The Canyons Side of Park City Mountain Resort

The Canyons Side of Park City Mountain Resort

Canyons Skiing and Snowboard Terrain

This page refers to the Canyons (town) side terrain of the Park City Mountain Resort. For information on the inter-connected Park City side see the Park City ski terrain page.

Canyons at Park City Utah is a big ski area with 1,619 hectares (4,000 acres) of terrain spread across nine peaks. Highlights of the Canyons Utah terrain are the steep fall line groomers and the many well gladed areas for advanced to expert powder hunters.

When first riding at Canyons, you might experience a case of déjà vu as you fly down runs bordered by wooden fences and go over and under bridges, an experience reminiscent of a Playstation skiing game. The terrain looks so familiar that you wonder whether some of the earlier games were modelled on Canyons Utah. The many pines trees also trick the olfactory senses into thinking that someone is following you around with a spray can of Pine Fresh!

Most of the Canyons skiing terrain is not visible from the base area (Canyons Village). The front face of the mountain that rises up from the village is far from the highlights of the terrain, and is primarily used by intermediates and above to return to the Canyons village. The snow conditions here are primarily man-made and can be thin and sloppy due to the lack of elevation and aspect. The main hub of the Canyons skiing area is further up at the top of the Red Pine Gondola. From this major hub, lifts and trails fan out in all directions. Even though the resort has decent vertical (3,190 feet; 972 metres), it feels more horizontally spread out than vertically.

Canyons Utah: Interconnected With the Park City Side

Vail Resorts have brought together two very fine ski areas, Park City and Canyons, to form the bigger and better Park City Mountain. A gondola was introduced for the 2015-16 season, running between the base of Silverlode lift at Park City to Canyons’ Flatiron lift, providing an inter-connection between Canyons and Park City for low end intermediates and above. A few interconnecting trails have been added as well as gated access via Pine Cone Ridge.


The Canyons side has 19 lifts used for skiing and snowboarding purposes, and two other lifts for village access. The Sunrise double lift is also predominantly for access for those staying in the ski-in ski-out lodging at the Hyatt Centric Park City and the nearby Sunrise Lodge (Hilton Grand Vacations).

The lift infrastructure is excellent, and there are multiple high speed lifts. Queues at the base are generally not too bad considering that there are two key uploading lifts, the Red Pine Gondola and the strange looking Orange Bubble Express (perhaps Canyons Utah took their orange branding just a little too far?!). Lift queues can develop in the afternoon when all the beginners download the Red Pine Gondola, otherwise queues at other lifts are generally only a problem during key vacations and peak weekends.

One of the best lifts is the Super Condor Express, but it can be a bit exposed so make sure you’ve got a neck warmer (gaiter) with you.

Lift Tickets

As to be expected, lift tickets are very expensive when purchased at the ticket window on the day. A single day ticket is up there as one of the most expensive in the country so try to pre-plan where possible.

As with other Vail Resorts, you can ride at Canyons at Park City for significantly discounted prices if you pre-purchase an Epic Pass, which is also valid at many ski resorts around the world.

There are a variety of Epic pass options including a season pass which pays for itself in just over 5 days.

Canyons Snow

Canyons generally receives considerable snowfall with an average of 355 inches (9 metres) of dry powder per season. Often January is a drier month than other winter months, but Mother Nature is not a predictable lady!

The elevation of Canyons is pretty similar to the Park City side and Deer Valley, which all have comparable snow conditions, but the snow isn’t quite as good as that found at Alta, Snowbird, and Brighton where the base and top elevation are higher. Particularly with the low elevation trails, there are times when the Canyons side of the resort relies heavily on its snowmaking facilities.

Canyons has lots of aspects, but it has some lifts that don’t run in a nice north-south orientation. This is pronounced off the Super Condor lift where skiers’ left runs are divine, whilst those to the skiers’ right are often thin and crappy (the “Sticks and Stones” run is sometimes very aptly named!). The disparity in aspects and snow quality isn’t so pronounced off lifts such as Iron Mountain Express, Dream Catcher, and Dreamscape, where all the runs are more north facing.

