow on earth.” Phrases like “entering the white room,” “cold smoke,” “face shots,” and “rooster tails” are part of our everyday speech. And that’s because Utah gets an unbelievable amount of snow per year. The yearly average in Park City is 283 inches and that’s compared to Vail’s 248 inches. So, choose Park City, and don’t forget to bring a snorkel for the deep powder days.
#3: Better Access
Whether you decide to bus, train, or fly to Park City, nothing beats the easy access to the town. Located just off i-80, Park City is a thirty-minute drive from Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake City Airport. Even if you come on a weekend, you won’t have to fight the brutal Colorado traffic. But, the easy access doesn’t stop at getting in and out of town. It’s easier to get around town too. The Park City bus system is completely free and overly convenient, dropping you off just steps away from the slopes and the town’s famous restaurants.
#4: Fewer Crowds
We’re going to let you in on a little secret, the liquor laws in Utah aren’t actually that bad. Sure they’re a little squirrely and take some getting used to, but you can still find a good beer or cocktail almost anywhere you go. The benefit of our weird liquor laws is that they scare away the crowds. You’ll rarely wait in a lift line longer than five minutes once they start spinning for the day and you won’t have to fight everyone from the states of California and Texas for fresh powder after a storm.
#5: The Sundance Film Festival
This one-of-a-kind Festival is a unique Park City event that happens every winter. Everyone from A-list celebrities to the next up-and-coming director flock to town for ten days filled with films, parties, and experiences. Whether you’re a movie buff or not, you’ll find something worth doing during the Festival. Plus, the ski hills are practically empty, meaning you get the snow to yourself.
#6: More Kid Friendly
If there’s one thing the people of Utah understand, it’s family values. Throughout this mountain town, there is plenty of fun activities to do with your kids in tow. If your kid is just learning to ski, both Deer Valley and Park City have exceptional ski school programs. At Deer Valley, there are even four mascots that can be seen around the ski area and Park City Mountain has ski schools at both the Park City base area and the Canyons Village base area. There is a handful of kid-friendly activities off the mountain as well. Soldier Hollow has some of the best tubing around, The Park City Library hosts storytelling events, and Jupiter Bowl has light-up bowling that will keep everyone entertained for hours. But the thing that Vail simply doesn’t have is the Utah Olympic Park. During the 2002 Winter Olympics, it was home to the ski jumping, bobsled, luge, and skeleton events. Now, in addition to hosting several elite events a year, you can try bobsledding, take a winter zip line tour, climb around on the high ropes course, or walk through the Alf Engen Ski Museum.
#7: Free Mountain Parking
Sure, it seems like a small thing in the grand scheme of your vacation, but there’s nothing more frustrating than having to pay for parking at a ski hill. If you want to be close to the lifts at Vail, be prepared to drop $30/day. Whereas, if you want to be close to the lifts at Park City, you’ll just have to set your alarm clock early. Not paying for parking simply means you have one less thing to worry about when you’re already having to think about whether you have both ski boots and both ski socks.
#8: More Diverse Lodging Options
From luxurious lodges that have ski-in/ski-out access and service your every desire to more affordable brand name hotels offering classic hotel stays to quintessential ski condos complete with a hot tub, Park City has it all. Whether you’re coming for a pampered ski vacation or simply want the cheapest access to the world’s best snow, you’ll find your ideal ski lodge here. You’ll be hard pressed to find anything affordable in Vail. Explore Park City hotels and vacation rentals here.