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Published November 2001. This article does not reflect any lift upgrades or terrain expansions since then.

Terrain Difficulty






Var. Index

The Canyons







The Canyons is American Ski Company’s massive expansion (over 3 times the prior acreage, now slightly larger than next-door Park City) of the former Park West and later Wolf Mountain ski area. The new name is an apt description of the terrain, which is a series of east-facing ridgelines, with runs both along the ridges and dropping into the intervening canyons. The long runouts coming out of each canyon could lead to excessively long chair rides back up. However, ASC has spared no expense in servicing the mountain with 5 high-speed quads and a gondola.


Lift Serviced





Snow Conditions




High Mths

Low Mths


Direction of Exposure




GE 90 in.

LT 30 in.

Base Depth





The Canyons, Utah 7,140











The Canyons, Utah 9,280











The historical snow data comes from nearby Park City, but is very applicable throughout this region of Utah, also including Deer Valley. Frequent visitors to Park City should recall the modest snow depths in town, and that the lower parts of Park City Ski Area are snowmaking dependent in the early season and often slushy in spring. The base of the Canyons is on the way out of town from Park City, may get even less snow and was likely a factor in the questionable viability of the prior areas. ASC has beefed up the snowmaking at the base and wisely expanded laterally at higher altitude where the snow is more reliable. Even at the upper elevations, expert terrain may not open until sometime in January in below average years like 1999 and 2000.

As the predominant exposure of The Canyons is east, spring conditions are common in Utah’s warm weather. Throughout the Park City region we find that conditions are best during the core of the season, mid-January to mid-March. The snowfall and altitude disadvantages vs. Utah’s Cottonwood Canyon ski areas are most evident early and late in the ski season.

Terrain Type:

Cruising: Nearly all of the lifts offer a choice of groomed runs, but due to the layout continuous fall lines over 1,000 vertical feet before a runout are rare. The longest cruisers are on the Super Condor chair, which serves the upper part of the old Park West terrain. Its liftline run Apex Ridge is groomed for 1,700 vertical and there are several trails dropping north from it for 1,000 feet or so. Overall, the fall line cruisers are better than Park City’s but not as good as Deer Valley’s.

Moguls: The north faces of many of the ridgelines are heavily forested, and the ungroomed black runs with sheltered exposure will have the best bumps. Check out the first few runs dropping off Apex Ridge or the direct runs from Lookout Cabin down to the Snow Canyon or Super Condor lifts. In the expansion terrain try Diamond Ridge on the Tombstone chair or 94 Turns or Fright Face on the 9990 chair. These bumpers face east and should be timed appropriately on sunny days.

Steeps: The 9990 chair is home to most of The Canyons’ steepest terrain. Everything up there except the main face of 94 Turns is at least black in pitch for the top 500+ vertical. Here the east-facing runs close to the chair get the most traffic, while the best snow is found on the numerous north facing drops into Red Pine Canyon. Skier density is very low in this area as there is a long exit trail Red Pine Road, followed by the low intermediate Chicane run to the Tombstone lift before finally returning to 9990. The new Peak 5 chair partially ascends the next ridgeline after 9990 and has some short but more direct north fall lines.

Wide Open Spaces: The highest lifts at The Canyons ascend about to, but not above timberline. Thus any really open bowls require hiking and/or traversing.

Trees: The trees thin out between 9,000 and 10,000 feet, thus providing adequate spacing for those who can handle the pitch of 9990’s terrain. From the other ridgeline lifts, trees are still comfortably spaced on many of the south faces. However, that exposure can mean marginal coverage, particularly on the steeper pitches of Super Condor’s Chutes 1-7. The new Dreamscape chair is an exception vs. the Canyons’ other glades; it is both north facing and comfortably intermediate in slope.

Powder: The large acreage, unusual layout and low skier density should yield abundant fresh tracks on powder days. With trees to the top of all lifts we would expect few weather or avalanche control closures during storms. When the weather clears hit the south facing terrain first before the sun turns it to cement.

Hiking and Backcountry: There is quite a bit of quality terrain available within 10-20 minutes hike or traverse from the lifts. Murdock Peak is 600 feet above the top of Super Condor. From 9990 head south through the gates into the bowl above Dutch’s Draw. On powder days the longer route north to Square Top will be well rewarded, with over 1,000 vertical of wide-open fresh tracks into Red Pine Canyon.

Crowds: As the new area in town, The Canyons still draws fewer skiers than Park City or Deer Valley. The base area has been a construction zone the past few seasons, with shuttles provided from the parking areas below. A transport lift has just been built to ease the logistics, and another option is to valet park at the new Grand Summit Hotel and then walk right onto the slopes. Once you ride the Flight of The Canyons Gondola into the expansion terrain, you’ll leave any congestion behind. It’s easy to spend a whole day just wandering around the 2,000+ acres added by ASC, with a lunch stop at the Red Pine Lodge. From Red Pine the short Lookout lift crosses an unskiable canyon as the most direct connection back to the original Park West terrain.

Intermediates: The Canyons has tremendous variety for intermediates. Some of the short fall lines provide opportunities to experiment with bumps, glades and ungroomed snow without making a too exhausting commitment. With the exception of the 9990 lift, very few runs will be too steep for most aspiring intermediates.

Novices: There are not too many green marked runs, and most of them are near the base with less desirable snow conditions. However, there is so much good low intermediate terrain that new skiers with just a few days of progress should not be deterred. Much of the new Dreamscape and the long blue runs coming back from it to Tombstone are of quite gentle pitch.

ASC is developing on-site lodging at The Canyons for those who value convenience. Most visitors will still want a car to ski Park City and Deer Valley and to enjoy Park City’s outstanding restaurants and lively après ski scene. The Canyons could also be an ideal base for visitors to the 2002 Olympics. While it is hosting no Olympic events, it is located just minutes from Park City/Deer Valley (Slalom, GS, Freestyle and Snowboarding) and Utah Olympic Park (Ski Jumping, Luge, Bobsleds).