Come for the winter, stay for the summer. That’s the motto in Park City, a high-elevation, Utah town that’s best known for snowy winters, but is quickly becoming a summer sports capital. From hiking to mountain biking to outdoor concerts, there’s so much to do, and Deer Valley Resort is the perfect home base for exploration. But don’t believe us—take it from locals who live, work, and play in this mountain community year-round. We spoke with eight Parkites (that’s code for natives in these parts) to gather 10 tips that make vacationing at Deer Valley® better.
Go Back to School
Ready to ride Deer Valley Resort’s epic trails but have no clue what you’re doing? Head to Deer Valley’s Mountain Bike School to get educated by experts, "The school is a great way to become familiar with a mountain bike and build confidence for lift-served biking," says Christa Graff, a Park City resident since 2003 and owner of Graff PR. “And new this year, the Mountain Bike School will offer clinics for kids on Tuesdays.”
Mountain Bike the Lesser-known Trails
"Deer Valley has nearly 70 miles of some of the top trails in North America," says Andre Shoumatoff, owner of rental and demo shop, Park City Bike Demos. “It’s hard to pick a best one, but my favorites are off the beaten path.”
On Deer Valley’s backside, Shoumatoff suggests Spin Cycle, an awesome, playful trail built into a natural half-pipe in an old riverbed. Or start at the Snow Park base area and venture to Deer Valley’s upper reaches, above the famed Mid Mountain* *Trail, to the Tour des Suds trail, which you can climb to reach an area called Flagstaff, "From here, there are dozens of ways down, including my favorite, a trail called T&G that drops to the Mid Mountain Trail and continues toward the Montage," Shoumatoff says.
Get On the Water
Park City may be landlocked, but you can still cool off at the beach. "Try standup paddleboarding at Pebble Beach, just two minutes from Historic Main Street," says Trent Hickman, owner/operator of Park City SUP. The business has a lakeside shop for easy renting, and the nearly waveless waters of this hidden gem make it the perfect place for families and newbies to learn. For the adventurous set, try an on-water, standup paddleboard yoga class here.
Catch a Free Concert
Wind down after an active day with a show under the stars at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater. Paid concerts from leading acts are offered all summer, but many people don’t know that the Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series is free to attend. "The Wednesday night shows are usually fun, local acts," says Trent Hickman, Park City SUP’s paddleboarding guru, “Bring some friends and watch a high mountain sunset.”
Parkites like Jessica Turner, communications manager for Stein Eriksen Lodge, await these concerts eagerly all year, "Whether buying a ticket or going to the free concerts, bring a blanket and bottle of wine and you're all set. Everyone is friendly and enjoying just being there."
Upgrade Your Picnic
Not keen on packing your picnic? Let Deer Valley Resort do it for you. "What a lot of people don’t realize is that you can order a Gourmet Picnic Basket from Deer Valley, and they’re delicious, and the perfect meal for a date night," says Scott House, communications and social media director for White Pine Touring, a Park City outdoor store. The gourmet baskets feature items like artisan cheese plates, fresh Caesar or beet salads, and gourmet wraps.
Extend Your Ride
Deer Valley Resort is a mountain bike mecca, and if you came here to ride, you’ll want to maximize your trail time. That’s where the Wednesday SCOTT Twilight Ride Series comes in. "Each Wednesday in July and August, Deer Valley extends its mountain biking hours to host the SCOTT Twilight Ride Series," says Nick Como, an avid local mountain biker. “You can ride from 4 to 8 p.m. on the Silver Lake Express and Sterling Express chairlifts.”
Riding later has other perks, too. "It’s cooler on summer evenings, and there’s a chance you’ll see lots of wildlife," says Ross Downard, a Park City photographer and videographer. “I’ve seen moose, mule tail deer, sage-grouse, and even elk up there in the evenings.”
Take a Free Chairlift Ride
Sure, you can pay for a scenic chairlift ride up Deer Valley’s peaks all summer long, but there is a way to skip the fee—if you don’t mind earning it. "If you're hiking up the mountain, Deer Valley offers a free chairlift ride back to the base," says Kelley Baker, co-founder/owner of Park City’s Pink Elephant Coffee. Put in all your effort on the uphill and rest your weary legs on the way down.
Dine at Deer Valley Grocery~Café
Every local mentioned Deer Valley Grocery~Café for incredible eats set along the waters of Pebble Beach. "Sit on the deck and take in views of the lake and surrounding mountains," Baker says. “Then rent paddleboards or have a glass of wine.”
But how do you choose what to eat? Park City videographer and photographer, Ross Downard, says it’s all about what’s not on the menu. "They have a special every day that’s not published online, and you only know what it is when you come in. This is what I order every time I go in," Downard says. “But when I catch it, my favorite is the roast beef sandwich with aged white cheddar cheese, herb aioli mayo, and sprouts.”
Send the Kids to Camp
Explore Park City without the kiddos for a day or two and send them to camp. "Summer Adventure Camp at Deer Valley is one of the best kept secrets of Park City," says Graff. “They offer weekly themes, hikes on the mountain, field trips to water parks, bowling, and museums in Salt Lake City. It’s so fun for kids.” The best part is that you don’t need to make a long-term camp commitment. Sign them up for one-, three-, or five-day sessions.
Drink and Eat on the Cheap
Locals know where to find the deals. Nick Como recommends spending a Tuesday night at O’Shucks on Historic Main Street where you can fill up on unlimited peanuts, $3 burgers and $3 schooners of PBR.
For family fun, head to Montage Deer Valley’s basement for bowling, shuffleboard, darts, and arcade games at Daly’s Pub and Rec. The tasty, affordable pub fare makes it a favorite, says Shoumatoff of Park City Bike Demos.
After spending some time in Park City, you’ll soon figure out why so many people have decided to stay and become locals.
Originally written by RootsRated for Deer Valley.
Featured image provided by Deer Valley Resort