The illustrious Sundance Film Festival has made Park City, Utah, its home since 1985. In those 32 years, this small independent film festival has grown to one of the entertainment industry’s most prestigious gatherings. Park City’s historic streets transform into red carpets and more than 200 films are debuted at the festival, which draws film buffs from all over the world—last year more than 46,000 people flocked to the festival. It’s a great time to visit Deer Valley Resort, whether you’re a movie buff or simply looking to take advantage of the fact that much of Park City is occupied with activities off the slopes.
You may have heard this rumor elsewhere, and I’m happy to confirm, that the ski slopes at Deer Valley Resort are virtually empty during Sundance. This is the perfect time to bust out those GS skis and lace some turns down Deer Valley’s pristine groomers. Or if you’re new to skiing, it’s a great time to take a lesson—you’ll have plenty of space to learn to ski. If it happens to be a snowy Sundance, you’ll find fresh powder all day long off Deer Valley’s Empire Express chairlift.
Avoid the Traffic
No matter where you’re staying during the festival, you can access Deer Valley Resort without needing to fight the crowds. If you’re staying in Salt Lake City or Heber City, park at the Mayflower entrance to Deer Valley to avoid vehicular traffic to the main base area. You can pick up lift tickets at the Jordanelle Ticket Office and then hop on the Jordanelle Express Gondola to access the resort. There are several intermediate and expert runs on this part of the mountain, but you can also connect to the Snow Park base area via a beginner run called Deer Hollow.
Alternatively, if you’re staying in the town of Park City, but not up at Deer Valley Resort itself, enjoy the convenience of Park City’s free bus system. With great coverage all over town, you’re likely to find a stop nearby. The bus will take you directly to the Snow Park base area where you can begin your ski day.
Catch New Indie Flicks
Unequivocally, if you’re in town during Sundance, you should try to make it to a showing (or 10). You don’t need a festival pass or an expensive ticket package to enjoy some films—there are always individual day-of tickets available if you’re privy to the system. Thanks to Sundance’s eWaitlist, you can get in a virtual line to score last-minute tickets as they become available. You’ll find special offers for students, Utah locals and Sundance Institute members. For members, tickets become available for pre-purchase on January 10 (a week before they’re available to the public) and memberships start at $65. With showtimes starting as late as 10 p.m., you don’t need to sacrifice a ski day to see a film. To learn more about how to snag tickets for Sundance, click here.
Eat Your Heart Out
Park City gets creative with transforming its spaces into theater venues and private party locales. With reservations required well in advance, hour-long waitlists, and plain-old closures, it can be a pain to try to find a good meal in town during Sundance. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find as scrumptious a meal as the haute-couture ensembles you’ll see strutting around town. Deer Valley has some incredible dining options that are conveniently accessed. For a great dinner, try The Brass Tag or The Mariposa (Zagat’s #1 rated restaurant in Utah for food and service). For lunch, the Royal Street Café won’t disappoint. Try my favorite—the charcuterie board featuring a selection of cheese aged on property.
Yes, the crowds amass in Park City during Sundance, but it’s still a great time to make the most of the ski resorts and rub shoulders with some of your favorite stars.
Originally written by RootsRated for Deer Valley.
Featured image provided by Deer Valley Resort