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Park City December Skiing

Park City in December: Overview


  • Park City, on average, gets 77% of its terrain open by December 25 (Christmas) - that's a decent mark in the Rockies. While Park City receives less snow than the resorts in Utah's Cottonwood Canyons, it also has more snowmaking capabilities and the terrain is less steep, which means it takes less snow for adequate coverage.
  • Only 20% of winters see Christmas come in Park City with less than half of the ski resort's terrain open. And at 7,000 acres, even 60% of terrain being open is still 4,200 acres.
  • Park City is easy to get to, which is an added bonus during the latter weeks of December, when getting to any aiport can be challenging. Cancelled flights are less of a concern when flying into a major airport such as Salt Lake as travelers can find other flights more easily than those into a destination airport such as Aspen or Jackson Hole.
  • Skiers who head to Park City in December also have the choice of skiing Deer Valley, whose snowmaking operations are among the best in the Rockies.


  • Park City experiences significant crowds, especially on holidays and weekends, due to its proximity to a major city.
  • Park City has variable early season snow conditions in December, which might not be as ideal as later in the winter.
  • Finding dining options in Park City's downtown area can be challenging without reservations.
  • Park City's lower elevation leads to lower snow retention, affecting the overall skiing season length.

Skiing in Park City in December offers the potential for good early season snow, convenient access, and diverse terrain. However, skiers should be prepared for possible crowds, especially during peak times, and variable snow conditions that might not be as ideal as in the heart of winter. Park City's lower elevation, compared to other major resorts makes acclimation easier for visitors, which is a big plus when gathering family groups, as many do during the holidays at the end of December. This can be a significant advantage for those who are sensitive to higher altitudes.

Park City snow in December

Data show December is the fifth best month Park City for overall snow quality when considering the following factors:

  • Snow quantity at Park City
  • Snow quality at Park City
  • How much snow is required for proper terrain coverage at Park City—steeper resorts require more snow to get 100% open.
  • Park City's snow frequency (standard deviation)
  • Park City's elevation
  • Park City's latitude
  • Park City's slope aspects - more north-facing slopes protect snow later into winter
Park City snow score by month, December in focus

What matters when it comes to snow for December skiing:

Finding good snow early in the season is often a game of chance. But there are mountains and regions that historically perform better than others. We take these factors into account when grading out our scores for resorts and the given season. That said, it's almost always a better bet, in terms of snow and open terrain, to ski in January or Feburary compared with December.

But skiing during the December holidays is a great tradition and it's also one of the only times many families can get away for extended periods.

Those skiing December should look for ski resorts with high average annual snowfalls and low standard deviations. In addition, steep and rocky ski resorts need more snow to get terrain open compared with ski resorts with more modest terrain.

This is also the time of year when slope aspects—north, east, south, west—matter the least. The sun is at it lowest angles in North America in December and has less effect on the snowpack at this time of year than at any other. So ski resorts that possess lots of south-facing and east-facing terrain will generally ski better—assuming there is enough snow—during these darkest times of winter rather than the spring. More explanation on this topic can be found on our snow rankings page.

Park City skiing by month:
Park City
By Month