The Curbed Cup, our competition for the ski town of the year, is kicking off with 16 ski towns vying for the prestigious trophy. This week we'll have two matchups per day, and all the results and the full tournament bracket will be reviewed on Friday. Voting for each pairing ends 24 hours after it begins. Let the eliminations commence!
Though Utah doesn't capture as many skier visits as Colorado or California, Park City earned the top seed in this year's pool for two main reasons: no other ski town has dominated the headlines quite like Park City and this year mark's the debut of the newly revamped Park City Mountain. A few years ago, the town was marred in a messy lawsuit that threatened to close the iconic ski resort. But now, what was once two separate ski areas— Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons— has been rechristened as one massive resort bound by the new eight-passenger Quicksilver Gondola. Vail Resorts put $50 million into the new Park City to transform it into a behemoth with 41 lifts, more than 300 trails and 7,300 skiable acres — good enough to make it the largest ski resort in the country and second-largest in North America, behind Whistler Blackcomb. This has coincided with a Park City construction industry that's breaking records and a revitalized town that no longer has to worry about whether the ski area will keep the lifts turning. Park City is poised for great things.
On the other end of the spectrum is Whitefish, a down-to-earth ski town in Montana that prides itself on having epic skiing and a friendly downtown. The town now boasts more on-point dining and lodging spots, while maintaining local hot spots like the legendary Great Northern bar. At Whitefish Mountain Resort, the ski area spent $1.5 million this past summer to remodel the Summit House Lodge, add a coffee shop, upgrad its ski patrol headquarters and improv its Wi-Fi access. We also love that Whitefish is one of the few resorts will you can still score powder by sleeping in the parking lot. Many skiers might be most familiar with this iconic ski area due to its controversial "Big Mountain Jesus" statue, but real estate investors will get a lot for their money.