Park City Ski Resort Comparison

Because there are so many ski resorts in Utah, it's often hard for visitors to decide which resort to visit.  If you're staying in Park City, Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley are the closest resorts. Fortunately, they're also two of the best ski resorts in the world. Deer Valley is famous for its groomed slopes and luxury services, lodging and dining.  Park City Mountain Resort's latest claim to fame is its status as the largest ski resort in the United States with over 7,300 skiiable acres.  

Clearly, both are amazing, world-class ski resorts, and you'll likely want to try both if you have time. But if you have to choose just one, the infographic below can help you compare the differences between Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley and decide which Park City ski resort is right for you.

For those of you who have skied Park City, what do you think? If you had only one day in Park City, would you spend it at Park City Mountain Resort or Deer Valley? 


Sundance Basics: 9 Tips for an Awesome Festival

This is Part III of North Point Lodge's Sundance Film Festival basis series.  Part I discusses the basics facts about the Sundance Film Festival.  Part II discusses attending the Sundance Film Festival on a budget. Part III discusses my favorite tips and secrets for making the Sundance Film Festival a memorable experience.  

For anyone remotely interested in film, attending the Sundance Film Festival may be one of the most memorable experiences of his or her life. There are a few things that you can do and bring to make the experience more enjoyable, smooth and stress-free.  Here are my top Sundance Film Festival tips and secrets. 

Book Early

Accommodations in Park City are limited and fill up quickly.  Book your hotel or vacation rental early so that you're sure to have a place to sleep! 

Have a Ticket Plan

In recent years, Sundance has revamped its ticketing process from top to bottom.  There are a few ways of securing tickets. First, you can simply purchase a festival pass (no tickets needed and priority admission line) or a ticket package beginning in October, but these passes and packages can be quite expensive.  Alternatively, you can buy individual tickets online beginning in mid-January for only $20 each. "Day of Show" tickets can only be purchased in person each morning beginning at 8 a.m. at the Main Box Office for $20. Tickets for each theater's first screening of the day are released at 8:00 a.m. the day before. These tickets are limited, so you might consider showing up early. Finally, waitlist tickets are also available for $20.  You queue electronically via the web or mobile app for a chance to get last minute tickets to films. All you need to do is register your account, choose a film, receive a waitlist number and arrive at the theater no later than 30 minutes before the screening for a chance to get a ticket.

As you think about the schedule, make sure you have a plan.  Prioritize the films you want to see. Remember that everyone wants to see the film with A-list Hollywood celebrities and that such films will likely be distributed at a later point. Some of Sundance's best films come from unknown artists. And don't forget about the documentaries--they never get as much love as they should! 

Leave yourself plenty of time between screenings for food breaks and travel time between theaters. Also consider getting tickets for the first screening of the day, which are in less demand.   

Catch a Morning Screening

The afterparties at Sundance extend to the wee hours of the morning.  While everyone else is sleeping, consider attending a morning screening.  These start as early as 8 a.m. and you won't have to compete for tickets like you do for the afternoon and evening screenings.  After catching a screening, you'll have plenty of time to hit the slopes in the afternoon while everyone else is at the theaters.

Don't Forget About the Extra Panels and Off-Screen Events

Sundance film screenings are usually followed by a Q&A with the actors, directors and/or producers of the film.  These are fantastic presentations and are one of my favorite parts of attending the Sundance Film Festival.  What many don't know, however, is that there are many other panels, discussions and workshops that are held during Sundance that aren't preceded by a film screening. The Sundance Institute publishes a guide to many of these off-screen events. You'll need a "credential" to attend the larger panels, which costs about $200 if you didn't purchase a ticket package or pass. There are also smaller, more informal panels that are free to the public. 

Hit the Slopes

While the out-of-towners are at the movies and the locals are keeping away, consider hitting the slopes.  It's a little known fact that you'll practically have them to yourself during Sundance. Park City Mountain Resort's Town Lift will even carry you from Main Street straight to the slopes. 

Use the Free Transit System

We've written about this before, but ditch your car and take the free public buses and shuttles around Park City.  Park City parking is extremely limited during the festival. It's also expensive and on a first-come-first-served basis.  If you ditch your care and use the free buses and shuttles, you won't have to deal with the hassles of traffic or parking.

Bring Your Cell Phone Accessories

Sundance venues provide a number of areas and outlets to charge your phone, but with the amount of time you will spend outside, including waiting in lines, you won't regret bringing a cell phone battery backup pack. As far as hand attire goes, consider buying touchscreen friendly gloves.  You'll thank me when you're waiting in line, surfing the web or texting friends with warm hands. 

