Just back last week from a wonderful four-day birthday celebration weekend in Park City, UT. I had been in need of a ski fix since recently moving to SoCal late last year so we decided to head to the mountains for a weekend of shopping, dining, skiing and relaxing.
I last visited Park City on a family trip in February, 1995 which was well before the Winter Olympic Games were held in Salt Lake City (and its’ surroundings) which spurred the redevelopment of the greater Park City ski area into one of the premier ski and board destinations in the United States.
On my last visit I had just “come out” to my family and it was the first time seeing them in-person since my big news. I arrived looking a bit like Two Slice Hilly from The Help with a huge cold sore on my lip! They embraced and loved me and we had a wonderful time.
On this trip we arrived Salt Lake City on an American Airlines regional jet facing 40+ mph winds as we descended into the valley. We arrived a bit white knuckled but I was thrilled to be wearing a vintage leather and faux fur coat which was an early birthday gift from my Sister and Brother-in-Law. My brother-in-law purchased the coat 25+ years ago from a long gone but beloved department store called Jacobson’s in Jackson, MI. Trend setter I guess? I was “Mr. J” when I was a senior in high school and the store and fashions are near and dear to my heart.
After a beautiful and winding drive up the mountain pass we arrived at the Waldorf Astoria, Park City in less than 45 minutes from SLC airport. The resort opened in 2009 and is owned and managed by the Talisker group who is responsible for much of the upgrades to the The Canyons mountain. We worked with the hotel concierge a few weeks prior to our visit and were able to make reservations, purchase tickets and get recommendations on what to do and see while we were in Park City. The hotel is a mix of standard hotel rooms and 1, 2 and 3 bedroom full service suites located at the base of The Canyons mountain resort. Be sure to request a room on a high floor with a view away from courtyard and pool. We found this to be the most quiet and peaceful location and the most expansive view after moving location. Suites have fully equipped Viking kitchens, cozy fireplaces in the living room and bedroom, large capacity washer and dryer, en suite bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and Ferragamo bathroom amenities. Front desk, concierge, ski valet and bell staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful in meeting all of our needs (including a grocery delivery from the local supermarket). And be sure not to miss a trip to the Golden Door Spa which is located on property. I had a great deep-tissue massage from James which was just what I needed after skiing 6 hours on my first day out.
We spent our first day walking Historic Park Cityon Main Street which is the hub of this old style mining town. The street has its’ share of t-shirt and souvenir shops as well as ski equipment and clothing stores but we were pleasantly surprised and impressed with the array of beautiful home furnishing stores, art galleries, cafes and restaurants.
View of Main Street, Park City, UT…
Don’t miss a visit to the Kimball Art Center located near the iconic “Town Lift” of the Park City Mountain Resort. There aren’t too many towns that have a chair lift on main street! The Kimball Art Center has great exhibition, classroom and public spaces with an urban design and a friendly coffee shop to relax and watch the snow fall. While at the Kimball Art Center we were able to view an exhibit by Carl Richards titled, Visualizing Finance which was quite fascinating. Carl works to make complex financial concepts easy to understand and he writes a blog for the New York Times called Bucks, Making the Most of your Money. The expressions were insightful and at times, simply funny. You could participate in the exhibit by leaving your own take on a challenging or complex financial situation (ours are somewhere in the mix)…
Park City food, wine and spirits are not to be underestimated. Sophisticated choices and polished service awaits. Here is a sampling of the spots we most enjoyed the dishes that left the impression…
Crave Coffee Shop Waldorf Astoria, Park City, UT – perfect place to grab a decaf soy latte (post cleanse) for the gondola or a sweet snack en route to the hot tub after Apres Ski…
Slopes by Talisker, Waldorf Astoria, Park City, UT – the same chef as the acclaimed Talisker on Main, this restaurant is located in the lobby of the Waldorf with beautiful views of the mountain and pool and services a creative full service breakfast. Great place to get fueled up for a day on the slopes.
Perfectly cooked egg white frittata with crimini mushrooms and zucchini served in Staub cast iron (I am buying myself some of these La Cocotte’s for my own kitchen)… Delicious buckwheat pancakes with huckleberry syrup (breakfast dessert as my friend Gregg says)…
High West Distillery & Saloon, Park Avenue, Park City, UT - impressive selection of locally made spirits, old saloon decor and a delicious Moscow Mule (one of my favorite libations). This is the kind of place where the bartenders take their time making your drinks because they are proud of their craft.
Silver Restaurant, Main Street, Park City, UT – known for their Foie Gras Touchon with granny smith apples, cranberry black pepper gastrique and brioche. It is amazing as was everything else we tried on the menu. Quite sophisticated and stylish for a tiny mining town in the mountains.
The Farm, Canyons Resort, Park City, UT – just a short gondola ride from the Waldorf Astoria is a wonderfully rustic yet refined restaurant with locally sourced, organic food at the “Ski Beach.” We finished off our dinner with a glass of port and an amazing pinot noir soaked pear with a creamy goat cheese cheesecake. Indulgent.
And then there was the skiing. The West has not been blessed with a lot of snow this winter but we were lucky enough to be in Park City for two overnight snow storms which provided a nice powder base (about a foot each night) for exploring The Canyons mountain. A gigantic mountain with over 4,000 acres of terrain and a nice variety of runs to meet the needs of all ski levels. Be sure to hit the Ninety-Nine 90 Express to ski the steeps and the trees. I skied by tail off and probably only saw about 70% of the ski’able terrain.
Quick Tip: I have found Ski magazine and their accompanying website to be a great resource for equipment, skills, destination tips and everything related to ski. They also have a new tablet version of the publication for easy transport and access.
A view from 9,602 feet atop Murdock Peak which is a 600+ feet vertical hike up from the Super Condor Express. The powder, the views and the steep was well worth the heavy breathing and fatigue in the quads from the ascent. See the folks hiking up the mountain behind me – it is quite a hike.
A view from the top to celebrate my 41st Birthday on 2/26/12! A great day and a memorable weekend in Park City. We will be back.