Nothing against a hot toddy nor mulled wine, or even hot cider for that matter, but it can’t be a coincidence that skier and beer rhyme (it may help if you have a Southern drawl). As craft beer lovers, we are drawn by the lure of the great outdoors no matter the season and mountain towns seem to attract great breweries―just keep in mind the high altitudes. So whether a pint of a light-bodied beer after a day of tackling black diamond runs or a glass of something strong and warming after (or between) wedging your way down the bunny slopes is your MO, here are some great resort areas where the skiing or boarding is as top notch as the local brews. Best of all, these mountains offer multiple resorts to fit both the ritzy and more budget-minded travelers.
Deer Valley is, by many accounts, the swankiest resort in the country.
Park City, Utah
Salt Lake City may have been the main focus when the 2002 Olympic Winter Games came to Utah, but many of the events, including the ski jump and the luge, were held in Park City. At the Utah Olympic Park (3419 Olympic Parkway), which remains open, we can’t in good faith recommend trying the long jump, but if you’ve wondered what it’s like to ride a bobsled, even at a comparatively tame 70-plus mph, for $200 you can try the actual track for the wildest one-minute joy ride of your life. At least it makes the cost of a lift ticket at Deer Valley seem reasonable.
Deer Valley is, by many accounts, the swankiest resort in the country. Whether its larger appeal to skiers is the “champagne powder” or the fact that it doesn’t allow snowboarders is up for debate. They even offer a covered chairlift with seat warmers taking riders to the summit elevation of over 9,500 feet. The other two options include the centrally located Park City Mountain Resort and, only five miles from Deer Valley, The Canyons. Both of these are equally popular, just a tad more wallet-centric.
As for the beer scene, some might be under the false impression that the area’s strong religious persuasion would keep quality adult beverages from finding a foothold, but the Utah Brewers Cooperative―a joint venture between Wasatch and Squatters Breweries―just earned Mid-Size Brewery of the Year honors at the Great American Beer Festival. There are 13 breweries in-state, which collectively earned seven medals. Three of those brewers have pubs in Park City. Blogger Mike Riedel, who blogs at UtahBeer.blogspot.com, offers up some of the top choices to hit during your visit.
“As far as the local craft beer goes, you start with the Wasatch Brewpub,” says Riedel. Wasatch (250 Main St.)―named for the mountain range that comprises central Utah’s span of the Rocky Mountains―is located at the top of Main Street and is Utah’s first modern brewery. The brewpub has been in operation since 1989 and is semi-infamous for its Polygamy Porter with the catchy taglines, “Bring some home for the wives” and “Why have just one?” During ski season, look for their winter warmers, Bobsled Brown and Winterfest.