Park City ski resort is known as a family resort with relatively mellow terrain. Most serious skiers in the state go to Alta or Snowbird to harvest the 500 inches of annual snowfall, which means the Park City Ridgeline is left for those Park City skiers who have the physical stamina and avalanche awareness to take advantage of the plethora of terrain in this beautiful place.
The Park City Ridgeline is also known as the Wasatch Crest, and it is a stunning ridgeline that extends for roughly 10 miles and provides views to the south of the Central Wasatch and to the east the High Uintas. There are few views in Utah that surpass the size and scale of this view. Once on the ridgeline, the skinning/bootpacking is relatively mellow. The ski descents on the eastern (Park City) side are steep, open bowls that get windloaded frequently with deep, light snow. The south and west (Big Cottonwood) side is mellow and forested, which is a better option for powder days.
The Park City Ridgeline can be divided into north and south segments. The north segment begins at McDonald’s Draw and ends near Murdock Peak. This section offers a wide variety of terrain, from steep chutes to open powdery bowls to very mellow forested terrain. It is best to access this portion of the ridgeline from lift 9990 on the Canyons side of Park City Resort. There is a backcountry access gate at the top of the small hike above the lift. If you do not have a ski pass, it is best to skin up Beartrap fork, which begins in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
McDonalds Draw is a steep east facing bowl that is a beautiful, long ski. Dutchess Draw is easily accessed from 9990, and on powder days it is nothing short of fantastic. Square Top, which is to the north of Dutchess, is an steep and unbelievable 1,500-foot powder field that will undoubtedly yield some of the best turns in the Wasatch when the snow is good. The options here are endless!
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.