Park City: From Mining Town to World Class Ski Destination

Park City: From Mining Town to World Class Ski Destination

One of our favorite ski towns, Park City, Utah first became popular not for alpine sport, but for mineral mining. Silver was first discovered here in 1868 by local soldiers traversing the mountainous terrain. With the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1870, prospectors and businessmen flocked to Deer Valley to settle in the emerging mining town of Park City. By 1889, Park City had been firmly established as the center of mining operations. One notable business man was George Hearst, father of William Randolph Hearst. His Ontario Mine was established for a mere $30,000 compared to its $50 million value over the course of its usage. Ski recreation was a distant concept...


Deer Valley’s upscale alpine tradition had humble beginnings in the 1930s during the Great Depression. The first ski jump was established in the abandoned Creole mining dump in 1930. Due to the decline of the local mining industry, the Work Projects Administration (WPA) stepped in to revitalize the region with the building of various ski trails and projects. 

The WPA was the largest government agency to come out of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal policies at the time. It worked to provide public works projects and opportunities for those effected by the Great Depression. The WPA’s work proved to be crucial for the survival of Park City and surrounding localities. Deer Valley was an interesting case where ski recreation initiatives became a lucrative alternative to established mining operations. 


Over the next decade the mining industry collapsed. In 1949 alone, 1,200 miners were put out of work, and by 1951 Park City’s population fell to a dismal 1,150. Park City held on, however, and eventually qualified for a federal loan to expand its fledgling ski attractions. Treasure Mountain Resort was the first major skiing destination for patrons, and it signaled the revival of Park City and the greater region. The resort gained national recognition in 1966 through Sports Illustrated as one of the finest skiing destinations in the country. 


Today, we know and love Park City (and Deer Valley specifically) for it's champagne powder, ample sunshine, and rambling runs. We're proud to announce our store at the base of Deer Valley Mountain Resort inside the St. Regis Hotel. One of the finest ski destinations in the world, the St. Regis is our home base for the winter, providing Alps & Meters guests the opportunity to shop for luxury ski wear in an absolutely stunning setting. Stop by this winter and see us!