If you close your eyes and imagine the green mountains of Salzburg, Austria, or the summer in the Swiss Alps, you sense of the beauty and grandeur of Park City, Utah (www.parkcity.com). Nestled in the mountains 35 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport, it is a year around destination filled with award winning hotels, spas, athletic venues, and restaurants high on Zagat's list.
Being so close to Salt Lake City, the bosom of Mormonism, I expected a relatively dry town. Quite to the contrary, the quaint little burg that took center stage at the 2002 Winter Olympics, has a thriving nightlife.
I selected the master suite on the third level at the condos. The
When Deborah Stone, a journalist from
The sun is playing peek-a-boo with occasional sprinkles, so it is back home to meet our third housemate, Shannon Lane, a blond, bubbly journalist from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We then join our hosts from the Park City Chamber of Commerce, Mark Bennett and Hilary Reiter.
Hilary, a spritely transplanted New Yorker, who loves to ski, picked us up for a winding ride to the enchanting 20 room Goldener Hirsch Inn, with a restaurant that is awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Goldener Hirsch is located at the base of Deer Valley ’s Sterling Lift in
We meet the fourth member of our group, Mitch Garvis, a radio talk show host, actor, and journalist from Montreal, Canada. Bennett introduces us to Executive Chef, Jean Louis Montecot, an animated man with a clean shaven head and a wide, white toothy smile. Montecot previously worked at
The next morning Hilary took us to The Morning Ray, the most popular local breakfast spot, a no frills diner with formica topped tables and healthy, design-your-own-omelets. It’s on
Since I haven’t been on a bicycle in 20 years I opt for the hike. Accompanied by John, a
John understands that a visitor unused to thin air at 8,400 feet needs to hike at a reasonable pace. He helps me gain a sense of confidence assisted with the metal prong-tipped walking stick.
Lunch outside on the deck at Deer Valley Resort’s Royal Street Café is a sampling of delicious appetizers: shrimp and lobster margarita with papaya salsa and fresh guacamole in a margarita glass; edamame with natural sea salt and hoisin dipping sauce; and hommus with mini-pita wedges. I order the fresh grilled, moist and delicious salmon. Mitch gives the award-winning
With four people to a bobsled we each climb in and hold our breath. We are pushed to the track and wham hyperspace with hard curves all the way to the bottom. Yes, it’s jarring; sometimes we need to be jarred out of the routine; meanwhile Shannon and Mitch anticipate the Park’s newest addition, a four-line zipline.
Hilary led us to the training pool where kids and adults learn aerial tricks by skiing down a steep ramp called a kicker, reaching heights of 50 feet. An aerialist has four seconds to do twists, turns, and somersaults before splashing into the swimming pool. Future Olympic hopefuls are also practicing on trampolines at the far end of the water.
It is up the hill to the new Xtreme ziplines that take a 1,500 foot vertical drop along the ski jump hill at 60MPH. Deborah and I opted to watch our friends scream gleefully on their way down. We anticipate a hot rocks massage at the Align Spa.
Spas are an integral part of the
The Align Spa (866/99-ALIGN) is located in a condo complex next to the Park City Lodge. The mantra is total body wellness. The atmosphere is sanctuary soothing. Adam, my masseur, leads me to a quiet massage room with New Age music to promote relaxation. He uses hot rocks to open tight pressure points. After 90 minutes of artful, heat infused massage I arose a new woman.
Harriet McEntire, Align’s owner, prides herself on a unique range of services that includes: Craniosacral Therapy to stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms; the Duet Massage, a beautiful way for couples to enjoy individual bodywork while sharing the fireplace room; and the Russian Sports Massage for increasing blood and lymph circulation.
Wahso, an Asian Grill located on
What is most engaging about this Bill White restaurant is the architectural intimacy that creates the décor. Balancing Asian artifacts with earth tones, soft lighting and candlelight, the atmosphere is warm and cozy. Along the perimeter of the dining room there are private dining alcoves suitable for two or four people. These can be curtained off for romance and privacy.
