Not sure where to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year? The United States is brimming with sensational ski areas attracting thousands of visitors annually. Two of the most popular cities for a snow-filled getaway are Park City, Utah and Vail, Colorado. While each is home to a ski area owned by Vail Resorts, a leader in destination-based travel, there are many features setting the cities apart. Use our guide as you decide where to go on a last-minute holiday getaway or plan next year’s spring break.

Hitting the Slopes

Home to two world-class ski resorts, Park City invites winter adventurers to explore like never before. Less than 40 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport, Park City Mountain Resort boasts 7,300 beautiful acres with 41 lifts and more groomed runs than any other mountain in North America. In other words, you could spend days on the mountain and never get bored. Just a few miles away, Deer Valley provides a premier haven for skiers with its “no snowboarding” policy.

Just one state over, Vail is home to the third largest single mountain resort in North America. With 5,289 acres of well-managed terrain, ski lovers will want to stay the entire season. Like Park City, Vail’s ski season runs from November to April, and the average snowfall at Vail Ski Resort rests around 350 inches from year to year. While the resort is just a 40-minute commute from Eagle County Regional Airport, some opt to save on airfare by taking the scenic two-hour drive from Denver International Airport. No matter where you begin the journey, you’ll find Vail offers everything you would need or want for the perfect escape away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Experiencing the Culture

While each is known primarily for its snow, these scenic destinations are sparkling with cultural landmarks and festivals. A highlight of the winter season in Park City, the Sundance Film Festival celebrates the power of visual storytelling with 10 action-packed days of film screenings and conversations with directors. Movies shown at Sundance include dramas, documentaries and world premieres. If you can’t visit during Sundance, you’ll still have a chance to browse the Kimball Art Center, attend outdoor concerts and see shows at the Egyptian Theatre.

When you’re not flying down the slopes in Vail, take time to explore the city and enjoy unique events throughout the year. During the first week of April, take part in the annual Taste of Vail, which brings together the town’s top restaurants and wineries. Music lover? Schedule time to hear performances during the Vail Jazz Festival and Bravo! Vail. Don’t leave town without a stop at the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame, showcasing the evolution of skiing and those who have greatly impacted the sport.

Making the Stay Special

Whether you’re planning a romantic weekend or family vacation, Park City offers plenty of ways to elevate your experience beyond the slopes. Stroll, shop and savor along the historic Main Street, which has served as the city’s shopping district since the 1800s. After browsing the boutiques to find a new winter coat or finish off your holiday shopping list, make an appointment at one of the city’s full-service spas. Main Street is also chock-full of delicious dining outlets to satisfy all types of tastes. 

With an atmosphere reminiscent of a charming European village, Vail features two main hotspots at the base of the mountain: Vail Village and Lionshead Village. Take a romantic stroll to dinner, practice your ice skating skills, or shop for specialty items across both villages. Then enhance your escape with an appointment at one of the city’s luxurious spas, rejuvenating you for another day on the slopes. Visiting in March? Don’t miss the chance to see world-class snowboarders compete during the Burton U.S. Open.

Book Your Getaway

Heed the call of the mountains and start planning your snow-filled escape today! Search for winter vacation packages to Park City and Vail, and find exclusive rates on flights, accommodations and car rentals with Vacations by Marriott.