Blog

Snow Day

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Mar 25, 2020

We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Judy, Zorro and I continue to practice social distancing as we take time each day for our family walks. This photo was taken the other day in Sugar House and now as I am enjoying my coffee there is almost a foot of fresh snow. This week we are sharing more fun activities to do at home and wish you all the best.

The team at Apartment Therapy have shared a new article, The Very Best Board Games for Families, Adults, Couples, or Anyone, Judy and I will be playing Monopoly later today. Board games and puzzles are experiencing a renaissance as the world is in quarantine as they invite creative and strategic thinking, teamwork and cooperation, and of course, an opportunity to sit down and connect with the people in your home.

Popular Board Games

Catan - In a competition for Victory Points, players control their own civilization and try to spread across a modular hex board as they gain and trade natural resources like wheat, brick, sheep, ore, and lumber. But watch out: Another player might cut off your road, and you never know when the robber might steal some of your gains. “Settlers of Catan, now simply called Catan, is a great family game, and it offers a wide range of expansions and spin-offs,” says Greg May, the owner and founder of The Uncommons.

Ticket To Ride challenges players to build railroad routes across a map (America or Europe traditionally, though others are available) as they collect train cards and routes. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins! While the object is to earn as many points as possible by completing the longest routes, additional points come to those who fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities and to the player who builds the longest continuous railroad.

Carcassonne - Inspired by the French medieval fortress of the same name, Carcassonne is a tile-laying game where players fill in the countryside around the fortified city. Players choose from tiles that depict cities, roads, monasteries, and fields, and each new tile creates an ever-expanding board on which players can add their followers, scoring points by having followers on features as they’re completed. Make the most strategic placements of tiles and followers, and you’ll win the game!

Taboo - The object of Taboo, a fast-paced race against the timer, is simple: Get your team to say the “guess” word without using any of the Taboo words for clues. To add to the fun (and keep you honest), an opponent watches over your shoulder and will buzz you if you slip up. Laura Schocker, Apartment Therapy’s Editor-in-Chief and board game enthusiast, has loved this one since college. “Taboo is my jam — it’s a fun party game and ice breaker,” she says.

Trivial Pursuit - players move around the game board as they answer questions from six categories: geography, history, art and literature, science and nature, and sports and leisure. When you land on a “category headquarters” space, your correct answer will earn you a colored wedge. The first one to collect 6 different wedges wins — only, of course, after correctly answering one final question!

Monopoly - Another one of Schocker’s all-time favorites: Monopoly. To get “rich” and bankrupt your opponents, collect property colors sets to build houses and, if you’re lucky, even upgrade to a hotel. The more properties you own, the more rent you can charge other players who land there.

Azul - An award-winning tile-placement game in which players compete for the highest score by claiming and arranging tiles on their board, Azul is equal parts competitive and aesthetically pleasing. Take turns making your board beautiful and your opponents despair! “Surprisingly brutal for an abstract strategy game with no combat, this gem won awards for a reason,” says Jordan Nelsen, librarian at Kingmakers Board Game Parlour in Columbus, Ohio.

Villainous - Become your favorite Disney villain and plan schemes methodically to rid the land of Disney protagonists before other players. Once you choose your villain, you’ll play within your own story, but you’ll also interact with other players (and thwart your opponents from reaching their own objectives!). “Villainous is a very thematic, mean, and fun game, though it’s more complex than most think when they first discover it,” says Nelsen.

Quick and Simple Board Games

Ghost Blitz - players compete to grab items off the table: a white ghost, a green bottle, a gray mouse, a blue book, and a red chair. Each card in the deck shows pictures of two objects, with one or both objects colored the wrong way. With all players playing at the same time, someone reveals a card, then players try to grab the right object. If one object is colored correctly — say, a green bottle and a red mouse — then players need to grab that correctly colored object. If both objects are colored incorrectly, then players look for the object and color not represented. The first player to grab the correct object keeps the card, and whoever collects the most cards wins. “A speed puzzle game that can be learned in less than a minute, Ghost Blitz can be played as long as you want,” says Nelsen.

Skull - in this surprisingly gorgeous bluffing game, players hold three rose cards and one skull, then add a card to the pile in front of them and announce a challenge and declare how many cards they will flip. Cards that show a rose are safe, but if you expose your opponent’s hidden skull, you lose one of your own cards. Any player who wins two “bets” wins the game! Nelsen loves game for the high stakes: “Saturated with bluffing and bidding, you’ll test your tolerance for risk every round,” he says. “Win or lose, it’s such fun to watch the tension and drama play out in this quick-to-learn game.”