I order the Tea Leaf Smoked Sonoma Duck with soba noodles and sugar snap peas with a passion fruit demi glace. The duck is moist and delicious. The Hoisin glazed, seared Diver Scallops are tender enough to melt in the mouth, and the pressed tofu in Thai yellow curry is served with roasted leeks and Japanese eggplant.
I can not resist the Crème Brule served in a coconut shell. I order a chocolate Martini. The inside of the glass is artistically painted with the most delicious chocolate syrup.
During ski season Stein Eriksen, named for the Olympic skier, is one of the best places to stay or visit. Allie tells me that the breakfast buffet brings skiers back year after year. We were then treated to their award-winning housemade chocolates, using Valrhona from
Executive Chef Zane Holmquist volunteers a tour of the downstairs wine cellar. Effusing charm and a passion for food and wine, Holmquist says that they have the largest wine list, and the best selection about $350,000 worth of wine in Utah. Glitretind has won the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator 11 times in the last 12 years.
Krista and I climb into our respective harnesses and wait for the trap door to open. ZIP! Down we fly at 60MPH from 110 feet in the air, inhaling magnificent scenery as it whooshes past. I embrace everything. Liberation! I feel as if I have shed a thousand pounds of accumulated fears. I would have happily spent the day ziplining.
Wooden and open to views of the awe-inspiring Wasatch Mountains, we enjoy roasted garlic hommus with fresh cut vegetables and pita chips, crab and avocado stuffed Ahi Tuna Roll, and grilled chicken quesadillas before our main courses. I select the sun-dried tomato Caesar with grilled salmon. To round out the menu there is Utah Red Trout roasted on a cedar plank with summer vegetables and red potatoes, an open-faced grilled portabella on herbed foccacio with pesto aioli, and an eight ounce ground sirloin with applewood bacon, and sharp cheddar hamburger.
When we arrive back at the lodge it is a mini-tour of The Canyons, the largest resort in Utah, with eight mountains on 3,500 acres. There are ski-in/ski-out facilities with a large spa offering a variety of luxurious and healing treatments.
I have the rest of the afternoon to explore Main Street
The Park City Jazz Festival is presented by Fidelity Investments at Desert Park, a phenomenal outdoor amphitheater reminiscent of the famed Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Surrounded by mountains with tall pines, ski lifts, and chalet-style condominiums dotting the upper mountainside, the sound is clean and clear. Every note is appreciated. An attractive group of jazz lovers are sprawling on blankets, sipping wine and eating picnic dinners.
Prepared by the Deer Valley Resort, our individual picnic baskets contain iced gulf shrimp with homemade citrus cocktail sauce, roasted game hen, baby spinach salad with grilled Gala apples, maple glazed cashews, feta cheese and a mustard vinaigrette; Cambozola cheese with a freshly baked demi-baguette and fruit. The piece de resistance is the raspberry truffle brownie.
The Rippington’s play Curves Ahead, Drive, and The
Freeman is right. The Ripps play that and then High Life for a standing ovation. The band, even over wine, beer, and brie are thoroughly appreciated by the fans. They leave the stage but return to honor Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze. Russ Freeman shouts, “We love you
Two gentlemen come out. “The bad news is that Chaka Kahn, due to a medical condition, won’t perform tonight. The good news is that the Lionel Hampton Orchestra is going to put on a fantastic show!” The audience is offered an additional free ticket for the Saturday night David Sanborn show.
The Lionel Hampton Orchestra plays for 90 minutes. They are smooth and hot when they need to be, keeping disgruntled ticket holders in their seats.
The Deer Park Amphitheater is one of the nicest venues I’ve visited. Over the summer they host a variety of groups, from the Utah Symphony to Opera to jazz greats like Al Jarreau.
I highly recommend Park City,
By Linda Lane, Las Vegas Correspondent.