Playing is the Priority

When silver was discovered in the mountains outside Park City, Utah, in the late 1800s, Union Pacific Railroad answered the call and built a broad-gauge spur line, the Echo-Park City Railway, completed in 1880. Just over 100 years later, the line was abandoned and local outdoor enthusiasts picked up the torch and soon dedicated the state’s first non-motorized rail trail that starts at 6,900 feet and falls, over nearly 30 miles, to 5,280 feet, rambling through Silver Creek Canyon, poking along the Weber River to Echo Reservoir. During the winter, the trail greets cross-country skiers and fat tire bikers with easy access from historic main street in Park City, a small town with a big menu of recreation, dining, shopping and accommodations that outshines other busier Rocky Mountain ski destinations. 

With multiple daily nonstop flights from Bush Intercontinental Airport to Salt Lake City, you can be on the snowy trails or slopes (or at the spa or sipping local whiskey) by midday, with a free trolley at the ready to get you to and from your hotel so all you need to think about is your next adventure.

Park City is renowned as the host to the Sundance Film Festival, which takes over the town Jan. 24 to Feb. 3 this year, leaving a lingering air of sophistication to the community where already international and local art, elevated food from 150-plus restaurants and luxurious lodging are the stars of the show year-round. 

People who call of Park City home (or second home) seem to be adventurous by nature, while holding close an appreciation for a luxurious lifestyle and an urban palate. 

When we visited, we met Andrew and Tiffany Percy, an Australian couple who owns a breakfast-all-day cafe called Five5eeds. Menu items include sensational coffee and a memorable brunch that features shakshouka, Moroccan baked eggs, feta, dukkah and spicy sausage; an Instagrammable bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with toasted coconut, loads of nuts and seeds topped with whipped mascarpone; and pulled pork Benedict to make even a Texan swoon. Named for their five children, Five5eeds is a warm and friendly alpine enclave to fuel you up for an active day with dishes that will surprise you with thoughtfulness and taste.

Another breakfast-forward institution, standing sentinel on adorable Main Street, is the Eating Establishment, where the pork hash (slow-roasted pork shoulder, beets, butternut squash, sweet potato, a symphony of veggies crowned by two eggs, your style) coupled with a serious bloody mary could either send you back to bed or to the nearest chairlift for your first run. 

For skiing, you have Park City Mountain, the largest ski and snowboard resort in the U.S.; and Deer Valley Resort, consistently ranked No. 1 in the categories of access, guest service, dining, on-mountain food and lodging by our friends at SKI Magazine

We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Park City, where guests have a dedicated gondola to Canyons Village on Park City Mountain with 7,300 acres and 348 trails—certainly all groomed for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games when six of the 10 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team medals were won on the mountain. After serious skiing comes serious recovery, and the Waldorf Astoria offers guest rooms with a whirlpool or a bi-level one- to four-bedroom suite with Viking appliances and a balcony. Taking the kids? Children 18 and under stay free in their parents’ room. And while the historic main street and mountain-side eateries offer options galore, one of the best restaurants around is tucked away off the gorgeous hotel lobby. Powder serves a hearty, meat-centric dinner menu, and craft cocktails and an extensive wine list are taken seriously. 

In fact, everyone at the Waldorf Astoria and at Park City’s many restaurants and outdoor sports purveyors takes their jobs seriously. Your joy is their job because Park City a place where playing is a priority. Get out and play!

Park City Planning

Trails maps and history: MountainTrails.org

Resources galore: VisitParkCity.com

Play

Fat tire biking, snowshoeing, sleigh rides and more

AllSeasonsAdventures.com

Stay and Stay Fueled

Five5eed: 1600 Snow Creek Drive, Park City, Five5eeds.com

The Eating Establishment: 327 Main St., Park City, TheEatingEstablishment.net

Waldorf Astoria Park City: 2100 Frostwood Blvd., Park City, WaldorfAstoria.com