HALF MOON BAY, Calif., February 21, 2013 — Every single day I skied in Park City last month, it was snowing, which wasn’t a bad problem to have. I skipped out on the last few days of the Sundance Film Festival (but not without gawking at people wearing fur and sequins) to take advantage of the relatively uncrowded runs of Canyons Resort, Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort.
At 4,000 acres, Canyons is Utah’s largest resort for skiers and snowboarders, with terrain spanning nine peaks. Such vast property is fantastic for those looking to lose the crowds and hit some runs without feeling like you have an entourage. Get a ride on any of the 19 lifts to find your favorite spot on the mountain but make sure your lift list includes the Orange Bubble Express, an enclosed high-speed quad with heated seats.
It definitely makes the transition up the mountain easier when it’s slamming snow. Tricksters can check out the three terrain parks to show off or strengthen their skills. At the end of the day, there are plenty of après and dining options, from The Farm to the kosher Bistro at Canyons to Lookout Cabin (on the mountain at the top of the Orange Bubble lift).
If you’re in downtown Park City, you can catch the Town Lift from Main Street to get to Park City Mountain Resort with its 3,300 acres of varied terrain. At the end of the day, hit the Quit ‘N Time run to start your après at High West Distillery & Saloon, Utah’s first distillery since the 1870s. But before your day is over, bring the kids along for ski school or drop your groms off at the terrain parks, tour the runs and find historic silver mining buildings scattered on the mountain, or snag some speed at the expert Jupiter Bowl area.
On day three, try your ski skills at Deer Valley, the only resort in town that doesn’t allow snowboarders. This resort may be smaller, but instead of feeling small, it has a comfortable feel, and it doesn’t lack for varied runs. Experts will want to focus on the outer two of the three peaks. If you want to ski with an Olympian, grab a session with Heidi Voelker, who is Deer Valley’s Ambassador of Skiing. She knows the resort well, so she can pick out the ideal trails for you or your group, adding a lot of fun to your day. Get your après at the Royal Street Café, where you can watch late skiers still enjoying the mountain.
For those who need a day off from skiing, there are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from. Head off on a sledding adventure with All Season Adventures and a bunch of barking huskies. Dogsledding trips last an hour, and a big part of the fun is watching the dogs take their place in front of the sled before your trip begins. You can’t help laughing at their excited antics: barking, yodeling, jumping, and rolling in the snow. Once they’re ready, you’re off and zooming over the snow.
If you’re more interested in getting some exercise while enjoying some winter beauty, go out on a two-hour snowshoe hike and one-hour yoga class with Park City Yoga Adventures. The Park City area has 400 miles of trails, and while you won’t snowshoe on all of them, you’ll get to make fresh tracks through some jaw-droppingly beautiful wilderness before heading back inside for your yoga class.
Speed freaks can get a feel of what it’s like to be an Olympic bobsledder at Utah Olympic Park, home to the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Comet Bobsled ride teams passengers with an experienced bobsled pilot for a minute of 5-G fun. The ride rockets bobsledders through 15 turns at speeds of up to 80 mph. If that’s not enough, overachievers can also sign up for a Rocket Skeleton ride, as well.
Where To Stay
There are plenty of lodging options in Park City from condo-style to luxury hotels. While there I stayed at two different places:
Down the road from downtown Park City in the Newpark Town Center, the Newpark Resort Hotel is close enough to plentiful activities no matter the season. The hotel’s guest rooms range from deluxe rooms to one- and two-bedroom suites to two-bedroom townhomes. All rooms include a fireplace, 32-inch HDTV, Keurig coffee brew stations, radiant-heated tile floors, and plush robes. The hotel suites add a fully equipped kitchen, an in-room washer/dryer and a private deck with hot tub that is freshly filled prior to each guest’s arrival. Winter rates at the hotel start at $199 (townhomes start at $459) and standard summer rates start at $129 (townhomes start at $209).
At the Deer Valley Resort, the Montage Deer Valley is a luxe mountain resort that you’ll have a hard time leaving. Whether it’s the sumptuous and spacious rooms, wine tasting on the fire-warmed terrace, the many ways you can pamper yourself at the spa, or the ability to ski in and ski out — it’s certainly a sweet retreat. The 128 spacious guest rooms and 46 suites have mountain or valley views (most rooms have a private balcony or patio), sitting area with fireplace, 42-inch LCD TVs with DVD/CD players, marble bathrooms with heated floors, comfortable robes and slippers. Winter rates start at $845 per night, and summer rates start at $345 per night.
Jill K. Robinson is an award-winning journalist and adventure seeker. Follow her adventures on dangerjillrobinson.com and Twitter @dangerjr. Jill is an avid kayaker and owner of Half Moon Bay Kayak Company.
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