After gliding around Park City Mountain Resort’s 7,300 acres of skiable terrain all morning, I was more than ready for a break. My partner and I skied over to the east side of the resort, heading down the Quit ‘N Time run toward our final destination: The world’s first and only ski-in/ski-out gastro distillery.
When we arrived, we popped off our skis and stashed them in the handy ski racks outside the front door as other skiers and riders floated by overhead on the aptly named Town Lift. With our helmets in hand, we unzipped our coats and headed inside for a cocktail, the awkward clop-clop of our ski boots thudding against the floor with every step.
High West Saloon is one of the coolest apres-ski spots around, and if you’re planning a ski trip to Utah this year, you should absolutely stop by for a drink. Ski-in/ski-out accessibility aside, when it launched in 2006, High West Distillery became Utah’s first legal distillery since 1870, shattering more than 135 years of history with its small, 250-gallon still.
Founded by biochemist David Perkins and his wife, Jane, the distillery opened in a historic Old Town Park City livery stable and garage dating back to at least the early 1900s. Since then, the company has grown and expanded, opening a new distillery 20 miles away in Wanship, Utah, with room for a 1,600-gallon copper pot still.
The saloon still serves as a main hub for the distillery, since Park City — and the broader Wasatch Mountain Range — is such a popular vacation destination (Park City Mountain is the biggest ski resort in the United States, and Park City itself is a popular foodie destination).
After you ski over to the saloon, you can choose from an array of craft cocktails, beer, wine and even spirit flights (which are especially handy if you can’t decide between High West’s American Prairie Bourbon, Double Rye, Rendezvous Rye or Campfire Whiskey). They also offer a selection of Old West cuisine with a modern twist, including dishes like sweet potato chili verde, pastrami spiced chicken wings, elk bolognese and apple and cherry cobbler.
And the good news about planning a ski trip to Utah is that you can easily drive to 10 top-notch resorts in an hour or less after you land at the Salt Lake City International airport, which offers non-stop flights from 98 cities around the world.
The state’s 15 ski resorts worked together all spring and summer to come up with various plans and strategies to make skiing and riding safer during the coronavirus pandemic. When you visit this winter, you’ll find all sorts of new protocols and precautions in place meant to help prevent the spread of the virus, ranging from increased cleaning and sanitation efforts to socially distanced lift lines and restaurants.