When you think of Sundance, chances are your mind immediately goes to the acclaimed Sundance FilmFestival founded back in 1978. The fest, located in Park City, Utah, and held annually, is the place to be seen for aspiring filmmakers and well-established stars alike.
But then there’s the iconic mountain resort of the same name — established by Hollywood legend Robert Redford five decades ago — which has become a beloved destination for the jet-set ski lovers as well as families looking to rediscover the marvels of Mother Nature. Tucked away in the Wasatch mountain range, there’s so much to see, do, and experience here, at any time of year.
Redford made headlines when he recently sold the resort to a pair of venture capital firms. While new improvements are on the way, the philosophy and spirit of this special place remain firmly intact.
“They really want to maintain what Robert Redford has created, and so we’re grateful for that,” said Blain Wilkey, director of marketing and sales at Sundance. “That Bob took as long as he did to sell the resort to people he felt would really respect this area says a lot about him, and the new company.”
Here are eight reasons you should consider a stay here for your next Wild West break!
The Mountain Beauty Is Stunning
The 5,000-acre resort is located at the base of the 12,000-foot Mount Timpanogos in the Wasatch range, giving guests an incredible view no matter where on the resort they might be. The hiking and biking trails wind through tall grass meadows, which are dotted with wildflowers, and the aspens are simply stunning. While you’re at moderate altitude here, the air isn’t terribly thin. That said, make sure to stay well-hydrated and take your time during hikes or biking, so you enjoy all Sundance has to offer without fear of falling ill.
There’s Always Adventure In The Air
While Sundance is known for its top-notch ski runs, there’s so much more to do at the mountain resort. Hiking and mountain biking trails offer stunning scenic vistas. The nearby Provo River offers anglers some of the best fly-fishing in the state. The Sundance stables offer rides up to Stewart Falls or at sunset, and for a high-flying adventure, make reservations to zip line! In short, there’s no shortage of adventure here.
You’ll Experience Culture And Creativity
Given Sundance was founded by an Academy Award-winning actor and director, it should come as no surprise that the art and culture scene here is strong. During the summer months, there are outdoor concerts on a regular basis, perfect backdrops for a lovely mountain picnic or cocktail hour. Sundance’s summer theater series staged at its outdoor amphitheater, routinely sells out and features popular musicals and performances. And the resort’s art studio offers guests the chance to explore their creative side with classes in painting, pottery, printmaking, jewelry-making, and soap-making. Its adjacent gallery features work and exhibits from a rotating group of guest artists.
It’s The Perfect Family Destination
Sundance is the perfect spot for multi-generational travel, with everything you need in one complex. You can easily book group adventures, as well as dining options, and the paths and walkways linking different areas of the resort, are easy to navigate. Perhaps the best thing about a multi-gen stay here: Individual family units can reserve their own cabins, cottages, or homes adjacent to one another, injecting just a little bit of privacy into all that together time.
Fresh, Locally-Sourced Food
From beef to duck and trout, the food focus at Sundance is on local, fresh and seasonal ingredients, thoughtfully prepared. In addition to the famed Tree Room (the perfect place for a dress-up dinner), the Foundry Grill is renowned for its brunch and more casual vibe. Make sure you call ahead for reservations, as both can book up quickly. A grab-and-go deli option is also on site for quick meals and snacks, prepared while you wait. It’s a great solution if you’re on the go — and chances are you will be during your stay!
For a nightcap, consider the historic Owl Bar. This rough-hewn log saloon was first built in the 1880s in Wyoming and was the spot where Butch Cassidy’s Hole-in-the-Wall Gang hung out. After portraying Cassidy’s sidekick The Sundance Kid opposite Paul Newman on the big screen, Redford decided to move the entire bar to his Utah resort. It’s a special place worth a stop!
The Sustainable Spirit
When Robert Redford first established Sundance, he did so with a definite aim toward sustainable practices, and it’s a philosophy that can still be felt at the resort some five decades later. Buildings here aren’t allowed to extend over the tree line, rather, they are discreetly built into the natural setting. Everything that can be recycled here, is. You’re not going to find plastic water bottles in any of the cottages, and protective covenants ensure the land here stays pristine. The commitment to green operations and practice threads through the resort, and you’ll appreciate the effort.
Relax At The Spa
After a long day of skiing, hiking, or mountain biking, is there anything better than a trip to the spa? We think not, and Sundance has you covered with one of the best in the West! Make sure you book well in advance — your tired, aching muscles will thank you later. The spa — with a cozy cabin feel and high-end treatments — might end up being one of your favorite places at the resort.
Shop The General Store
Last but not least, make time for some retail therapy at Sundance’s General Store. This spot is so famous it inspired a catalog all its own! It’s stocked with all sorts of beautiful items, from luxe clothing and fancy western boots to gorgeous jewelry and other home décor items. This is the perfect place to buy your little piece of Sundance to take home, and don’t forget to snag a logo tee or two!
While Sundance is gorgeous no matter the season, like many mountain resorts, some of its cottages and cabins do not have air conditioning. While certainly not a deal-breaker — you can certainly open up doors and screens to let the cool evening air in — it is something to keep in mind when considering the time of year to book your visit.
Skiers, take note: Upcoming improvements currently underway include adding two new lifts and building a snow-making pond. One of the resort’s cafes is also getting a face-lift. The projects will be completed by 2022.
There are a host of things to do in Utah summer or winter, including touring some interesting cities: