Aside from the Christmas Holiday the next busiest day of the year is likely Presidents Day.
So it was that this past Monday found me headed to ski the afternoon at Park City Mountain Resort with my wife. Since she was already on the mountain skiing with her brother and sister, I weighed my options of how to meet up with them. They were skiing Thaynes and McConkeys and said that Payday was quite busy in addition to the parking lots looking full.
Driving into Park City on Highway 248 (otherwise known as the "back door" to Park City) there were signs confirming that indeed the lots were full and to park at the High School. It was then that I had the idea to try the Town Lift, the only lift of any of the three Park City area resorts (The Canyons, Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort) that I had not ridden. Another first for the day was a chance to test my new Eider jacket which I think I've fallen in love with - but more on that in my next post.
Despite the many parking options with buses that can drop you at the town lift, I scored a great parking spot on Park Avenue just a block from the lift and walked up to the lower main street plaza. There were a handful of skiers and snowboarders there with a few more skiing across the bridge from the mountain. It felt like a private ski resort and the afternoon sun had many sitting on decks enjoying a respite from the skiing.
The Town Lift starts from lower Main Street, rises above streets and houses of Old Town and terminates near the bottom of the Bonanza Lift. It's a "short cut" to the upper mountain for those in the know. A bridge over the street connects the lift terminal to the mountain with runs like Creole and Quit N' Time which descend from Payday. The ride took about 10 minutes.
Even with the apparent "crowds" it didn't feel all that crowded to me. Bonanza was a 1 minute wait, McConkeys was about a 1 minute wait, Pioneer was ski on, Silverload was without lines. Even Payday had but a 1 min wait at 4pm when we made some of our final laps.
We spent most of the afternoon hiking the shoulder of Jupiter Peak (Pinyon Ridge) from McConkeys lift. The hike was only 2-4 minutes and although a bumped and icy Sunrise run was a mere 50 yards to our skiers right we found "styrofoam" carveable snow just off the ridge and some untouched pockets of powder in the nicely spaced pines below. Add to that the views and it was worth repeating...3 times.
A couple of laps on Pioneer, Silverload and then farming powder in various tree shots off of PayDay and we were ready to call it a day. Since I had arrived after lunch we skied until 5 and then we skied down Creole, over the town bridge to the lower main town plaza where many were enjoying the après ski in the various bars and restaurants of lower main street Park City.
Taking it all in I had to smile as I clicked out of my skis as I knew that being in the know paid off again. The road less traveled was the right call for a busy holiday.