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USATourist News Magazine by Elizabeth Blair
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USATourist News Magazine

May 2010 - Park City, Utah

In this issue:

A few months ago we featured several ski resorts across the United States and this month we're going to add another option to the list -- Park City, Utah.

Park City is easily accessible from Salt Lake City (about a 45 minute drive, depending upon the weather), has spectacular "powder" and it's everything a mountain town should be: nice people, terrific lodging, good restaurants and bars and it is easy to get around.

Tip: Skip the car rental. Mountain shuttles, such as All Resort Express, provide affordable service from the Salt Lake City Airport. The shuttles run year-round.

Park City the Perfect Powder Getaway

The number one reason people travel to Park City over the winter months is skiing. The area has three major ski resorts: Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and The Canyons Resort. No matter what skill level you are, there is a run that is right for you. If you don't feel like lugging your skis, consider renting them. There are various shops, including Park City Mountain Rentals, which provide all of the necessary gear. Beginning or first time skiers or snowboarders will want to consider lessons, as they are certainly worth the investment. Group lessons are the cheapest instruction option; however, private lessons, while a little more costly, will help you progress a little quicker since you're receiving one-on-one attention.

Old Town

The Old Town area of Park City is great for exploring boutiques and galleries.
© Beth Blair

Tip: Because the altitude is 7,000-8,000 feet above sea level it's important to avoid altitude sickness by drinking plenty of water. And when you're on the slopes, it's important to wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days.

Utah Olympic Park

Park City is probably best known for its part in the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Park City and Deer Valley ski resorts were hosts for skiing and snowboarding events, while the 400-acre Utah Olympic Park was the host site of several other Olympics events, including bobsled, luge, skeleton and Nordic jumping.

You can see documentation of the Olympics and learn about the area's history at the three-story Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center. The Alf Engen Ski Museum, George Eccles 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum and Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame offer interactive and virtual exhibits and house various memorabilia such as medals, photos, clothing, props and more.

A guided bus tour provides visitors with detailed accounts of the grounds, history and the athletes who train there year-round. One of the highlights is standing at the top and looking down the ski jumps. If you're lucky, you may see athletes training on some of the tracks.

Old Town

Spending time in Park City's Old Town is a nice way to spend a relaxing day. Main Street is lined with boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and even history museums. High West Distillery, located on Park Avenue, is the first distillery opened in the state of Utah. High West opened in the 1870's. Sugar Buzz Candy Boutique, a few doors down, is the perfect place to indulge your sweet tooth.

Tip: Public transportation is free, just look for a bus stop and hop on. Pick up times are posted on a sign.

Take a Wild Ride

The Olympic Park offers visitors a once in a lifetime opportunity - to ride the Olympic bobsled which is manned by a professional driver and three riders. The bobsled reaches speeds of 70-80 miles per hour and has an intensity of experiencing 4-5 G's of force (astronauts experience 3 G's during take-off) and the equivalent of a 40-story drop in less than a minute. Participants must be 16 years of age and older and those with back or neck injuries should pass on this adventure. Cost is $200 per person.

Bobsled

Learn what 4G's of pressure feels like in a bobsled at Utah Olympic Park.
© Beth Blair

Park City Mountain Resort's Gorgoza Park

You don't have to be a kid to have a blast riding down a hill in a tube. Gorgoza Park has day and night tubing. A two tier tow takes riders to the top of the hill. Groups can cling to each other's tube handles and fly down the hill together or go one at a time. A nearby warming hut sells hot coca and other beverages and snacks.

Where to stay

As previously mentioned, Park City has any array of lodging options to accommodate all visitors and their budgets. If you're traveling in a large group, opt for a multi-room condominium. Thrifty travelers will appreciate that there are several traditional hotels in town including a Holiday Inn and Best Western.

The Sky Lodge located in the center of Park City's historic Old Town is a swanky luxury hotel. There is a restaurant, bar and bakery on the property as well as an indoor/outdoor lap pool, workout facility and Amatsu Spa (the perfect way to recover after a day in the snow).

Even more fun in summertime

Just because Park City is recognized for its world-class skiing, its appeal doesn't vanish once the snow disappears. Hiking and biking are classic summertime mountain activities but in the Park City area there is so much more. Here are a few of the other highlights:
Alpine Coaster This roller-coaster like ride is actually an elevated winding track which runs more than a mile with loops, bends and hair-pin curves at speeds up to 30 mph.
Alpine Slide If the intensity of the bobsled ride is too much for you, this may be more your speed. The Alpine Slide is a luge-like track and is one of the longest slides in the world, over 3,000 feet. Choose from four tracks.
ZipRider This zipline gives you a ride 110 feet above the ski runs while going up to 45 miles per hour. Choose from four lines.

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Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair


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