There was a Xmas trip report from a few years back, and one of the highlights was how Solitude was not busy at all.
While normally a sleepy area, I imagine it would be somewhat bustling during Xmas week. No shopping though.
Maybe 1000-1500ft runs would work after all If you do go to PC, you owe it to them to do a day at Snowbird and a day at Brighton. The first for long continuous vert... The 2nd for easy glade skiing with near perfect snow, even if it hasn't snowed in a week or more.
Just curious, were your kids logging 25-35 days a year locally? A kid that has never skied before would be in their glory even at our local 700ft vertical hills in WNY / S. Ont. A kid who's been there and done that would want the extra vert. My guy was getting about 10 days a year in before I took him to Whiteface and Gore. For him (and his dad) Whiteface is the winner, because of the vert.
If they're skiing 25-35 days in NC, I bet even the 7 year old would like the extra vert. I took my then 7 year old to Whiteface when he was that age and he loved the top to bottom runs... his legs outlasted mine! If they split time between Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude and Park City, they'd have one heck of a trip. Again, Vail might be their better option though.
Park City proper is an easy shuttle from Kimball Junction... you're right that's it's suburban out there, but it's very nice suburban... different than most US locales I've been to. Plus there's the mountain backdrop and there's lots of shopping. Any ski village can be seen and done in a day so if they get a nice condo there it COULD work. If they're serious about skiing, it's a viable compromise, because the skiing in the Cottonwoods is as good as it gets.Prove me wrong...
I'd check out Vacation Rentals By Owner... VRBO.com... Not too many people use travel agents for ski trips these days.One thing to note about park city is most runs are only 1000-1500ft vertical. If you're looking for 2000ft plus runs all over the mountain, you might be a bit disappointed. If that were the case, I'd sacrifice an extra hour of driving and a few extra $$$ and go to Vail.