Pros: 4.5 hr flights from either coast. Downtown dining & Midtown Lift access. A dream for improving intermediates & lower advanced.
Cons: No on-snow daycare for small children.
The Park City area is our favorite base camp for family skiing in North America, hands down. Sub-4.5 hour flights into SLC from either coast. 45 minute drive up from the airport.
Downtown lodging is where it's at. Good eats & the midtown lift is right there. We hit Bangkok Thai on Main every trip, which is without a doubt the the best bang-for-your buck grub in downtown Park City. Another great option for those who prioritize slopeside access and an *amazing* pool & hot-tub experience over dining & nightlife is Marriott's MountainSide condos right there at the Resort Base, smack-dab in front of the Payday six-pack.
We typically pick up a rental car at Park City airport, which is cheap being a major market, and then use the rental car to mix it up and rotate days at Park City, the Canyons, & Deer Valley.
One of Park City Resort’s few faults is that it does not have a mountainside childcare facility for very small children who can’t yet ski. There are childcare options over by Prospector, but if you’re going to commute, the better option is to just drive over to Deer Valley, which has the best ski resort childcare facilities & program we've ever seen at the two-dozen plus domestic resorts we've visited. Besides, if you've never skied at a no-snowboarding resort, you owe it to yourself to try Deer Valley while you're in town: especially if the snow is getting stale and skidded-off by the boarders at Park City. Park City is the bigger mountain, and I enjoy the more challenging EX terrain at the higher elevations up off McConkey’s and Jupiter, but when the snow’s manky, glazed, and covered in death cookies up top at Park City, Deer Valley's flawless grooming is a pretty strong draw.
Aside from the family-friendly ease of accessing the mountain, the major draw of Park City as a mountain for adults, IMO is that it is a fantastic place for intermediates and lower-advanced skiers to develop ambitions and work on elevating their game. My wife, who learned to ski in her late 20s, made her greatest strides as an intermediate here.
For improving intermediates, the blue terrain served by Silverlode, Motherlode, and King Con is superbly groomed, and allows them to acclimate to longer runs at a more challenging, yet consistent pitch than you’ll encounter on most intermediate terrain elsewhere. My wife’s first-ever black run was beneath the Silverlode lift when I led her off of Parley’s, unannounced, onto steeper terrain that she did not immediately recognize as black due to Park City’s excellent grooming. The look on her face alone when we got to the bottom & I clued her in was worth the price of the entire trip.
As for myself, I’ve been skiing EX terrain since high school, so in all honesty, if it were just about me, I'd rather be down in Little Cottonwood Canyon hitting Alta & Snowbird, but for family fun, interesting dining, and a good range of lodging options, greater Park City is hard to beat.
In a way, the Park City / Snowbird comparison almost isn’t fair: Snowbird is arguably the country’s best resort, and to put things in perspective, there isn’t anywhere in Colorado I’d trust to deliver on snow quality like any of the resorts in the Wasatch. It is really hard to hard to fault this combination of dry snow, varied terrain, and convenience.