Après Ski in Utah? Decidedly Not an Oxymoron
Of the three Park City-area ski resorts, the Canyons offers the most in the traditional, boots-still-on après options, in part because the resort itself isn't part of Park City proper. Mid-mountain options beyond a pint or a glass of wine are limited to Lookout Cabin (435.615.2892), which sits at the top of the Golden Eagle and Short Cut double lifts. Reservations are required for any of the tables, but you might be able to snag a seat at the bar for lunch or for a few post-ski cocktails if you get there before 4 p.m. At the base, you have three choices. In the village you'll find Smokie's Bar and Grill, a second-story locals hang-out with the requisite fried foods and big-screen TVs. Next to the gondola, just inside the entrance to the Grand Summit Hotel, awaits Doc's, a casual café-style restaurant with a full bar. Grab a seat at the bar for appetizers and drinks—just don't be surprised when they walk around the bar to deliver your beverage (the law dictates that they can't just hand it over the bar). For a slightly more revered atmosphere, head to the Grand Summit's main lobby and walk down the hallway leading to the pool. There you'll locate the Cabin (435.615.8060), a plush restaurant and lounge with a full bar, friendly staff, an expansive wine list, and great beer both in bottles and on tap. Wherever you end up, know that the free Park City shuttle makes stops at the resort entrance, should you need to get back after downing a few.
The more haute Deer Valley also boasts several chic après options. Take the Austrian-style Relais & Chateaux property the Goldener Hirsch Inn (www.goldenerhirschinn.com; 7570 Roya Street East; 435.649.7770) and the five-star Stein Eriksen Lodge www.steinlodge.com; 7700 Stein Way; 435.649.3700), both within the resort's Silver Lake Village. For those who believe a ski trip is incomplete without fondue, both hotels welcome Bogner-clad guests and affluent Park City residents to enjoy the traditional alpine fare and drinks in their ski boots.
Park City Resort itself doesn't boast a particularly active après ski scene like you might find at Jackson Hole's Mangy Moose. But given that a lift from the resort actually links up with Park City proper, you can always tap into the city itself. To après purists, however, there's a promising, new potential on the horizon for the 2008-09 season. High West Distillery, Utah's first home-grown producer of distilled spirits, will introduce the world's only ski-in, ski-out distillery at the base of Park City Mountain Resort's Town Lift. Skiers and boarders will find a western-themed venue in a historic building known as the National Garage where they can warm up and sample the boutique distillery's premium spirits. High West's first product, Rendezvous Rye, has recently debuted in Utah liquor stores. The novelty of a distillery in Utah, of all places, is sure to further boost the state's image makeover.
Additional reporting by Nathan Borchelt
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication