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If you’ve never been to Park City Resort, brace yourself. The resort is massive, with 348 trails, 41 lifts, and spans over 11 square miles. Located just a half-hour outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, Park City is the largest ski resort in the United States.

ski trip to park city, utah
Reduce stress and save money by planning ahead for your ski trip to Park City, Utah. Photo by Pexels

Planning Your Ski Trip to Park City, Utah

The famous resort town is also known for its yearly Sundance Film Festival and for previously holding the XIX Olympic Winter Games in 2002. The resort is a part of the Vail family, which means if you hold an Epic season pass, you will be able to use your pass to ski or snowboard at Park City.

If you’re thinking of taking a trip there before the season ends, there are some important tips to consider to help make your stay less hectic and expensive.

1. If You Need a Car, Rent an AWD from Turo

Typically, rental car companies may or may not have AWD vehicles available. It depends on what they have in their inventory at the time you rent. Many times, they can’t guarantee it.

If it snows or you need to get up the icy mountain, you’d likely need chains on a two-wheel drive, which may be a hassle.

Rather than renting at a traditional car company, consider Turo, which is like Airbnb for cars. Car owners list their vehicles to rent for as little as $25 a day. You need to sign up (which is free) and create a profile.

ski trip to Park City
Incredible views during my ski trip to Park City. Photo by Claire Tak

How to Search for AWD

Once you’ve created your profile, you can begin your search. When you search for cars, set the filter so it only shows you AWD vehicles. Some owners allow you to book instantly, while others may require you to message them first for approval to book.

Book Cars from Turo’s All-Star Hosts

Similar to Airbnb, there are ratings for vehicles and reviews for each rental experience. Stick with experienced owners, who are labeled All-Star Hosts and have positive reviews. These are the hosts who may be able to let you into the vehicle remotely and/or don’t need to meet you to give you the keys. This makes the coordination part easier, especially if you’re flying in and want to grab the car and go.

Car owners on Turo may leave their car somewhere for you to pick up or may deliver the vehicle for a fee. Keep in mind that some owners require you to gas up the car and wash it for the next renter.

To avoid having to go through the hassle of washing it, Turo gives you the option to pay a fee, which is usually around $50.

You can also download Turo for free on your phone.

Pro Tip: If you don’t need to rent a car, you can make use of Park City’s free shuttle bus that takes you through town (Main Street) and some of the bordering towns.

Whether you’re renting from Turo or from a car rental agency, book using a credit card with car rental perks, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. This can help you in the event of an emergency, like when Chase Sapphire Reserve trip delay saved me on my trip to Chile.

Learn more about the perks and benefits as well as the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit score needed for approval.

2. Stay In An Area 15-20 Minutes Outside of the Resort to Avoid Paying High Prices

ski trip to park city
Staying further away from the ski resort can save you money while still having a good experience on your ski trip to Park City. Photo by Claire Tak

Renting a condo or staying at a hotel in the heart of the resort is pricey, especially in the midst of the season. Rather than subjecting yourself to paying premium prices, consider staying in the following places. These are towns that are just outside of Park City where prices for Airbnbs cost less than what you’d pay for a hotel or condo in Park City.

These include:

  • Kimball Junction: About 3 miles from Canyons Village of Park City Mountain. It takes about 24 mins to get there from Park City on the bus. The free bus runs every 15 minutes and includes the Kimball Junction area. This might be a good option if you don’t want to drive everywhere.
  • Deer Mountain: Located about 8 miles from Park City. It takes about 13 minutes to get to Park City in a car from Deer Mountain.
  • Silver Summit Park: Located about 12 miles outside of Park City. It will take about 24 minutes to get to Park City in a car from here.

Booking your accommodations on a credit card that earns rewards. This way you’ll save money and still earn points or miles for your travel. For instance, some of the best credit cards for millennials also have travel protections and earn bonus points for travel (including accommodation purchases) and dining expenses.

And if you’re doing business in the area, one of the best small business credit cards can offer rewards for your purchases.

3. Download the Epic Mix App

ski trip to park city
A ski trip to Park City can be fun for people of different ages. Photo by Claire Tak

When prepping for your ski trip to Park City, Utah, download the Epic Mix app. This app can help you properly plan your trip and your ski day.

The app shows you:

  • Which chairs are open
  • Groomed runs
  • Weather conditions on the mountain
  • A map of each resort, which is helpful if you don’t want to carry around the paper maps

The app is also handy if you want to know how many chairs you rode and how many vertical feet you’ve skied or snowboarded each day. You can even set up races with friends or family who are also connected to the app. But mostly, it’s best for checking snow conditions and which chairs are open so you can plan your day accordingly.

Quick Money-Saving Tips When Planning a Ski Trip to Park City Utah

When planning your ski trip to Park City, Utah, there are a few things to take into consideration.

Book Tickets and Gear in Advance

Book your ski or boarding gear online ahead of time so you can save at least 20 percent or more. A great option in town with great reviews is Christy Sports.

Just like renting gear, book your lift tickets in advance (try to book 7 days in advance for more savings).

Pro Tip: As mentioned above, don’t forget to use your travel credit card to book your hotel or stays in Park City, Utah. You can easily rack up points in travel categories while you’re there, such as rental cars and restaurants. And some of the best travel credit cards are also some of the best metal credit cards available. With all the adventuring you’re likely to have, having a tough credit card is a definite plus.

When To Go and When To Avoid Park City

Late March is high season, so hotels and Airbnbs will generally be more expensive. Avoid booking your trip during the week of Sundance, which usually takes place in January every year.

ski trip to Park City
When planning your ski trip to Park City, avoid certain times of the year when annual events like Sundance mean more expensive accommodations. Photo by Claire Tak

During Sundance, the town surges with over 46,000 people. Two-thirds of those people come from out of town. This means prices for hotels and Airbnb will likely increase, restaurants may be booked solid, airports may be more crowded, and traffic within Park City may be more congested.

If Hotels and Airbnbs Are Still Too Costly…

If you’re on a shoe-string budget, you may also want to consider staying at Park City Hostel, where beds in a 6-bed dorm can cost around $50 a night. The hostel also offers group bookings. So if you plan to travel in a large group, you can have the entire hostel to yourselves.

Tips for Planning a Ski Trip to Park City, Utah

Going on a ski or snowboarding adventure can be exhilarating, but also really expensive. Planning makes a huge difference in saving money when going to Park City. Be sure to book what you can in advance and consider staying outside of the resort to avoid paying premium prices.

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Claire Tak

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