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Mining Turns at Utah's Park City Mountain Resort

Nearly 150 years ago, silver was discovered in the mountains that would eventually become Park City Mountain Resort, one of the most popular ski resorts in Utah.

Skiing the famous Utah powder snow
Photo courtesy Dan Campbell/Ski Utah

The mines are long gone, the silver replaced by another precious commodity: the region's famously dry and light powder snow that casts a wintry white blanket on the peaks that rise above this historic mining town.

Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) originally opened in 1963 as Treasure Mountain Resort, the first ski hill in the town of Park City, which itself dates back to 1872. Back then skiers rode an old mining train known as "The Skier's Subway" some 2 1/2 miles into the hill then boarded a mining elevator for a 1,750 vertical ascent to the ski runs on the surface. The resort eventually boasted the longest gondola in the United States, as well as a double chairlift, a J-bar lift, base and summit lodges. Vestiges of the mining days still dot the terrain here and there: old processors and conveyors, and historic buildings like the Summit House Restaurant, where miners used to lodge and get out to play on wooden skis. There are still more than 1,000 miles of old silver-mine workings and tunnels beneath the slopes at Park City Mountain Resort and its neighboring resort, Deer Valley.

Renamed Park City Resort in 1971, the US Ski Team relocated here in 1974 to train on what is now known as Crescent Ridge. When the 2002 Winter Olympic Games came to Utah, the resort hosted the alpine skiing giant slalom, snowboarding parallel giant slalom and snowboarding halfpipe events (a bounty of US ski team medals were won here during the competition.)

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this season, PCMR invites skiers and snowboarders to explore the diverse terrain—a whopping 3,300 acres of lift-served terrain and 3,100 vertical feet of gravity-driven fun. The atmosphere here is unpretentious and family-oriented. Skiing and snowboarding are what's on everyone's mind.

Beginners and intermediate skiers and riders explore runs off the Bonanza, Pioneer, Motherlode and King-Con lifts. McConkey's and Jupiter bowls attracts expert skiers looking for deep powder stashes, boarders and skiers ride the resort's four terrain parks, and jibbers head to the Eagle Superpipe, ranked one of the best in North America. Especially fun for kids are the Adventure Alleys (groomed, in-the-tree trails marked by sculptures of the resort's snowbugs), the colorful Neff Land terrain park and Merrill Mini 13-foot halfpipe.

From precious metal to precious turns, Park City Mountain Resort has "mined" its hills to provide a bounty for all treasure-seekers who make the trek to this special spot in Utah's beautiful Wasatch mountain range.

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