If you stay in Park City or at Deer Valley, you can get by without a rental car. Park City has a free bus that runs all over town and to the ski resorts. Deer Valley: Most expensive are the ski-in, ski-out lodges. Contact Stein Eriksen Lodge or Deer Valley Housing. Available at both the Snow Park and Silver Lake ( mid-mountain) bases. Next most expensive are Deer Valley condos, where you have to take a shuttle bus to the base. Available at Snow Park, Silver Lake (mid-mountain) bases, and across the expressway from the gondola (some of these do not have a shuttle bus).
Salt Lake City. Car essential; it can be done by bus, but it is not pretty unless they have greatly improved the operation since I did it some years ago. A huge number of alternatives at much lower prices than Park City since winter is off season in Salt Lake City. Deer Valley is about 30 miles from downtown Salt Lake City, most of it by expressway, and all by four lane roads. City roads can be dicey if it snows, from ice, not snow, but once on I-80, snow removal is remarkable. Nevertheless, a big storm can cause delays of a couple hours–snowplow can’t work miracles. Before we moved to Utah, we commuted here to ski from the east coast for 20 years. Never was the weather so bad that we could not get to a ski resort from the city, but sometimes it took awhile.
Heber City. Closer than Salt Lake City, no smog–-which can be terrible in Salt Lake City– cheapest of the lot, and a prettier setting than either Salt Lake City or Park City. No nightlife. Car almost essential, or call Sunrise Transportation for chauffeured service. Take the US 40 expressway to the Park City exit. Turn left at the second light– Bonanza Dr.--turn left at the next light onto Deer Valley Blvd. Go 3/4 way around the traffic circle to Deer Valley’s main parking lot. Rooms here run $50-200 a night less than comparable rooms in Park City. Steak dinners start at $9.
Getting There: Park City: Shuttle or rental car. Driving: Leave the airport and exit onto I-80 eastbound (Salt Lake City). I-80 will merge with I-15 southbound (Las Vegas). Stay with I- 80, which branches off I-15 (Cheyenne). I-80 climbs a 3,000 ft high hill to Parley’s Summit, then drops down into a large flat valley at 6,500 ft attitude. Take the Exit for Park City(green sign) and the ski areas (brown sign). Park City’s street system is confusing. Get detailed directions from your hotel before leaving home. Distance from the airport: 35 miles.
DV, Snow Park Base: Follow the directions to Park City. Turn left onto DV Drive, stoplight, Jan’s Sporting Goods on the corner. At the traffic circle, go 3/4 way around to stay on DV Drive, the third road out of the traffic circle (in the traffic circle, pass the exits for Main St/Heber Ave and Marsac Ave). Park in front of the Snow Park Lodge, go inside to the Concierge Desk, or follow the directions you were given in advance. Distance from the airport: 37 miles.
DV: Silver Lake Base (mid-mountain) Stein Eriksen Lodge, Goldner Hirsch, The Chateau, condos. Follow the directions to DV above as far as the traffic circle. In the traffic circle, take the second right turn, Marsac Ave. Go up a steep hill. When the road dead ends, turn left, then take the next left. When that dead ends, turn left. Stein Eriksen Lodge turns off to the right. For The Goldner Hirsch, turn right just past the little parking lot on the right, go down the road beside the Goldner Hirsch, turn left at the end of the building, and enter the garage. The Chateau is across the street from the Goldner Hirsch. The Deer Valley Club is a little further along, on the right. Distance from the airport: 39 miles.
DV: Empire Canyon base. Follow the directions to Silver Lake, only don’t take the second left turn after Marsac Ave dead ends. Pass that road, and shortly the road turns to the right and starts going uphill. (NOTE: a new entrance road to Empire Canyon Base from Marsac is unedr construction). Distance from the airport: 40 miles.
Heber City: Follow the directions to Park City from the airport, but do not exit I-80 at the Park City exit. Continue east on I-80 and exit at the next exit, US 40 (green sign, Heber City). In 15 miles, US 40 becomes Heber City’s Main St. Distance from the airport: 55 miles. Storm Warning. I-80 climbs from Salt Lake City, 4,400 ft. to Parley’s Summit, 7,500 ft. and snow, over 400 inches a year, does fall, especially at the summit. Snow removal is exemplary. I-80 is rarely closed by snow, unlike the road to Alta and Snowbird, but it might happen.
Be sure to ask at the airport about road conditions if the sun is not shining. Because the mountain wall of the Wasatch Range blocks storms, creating a precipitation shadow on the east side of the mountains, once over the summit, snowfall is much less than on the road up the western side of the mountains. You will be amazed by how well Park City clears snow off its streets, as well as by how much snow there is.