Park City Mountain’s magical allure is rooted in nature and has once again upped the ante on luxury offerings, securing its title as a renowned international ski destination. The grand entrance of Stein Eriksen Lodge features a torch that burns on like the namesake’s legacy.
The first thing you’ll notice on arrival to Park City is the circle of mountain ranges that loom over like wise elders. We’ve all been to the mountains, but these have a different effect—you feel surrounded but welcomed as they urge you up their peaks. Ascending the ranges of Deer Valley in my private car is magical, but even more impressive is what waits at my destination: Stein Eriksen Lodge (room rates $990 to $3,305 per night), Utah’s first and only Forbes five-star, year-round resort. As you approach the property, a statue paying homage to the lodge’s iconic namesake, Alpine ski racer and Norwegian Olympic gold medalist Stein Eriksen, welcomes you.
Inside the European-style lodge, roaring fireplaces and relics from the Alpine days of yesteryear add to the warmth of the lobby. The elevated decor makes it feel more like I’ve stumbled upon an elite secret club than a hotel. I’m led up the stairs to Glitretind Restaurant for an early lunch from its locally sourced menu, and then a tour of the property’s recent $14 million amenities expansion. Apart from the lodge’s full-service ski valets, sport shop, five-star spa, state-of- the-art fitness center and year-round heated pool, Stein Eriksen Lodge underwent an expansion in 2018 that included a second family-friendly pool, the Champions Club Plaza and fire pits for après-ski, an entertainment center complete with nostalgic games, a coffee shop, the Freestyle movie theater and a renovated ski locker facility. Post-tour, a private Deer Valley ski instructor leads a bluebird afternoon on the mountain— some ski lingo I picked up, meaning a beautiful sunny day after overnight snowfall. Getting skis and storing gear, usually a monumental task, takes only seconds thanks to the new facilities and we’re on the lift ready for a full afternoon.
Ski a day on the slopes and explore over 2,000 acres of wide- open terrain and runs full of Utah’s signature powder.
Throughout the stay, each amenity valiantly competes for my attention, but it’s the truly breathtaking locale of this special place that wins me over. At every angle, the most picturesque ski slope and a breath of crisp air is all I need to feel deeply connected. In retrospect, I realize Stein Eriksen Lodge is so special because it takes the hassle out of every aspect of a mountainous landscape so guests can revel in the beauty.
With the lodge as home base, I set out to explore this storybook town, first visiting RIME Seafood & Steak at The St. Regis Deer Valley for dinner with Gargiulo Vineyards wines. Dinner is more of an event than anything else. My boyfriend and I are joined by Jeff and Valerie Gargiulo for a five-course meal prepared by RIME’s head chef, Matthew Harris, with wine pairings from the namesake vineyard. At the top of the list of epicurean delights is a Utah lamb loin, braised lamb belly, pistachio confit with onion and shoyu caramel paired with a 2012 Money Ranch Road.
RIME Seafood & Steak receives a shipment of ethically fished seafood fresh each morning, preserving the salty bite of the sea.
The following days are filled with runs sans instructor at Park City Mountain Village. The town itself has its own sense of wonder, with shop-lined streets and meandering pines among award-winning restaurants like Courchevel Bistro. Since the winter of 1981, Utah has welcomed the iconic Sundance Film Festival to its streets, fostering a history of storytellers and perspectives that have taken deep root in Park City. Filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino and culture-shaking films have debuted here, with A-list actors always in attendance. Most recently, Park City and Salt Lake City have been selected asa nominee for the location of the Winter Olympics come 2030 or 2034. Having hosted the 2002 iteration, the community still has and uses training facilities and subsequently fostered its community of world-class athletes, coaches and trainers.
Every room at Stein Eriksen Lodge boasts breathtaking views of the mountain from every angle.
With these cultural moments in mind and the spiritual magic of the mountains, I spend my last days in Park City meeting with the exquisite chefs, restaurateurs, skiers, staff and masseuses who keep this mountain town moving. On my last day, I sneak over to the Waldorf Astoria for a massage at its award-winning spa.
Back in SLC to make the trek home, the mountains are still overhead— although this time in a much less posh setting than I’d become accustomed
to the past couple of days. Still, the mountains give off the same majesty; it’s the perfect image to recall as I board the plane home.
The funicular at The St. Regis Deer Valley transcends the ordinary method of transportation.