“Know how I can tell that’s a local?” asks Dana Williams, the 58-year-old mayor of Park City, Utah, nodding toward a fit thirty-something guy in a flat-brimmed baseball hat. “The bandaged wrist.”
Park City feels like a Colorado ski town dropped into Utah’s 12,000-foot Wasatch Range, with one significant difference. Unlike Telluride or Aspen, it has a major city, Salt Lake, and an international airport 30 minutes away. Local love for Park City can feel a little over the top—it got two-thirds as many votes in our contest (5,179) as it has residents. To see if that affection was justified, I parachuted in for a 72-hour, Chamber of Commerce–led recon tour. What I found was a town that breeds the active lifestyle.
In winter, Parkites can access three world-class ski areas from town: Deer Valley, Park City, and the Canyons. Then there’s climbing, hiking, and camping in 500,000 acres of wilderness in the nearby Uinta Mountains, 370-plus miles of trails, a blue-ribbon trout stream (the Provo River), and an Olympic training center built for the 2002 Salt Lake Games. More than 100 Olympians still live here. There are also lax(er) liquor laws than elsewhere in the Beehive State—and Utah’s first distillery since Prohibition, High West.