PACKED POWDER AT PARK CITY
by Paul Maraschiello

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We were staying at a great condo in Park City called Crestview, just off the interstate. The place was brand new and featured a clubhouse, indoor parking and is affiliated with the Powder Wood which is just down the road. We had a one bedroom condo with a large livingroom/kitchen and 1 baths. Everything was first class from the leather livingroom furniture to the big-screen TV and fully furnished kitchen. Even the bathroom facilities were above average and included an extra deep tub for soaking after a hard day at the slopes. This condo slept four (2 in the king size bed) and two on the foldout couch. During the peak season the rent is only $240 and if you divide this four ways it comes out to $60 per person and when you consider that you can save a lot of money doing your own cooking, I think this is a great deal, even for a ski bum.

When we arrived, we were impressed by the base area. There are 41 shops, restaurants, lodges and other facilities right at the bottom of the mountain.

We got through the bottleneck in the rental shop and were amazed at the amount of time it took. They only had a few people trying to rent equipment but although they have replaced the paper and pencil forms with a computer, everything still had to be verified and there were too few personnel to handle the people trying to rent equipment. I don't want to gripe but all they would have to do is verify the credit cards on-line when the visitor is typing in the info on the computer and the bottleneck could be eliminated.



THE SKIING
Park City is a great ski area. It has a 3,100 ft. vertical and 100 trails. The longest run, Homerun is 3 miles long and there are 3,300 acres. They have 14 chair lifts with four chairs that I call "flying couches" because they hold six people.



Park City is BIG. It reminded me of the best ski areas in the East but bigger. Most of the slopes were groomed, although there were a lot of bump runs too. The snow was packed powder with just enough ice to make a Killington native feel right at home. When we were there, the bumps were mid-size and firm. We skied all the blue trails and some of the black diamond trails on mid-mountain. We made the mistake of warming up on double Jack and the bumps were more than my assistant could handle. I didn't have any problem with them and they made me think of the bumps in Vermont. We rode up the Thaynes chair and looked for some easier runs. We went down Hidden Splendor and rode up the Silverload "flying couch".



We spent three days skiing Park City and found a lot of very skiable terrain. There are many wide slopes, treed skiing and bump runs. I skied most of the expert runs and Glory Hole was one of my favorite trails. They let it bump up on one side and groomed the other side flat. Fools Gold, another black diamond trail, had soft bumps because it had not been skied very much and was in good shape. Parley's Park was a wide, groomed trail that beginners to experts would like. We took a few rides on the King Con chair and enjoyed skiing the many blue trails services by that chair. We got over to the East Side of the mountain and rode the McConkey's chair. My companion was humbled by the steep section at the top of Sunrise but was not phased by the bumps and ice at the bottom of Tycoon which I thought was tougher to ski than the top of Sunrise. We skied a few of the easier trails off the Pioneer Chair and then had a nice lunch in the mid-mountain restaurant. We also ate at the Snow Hut Restaurant and the Summit House and I thought the food at the Summit House was the best on the mountain. There were some interesting restaurants at the bottom of the mountain but we never sampled their food.



We never got to Pine Cone Ridge because there was nothing there that my assistant could ski. Otherwise, we skied almost every blue and black trail at Park City and I was very favorably impressed with this ski area. They had a lot of skiers and snowboarders when I was there and some of the trails had a lot of traffic but Park City is very able to deal with large crowds and spread them over a large area. The trails were well groomed and many of them were wide. There was good snow coverage on almost every trail and I liked the feel of the place. Some of the equipment that was left over from their mining days added to the charm of the place.



We ran into a teliskier on the chair who pointed out his tracks on Pine Cone Ridge. He worked for the U.S. Postal Service and skied almost every day. He made me wish I lived in the area. Once a ski bum, always a ski bum and the snow is always better on the other side of the fence.



If you are going on a ski trip to Utah, I strongly suggest you put Park City high on your list of must-ski ski areas, especially if you prefer wide groomed slopes to deep powder skiing. Park City looks a lot tamer than it really is and there are a lot of challenging slopes to keep the experts happy. Beginners will be delighted, intermediates will have a lot of choices that will hone their skills. Skiers, snowboarders, families and single people will all have a great time at Park City. I know I did.

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