Layer Your Clothing

One key to Sundance bliss is layering your clothing.  You'll spend a significant amount of time alternating begin freezing outdoor spaces and heated indoor spaces. Being able to peal away a few layers will save you a lot of hassle. Also consider bringing a warm but compact coat.  Otherwise, you'll be wrestling with that enormous, fluffy coat on your lap during the entire screening. 

Ask the Volunteers

The Sundance film festival employs an small army of volunteers to help make your festival experience enjoyable.  Feel free to ask them questions, such as the location of the nearest shuttle stop or which shuttle to take. They're a pretty sharp group.  

Sundance Basics: Sundance on a Budget

This is Part II of North Point Lodge's Sundance Film Festival basics series.  Part I discusses the basic facts about the Sundance Film Festival.  Part II discusses attending the Sundance Film Festival on a budget. Part III discusses my favorite tips and secrets for making the Sundance Film Festival a memorable experience. 

sundance.jpg

Rubbing shoulders with movie stars is rarely a cheap experience, and the Sundance Film Festival is no exception. That said, there are simple ways that you can make a trip to the Sundance Film Festival surprisingly affordable. Here are our top strategies: 

Book a Vacation Rental and Bring a Group

Our number one tip for is to book a vacation rental.  Park City hotels during the Sundance Film Festival are notoriously expensive and fill up fast.  Vacation rentals, on the other hand, are significantly more affordable on a per guest basis.  North Point Lodge, for example, accommodates up to 19 people and charged $749 per night during the height of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.  On a per guest basis, that's less than $40 per night!  You won't find that kind of value from a hotel.

Sundance During the Second Week

The Sundance Film Festival is a 10 day affair. The first half of the festival is the most popular and, therefore, accommodations are less affordable. The second half of the festival, including after the winners are announced, is less popular and, therefore, accommodations are more affordable. You'll also have an easier time securing tickets if you come during the second weekend of the festival. 

Prepare Your Own Food

Because vacation rentals have kitchens, you can also save a significant amount of money by preparing a few meals during your stay. There are a number of quality grocery stores and specialty food stores in the area with affordable prices. Plus, after a few days, eating out three times a day becomes a more of a chore. 

There are amazing restaurants along Main Street, and you should definitely try some of them during your stay.  To save a few dollars and escape the festival crowds, however, consider eating at a casual dining restaurant a bit further from Main Street, like at Squatters on Park Avenue.  You can also try some of the restaurants located at Kimball Junction, near the Redstone Theater venue. Both of these options all located along the free bus and shuttle routes. 

Use the Free Buses and Shuttles

When over 40,000 people descend on a small town, parking becomes a nightmare. Fortunately, Park City has an excellent free bus system and Sundance has festival shuttles that can get you where you need to go without worrying about where to park.  You might even consider foregoing a rental car entirely by using a group limousine service to get from the airport to Park City.  Just make sure to ask whether your vacation rental is located near a stop on Park City's free bus system or the festival shuttle route. 

 

Sundance Basics: A Beginner's Guide

This is Part I of North Point Lodge's Sundance Film Festival basics series.  Part I discusses the basic facts about the Sundance Film Festival.  Part II discusses attending the Sundance Film Festival on a budget. Part III discusses my favorite tips and secrets for making the Sundance Film Festival a memorable experience. 

Park City is famous for its world-class skiing and for the Sundance Film Festival. Here are a few basic facts about the festival to get you excited for your visit:

Name: Sundance Film Festival, but it was formerly known as the Utah/US Film Festival (1978-1984); the United States Film Festival (1985-1989) and the Sundance United States Film Festival (1990) 

Founded: 1978 as the Utah/US Film Festival by Sterling van Wagener with Robert Redford on the board. Robert Redford's Sundance Institute took over running the festival in 1985.

Purpose: Honoring and supporting creative expression through film

Timing: January of each year

Duration: 10 days

Location: Mainly Park City, but screenings are also held in Salt Lake City, Ogden, and at the Sundance Mountain Resort near Provo. 

Submissions (2016): 12,000 films. There were 48 first time filmmakers, 28 of which made it into the competition. 

Selections (2016): 120 feature-length films representing 37 countries.

Categories (2016): US Dramatic, US Documentaries, World Dramatic, World Documentaries, Premieres, Documentary Premieres, NEXT, Spotlight, Special Events, From the Collection, Sundance Kids, Midnight, New Frontier and Shorts. 

Attendance: Approximately 40,000 visitors