Jenga - is about as simple (and adrenaline-inducing!) as it gets: Remove a block from the tower without toppling the whole thing over. The plain blocks are great for writing messages, too: Schocker used hers as a “guest book” at her wedding for people to sign. “And when I find a marked-up set in a bar I always try to add a feminist message to the mix for the next person to find (like “Ask for a raise on Monday!”)” she says.

Tenzi - The basic object of Tenzi is to roll your 10 dice as quickly as you can to get them all to land on the same number. If you’re looking for a new spin on the easy-to-learn game, try it with the “77 Ways to Play Tenzi” expansion pack, where you flip a card that adds a twist to each round, like making a funny sound after every roll. The game is recommended for ages seven and up, but if you’re over 21, Schocker says it’s even better with an over-21 beverage.

Sushi Go - For a fast-paced, competitive game, try a “pick and pass” card game like Sushi Go, which May says can be played in around 15 minutes. The goal is to grab the best combination of sushi dishes as they pass by, scoring points for making the most maki rolls or for collecting a full set of sashimi — but be sure to leave room for dessert, or you’ll end up losing points! While the game is fun for anyone, May says the approachable, appealing artwork makes Sushi Go a great pick for beginners.

Spot It- The premise of Spot It is pretty basic: Each card features a number of symbols, and each card has exactly one symbol in common with every other card in the deck. If you spot the common symbol first, you win the round. The game lasts about 15 minutes, but each round can be different if you play one of the five mini-games within the set. Dexterity card games like Spot It don’t just challenge your reflexes; May likes them because they’re also portable and inexpensive, making them great for travel or gifting. Plus, the game is based on visual perception, so no language skills are needed!

2-Player Board Games

Patchwork - In this abstract strategy game, players use buttons as currency to purchase patches as they compete to create the best, most beautiful, and high-scoring patchwork quilt on a personal game board. More than 500 Amazon reviewers give Patchwork close to a five-star rating — and if you like puzzle games like Tetris or have a thing for quilting, Nelsen says you’ll probably enjoy this thoughtful and fun two-player game, too.

Santorini - The first player to build a 3-story structure wins Santorini, a strategy and building game ideal for both kids and adults. To start, players use their blocks and builder pieces to move into neighboring spaces on the board. But there’s a twist: Santorini requires increases in difficulty with the addition of extra powers via “god” cards. With thousands of possibilities and unlimited replay value, each round of Santorini brings a new challenge, which is one of the reasons Nelsen is a fan. “Santorini is a quick-to-learn strategy game that can be played over and over again,” says Nelsen. “Think tic-tac-toe, but actually interesting, fun, and deep, combined with Greek legends.”

Scrabble - the classic crossword game, challenges opponents to use their letters to form high-point words on the board. To load up on even more points, place letters on high-scoring premium squares. The key is to know the rules and a few tricks for gaining more points — and, of course, keep a dictionary on hand for disputed words. At the end of the game, the player with the highest score wins. “Of course, Scrabble is a classic, but it’s one of my favorite date nights: at home on a stormy weekend or even out at a bar (I’m so much fun!),” says Schocker.

Connect 4 - Sure, it’s a great family game, but Connect 4 isn’t just for kids! Taking Tic Tac Toe to the next level, Connect 4 challenges players to be the first to get “four in a row” by dropping colored disks into the grid. Things heat up when you block your opponent if they get too close to a Connect 4! “This game is total mindless fun,” says Schocker. “Every time I think I nail a good strategy, the next round ends in a stalemate!”

Jaipur - players take on the roles of two of the city’s most powerful traders seeking to earn their invitation to the maharaja’s court. A blend of strategy and luck, Jaipur is a fast-paced card game that’s equally deep and easy to learn. May says he often recommends the brand new edition of Jaipur to couples on dates or pals looking for a friendly spar!

Quoridor may look fancy, but the goal of the game — which May says he recommends frequently — is simple: try to reach your opponent’s side of the board with your pawn. On your turn, you either can move your pawn or place a wall to slow down your opponent. Quoridor is similar to chess since players move pawn-shaped pieces across the board, but the wooden fences spice things up, forcing players to think strategically.

Hive - the object of Hive is to totally surround your opponent’s Queen Bee with insect-themed pieces (which May says move differently, depending on the insect!) while at the same time trying to stop your opponent from doing the same to you. The first player to surround their opponent’s Queen Bee wins! Since Hive is an abstract game that doesn’t have a board, you can take it anywhere.

Lords of Waterdeep - as one of the mask Lords of Waterdeep, the secret rules of the city, players recruit adventurers to go on quests that can earn rewards and increase their influence over the city. The goal is to expand the city by purchasing new buildings that open up new actions on the board, and either hinder or help the other lords by playing Intrigue cards. “Fans of D&D will recognize the setting and appreciate the theme woven into the game, but any gamer looking for a mid-level strategy game will have a blast with this gem,” says Nelsen.

Small World - a “social war game” in which players vie for conquest and control of a board that’s too small to accommodate everyone. As they pick the right combination of fantasy races and special powers, players must rush to expand their empires at the expense of their opponents. The game requires more than just strategy: Players must also know when to push their own over-extended civilization into decline and ride a new one to victory.

Spirit Island - in this complex, cooperate game, players use their unique spiritual powers to defend their island home from colonizing invaders. Win the game after you work together with other players to destroy all the settlements and cities on the board! “Each player has unique abilities and challenges, and you must trust one another to do their part to succeed.”

Biblios - the point of this game is to take on the role of abbott in a medieval monastery and create the most impressive library collection through two phases: an acquisition round and an auction round. Schocker is a big fan because it can be played just as easily with two players as four. It’s also fast — average play time is around 30 minutes — which is conducive to multiple games!

Clans of Caledonia - is an economic market game set in 19th-century Scotland. Every player becomes a clan at the outset of the game, which sets them up with certain advantages throughout the five rounds of play. If you can maximize your advantages, you get more points (and hopefully win). This game started out as a 2017 kickstarter, and was funded within three hours. “It’s a little complicated to learn the rules, but once you master them, it’s a fun Settlers alternative,” says Schocker.

Board Games for Kids and Families

Celestia - 2-4 players board an aircraft with a team of adventurers to perform many trips through the cities of Celestia, attempting to be the richest adventurer by collecting the most precious treasures. At the beginning of each round, the trip captain rolls dice to discover challenges and must then play the appropriate cards to continue on the journey and reach the next city. As soon as a player earns treasure worth at least fifty points, the game ends and this player wins.

Dixit - an imaginative storytelling game, Dixit challenges players to use the images on their cards to bluff their opponents and guess which image matches the story. Every turn, the storyteller calls out a short phrase or word to match their card. Each player will choose the card that most closely matches that phrase, and then everyone must guess which card the storyteller saw when he invented his brief tale. Correctly guess the storyteller’s card, and you’ll move ahead. The greatest total wins the game!

Sorry! - in this classic family game of strategy and chance, each player gets four pawns to move around the gameboard. Players need to pick a 1 or a 2 card to get a pawn out of the starting area, and then challenge opponents in this classic game of sweet revenge! Be the first player to get all four pawns to home base to win.

Scattergories - if you can think fast under pressure, you’ll love Scattergories, where each player tries to complete a list of prompts (like “things found in the kitchen”) based on a specific letter rolled during the round (L is for “lettuce.”)

Apples to Apples - each player gets seven “Things” cards to pair up with the Judge’s “Description” card. In each round, the judge reads the description — say it’s “Evil” — and every player lays down the card from their hand that matches that description. The judge chooses their favorite “thing” card, and at the end, the player who won the most rounds wins! Apples to Apples can be silly, but Schocker says it’s especially fun because it’s a great test of how well you can read people. Will the judge choose something funny? Weird? On the nose?

Looking to kick up your feet, the Discover Blog has shared 8 Amazing Nature Documentaries to Stream Now. One of the most powerful ways to increase awareness of our planet and inspire us to get involved in efforts to protect it is through nature documentaries. From footage of polar bears roaming the arctic tundra to blue whales migrating across our vast oceans, these films inspire us, challenge us to think with compassion, respect our planet, and be an agent for change. Grab some popcorn, get comfy, and enjoy these eight amazing nature documentaries you can stream now.

"Our Planet" (2019): Netflix Running Time: 8 Episodes (48–53 minutes each)

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, Salma Hayek, and Penélope Cruz, "Our Planet" was shot in Ultra HD in over 50 countries. It will open your eyes to see just how connected we all are. This series showcases how beautiful — but also how fragile — our natural world really is. The filmmakers worked closely with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to raise awareness about climate change and conservation efforts to fix these issues before it’s too late.

"Planet Earth II" (2016): Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes

Running Time: 6 episodes (50 minutes each)

If you enjoyed BBC’s "Planet Earth," its sequel will take you on an entirely new journey. Ten years after the award-winning original, "Planet Earth II" takes you to new places (and some familiar ones) to show you some of the most amazing survival stories ever witnessed. Filmed from the viewpoint of the animals, this series takes you closer to nature than ever before and offers an intimate look at the lives of some incredible species. "Planet Earth II" also examines how city-dwelling animals thrive on the margins of urban life. Learn about the leopards of Mumbai, India and the hyenas of Harar, Ethiopia as they try to coexist in the human world.

"Blue Planet II" (2017): Amazon, Google Play, iTunes

Running Time: 7 episodes (50 minutes each)

Iconic narrator Sir David Attenborough returns to the seas to take viewers on an unforgettable voyage into the seemingly endless depths of our oceans. "Blue Planet II" is the sequel to the award-winning series "Blue Planet" and takes a serious look at how humans have negatively impacted our oceans through pollution and climate change. Cutting-edge technology allows us to explore the largest ecosystem on the planet — the ocean. "Blue Planet II" also features a fantastic soundtrack developed by Hans Zimmer and Radiohead.

"Free Solo" (2018): Hulu, Disney+  Running Time: 100 minutes

If you didn’t get a chance to see this thrilling documentary in theaters, you can now stream "Free Solo" on Hulu. "Free Solo" took home the 2019 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and has wowed audiences all over the planet. The film is a stunning and intimate look at solo climber Alex Honnold as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream of climbing the face of the treacherous El Capitan at Yosemite National Park — without the help of a rope. While less nature-focused than some of the other entries on this list, "Free Solo" is a triumph of the human spirit set in some of the most fantastic landscapes on Earth.

"Night on Earth" (2020): Netflix

Running Time: 6 Episodes (41–53 minutes each)

Samira Wiley narrates "Night on Earth," a groundbreaking nature series that shines light on a world that was once hidden by the veil of night. Take an unprecedented peek into the hidden lives of nature’s nocturnal creatures. From lions on the hunt in Africa to the remarkable creatures and insects that call the jungle canopy home, remarkable video technology allows viewers see what animals are up to after hours. Each episode of "Night on Earth" explores a different habitat and shows us how surviving in the dark shapes animals in different ways.

"Ice on Fire" (2019): HBO  Running Time: 1 hour and 38 minutes

Produced and narrated by environmentalist and Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio, "Ice on Fire" is a must-see documentary that sends an urgent warning to all of us on the consequences of climate change. The film explores the possibility of a catastrophic life-altering event caused by arctic methane release and warns us to follow proven, safe, and cutting-edge solutions designed to slow down our accelerating environmental crisis. "Ice on Fire" explores pioneering research behind today’s climate science and the innovations designed to reduce carbon in our atmosphere. These efforts will help pave the way for a decline in the rise of global temperatures and benefit all life on our planet.

"Seven Worlds, One Planet" (2019): Amazon, BBC America

Running Time: 7 Episodes (60 minutes each)

Sir David Attenborough's "Seven Worlds, One Planet" is a sweeping documentary that focuses on the ecosystems on each of the seven continents and how they shape animal behavior and biodiversity. This eye-opening series will take you on a journey through a planet you thought you knew. Using drone footage and hidden cameras, you’ll get to explore 41 countries and witness diverse climates and animal life. From puma mothers prowling for prey in Patagonia to elusive monkeys roaming the mountain forests of China, "Seven Worlds, One Planet" will leave you with a whole new perspective on the world in which we share with our wildlife friends.

"The Ivory Game" (2016): Netflix Running Time: 1 hour and 52 minutes

Executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio introduces a moving documentary that sheds light on the horrific practice of elephant tusk poaching. Ivory is a prized status symbol in some cultures and "The Ivory Game" uncovers the deep-rooted corruption at the heart of the global ivory trafficking crisis. Efforts to stop the madness are working. Since its release, some of the poachers from the documentary have been caught and sent to prison. However, as long as ivory is considered valuable, vulnerable wildlife and a fragile ecosystem are going to be at risk of extinction. "The Ivory Game" calls us to help save the beloved African elephant.