Canyons Skiing - for the Beginner

Only 10 percent of the trails are rated green, which is a lot of terrain for beginners considering the size of the resort, but in reality it seems a lot less than this. For little never-evers, there’s a magic carpet just above “the ski beach” at the village where parents can sit in their deck chairs or up at the Red Tail Grill and watch the wee ones learning.

There is also a green run off the Sunrise chair just above the village, but it doesn’t loop back to the base of the chair (without turning into a blue run), which isn’t much help for beginners.

The main beginner terrain is up near the Red Pine Lodge, which requires a gondola ride up and back down at the end of the day. The novice area serviced by a few surface lifts is dedicated and gentle. Adjacent to the lodge is the main beginners’ area, the High Meadow chairlift where there are (generally) no hoons to distract learners. Confident beginners can also access this area from the Orange Bubble lift.

Intermediate Boarding & Skiing Canyons

With almost half of the terrain deemed for intermediates, there are plenty of options across nearly all the lifts. With single and double blues, intermediates can easily differentiate the gentle groomed runs from the steep ones. Many of the groomers have a great fall line and are protected by trees on either side. Harmony is a very long cruising run which gets the thighs burning. Fabulously steep groomed runs include Sidewinder (off Tombstone chair), Apex Ridge (off Super Condor Express) and Pipe Dream (off Dreamcatcher). These are a definite highlight of the Canyons ski area.

Terrain Parks and Pipes

Canyons has multiple terrain parks. The parks off Kokopelli are for those on their “Learner” and “P” plates with small and medium sized hits. The next step up is the big terrain park, Transitions, that has large jump and rail features.

Canyons also has natural terrain half-pipes in creek beds. Canis Lupis is one of the best. These pipes can be quite challenging especially early in the season when there’s not much coverage on the walls. A degree of park etiquette is required in these narrow pipes, so don’t stop for a breather on the way down!


Canyons at Park City has amazing advanced terrain, and upper advanced riders will also be able to tackle many of the double black diamond trails. Forty six percent of the trails are black and double black, which includes moguls, couloirs, and lots of gladed runs off Dream Peak, Peak 5 and 9,990 lifts.

The Canyons has done some fantastic glading across multiple areas. There are tree playgrounds galore in which powder hounds can go for a sniff. Mystic Pines in the Peak 5 area is great, as are the challenging lines off 9,990. One of the best hidey holes is over at the solitudinous Dream Peak where there are tree runs and moguls, if your knees are up to it.

If you are a crazy mogul-lover, try the runs such as Yard Sale off the right side of the Super Condor Express. These are rated as double blacks but they are not really worthy of the status. A “yard sale” is only likely if the moguls get really big. These runs get sunbaked and have a tendency to be crunky unless the powder is fresh.

The only limitation of the terrain is that off-piste skiing is very limited across some of the lifts due to the presence of winding roads that access the various multi-million dollar properties. The piste crosses over bridges, but short of taking off your skis and walking across the road, there is no other passage.

Expert Ski Terrain

The most challenging terrain can be found off the legendary 9,990 chairlift where there is plenty of merriment to be had. At this elevation (of 9,990m) the snow quality is good and the terrain includes palm-sweating tree runs and steep chutes. Slightly less challenging are the many lines through the Condor Woods. The terrain is not particularly steep, but the trees are tight in places.

For expert skiers that are willing to hike up the ridge from the top of the Condor Express, there is a good likelihood of freshies in the steep Murdoch Bowl.


The Canyons has some fabulous sidecountry and backcountry skiing and snowboarding that can be accessed through gates. As with all sidecountry and backcountry skiing, only those with appropriate experience and avalanche equipment should pass through the gates, and you do so at your own risk.

A short hike up from the top of 9990 opens up lots of lines that funnel back into the resort. Skiers’ right you can drop straight in, or traverse and then hike up again around the back to access more lines. Heading to skiers’ left is Square Top, which offers decent sized cliffs for hucking, or amazing fall line sub-alpine terrain of 40+ degrees where freshies tend to last or days after a storm.

This region also opens up plenty of backcountry terrain.