Canyons Ski Resort

The Canyons Ski Resort is spread across eight peaks in the Rocky Mountains just outside Park City Utah. Between these peaks and the canyons that give the ski resort its name are some of the best trails in Utah, with terrain suitable for skiers and snowboarders of any ability.

Canyon Ski Resort opened in 1968 as Park City West, an offshoot of the nearby Park City Mountain Resort. Since then, Canyon Ski Resort has been through several changes of ownership and names, gaining its present moniker in 1997.

With a vertical drop of over 3,100 feet, more than 3,700 acres of skiable terrain, and 17 modern lifts, Canyon Ski Area is the biggest and most varied resort in Utah. The Canyons ranks its terrain as 14% beginner, 44% intermediate, and 42% advances. This may seem stingy to novices, but because Canyon Ski Resort is so large beginners will find plenty of bunny slopes on which to practice. There is a large learning area off High Meadow lift at the top of the gondola.

Blue runs are more plentiful than greens at Canyon Ski Area, but these are scattered across the mountains. For a concentration of groomers off a single lift, head to the Tombstone high-speed six-person lift; the double-blue rated Cloud 9 is the best of the bunch.

The Canyons Ski Resort is the first Park City resort you pass on the short 25-mile drive from Salt Lake City, but the view from the road masks the true extent of the Canyon ski Utah experience. The gullies and chutes off the Tombstone, Super Condor, and Ninety Nine 90 lifts are as extreme as any in Utah, even the famed expert terrain at Snowbird Resort.

Red Pine and Charlie Brown chutes off Ninety Nine 90 lift (named after the peak altitude of Canyon Ski Area: 9,990 feet), are literally breathtaking in their steepness. For wide-open bowl descents hike to Murdock Bowl from the top of the Super Condor lift.

Super Condor also accesses the most challenging tree runs at Canyons Ski Resort: Canyon woods (skiers left off the lift) and the South Side Chutes (skiers right). Tree skiing around the Peak 5 chair and the new Dreamcatcher lift is easier and more varied, but experts will find difficult routes here too.

Unlike at nearby Deer Valley and Alta areas (where they are banned), snowboarders will be more than satisfied with their Canyon ski Utah vacation. The Canyons boasts two terrain parks and six halfpipes, plus the deep powder trails that make Utah skiing the best in the world.

The Canyons Ski Resort is just a couple miles from Park City Utah, one of the world's best ski towns, with a great aprÈs ski scene (there are over 100 restaurants and bars) and accommodation for any budget. Park City was the epicenter for the skiing events at the 2002 Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City and is home to the annual Sundance Film Festival.

For a room closer to the Canyons slopes, try the luxurious Grand Summit Hotel at the base area. If you are on a multi-day vacation to Park City, you will be able to take advantage of special tickets that give access to all the Park City resorts: Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, and the Canyons. Wherever you stay in Utah, make sure to fit in a day at the Canyons.

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