POW­DER PLAY­ERS

Park City, Utah, might be an un­der-the-radar ski des­ti­na­tion com­pared with its flashier coun­ter­parts, but its low-key vibe be­lies its su­per­star reg­u­lars, per­fect snow and bur­geon­ing farm-to-ta­ble din­ing scene.

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents - By STEPHANIE HUX­LEY

Ski-sea­son per­fec­tion in Park City, Utah.

FROMTHE FIRST salt-crusted, snow-blan­keted aerial view via my plane win­dow of Salt Lake Val­ley and the Wasatch Moun­tains, the Park City land­scape is beau­ti­ful, raw, sub­lime. Best known as the home of Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val, Park City is also a ski lo­ca­tion prized for its con­sis­tent pow­der, ex­ten­sive ter­rain and plen­ti­ful blue­bird days each sea­son.

Vail Re­sorts ac­quired Park City Moun­tain Re­sort in 2014 and linked it with Canyons vil­lage by way of the Quick­sil­ver gon­dola to cre­ate what is the largest sin­gle ski and snow­board re­sort in the US (it of­fers an Epic Aus­tralia Pass that cov­ers ski fields across the US and Canada as well as in Per­isher, New South Wales). It’s a sur­pris­ingly quick trip from Aus­tralia: fly into LA, trans­fer to a two-hour flight to Salt Lake City, and you’re only a 40-minute drive from the heart of Park City. Nes­tled at the foot of the snow­fields, down­town has a de­cid­edly ur­ban feel. The for­mer mining town’s streets are lined with pre­served his­tor­i­cal build­ings that now house an eclec­tic mix of con­tem­po­rary restau­rants, chic shops and bou­tique ac­com­mo­da­tion. Spend a day shop­ping and keep an eye out for one of the Banksy pieces dot­ted around.

There is an un­der­stated lux­ury to Park City. This is a qui­eter celebrity hotspot, home to The Colony, per­haps the most exclusive hous­ing de­vel­op­ment in any ski re­sort in the world, where Will Smith, Justin Bieber and Robert Red­ford

are said to own or rent houses. My ski in­struc­tor, Alex Fleet, who seems to have had quite a num­ber of celebrity pupils, de­scribes one of the ski runs, Mys­tic Pines, as “Hi­lary Swank’s favourite”. But un­like other, glitzier, bet­ter-known re­sorts, this is where celebri­ties come to ski without be­ing seen.

My first day in Park City is spent ski­ing Canyons Vil­lage, where the wide ter­rain feels end­less once I make it off the magic car­pet with the help of my very pa­tient and very pro in­struc­tor. The land­scape is pic­turesque, and the feel­ing of zoom­ing along be­tween qui­etly re­ver­ber­at­ing as­pens un­der clear skies is sec­ond to none.

Park City Moun­tain is a lit­tle more built-up, un­til we make our way up the moun­tain, where we are greeted by views to Deer Val­ley. Lunch op­tions on both moun­tains are all-amer­i­can, ski-lodge style. I be­come ad­dicted to warm­ing bowls of veg­e­tar­ian chilli; burg­ers, fries and sal­ads are on of­fer, too.the menu is much the same at each spot, but it’s worth try­ing a few dif­fer­ent van­tage points — at Sum­mit House, views sweep all the way down the val­ley and up to the high­est point in Park City, known as Ninety-nine 90 for its el­e­va­tion in feet.

By the end of our sec­ond day, Alex has me con­fi­dent on blue runs with min­i­mal tum­bles, I learn to ski back­wards (slowly, on a very slight in­cline, with a lot of squeal­ing), and we’ve vis­ited all of the im­pres­sive spots for photo op­por­tu­ni­ties. I vow never to ski without a pri­vate in­struc­tor again.

While the days are spent swish­ing down the moun­tain, evenings in Park City are all about re­laxed après-ski fol­lowed by farm-totable din­ing. For drinks right off the slopes, visit the world’s first and only ski-in gas­tro-dis­tillery, High West, for the in­cred­i­bly well-ex­e­cuted cock­tails and de­li­cious mod­ern-south­ern food.the din­ing scene in Park City is young yet im­pres­sive, with a strong fo­cus on sea­son­al­ity and lo­cal in­gre­di­ents, chefs del­i­cately bal­anc­ing in­ven­tive­ness with com­fort-food of­fer­ings. Make a reser­va­tion and set­tle in for a night of shared feast­ing at buzzy Han­dle.

On our fi­nal day, we join Park City Yoga Ad­ven­tures at nearby Blue Sky ranch for a gen­tle guided hike among quiet alpine for­est and across snow-blan­keted hills. Our hour­long walk fin­ishes in a Nor­we­gian-style yurt perched on a moun­tain­top meadow, where we are treated to a pri­vate yoga ses­sion in front of a crack­ling wood fire fol­lowed by cups of herbal tea. a deeply restora­tive day off the slopes and the per­fect tonic for ski-tired mus­cles (and, in our case, a god­send for a last-night-in-park-city-in­duced hang­over).

“My ski in­struc­tor, Alex Fleet, who seems to have had quite a num­ber of celebrity pupils, de­scribes one of the ski runs as ‘Hi­lary Swank’s favourite’.”

Grand Sum­mit Ho­tel. Left: the Wasatch Range.

From top: down­town Park City; the liv­ing room at Wash­ing­ton School House Ho­tel fea­tures an antler chan­de­lier adorned with Swarovski crys­tals and a gilded mir­ror from France; the ho­tel’s out­door pool.

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