UPDATED DECEMBER 2015
Our day in the High Meadows area at Park City Mountain Resort had a rough start. My daughter complained that her boot hurt. My son whined that he didn't want to be there. Both kids were impatient as we waited to pick up our passes and it all made me feel grouchy. I was tempted to get back in the car and drive home, but I don't accept defeat that easily. My dad was with us, and he doesn't accept defeat either, so I was optimistic that the day would end better than it began.
Good news! The day did improve from there, and we made some good memories together. Here are a few of my favorites – along with my tips for skiing Park City Mountain Resort with kids.
I can do it!
My kids and I had skied elsewhere earlier in the week and my 7-year-old son took a hard fall that day. He bruised his chin and his ankle and he was timid on his first run on The Meadows beginner hill. It didn't help that it was the longest and most challenging trail my kids had skied yet.
On his first run, my son skied cautiously and fell down a lot. He was frustrated and didn't want to go again by the time we reached the bottom. He and I took a break on the patio of Red Pine Lodge. That's when we noticed the Waffle House just a few steps away.
I offered my son a waffle in exchange for five times down the hill. He eagerly accepted and we rode High Meadow lift to the top again. He did better the second time and better again on the third. By the end of the day, both my kids earned a waffle – and then some – and were skiing The Meadows with confidence.
Time to talk
On one lift ride, my 10-year-old daughter insisted on having me all to herself. She has figured out that ski lifts are golden one-on-one opportunities. It's quiet and distractions are few. You're doing something that (hopefully) you both enjoy and you're surrounded by the beauty of nature. The ride is long enough for meaningful conversation or quiet contemplation, but short enough to keep things from getting too serious or awkward.
My dad taught me how to ski and passed the travel bug on to me, so I was happy to have him with us at Park City Mountain Resort. I have many memories of skiing with my dad as a kid, but this was the first time we had skied together in a long time. He and I had some good conversations that day, and both kids got one-on-one time with their grandpa on the slopes.
The view from Red Pine Gondola
The ride on Red Pine Gondola is a fun experience on its own, and the scenic views are fantastic. I rode facing uphill in the morning, and the mountain views were nice, but when I saw the downhill panorama in the afternoon, I was wowed.
Red Pine Gondola is about a 10 minute ride over the resort, and the views of Park City and the surrounding region are breathtaking. Make sure you get a seat facing the downhill side either on your way up or down because you won't want to miss this view.
No lift lines during Sundance!
I was told that despite the crowds at Sundance Film Festival, it's the best time to find short lift lines at nearby resorts because everyone is at the movies. This I had to see.
It's true! We have skied three Utah resorts this season and the lines at High Meadows were the shortest, even though it was a Saturday during Sundance in January. There were still plenty of people around, but we never waited more than 5 minutes in a line – and sometimes walked right on. We had no trouble with traffic near the resort. All the cars were headed into Park City in the afternoon, while we were headed out.
More ski tips
- Park City is the largest ski resort in the United States, so there is lots of room to spread out and explore.
- Canyons Village is large and you could spend a pleasant day here without your skis. You'll find ski gear and rentals, fine dining, shopping, live music and a spa. Lockers are available near the restrooms. We considered getting one, but are glad we didn't because we spent the entire day farther up at Red Pine Lodge.
- For beginners like us, Red Pine Lodge makes a good base. It has a cafeteria, small ski shop and restrooms, and it's right next to the all-green High Meadow lift. The cafeteria has lots of family-friendly options, like burgers, pizza and chicken fingers. Kids meals cost about $11.
- Packing your lunch is a good way to keep costs down, but you'll need to find a place you feel comfortable leaving it, or carry it on your back. It was a long trip back to the car, so keeping it there was not a practical option from High Meadows.
Good to Know
Where: Get to High Meadows from Canyons Village, just off of Highway 224 in Park City.
When: The Park City ski season typically lasts from late November through mid-April.
How Much: Prices vary, depending on which day you go and how many days. You'll save a lot by purchasing online in advance.
How Long: Most lifts run from about 9 am to 4 pm. That's more than enough time to wear us out. Get current hours for every lift at www.parkcitymountain.com/mountain/hours.
Amenities: Canyons Village at Park City Mountain Resort has just about everything you need on-site. Families are likely to appreciate ski and snowboard lessons, child care, lockers, ski shop, rentals, shopping, dining, and lodging.
Disclosure: Park City Mountain Resort provided my family with complimentary ski passes so that we could share our experience with other families.
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