“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in nature which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.” — Henry David Thoreau
Artsy, eclectic and a downright fun little ski town — that, my friends, is Park City. Framed by the craggy Wasatch Mountain range and bordered by the Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resorts, Park City is a mere 35-minute drive from the Salt Lake City Airport as well as a step back in time.
A bandana on a stick marked the discovery of silver in Park City by prospecting soldiers in 1868, fueling a boomtown economy that thrived for nearly a century. From those rowdy beginnings, mining gave way to burgeoning ski resorts in the 1960s. In the 1970s, the arts became the town’s other defining feature, led by the Park City Museum. Bodacious boutiques sprang up as well as seriously good restaurants and a string of spirited watering holes. In today’s Park City, the riches lie above ground and the prospects are looking good.
A gentleman of distinction
One of our many ventures recalled Stein Eriksen, an Alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medalist from Norway. He won the gold medal in the giant slalom at the 1952 Winter Olympics held in Oslo and also won three golds at the 1954 World Championships in Åre, Sweden. Among his many accomplishments, Eriksen served as a ski instructor at many different ski schools. At Sugarbush Resort in Vermont, he would combine his gymnast background and skiing to demonstrate a flip on skis. It’s said that Eriksen was skiing’s “first superstar,” since he was handsome, stylish and charismatic. Despite his fame, he maintained a down-to-earth personality and is quoted as saying “Be tough, be confident. But you will never be a whole and happy person if you aren’t humble.”
At Park City’s Stein Eriksen Lodge wine cellar, it was fun to cruise through a maze of underground rooms containing more than 10,000 bottles with a value of $1 million-plus and experience an elegant wine tasting. Then, on to dinner at the Lodge’s Glitretind Restaurant — an enchanting end to a fine wine and dine day.
Continuing to imbibe the next evening (oh dear), we took part in the Gin Experience at Alpine Distillery. This micro-distilling facility is downstairs in the historic Mercantile Building on Main Street. Essentially, the experience involved choosing specific botanicals for a personal gin creation. Having a hand in crafting firewater — that’s a rather distinctive privilege. I, whose drink of choice was never gin, found that what I had concocted that night was imminently enjoyable.
My Park City stay was enhanced by the Westgate Park City Resort & Spa. The property has been awarded the “Best of State” honor in seven categories including “Best Ski Resort.” The Edge Steakhouse, with its hearty fare, was a happy experience; happier still, my memorable massage at the hotel’s Serenity Spa This mountain retreat day spa has 14 treatment rooms and a waterfall. Immersing oneself under falling water will wash cares away — promise.
Help: Houdini I’m not
Not even close. Another adventure centered on Escape Room Park City. For those unfamiliar with the Escape Rooms concept now so popular across the country, here it is in a nutshell: A group is put into a room (the theme of this one was “Mine Trap,” fitting for Park City’s silver mining past). The door is locked and you have 60 minutes to figure out how to escape from a mine tunnel collapse. You are challenged to think outside the box (or outside the room, if you will), work through puzzles and solve clues. Teamwork and communication with one another are essential. Discussing this later with the event manager, he confided that this “mining room” was rated as the most difficult of the many themes offered. Thanks. It was not, repeat not, a piece of cake, and we had to be given an extra 10 minutes to finally find the way to freedom. A different kind of fun and, yay, we met the challenge.
For more, visit parkcity.com.