Family Time

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Mar 17, 2020

Judy and I are grateful to be a part of the Park City community. We hope everyone is OK in Utah after this morning's 5.7 earthquake. During this time our thoughts and well wishes are with you all. Now that the children are home and the ski resorts are closed we thought we would offer some ideas and activities to brighten your day.

While nothing can replace the experience of going to a museum and observing art face-to-face, technology has given us an alternative way to get our cultural fix without leaving home as Google Lets You Visit the World’s Most Famous Museums From the Comfort of Your Couch. Google Arts & Culture, a digital platform that connects users to art, has over 1,200 museums and galleries that provides a sense of their existing collections online. And while resources vary by collection page, most museums and galleries let you have a digital visits through online exhibits, galleries of artwork, and even a “street view” that offers a virtual tour of the spaces.

To help navigate through the pages and pages of options, Google Arts & Culture has pulled the top institutions from around the world that provide these virtual tours you can take anytime, anywhere. The list touches many parts of the globe. You can explore America and visit the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, known for its spiraling architecture designed by the one and only Frank Lloyd Wright. On the other side of the country, head to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA, with artwork that dates back to the 8th century all the way through current day.

Jump across the pond to the British Museum in London, where you can virtually tour of the Great Court—known for its glass and steel roof—and take a peek at the Rosetta Stone. Some of the iconic museums in Europe are also featured on the list (hello, Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy!), as well as the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea, that spans across four buildings.

To start your virtual journey at each of the top museums, head over to the official Google Arts & Culture roundup here. And if you’re looking to venture off the beaten path, have a stab at the full 1,200+ collection.

Looking for ideas to entertain your kids in between home schooling lessons, the team at Apartment Therapy has come up with 94 Fun Things You Can Do at Home, Anytime. To help with your quarantine, here is a long list of seize-the-day, fun things to do at home. Some of them are “fun” in the sense that you’ll feel really good having done them, and some of them will pluck your nostalgic heart strings as you’re making new memories.

If You’re in a Creative Mood:

