If you’re looking to go skiing or snowboarding in Utah, then Park City and Snowbird are two excellent resorts to consider. In this article I’ll be directly comparing the terrain, snow quality, villages, accommodation, value for money and much more so you can decide which to visit on your next ski trip.
Park City vs Snowbird Ski Resort
Park City is almost three times larger compared to Snowbird and has much better terrain for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Snowbird is cheaper, quieter, has better snow quality and the most challenging terrain for experts. Park City has a better village and après ski.
|Aspect of the Resort||Best Resort|
|Largest Skiable Area||Park City|
|Most Suitable For Beginners||Park City|
|Most Suitable For Intermediates||Park City|
|Most Suitable For Experts||Snowbird|
|Village and Après Ski||Park City|
|On-Mountain Dining||Park City|
|Easiest to Travel To||Park City|
|Cheapest Lift Tickets||Snowbird|
Skiable Terrain and Experience
Park City has almost three times more skiable terrain compared to Snowbird. Park City also has 7 terrain parks, whereas Snowbird only has one. Snowboarding and night skiing is available at both Snowbird and Park City.
Park City is typically a better resort for beginners. Although it has a relatively low share of green circle runs (7%), the mountain is huge so there’s still plenty of terrain. It specialises in groomed runs and isn’t as steep in comparison to Snowbird which can be quite challenging.
For intermediate level skiers and snowboarders, Park City is typically the better option. It has a much larger mountain with 49% of its terrain dedicated to intermediates whereas Snowbird only has a 38% share of intermediate terrain and the mountain is far smaller. The intermediate terrain on Park City mountain is also less daunting compared to Snowbird if you are transitioning from green circle runs.
Snowbird is often favoured by advanced and expert level skiers and snowboarders. It has loads of very steep and challenging terrain and more experienced riders will appreciate the higher snow quality that Snowbird offers.
Which is Less Crowded?
Park City typically is busier compared to Snowbird and suffers from longer queues. The only time Snowbird gets super busy is when its a powder day as advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders will flock to the resort.
Check out the table below for a full comparison of the Park City and Snowbird mountain stats.
|Skiable Terrain||7,300 acres||2,500 acres|
|Vertical Drop||3,200 ft||3,250 ft|
|Base Elevation||6,900 ft||7,760 ft|
|Summit Elevation||10,026 ft||11,000 ft|
|Green Circle Trails (Beginner)||7%||27%|
|Blue Square Trails (Intermediate)||49%||38%|
|Black/ Double Black Diamond Trails (Expert)||44%||35%|
|Longest Run||5.6 km||4.0 km|
|Lift Operating Hours||9:00 – 4:00||9:00 – 4:00|
|Night Skiing Available||Yes||Yes|
Snowbird has much better snow compared to Park City, especially for powder. The base depth on Snowbird can be almost double that of Park City later into the ski season. Snowbird also receives much more snow throughout December to April.
|Month||Snowfall in Park City||Snowfall in Snowbird||Base Depth in Park City||Base Depth in Snowbird|
Ski Season Dates
Snowbird has a long ski season due to the amount of snow it gets. Park City on the other hand has a pretty average ski season for a resort in Utah. The ski season usually starts a week or so earlier in Park City, but Snowbird typically stays open for a month longer into mid-May.
Please see the table below for the previous ski season dates.
|Ski Season||Park City Open||Snowbird Open||Park City Close||Snowbird Close|
|2022/23*||18th Nov||30th Nov||16th Apr||14th May|
|2021/22||17th Nov||1st Dec||17th Apr||1st May|
|2020/21||20th Nov||30th Nov||11th Apr||19th May|
|2019/20||22nd Nov||29th Nov||14th Mar||15th Mar|
|2018/19||21st Nov||24th Nov||7th Apr||27th May|
Park City definitely wins in terms of its village and experience off the slopes.
Park City consists of two main villages: Park City Mountain Village and Canyons Village which are both reasonably small. Thy both have 4 dining locations and a variety of shops; you can also visit the Historic Main Street for some more options. The spa is located in the Grand Summit Hotel in Canyons Village.
Snowbird has a pretty small village with a few restaurants, shops and spa. It’s pretty quiet and there’s not too much going on here in terms of nightlife. If you’re going to be spending a considerable amount of time off the slopes, I’d recommend Park City.
On-Mountain Dining Options
Park City has many more on-mountain dining locations compared to Snowbird. Both resorts have a good number of base restaurants, but the mid-mountain dining on Snowbird is very limited.
Check out the tables below for a summary of the locations. These are all located on the mountain, and not at the base.
Park City On-Mountain Dining
|Miner’s Camp||Self-Service||$-$$||Casual Varied|
|Red Pine Lodge||Self-Service||$$||Casual American|
|Cloud Dine||Table Service||$$||American|
|Summit House||Table Service||$$-$$$||American|
|Mid Mountain Lodge||Table Service||$$-$$$||Contemporary|
|Lookout Cabin||Table Service||$$$||Fine Dining|
Snowbird On-Mountain Dining
|Mid Gad||Table-Service||$$||Casual American|
Location and Traveling
Snowbird and Park City are roughly a 1 hour drive away from each other. Snowbird is located south-west of Park City. Here is some information on how to get to these resorts by plane and by car.
