SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE FEATURED ARTICLE:

Strap On Your Snowshoes In Park City: Explore the Wasatch Range and the Waldorf Astoria

White Pine Touring snowshoe guide, Victoria Ritzinger, breaks trail in between switchbacks on Rob's Trail in Park City, Utah. Photo by Kim Fuller

White Pine Touring snowshoe guide, Victoria Ritzinger, breaks trail in between switchbacks on Rob’s Trail in Park City, Utah. Photo by Kim Fuller

Its always nice to plan a vacation around recreation, because it allows you to come home feeling more fit and at ease than when you left. Snowshoeing is a very family-friendly and low-impact activity; it provides great ways to get and explore while embracing fresh air and exercise.

Just north of downtown Park City, next to Canyons Resort, Basin Recreation provides 20 kilometers of groomed, multi-use trails — like those of the MidMountain Trail System. Photo by Kim Fuller

Basin Recreation provides 20 kilometers of groomed, multi-use trails — like those of the MidMountain Trail System. Photo by Kim Fuller

Park City, Utah’s circuit of snowshoe trails is extensive, and many of them are maintained by the Mountain Trails Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting and maintaining Park City’s trails for non-motorized recreational use.

“I think snowshoeing is going in popularity,” says White Pine Touring snowshoe guide, Victoria Ritzinger. “It’s really a great opportunity for people who don’t enjoy skiing, or are older, or have been injured. Even young people who are injured and cannot ski can often come snowshoeing.”

If you do plan to make your trip multi-recreational, by next season Vail Resorts will have linked Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort to create 7,300 acres of skiing and snowboarding — significantly more terrain then even Colorado’s Vail Mountain, which boasts 5,289 acres.

Just north of downtown Park City, next to Canyons Resort, Basin Recreation provides 20 kilometers of groomed, multi-use trails that are great for snowshoeing. The MidMountain Trail System is easy to get to, and a lot of the trails are conveniently located near an ideal place to stay

Hang Your Shoes 

The Waldorf Astoria Park City has a quiet location and luxurious amenities. After a full day of playing in the snow, a couple or a family can relax their muscles in the large outdoor pool and hot tub, or wind down the day with apres in Powder restaurant.

Top-tier leisure is in its full form in the hotel’s beautiful on-site spa. The Mountain Salvation Sports Massage will help your muscles stay ready to hit the trail each day. The treatment uses a high-altitude blend oil, as well as a pain-relieving yoga balm — a combination that creates an effective system of recovery guided by the therapist’s interaction with the specific needs of every client.

Small or large groups of guests on a snowshoe vacation will appreciate the leisure and space of a one, two, or three-bedroom suite at the Waldorf. Photo courtesy of the Waldorf Astoria.

Suite with kitchen in the Waldorf Astoria, Park City. Photo courtesy of the Waldorf Astoria.

Small or large groups of guests on a snowshoe vacation will appreciate the leisure and space of a one, two, or three-bedroom suite at the Waldorf, complete with a full kitchen, dining table, living area, two gas fireplaces and a full-sized washer/dryer.

There are certainly some evenings you may want to stay in the room and cook (they’ll even send up a useful cook kit with oils and spices), and some lunches should be enjoyed picnic-style on the trail, but don’t miss the experience of a meal at Powder.

During the day and into the early evening, natural light from the large, courtyard-facing windows bring an extra glimmer to prosecco bubbles, popping around in their thin flute. The buttery and bright mussels are great as a starter or appetizer to share. Order the fluffy and powdered sugar-coated beignets for dessert, or head outside by the fire pit for the nightly complimentary s’mores buffet.

During the day and into the early evening at Powder restaurant, natural light from the large, courtyard-facing windows bring that extra glimmer to prossecco bubbles, popping in their thin flute. The buttery and bright muscles are great as a starter or appetizer to share. Photo by Kim Fuller.

During the day and into the early evening at Powder restaurant, natural light from the large, courtyard-facing windows bring that extra glimmer to prossecco bubbles, popping in their thin flute. The buttery and bright muscles are great as a starter or appetizer to share. Photo by Kim Fuller.

Guests can book any adventure, gear rental or cultural experience through the Waldorf’s on-site concierge. In addition, their complimentary shuttle service makes it easy to pop into downtown Park City, or to head up fifteen minutes to the exclusive destination of Deer Valley, where more snowshoe trails await. All Seasons Adventures offers guided snowshoe tours that start in Deer Valley and explore up into the Wasatch Range.

“Snowshoeing in the upper elevations has been really good,” explains Ritzinger. “People love getting out in the sun and warm temperatures.”

Ritzinger says White Pine Touring also guides groups on special moonlit snowshoe tours up in Deer Valley. It’s a great way for families to work up an appetite before going to enjoy European-inspired fireside dining at the Empire Canyon Lodge.

Find The Snow

“I think snowshoeing is going in popularity,” says White Pine Touring snowshoe guide, Victoria Ritzinger. “It’s really a great opportunity for people who don’t enjoy skiing, or are older, or have been injured. Even young people who are injured and cannot ski can often come snowshoeing.” Photo courtesy of Vail Resorts.

“I think snowshoeing is going in popularity,” says White Pine Touring snowshoe guide, Victoria Ritzinger. “It’s really a great opportunity for people who don’t enjoy skiing, or are older, or have been injured. Even young people who are injured and cannot ski can often come snowshoeing.” Photo courtesy of Vail Resorts.

Park City recently received some big snow falls in February, but they were hurting for powder before that.

“Like a lot of the western mountains, especially those in Utah, the last couple of years have not brought the snow we are used to,” said Scott House of White Pine Touring. “But we keep the [nordic] track going, and the snowshoeing in the upper elevations has been really good.”

The aforementioned MidMountain Trail System does have groomed trails, like Rob’s Trail, where shoe spikes are sufficient. There are still areas where you can break trail in the trees, though, and you’ll need your snowshoes for that.

When the snowpack is looking really slim, White Pine Touring brings snowshoe tours out into certain sections of the Uinta Mountains, which are a 40-minute drive outside of Park City. They provide a picnic lunch, so with driving, the 5-hour tour includes about 3-hours of walking — plenty for a nice snowshoe sesh.

The distance from Denver to Park City, Utah is about 500 miles — about an 8-hour drive without stopping. Flights out of Denver can start at around $145, round trip, but vary greatly with time of year, airline preference, etc. 

Kim Fuller is a writer and avid snowshoer based in Vail, Colorado.

Writer Kim Fuller on the trail in Park City. Photo by Victoria Ritzinger.

Writer Kim Fuller on the trail in Park City. Photo by Victoria Ritzinger.

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