  1. Try your hand at blind contour drawings.
  2. Bring out that crochet project that’s been languishing in the closet.
  3. Watch a drawing tutorial on YouTube and practice.
  4. Practice hand-lettering.
  5. Make air-dry clay bowls pressed with lace.
  6. Make plant babies.
  7. Spray paint some plant pots.
  8. Spray paint some frames.
  9. Make a celebration banner or garland.
  10. Cut some paper snowflakes.
  11. Color with Sharpie on aluminum foil.
  12. Press some flowers.
  13. Print out some favorite family photos to frame and hang on the wall.
  14. Bake something.
  15. Decorate cupcakes.
  16. Try a new recipe.
If You Want to Freshen Up Your Decor:
  1. Empty and edit. Take every single thing out of a room and then add things back piece by piece until you have just enough in the room.
  2. Rearrange furniture.
  3. Shop your house. See if those baskets you’ve had in the garage solve your pantry storage problem.
  4. Swap curtains between rooms.
  5. Clear all decor from that counter/shelf/accent and see what (if anything) you really miss.
  6. Clean (see above section).
  7. Cut some flowers or greenery and display them inside.
  8. Declutter one small space. Find a trove of decluttering inspiration here.
  9. Rainbowtize your books.
If You Feel Like Cleaning:
  1. Wash the sheets. Enjoy sliding into fresh ones tonight.
  2. Make a linen spray. Find some instructions here.
  3. Refill your home made cleaners. For me, this would be my baking soda shakers and my Alvin Corn glass cleaner.
  4. Clean your windows. I’ve got my eye on this window cleaner tool.
  5. Scrub your grout. Check out this tutorial and these grout cleaning tips.
  6. Dust the baseboards. Try a microfiber duster or a dusting mitt. Dryer sheets can be run over them to help repel dust.
  7. Vacuum all the carpets.
  8. Wash the bathmats.
  9. Bleach the sink. I like to fill it up and use dissolving bleach crystals to disinfect my basin once a week.
  10. Fluff the pillows. Instantly perk up a bed or the sofa cushions by giving the pillows squeezes and pats.
  11. Take a Magic Eraser to the doors and doorjambs. You’d be surprised how dirty they are if you look closely.
  12. Sweep your entryway. Give yourself many happy entrances home.
  13. Polish your granite counters. Easy to do and part of routine maintenance anyway.
  14. Clean out your purse.
  15. Wash the car.
With the Kids:
  1. Movie night. Popcorn makes it legit. Bonus fun points if you pop your own.
  2. Build a fort. You know the kind. Living room couch cushions, sheets, flashlights, the whole bit.
  3. Make ice cream sundaes.
  4. Have hot chocolate. Dig the packets from last Christmas out of the pantry or make your own.
  5. Bake cookies. Chocolate chip, Snickerdoodles, peanut butter, whatever your fave is. Make enough to freeze some for later.
  6. Do a puzzle. You’ve probably forgotten how fun and addicting it is.
  7. Play a game. Current favorites around here include Blokus and Monopoly Deal.
  8. Hide-and-seek or sardines.
  9. Make a scavenger hunt. You’ll have a fun making up rhymes and hiding objects and then you’ll have fun watching the kids decipher the clues.
  10. Read aloud. Picture books, a favorite chapter book from your childhood, or join in a book your kids are currently reading.
  11. Have a coloring contest, adults included. Find a page online and print out as many copies as participants.
  12. Finger knit. Find instructions here.
  13. Use veggies as stamps. Check out this inspiration.
  14. Have a shaving cream bath. This just means you put the littles in the tub and squirt some shaving cream on the walls for them to finger paint with.
  15. Turn the sprinkler on and run through it. No explanation required, but get the camera ready to snap some idyllic scenes.
  16. Play duck-duck-goose. Re-live your preschool days.
  17. Camp in the back yard. “Camping” without having to pack for it.
  18. Make s’mores. Extend the fun by collecting sticks for the fire beforehand.
  19. Look through photo albums. Or digital pictures on the TV screen.
  20. Make a bucket list. Not only will you come up with more ways to make memories together, but you’ll probably learn about some things your kids want to do that you didn’t know about.
  21. Build a LEGO city. Put together the sets you have from their instructions or make your own creations.
  22. Make an obstacle course. Do this inside or out. Think things to crawl under, jump over, tiptoe on, etc. If you don’t want to use furniture, use painter’s tape or crepe paper streamers.
  23. Make lemonade. Find instructions for a tasty homemade libation here.
  24. Blow bubbles.
To Get Your Life In Order:
  1. Make a life goals list.
  2. Come up with a family or household statement of purpose.
  3. Set up a new budget.
  4. Take a look at your existing budget.
  5. Read up on money matters such as investment strategies, paying off debt, or how to reach your savings goals, whatever fits your situation.
  6. Get caught up on your bills.
  7. Go through that pile of mail.
  8. Gather your returns and exchanges.
  9. Make a list of errands you need to run next week.
  10. Make a meal plan.
  11. Make some lists. It can help declutter your brain.
If You Just Want to Relax:
  1. Read a book. Find some of the mental health benefits of reading here, if you need convincing.
  2. Browse your stack of magazines and then recycle them.
  3. Binge watch an old favorite series. Or start a movie marathon.
  4. Watch a documentary. Check out this list of top documentaries of 2019.
  5. Sit outside and listen.
  6. Have a picnic in your outdoor space.
  7. Have a picnic on the living room floor.
  8. Take a bubble bath.
  9. Talk with someone over a couple glasses of wine.
  10. Take a nap.
  11. Swap foot rubs or back massages with a loved one at home.
  12. Paint your fingernails.
  13. Give yourself a pedicure.
  14. Soak your feet.
  15. Do an at-home face mask.
  16. Place a grocery order. If you don’t have a subscription, consider a free trial to see if it’s right for you.
  17. Meal prep for the coming week.
  18. Make a holds list at the library.
  19. Set up Subscribe & Save for regularly purchased household items.

Business Friendly Utah

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Mar 11, 2020

This week we are looking at business in Utah, the Park City Follies and beautiful countryside getaways. The Spectrum has shared How Utah ranks among the most 'business-friendly' states coming in second on the list. Across the United States, the environment in which businesses operate can vary considerably. Factors like regional policy, tax codes, infrastructure reliability, availability of skilled workers, and operation costs, among others, differ from one state to the next.  24/7 Wall St. created a weighted index of 42 measures to identify the best and worst states for business. These measures fall into one of eight categories: economic conditions, business costs, state infrastructure, the availability and skill level of the workforce, quality of life, regulations, technology and innovation, and cost of living. Data sources include the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Tax Foundation, a tax policy research organization.

