Park City Mountain— Mountain layout
The Town Lift triple chair loads from the lower part of Park City’s Main Street to the base of the Bonanza lift partway up the mountain. Even on holidays or peak periods, the Town Lift is often empty, so you may want to take the free shuttle here and avoid the crowds.
If Payday has a line, try the Eagle chair (to the far right of the base area) and head down blue-square Temptation to the King Con chair.
|Expert, Advanced: Start off with a trip to the top of Blueslip Bowl off the Pioneer Lift. Reportedly, when this was the boundary of the ski area, resort workers regularly slipped under the ropes, made tracks down the bowl and then skied back into the resort. The management passed out blue (you’re fired) slips to anyone caught floating through this powder bowl.Photo courtesy of Park City Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau If you can ski Blueslip with confidence, then try Jupiter Bowl and its neighboring bowls—McConkey’s, Puma and Scott’s. But if you decide Blueslip conditions aren’t, uh, to your liking, never fear because Homerun is near—it begins at the top of the Pioneer lift and takes you gently down to the base area.
Jupiter Bowl has every type of steep expert terrain. To reach the Jupiter lift, take the Jupiter access road from the top of the Pioneer or Thaynes lifts. It’s a long, flat traverse, so don’t lose your speed. To the left as you get off the Jupiter lift are wide-open faces, especially on the West Face, which is the easiest way down (a relative term). The West Face is as far from the Jupiter Lift as you can ski. It can be covered with windblown crust, so you might want to ask about conditions before you board the lift. Narrow gullies and chutes, such as Silver Cliff, 6 Bells and Indicator, drop vertically between tightly packed evergreens. Head to the right as you get off the chair and try Portuguese Gap, a run more akin to having the floor open below you, or traverse to Scott’s Bowl, which is just as steep. Main Bowl, closer to the lift, also offers some nice turns as it drops under the chair.
The adventurous (and those with parachutes) will find definite thrills in McConkey’s Bowl and Puma Bowl. McConkey’s is served by McConkey’s Hi-Speed Six-Pack. Puma still requires a long traverse across a ridge and some hiking from either the Jupiter or McConkey’s lifts to reach its steep faces and chutes on the backside of Jupiter Peak.
Advanced skiers looking for steeps or moguls, try the blacks off the Motherlode triple or the neighboring Thaynes double. Glory Hole and Double Jack offer a good challenge. Or, ski the front face on the runs off the Ski Team Lift. Most of the deliciously long trails here are left au naturel, but Willy’s is on the occasional grooming list. Hit it on the right day, and it’s fun.
For a steep cruiser that is groomed daily, head down nearby Silver Queen. Or try out Silver King, a steep, smooth boulevard used by Resort Ski Ambassador Picabo Street to train back from rehab before the 2002 Winter Games.
The new Silver Star triple services a treed area and also opens up three new intermediate runs
|Intermediate: Choices are mind-boggling. If you want to start with a worthy cruiser, take Payday from the top of the lift by the same name. The views are spectacular, and at night it becomes one of the longest lighted runs in the Rockies. Probably most popular are the 11 trails served by King Consolidated (called “King Con” by just about everyone). These runs have a steep, wide, smooth pitch. Both intermediates and advanced skiers will enjoy the runs under the Silverlode chair. To avoid crowds, try the four blues under the Pioneer chair. Or, board McConkey’s, enjoy the spectacular view, and take the intermediate ridge routes down from the top. If you want to test yourself, look for a grooming report to find out which black-diamond runs have been groomed.
The new Silver Star lift opens up three new intermediate runs.
|Beginner, First-timer: Even those just getting into their snowplow turns can take the Payday and Bonanza chairs to the Summit House and descend the 3.5-mile-long, easy run appropriately named Homerun.For an adventure and to see a different part of the mountain, take the Mid-Mountain Run to the Pioneer chair, where you can have lunch and watch experts head down Blueslip Bowl. The only complaint about the beginner runs here is that everyone else uses them too. The upper parts of the green-circle trails are used as access routes, while the bottoms are the end runs for skiers coming off more advanced terrain. The greens here are wide and gentle, but they wind in and around tougher stuff. If you’re just starting out and concerned about getting in above your head, carry a trail map and pay attention to the signage. And head to the bottom well before day’s end if you like plenty of room.
For first-timers, the First Time high-speed quad, which slows down during loading and unloading to help ease apprehensions of getting on and off the lift, serves two nice and easy trails. The Three Kings chair takes you a bit higher to more good learning terrain.