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Utah Ski PreviewOctober 17, 2011 By: Adam Leposa Travel Agent
|The Cliff Lodge at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.|
In 2002, when the Winter Olympic Games came to Salt Lake City, they brought global attention to a ski region that has since become known for its accessibility and broad appeal. As the 10th anniversary of the event draws near, the region is rolling out lifestyle and luxury enhancements to keep its appeal on the rise. One of Utah’s selling features is the ease with which travelers can ski at a variety of resorts.
“Utah is one of the most accessible ski regions in the world,” says Jessica Kunzer, director of communications for Ski Utah. “We have 11 resorts within one hour’s drive of the airport.”
The easiest way to get there is to fly in to the Salt Lake City International Airport. For the first time, this season, public bus service will be available from the airport to downtown Park City in the heart of the ski region via the Utah Transit Authority. Car service is also available (www.slcairport.com/ground-transportation.asp).
Agents may want to tell their clients to fly in early and hang on to their boarding passes—on showing these at any of the region’s ski lifts, travelers can ski for free on the day of their flight. For clients who want to sample all that the region has to offer, agents should recommend the new Yeti Pass, which allows guests to ski one day at every one of Utah’s 14 resorts for $499, which comes to about $35 per day.
Clients keen on a piece of Olympic history should check out Utah Olympic Park, the site of 14 events during the 2002 Games. Today, guests can ride the bobsled and skeleton on some of the courses used by the Olympians 10 years ago.
At $200 per person, bobsled rides come with a professional pilot who will drive up to three guests the entire length of the Olympic course, reaching speeds of up to 80 mph and 5Gs. For guests who wish to try a course for themselves, skeleton rides are available for $50 per person. After an orientation class in which guests learn the basics, they will pilot themselves down the Olympic course from the Tourist Start Point, reaching speeds of up to 50 mph.
Guests should be at least 16 years old for the bobsled, and at least 14 years old for the skeleton, and in good health. Call 435-658-4200, or for group sales, contact Lindsey Wolff (435-658-4254).
Close to the center of the ski region, Park City combines access to the slopes with a fast-developing nightlife scene. Opened recently, Silver attracts a hip crowd with artisan cocktails and a 3,000-bottle wine list. The new High West Distillery and Saloon, Utah’s first distillery since Prohibition, makes small batches of award-winning vodka and whiskey and offers thirsty skiers the convenience of the world’s only ski-in/ski-out gastrodistillery.
|Guests can take an 80 mph bobsled ride at Utah Olympic Park.|
Nearby Park City Mountain Resort has a lift that departs directly from the city’s historic Main Street. Clients traveling with small children will enjoy this resort’s Kid’s Signature Programs—small classes for children ages six to 14 or three-and-a-half to five to help them get started on the slopes. In addition, this season, the resort will add a new dedicated learning zone with two new conveyor lifts for beginners of all ages.
Agents with questions regarding Park City and the surrounding area should contact Craig McCarthy (435-658-9611, [email protected]), communications manager for the Park City Chamber of Commerce/Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Deer Valley Resort, a short drive southeast of Park City, will debut more than $7 million in improvements this season. The resort has a remade beginner and learning area on the Wide West ski run, new Sunkid surface lifts and a new children’s clothing retail outlet in Snow Park Lodge.
Additionally, this winter will mark the return of Deer Valley’s popular Fireside Dining option at the Empire Canyon Lodge. Offered every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during ski season, from 6 to 9 p.m., this gustatory experience consists of a four-course meal served from the Lodge’s five stone fireplaces. A full bar, wine list and beer selection are also available. For reservations, visit the website or, starting in November, you can call 435-645-6632.
Also close to Park City, but in the opposite direction from Deer Valley, Canyons Resort will open this season having completed the first phase of its resort re-creation. Over the course of the last season, Canyon has added two new chairlifts, more than 300 acres of new terrain and a remodeled ski-beach base area. For the first time this season, the resort will offer heli-skiing in conjunction with Wasatch Powderbird Guides.
Ready for its first full ski season after debuting this past February is The Farm, an organic restaurant that emphasizes locally grown and sustainable food. The dishes use ingredients from farms within a 200-mile radius of the resort. That restriction has forced the management to work creatively with farmers to come up with dishes, such as the local favorite oxtail onion soup, that showcase local specialties and use the whole of the animal.
Farther afield, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort is about an hour by car from Park City and only 40 minutes from the airport. This season, the completion of The Cliff Spa and the Aerie Restaurant will be the final touch on a complete remodel of the resort’s flagship hotel, The Cliff Lodge. Additionally, Snowbird plans to debut the flaik program, a GPS device that tracks a skier’s vertical runs and allows them to share their statistics with friends on social media sites.
|The Stein Erikson Lodge is Utah’s only Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond hotel.|
Clients looking to stay in the area will have a number of new luxury options to choose from.
“I think the biggest story in the region has been the growth of luxury in the last five years,” said McCarthy of the Park City Chamber of Commerce.
The Stein Erikson Lodge, Utah’s only Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond property, offers ski-in/ski-out access to Deer Valley Resort. The Montage Deer Valley opened in the winter of 2010-11 and includes a 35,000-square-foot spa. In Park City’s Canyons resort area, the Hyatt Escala Lodge is a European-style ski-in/ski-out hotel that also opened last winter, while the Waldorf Astoria Park City, the brand’s first mountain property, has been in operation since the summer of 2009.