Powder Paradise | Park City, Utah

Power ParadiseThe smell of white pine was striking, mixing in with the alpine air so perfectly that I felt I could bottle it and bring it home. It was just below freezing, the sun was out, the clouds puffy and white. A fresh snow had fallen and I was riding the ski lift, the jagged terrain falling away beneath me while being whisked thousands of feet up the mountain so efficiently, before letting gravity do the work on the way down. This was Park City Mountain Resort in January and all was right in the world.

Park City Mountain Resort, at more than 7,300 skiable acres, is the largest ski area in the country, thanks to a 2015 merger with neighbor Canyons Resort and subsequent $50 million capital improvement project. It is home to three distinct base areas, nine hotels, more than two dozen restaurants, 348 trails, 41 lifts, eight terrain parks, 13 bowls and two half pipes. If you can’t find anything you like to ski here, you might consider finding another sport.

Power ParadiseVast terrain aside, there’s an entirely different reason that people flock to Utah to ski: the epic powder days. The phrase “The Greatest Snow on Earth” first appeared as a headline in the Salt Lake Tribune, and starting in 1985, was printed on Utah state license plates.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the dryness of the Utah powder that makes it the best, although it is definitely light and fluffy. With Pacific-born storms dumping their moisture over the Sierra Nevada mountains before hitting the Wasatch Range, the snow is dry, but not as dry as when it makes its way to New Mexico.

No, it’s the consistency and volume of snow in Utah that creates the unusual quality needed for skis to float on the powder in a desirable manner: a “right side up” condition occurs when lighter snow sits on top of relatively heavier, earlier snowfalls, making it easier to float and turn. It’s these subtle differences that attract powder hounds and diehards to Utah.

And when you’re done skiing for the day, let gravity take you all the way into downtown for a variety of après ski options. It’s a delightfully old-school way to get around, and so much fun!


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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as Creative Resources Manager for RTX, based in Asheville, NC. You can find him hiking the mountains of Asheville, gardening, traveling, and hanging with his growing family. His favorite RTX exchange destinations are Rangeley, Maine, Lake Tahoe, Banff, Canada, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Cape Cod, and Orange Beach, Alabama. .


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