Park City Mountain Resort in Utah is one of the largest in North America while Breckenridge ski resort over in Colorado has both the highest ski lift and the greatest number of ski lifts in the state. Which of them is the most suitable for you when choosing a ski vacation?
Getting to Park City and Breckenridge
Park City is around 30 miles from the state capital of Salt Lake City and another seven miles from the city airport. There is a light rail service which links the centre of Salt Lake City with the airport and which connects with the PC-SLC bus service further to Park City. The ski resort is an easy drive for those who have their own transport. Motorists take I-80 east from the city and then exit south at Kimball Junction or Sinclair towards the ski resort.
Denver International Airport is located to the east of downtown Denver, which puts it at around 100 miles from Breckenridge. There are regular private shuttle services from the airport during ski season. Breckenridge is situated a short distance south of the I-70 exit at Frisco, just past Dillon reservoir. Please note that I-70 can get extremely busy on weekends and during high season and requires winter driving equipment.
Comparing Park City and Breckenridge
Park City vs Vail – discover which of the massive ski resorts is right for you
Ski infrastructure at Park City and Breckenridge
The vertical drop at Breckenridge and Park City is virtually the same, with Breckenridge easing in front with a drop of 3400 feet compared to Park City’s 3226 feet. As with many other Colorado ski resorts however the big difference comes when comparing the elevations of both the ski resorts and the top stations.
Park City is located at 6800 feet above sea level and the top station is at 10026 feet, while Breckenridge ski resort sits at 9600 feet and the top station at just under 13000 feet. This makes a substantial difference when it comes to the duration of the ski season, with Breckenridge consistently opening in early or mid-November and closing in mid-May.
(It should be noted that some ski resorts like to count the top point that can be hiked to as the top elevation – the stats here are based on the elevation of the top lift station.)
Where Park City does take the lead however is when it comes to skiable terrain, as the addition of the Canyons ski area has increased the ski area to a massive 7300 acres. They also have a substantial lead in the number of ski lifts, with a total of 43 ski lifts, including four gondolas and 16 high-speed chairlifts.
The ski area at Breckenridge is much smaller, with just over 2900 acres of skiable terrain. There are 34 ski lifts, including a gondola and 11 high-speed chairlifts.
Ski resort accommodation at Park City and Breckenridge
Park City ski accommodation
Accommodation at Park City Mountain Resort is split between three locations: downtown Park City; Park City Mountain Village and Canyons Village.
Downtown Park City includes the lively and historic Main Street area, in between the Park City Mountain Village and nearby Deer Valley ski resort. This is the main area for shopping and restaurants and has its own (limited) lift access into the ski area.
Park City Mountain Village is where the ski accommodation at the base of the lifts was originally built and includes plenty of resort hotels and condominiums.
Canyons Village at Park City is the former base area for the Canyons Resort and offers accommodation with good ski area access.
Check accommodation availability at Park City
Visitors looking for resort accommodation or hotel rooms or private apartment rentals may like to take a look at the availability map below. Enter the dates of planned arrival and departure and use the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ signs to zoom in or out to see more accommodation availability. Click on the accommodation to see more details and prices for the dates chosen.
Breckenridge ski accommodation
Breckenridge is a former mining town which dates from the days of the Colorado gold rush and the historic downtown area is not far from the lifts and ski area. It is renowned for its apres-ski and nightlife and there is a free ski bus service which links some outlying areas to the ski lifts.
Check accommodation availability at Breckenridge
The search box below will show accommodation availability if you enter your proposed dates of stay in Breckenridge. Click on the accommodation you like and you will be taken to the booking page where you can choose your preferred room type and view additional information about the property. On the resort booking page you can also filter the results by price range, number of guests, star rating and amenities offered.
Skiing in Park City and Breckenridge
The ski resorts at Park City and Breckenridge are both covered by the Epic Pass lift tickets scheme run by Vail Resorts. In the case of Breckenridge, the Epic Pass also offers up the option of skiing at the nearby resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek and Keystone. The season tickets give access to additional US and Canadian ski resorts during the ski season, while the Epic Day Pass can be purchased for the duration of a single vacation.
Those skiing at Breckenridge might also wish to check out the Epic Local Pass, which gives unrestricted access to the ski resort during the season, as well as nearby Keystone. (Access to Park City and Vail is only available outside holiday periods on this pass.)
Skiing for beginners at Park City and Breckenridge
The beginner terrain at Breckenridge is principally located on Peak 8 and Peak 9, which can be easily reached from the town or from other slopes. (The ski area at Breckenridge has five peaks, each with different characteristics.)
The QuickSilver SuperChair on Peak 9 leads onto the Silverthorne run, known as one of the better beginner runs in the Rockies, while those with a big more confidence may want to try the Colorado SuperChair on Peak 8. A short blue (intermediate) section at the start offers access to a number of green (beginner) runs, including the Sawmill trail which is a long traverse over to the base of Peak 9.
The Park City beginner skiing is smaller but then those who are just starting out do not tend to need vast expanses to practice on. The appropriately-named First Time lift and trails above Park City Mountain Village are probably the best option for those who have never put on skis before. Once a few days are under the belt the beginner skier can head up the mountain to the top of the Bonanza Express chairlift and take the lengthy green Homerun trail. The Canyons Village side is not really suitable for beginner skiers.
Intermediate skiing at Park City and Breckenridge
Both Park City and Breckenridge are prime destinations for those at the intermediate level with plenty of wide groomed ski slopes enabling improving skiers to carve from top to bottom.
The grading of the ski runs at Breckenridge is generally reckoned to be on the easy side (meaning improving skiers at one level can probably manage some of the easier runs at the next level.)
There are intermediate runs all over the ski area, but the best peaks at Breckenridge are probably Peaks 6, 7 and 9, with a wide variety of trails at that level.
It is hard to pick out any particular area at Park City as there are so many mid-mountain intermediate runs available on both the Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Village sides. Doc’s Run on the Canyons side offers spectacular views, while Quit’N Time is an easy blue run down to the Park City old town.
One possible problem for both ski resorts is that intermediate-level ski slopes can get crowded at busy period, especially during high season and at weekends (or if other terrain has been closed for weather or snowfall).
Advanced and expert skiing at Park City and Breckenridge
Park City’s expert and advanced terrain tends to be situated furthest away from the base area, with a number of bowls on both sides accessing steep chutes and glade skiing. On the Park City side, the Jupiter chairlift and McConkey’s Express six-seater access much of the advanced terrain, with even more available for those prepared to hike up to Jupiter Peak.
Combining Park City with the Canyons ski area increased the expert and advanced area exponentially, with most of the highest chairs access some serious tree and bump skiing.
Advanced skiing at Breckenridge can be found on piste with a good collection of advanced trails off Peak 10’s Falcon SuperChair. Those who are looking for something a little more challenging might like to head over to the Imperial Express SuperChair and Horseshoe Bowl T-bar which open up a whole host of black and double-black diamond slopes and chutes above the treeline.