Utah is a land of adventure and the unexpected. It’s where you can ski Olympic venues, hike otherworldly deserts and even watch future blockbusters at the Sundance Film Festival. Each run, trail or film fest – no matter how often you experience it or under what conditions – is unique and wonderous because, in Utah, each experience feels as exciting and dynamic as a line from your favorite script.
“When I am at an opera, I get totally carried away. I don't think about the case that's coming up next week, or the brief that I'm in the middle of. I'm overwhelmed by the beauty of the music, the drama, and the sound of human voice. It's like an electric current going through me.” – Ruth Bader Ginsberg, RBG (Sundance Film Festival, 2018)
This winter has brought new adventures and some unexpected rewards. In December, atmospheric ‘rivers’ dumped over 140” of snow to Utah’s mountains introducing many skiers to the glory of waist-deep powder. Then, in January, with guest safety in mind, the Sundance Film Festival smoothly pivoted, like Olympic Gold Medalist skier Ted Ligety around a gate, to an entirely virtual format. This will welcome a broader worldwide audience and allow more people to experience more Sundance and Utah skiing this winter.
The Hollywood actors, directors and moguls will not be in Park City the last two weeks of January. Instead, they’ll be watching Sundance at home like those of us who call Utah home (locals love the Fest). You, too, can book your individual tickets or packages to screen the same movies and participate in the same Q&A sessions as the A-listers. Even better, perhaps, you’d like to live like a local and ski Utah’s famed slopes…before or after finishing your popcorn.
“Excuse me. I think I had better be where other people are not.” – Hugh Grant, Four Weddings and a Funeral (Sundance Film Festival, 1994)
Locals have whispered under their breaths and buffs for years, “Sundance is the best time to ski!” The snowpack is deep, but the lift lines are not. While Hollywood watches the Festival from home, this year, last-minute lodging, and everything else fans flock to Park City for, are more available and affordable than ever. The unexpected has become a spectacular time to book a Utah ski vacation.
“It's fine to live in the now. But the best thing about now is that there's another one tomorrow. I'm gonna start makin' them count.” – Miles Teller, The Spectacular Now (Sundance Film Festival, 2013)
Ski Utah has all the information you need to plan and book your ski vacation. There are 15 resorts to choose from, most within an hour of the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) or a day’s drive from most cities in the West. In fact, if you book a 3-night stay at participating Park City lodging, you can receive a $300 voucher from Delta Airlines (the blackout period for the Sundance Film Festival has been lifted).
Need a place to stay? There are various available accommodations near or at Park City, Deer Valley and Sundance ski resorts to satisfy every need and budget, from condos to hotels to homes and even mansions.
"I don't even have any good skills. You know, like nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills. Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills!" – Jon Heder, Napoleon Dynamite (Sundance Film Festival, 2004)
“To eat good food is to be close to God.” – Tony Shaloub, Big Night (Sundance Film Festival, 1996)
Because you’re going to work up a big appetite after all this activity, Park City restaurants are pulling out the stops to make sure you are well fed at its numerous award-winning restaurants (check out Grappa, Brass Tag), sushi bars (Yuki Yama), pubs (High West Distillery and Saloon), eateries (Hearth and Hill, Vessel), coffee shops (Five5eeds), bakeries (Windy Ridge) and everything else you’re craving (we couldn’t begin to list them all). Call ahead or order online for takeout. Sit back, relax and enjoy a Sundance flick while enjoying food from your favorite Park City restaurants.
After a day of skiing, snowshoeing, fat tire biking, a relaxing trip to the hot tub or spa or a host of other adventures, you might want just to eat in and watch a Sundance premiere (the Festival runs January 20-30). Most hotels and restaurants offer carryout or delivery so everyone can enjoy room service-style dining. If you want to take it a step further, have a picnic service set the scene for a cozy dinner in your rental home or condo, then let the kids toast s'mores by the fire, or take a romantic sleigh ride under the stars.
“I walked the path of life and I have to say, you will face with difficulties. But you have to have an open mind. Don't be like a bull hitting his horns all over the walls of the room. Life isn't just about what you do, it's more about how you do it.” – Shuzhen Zhao, The Farewell (Sundance Film Festival, 2019)
Utah knows how to navigate the unexpected. In 2002, just months after 9/11, Utah welcomed the world to the Winter Olympic Games. Last year, ski resorts, accommodations and hospitality businesses remained open, serving, in some cases, record numbers of guests. In a culture built around adventure with a healthy respect for the land and keeping people healthy, recreating responsibly is just what we do here. So, as you would review the safety tips at the mountain base, please take a moment to review the latest COVID recommendations and requests.Although there will be more powder days, film festivals and other adventures, this winter might be the single best time to visit Park City and other Utah ski resort towns. Accommodations are available and more affordable this January than many can remember, and folks here are ready now and anytime to welcome and introduce you to the wondrous and the unexpected.
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