The closest airport to Park City and Snowbird is Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and the transfer time is very similar with shuttle buses available to each location.
- Airport Transfer Time to Park City: 45 minutes
- Airport Transfer Time to Snowbird: 40 minutes
- During the holidays and from Friday-Sunday, parking at Park City needs to be reserved which costs $25 per day in the ski season which means you are guaranteed a space. After 1:00pm parking is free.
- Free parking is available at Snowbird on a first-come-first-serve basis. If you want to guarantee parking you can make a reservation for $25.
Although driving to Park City and Snowbird from most major locations takes a similar amount of time, the journey is much easier to Park City.
|Location||Drive to Park City||Drive to Snowbird|
|Salt Lake City, UT||40 mins||35 mins|
|Provo, UT||55 mins||55 mins|
|Ogden, UT||1 hour 10 mins||1 hour 5 mins|
|Evanston, WY||1 hour 5 mins||1 hour 30 mins|
|Price, UT||2 hours 10 mins||2 hours|
Proximity to Other Ski Resorts
Snowbird is just 5 minutes away from Alta which is another ski area with plenty of advanced and expert terrain. You can purchase joint Alta-Bird tickets to get a discount if you plan on skiing both mountains.
Park City is just 5 minutes away from Deer Valley, however the resorts are not related so you will need to purchase separate tickets to visit them both.
If you’re looking for more information on the nearby resorts, check out these articles:
|Ski Resort||Drive Time to Park City||Drive Time to Snowbird|
|Alta||55 min||5 min|
|Deer Valley||5 min||55 min|
|Snowbasin||1 hour 10 min||1 hour 15 min|
|Powder Mountain||1 hour 30 min||1 hour 45 min|
|Solitude||25 min||35 min|
|Brighton||25 min||40 min|
Accommodation Options and Price
Park City offers a wide variety of hotels, condos and chalets to suit different party sizes. The accommodation in Snowbird is more limited as there are only hotels and condos available, however they are usually cheaper compared to Park City.
If you are looking for cheaper accommodation, try the surrounding area too. Alta is very close to Snowbird and has some great value condos and hotel rooms. It can be a little harder to find a bargain in Park City, but you will be able to save some money if you don’t stay in the village.
Ski School Lessons and Prices
The private ski school lessons at Snowbird are considerably cheaper compared to Park City. Park City offers half-day group lessons which are the cheapest option available. Snowbird only offers full-day group lessons at the time of writing, however these are cheaper compared to the Park City equivalent lessons.
Please see the table below for more information.
|Lesson Type||Park City Price||Snowbird Price|
|Child Group Half Day||$255||N/A|
|Child Group Full Day||$299-$339||$225-$283.50|
|Adult Group Half Day||$195||N/A|
|Adult Group Full Day||N/A||$275|
|Private Half Day||$809 (for 1-6 people)||$540 (for 1-5 people)|
|Private Full Day||$1099 (for 1-6 people)||$882 (for 1-5 people)|
Costs are based on the most recent ski season at the time of writing and are subject to change. Please check the resort websites for up to date prices. Prices are in US dollars and based on off-peak season prices.
Lift Tickets and Equipment Rental
Lift tickets are much cheaper at Snowbird compared to Park City, especially when visiting during peak periods. However, skiing and snowboarding equipment rental is cheaper at Park City.
Example lift ticket total cost for 2 x adults and 2 x children (weekend)
Park City: $744
Please see the tables below for more information.
|Ticket Price Day Lift||Park City||Snowbird|
|Child (up to 12) Weekday||$116||$87|
|Senior (65+) Weekday||$126||$123|
|Child (up to 12) Weekend||$149||$96|
|Senior (65+) Weekend||$161||$136|
|Equipment Rental (Daily)||Park City||Snowbird|
|Ski Package Demo||$51||$77|
|Ski Package Performance||$40||$67|
|Ski Package Sport||$29||$57|
|Ski Package Junior||$25||$50|
Prices quoted above are based on the most recent ski season at the time of writing and are subject to change. Based on daily rates when buying in-advance online for tickets and on the day for rentals (better value for money offers are available when booking for multiple days). Prices are in US dollars. Please check the resort websites for up to date prices.
Which Resort is Best?
If you’re an advanced skier or snowboarder and love powder, then you won’t beat Snowbird. It has the best snow, cheapest tickets and most challenging terrain. It also is usually the least crowded of the two mountains.
However, if you’re looking to spend some time off the slopes and in the village then Park City will offer the most complete experience. The village and après ski is much better and it is a bit easier to travel to. Park City is also the best option for less experienced skiers and snowboarders.
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