I can’t say enough about the skiing experience in Park City, Utah. We had been there 14 years ago with our sons. In fact, it was there that they first learned to ski — at Deer Valley’s acclaimed ski school. Over the years we visited other highly acclaimed ski towns (Whistler, Aspen, Vail), but after each trip — as fun as they were — my husband and I always found ourselves saying we liked Park City the best. First off, we can get a direct flight into Salt Lake City, and from there, you can literally be at the base of the slopes in 40 minutes. Plus, Park City is also a very pedestrian friendly town. Depending on where you are staying, you may not even need a car during the course of your stay. We have always stayed at Marriott’s Summit Watch, right at the base of Main Street, which is lined with shops, restaurants, and art galleries. (We are Marriott Vacation Club owners, but you can stay at Marriott’s Summit Watch even without time share ownership, depending on availability.)
And, of course, then there’s the skiing…
Apparently even residents of Colorado come to Utah to ski. Typically the snow is better/drier/more powdery. We are fans of Spring skiing (March is my favorite time), so that can be a bit risky, as things can warm up during the day and then refreeze at night. But typically we’ve been lucky, and this year was no exception. They had already gotten record snowfall for the year (about 470 inches, we were told) when we arrived. During our stay we had at least a foot fall. I find skiing in the fresh powder rather challenging, so I’m a fan of the “day after” powder days when many runs are freshly groomed with nice packed powder.
Deer Valley has by far the best grooming and best on-mountain experience. We did ski a day at Park City and another at The Canyons, which are now connected by a gondola, but we spent our other 3 skiing days at Deer Valley. This is also where we found the gluten free dining experience to be best. There are many options at the various on-mountain lodges, and things are well marked. Our son Ryan ordered fish tacos, chili, and an entree salad on the three days we skied at Deer Valley. And there were many, many other options. At Park City, he only found the fries to be marked gluten free, and even those weren’t fried in a dedicated fryer! So he made do with a piece of fruit, snack chips, and a Snickers bar...hardly the upscale dining experience offered at Deer Valley. The Canyons gluten free choices were a tad better, and there he opted for the chili.
True to what we experienced way back in 2009 when we first visited Park City with our sons, we found there to be a plethora of gluten free friendly restaurants (and that was not the case in other mountain towns we’ve visited). There are tons of restaurants on Main Street alone that have gluten free items marked clearly on the menu. Our first night we dined at Purple Sage, a cozy restaurant with a nice range of items. Ryan ordered the Pear and Arugula Salad to start, followed by the Purple Sage Signature Steak and Herb Fries (fried in a dedicated fryer). Other notable gluten free options on the menu included Chicken Tamale Pancakes, three other delicious starter salads, and shrimp, salmon, and short rib entrees.
A few nights later, we had a reservation at Fletcher’s — equally wonderful of a dining experience if not even better. Notable gluten free items ordered by us that evening included the Warm Goat Cheese Bibb Salad, the Ahi Tuna Tower, Pioneer Chicken, Beef Short Rib, and a Parmesan Polenta side dish. This restaurant has both “small plates” and larger entree sizes, depending on the particular dish. Ryan and his friend ordered some fun mocktails, and Ryan particularly enjoyed the Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Skillet with Vanilla Bean ice cream for dessert (shown below). All in all an awesome meal, along with a cool ambiance and friendly service. There are two bars at this restaurant — one on the main level at the entrance to the restaurant and one on the lower level, which can only be accessed if you’re over 21. Both had a cool vibe and great music.
The third time we dined out was at Bangkok Thai. Like the two aforementioned restaurants, this was located on Main Street. I had chosen this restaurant in large part because — like many Thai restaurants — it has a huge selection of GF items on the menu. We chose to sample a couple Thai mainstays to start: Chicken Satay and the Bangkok Thai Fresh Rolls. That was followed by orders of Chicken Pad Thai, Chicken and Cashew Nuts, and Crab Fried Rice — all gluten free.
The remaining nights we cooked in our unit, which had a full kitchen. We had stopped at the Whole Foods in Kimball Junction right off I-80 en route to Park City on the day we arrived to stock up on food for the week. Fresh Market is another good bet for groceries for your stay. We find that a blend of dining out and eating in works best for us — from a budget perspective but also from a scheduling perspective. Most decent restaurants require advance reservations, and sometimes it’s just easier to “chill” in our apartment, as opposed to rushing to get ready to dine out after an exhausting day on the slopes.
If you’re looking for a breakfast place with gluten free options, both The Bridge Cafe and Grill at the base of the Park City Town Lift and The Eating Establishment on Main Street have many, many GF items.
Let me know if you have any of your own recommendations — or if you have any specific questions — by leaving a comment below.