Riddle: How do you eat an elephant? This Zen koan is helpful when visiting the largest resort in the U.S., which, last season, shrugged off the vestiges of its former two halves (Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons) and began to feel at peace with its elephantine dimensions.
Still, the resort’s size has a way of watering down reader plaudits and slides Park City into the middle of the pack. “Sprawling resorts give up something to character,” one reader laments. Optimists point out that all that acreage offers rewards to the intrepid seeker (“It’s easy to find terrain with no crowds”), while pessimists decry “too many people!” Polarity, it seems, is the price of popularity. Meanwhile, parents love the kid-friendly vibe (No. 11) and despite some perennial grousing about prices, dining gets high marks at No. 10. Navigating all that acreage requires patience to scope out hidden-in-plain-sight gems like the Town Lift (“great to ski into town at the end of the day, just steps to restau- rants, bars, music”), secret powder stashes off the Daybreak lift, and the steep thrills of Jupiter Bowl. So, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
The history beneath the hill is as interest- ing as the snow on it. The guided Silver-to-Slopes Historic Mining Tour doubles as an introduction to the resort’s 7,000 acres as well as a fascinating history lesson.