Utah comes in right behind Massachusetts and ahead of Colorado with the following stats:

• 1-yr. real GDP change: +3.7% (8th best)

• Avg. earnings per job: $52,364 (14th lowest)

• Adults with a bachelor's degree: 34.9% (13th highest)

• 2018 venture capital deals: 3.4 per 100,000 people (8th most)

Four of the top five states for business are located west of the Mississippi River, and of them, Utah ranks the highest. Startup companies in the state are also drawing far more venture capital investment than those in most other states. Utah companies drew in nearly $1.2 billion in VC funding in 2018, equal to $369 per state resident, more per capita than all but four other states. To read the entire article CLICK HERE.

Every spring for the past 20 years, when ski lifts stop running, traffic dissipates and local restaurants take a couple weeks to recuperate, the Park City Follies enters the scene. KPCW shares about the magic of the Park City Follies. The Park City Follies has sold out for years as locals and visitors alike want to see the popular stage performance which pokes fun at Park City lifestyle, politics and culture.

In past years, the Follies creators select an overarching theme and build the show around high profile community issues. Tom Clyde is the MC and one of the co-writers and says it’s always a gamble when starting the creative process early, never entirely sure the topics will be current in April when the curtain goes up. Clyde says they’re planning a variety of vignettes with some familiar characters returning this year. “They'll be some people you recognize in it and just trying to have fun with the fact that we've been around for a lot longer than anybody ever intended.” Tickets are on sale now. There are nine shows starting Friday, April 24. They’ll perform through May 3 each night except Monday, the 27th. For tickets, go to Park City Shows.com.

Looking to get out of town, head south to Under Canvas Zion, Utah. Under Canvas Zion gets you up close and personal with one of the country’s most Instagrammed landscapes. The luxury camp—which also has outposts in Yellowstone, Glacier, and the Grand Canyon—spans 196 acres on the edge of Zion National Park. But don’t worry, you won’t be roughing it: tents are kitted out with a king bed, wood stove and a private deck. Rock climbing, canyoneering, and hot air ballooning in Utah’s dramatic desert is sure to sell you. Check out Jetsetter to find out more about this spot and seven others in the 8 Best Countryside Getaways in the U.S.

Spring Gruv Upgrade

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Mar 04, 2020

This week we are reviewing home upgrades that can increase the value of your home and Park City's Spring Gruv starting March 6th - see you on the mountain.

One of the main things to consider when choosing an improvement project is how much value it could potentially add to your residence as well as the overall cost of the project. This week RIS Media's Housecall shares 3 Inexpensive Upgrades That Can Increase the Value of Your Home:

Invest in Home Security Upgrades - More than 1 million home burglaries take place in the U.S. each year. Investing in a wireless security system is a great way to protect your home and your possessions. Some homeowners think that these systems are expensive, but, in reality, there are many different wireless systems on the market that are relatively inexpensive. Taking the time to research all of the systems at your disposal is crucial. Consult with home security professionals to avoid missteps. They can help you choose the right security system and get it installed quickly.

Upgrade Your Appliances - Over time, kitchen appliances become outdated and unappealing. Rather than letting old appliances impact the value and appeal of your home, take action. Today's market is filled with appliance options that are both affordable and energy-efficient. While an energy-efficient appliance may cost more initially, it will save you a lot of money on energy bills in the long term, which is why they're a great investment.

Give Your Kitchen Cabinets a New Look - Another great way to make your kitchen more appealing and modern is by giving the cabinets a facelift. Instead of completely replacing your cabinets, think about painting them and adorning them with new hardware to save money. Before you choose a color for both your paint and hardware, consider the type of decor you already have in the space.

Spring is upon us and Scott from the Park Record shares Park City Mountain Resort finds its Spring Grüv. Skiers and snowboarders may take flight during the pond skimming competition at Park City Mountain Resort’s annual Spring Grüv. This year’s celebration will run from March 6 through April 5, and the pond skimming will be held on April 4. parkcitymountain.com

Park City Mountain Resort will continue its annual love affair with warmer weather when it catches the Spring Grüv. This year’s celebration will run from March 6 through April 5, and, as it has in the past, will feature live music, outdoor activities, après events and, of course, pond skimming, said Sarah Stutman., Park City Mountain brand experience manager

“We’re really lucky to have such an incredible spring season in Park City and Spring Grüv is meant to celebrate that,” Stutman said. “The snow has been great this winter and there’s still a lot more of the season left to enjoy… (and we) hope everyone will join us for some spring fun on the mountain during that time.”

