Park City, with an assist from Salt Lake City, was named "The Best Town in America" in the September issue of Outside, out Monday.
The author, Kyle Dickman, writes, "Park City feels like a Colorado ski town dropped into Utah's 12,000-foot Wasatch Range, with one significant difference. Unlike Telluride or Aspen, it has a major city, Salt Lake, and an international airport 30 minutes away."
Thanks in part to a video campaign and social media buzz, Park City received the highest number of per capita votes in the magazine's reader poll with 5,179. Park City Chamber of Commerce President Bill Malone says he wishes the article would have focused a little more on the year-round activities in Park City, including winter sports, but he's pleased with the attention.
"It's quite an honor," Malone says. "It's always nice when people recognize what you already know."
Dickman cites the active lifestyle, nearby wilderness, social responsibility and fine dining as feathers in the city's cap, but he cautions that "living in utopia is expensive 60 percent higher than the national average."
"The real trick to being a Park City local is finding a way to stay," he writes. Taken literally, that's true of anywhere, but the magazine says there's a tricky balance between attracting wealthy tourists and second-home owners without expelling the middle class. Malone says that's "honest."
"It is difficult. But we're not the only mountain community where it's expensive."
Outside magazine said its goal in the contest was "simple: find America's best place to be healthy. We wanted a town with ample trailheads, nearby adventure, great farmers' markets, and, hopefully, a competitive gear-shop scene.
"To pick it we turned to you. In our third-annual crowdsourced contest, readers … raved about these 18 towns. All are amazing places, but one stood above the rest: Park City, Utah."