“[Sundance] always feels new, it always feels fresh and it sets in motion a different attitude where I then begin to slow down.” — Robert Redford
It’s hard not to love a place where wild turkeys roam freely, weaving in and out of snow-covered trails and leisurely crossing the street as if they own the place. Sundance has a relaxed, cozy yet ultra-chic style. It’s rustic luxury, if that really is a thing. And it has a magic that lures you into the artist culture, curated and cultivated by Robert Redford.
You can imagine things happening here: creative beings setting the stage for change, innovation and artistic expression without urban pressures, all punctuated by mountain charm and beauty. It’s a place to unlock, let go and take in the surroundings.
Most people think of the January film festival when they hear of Sundance—a time when the town lights up with action, intention, celeb-filled parties and a decidedly creative buzz in the air. However, the vision for the mountain resort evolved more than a decade before the renowned three-day event, which attracts a global audience to independent film. The main festivities of the Sundance Film Festival take place in Park City, aside from a few screenings at the Sundance Mountain Resort.
The resort strives to maintain a separate identity from the renowned film festival, although without great success. This slice of nature—once Ute Indian tribal land that was homesteaded by Scottish immigrants—remains a boutique-style, woodsy paradise for singles, friends and families in the mood for either relaxed or action-filled days.
Actor Robert Redford, affectionately known as “Bob” to locals and staff, purchased the property—then known as Timp Haven ski resort—in the late ’60s when it was just a single T-bar (a simple surface lift) down the front of the mountain.
This stunning wilderness surrounding Provo Canyon was a place he instinctively wanted to protect, preserve and share responsibly. He named the land Sundance, after his role in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and in 1969 opened Sundance Mountain Resort to the public. Redford designated much of the land as a wilderness preserve.
He had a vision that stories and storytelling were integral to the human experience. To bolster independent storytelling and support emerging artists in that field, Redford established Sundance Institute in 1981. Today the brand includes the film festival, a local TV channel, the resort and even a catalog.
After all these years, Sundance Mountain Resort still has a small ski-town ambience and an unspoiled, serene atmosphere—artsy, authentic, sophisticated yet rustic and quaint. It is set on a 5,000-acre plot of open wilderness and stunning national forest that during winter becomes a wonderland.
The stunning snow-covered mountains are the perfect blank canvas to create, inspire and reset.
HOW TO GET THERE
Sundance is located approximately an hour by road from Salt Lake City airport. Park City is a scenic drive, about 45 minutes from the resort. Utah Mountain Shuttle provides quality private ride services to Sundance from Salt Lake City International Airport. Driving from Los Angeles to Sundance takes about 10 hours.
WHEN TO GO
The mountain lifts and trails open on December 4; refer to the Sundance Mountain Resort website for information regarding current COVID-19 restrictions.
WHERE TO STAY
Sundance Mountain Resort offers a variety of excellent lodging options, including full mountain homes and individual rooms and suites. Resort reservations include two free ski/lift passes per bedroom with each day of stay (excluding discounted and group rates). Visit sundanceresort.com for more information.
WHERE TO EAT
At Owl Bar, gaze out onto the snowdrifts while sipping mulled wine and noshing “dirty fries,” or order the legendary sweet and sour soy brussels sprouts. From award-winning fine dining at the Tree Room to grab-and-go food at the Sundance Food Truck, you won’t go hungry or unsatisfied.
WHAT TO DO
World-class skiing, snowboarding and ski school area are a great start. Ski packages, including ladies-only offerings, are available at exceptional value on some of the squeakiest-dry powder snow. The Film Festival in Park City is still on for January 28 through February 3, but it will be a bit different this year due to the pandemic. Silversmithing at the Art Center offers one of the oldest forms of jewelry making with expert instruction. Pottery slinging, candle making and soap making are also available. Car concerts and author series pop up around town, and there’s always a reason for a relaxing spa treatment on property.
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