Some of the family-friendly activities will include outdoor movies, meeting the mountain safety team avalanche dogs, fireworks, cookie decorating and the offering of free donut s’mores, she said. Most of the activities are free and open to the public, according to Stutman.

“All of the events being hosted in our base areas are complimentary, (but) the annual pond skimming competition does require a registration fee for competitors, and spectators will need a lift ticket to get to the pond, located outside of Red Pine Lodge. At the top of the Red Pine Gondola.”

The annual pond skimming competition, which will feature 100 costumed contestants who will attempt to skim on skis or snowboards across a 100-foot pond, will take place Saturday, April 4, one week before the resort closes for the season, Stutman said.

“It’s hard to imagine a more entertaining event for both the spectators and participants,” she said. “Our prestigious team of judges will then award prizes for Best Costume, Best Splash and Crash and overall Best Male and Female contestants.”

The following set of rules will help keep people safe and grüving through the competition. No teams allowed, Minimum age is 10 years old, No nudity, thongs, or bare butts allowed, No full-face masks or costumes that inhibit full visibility, No fire allowed in costumes, No animals allowed, Must compete on skis or snowboards. No sleds, sit-skis or ski bikes allowed, Costume must be able to fit inside the Red Pine Gondola with the doors closed, Poles may be used but must be dropped before skis touch the pond, No pre-runs; each competitor gets one run to be judged.

“Every year the competitors come dressed to impress,” she said. “We’ve seen Mary Poppins, Aladdin on his magic carpet, flying squirrels, sharks, snowmen, Sesame Street characters and more. Every year, we award a prize for the best costume and can’t wait to see what people come up with this season.” Live music is another Spring Grüv draw in the days leading up to pond skimming, Stutman said.

This year’s musical guests include Changing Lanes, Fuse ‘N Rock and the Michelle Moonshine Trio, to name a few, she said. The full schedule can be found at ParkCityMountain.com. Park City Mountain worked with Mountain Town Music, a local nonprofit, to find the bands, according to Stutman.

“We have a great and longstanding partnership with Mountain Town Music to help bring the best of Park City’s music scene to the mountain and worked with them on our Spring Grüv programming,” she said. “Spring Grüv is all about celebrating the longer days and enjoying the mountain with family and friends, we look for music experiences that capture that excitement and energy.”

Traveling With Your Puppy

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Feb 26, 2020

This week we are sharing where to stay with your puppy in Park City and February's home sales.

Where do you stay in Park City if you want to bring fido on your vacation, Park City Magazine shares - 7 Dog Friendly Hotels in Park City. Rover isn’t just a dog, he’s part of the family. And you need a place to stay that doesn’t require sneaking your pup in the back door. Thankfully, these Park City hotels welcome your furry kid the way they would your bio kids, with a warm smile, treats, and the occasional pat on the head. When it’s time to paw it out of the hotel, introduce your pooch to “Bark” City’s dog-friendly trails. Basin Recreation grooms 25 kilometers, connecting Utah Olympic Park and Willow Creek Park. Round Valley has off-leash hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing trails, plus a dog park (there’s one at Willow Creek, too). And be sure to check out Rob’s or Daly Canyon trails.

Waldorf Astoria Park City -Wag-o-meter props: In-room bowls and dog beds, and homemade doggie treats (engraved with your pup’s name).

Montage Deer Valley - Wag-o-meter props: Two resident Bernese mountain dog ambassadors, plus a luxurious dog bed, food and water bowls, a toy gift, custom-baked treats, and an “In-Room Dining Canine Cuisine Menu.”

Washington School House Hotel - Wag-o-meter props: Owners are huge dog lovers with a couple of golden retrievers, so they understand a pet parent’s needs. Check in to find a cozy pet bed and bowls already in your room.

The St. Regis Deer Valley - Wag-o-meter props: Dog bed, dog bowls, and their own personal outdoor play area and trail. Butlers will walk dogs upon request.

The Holiday Inn Express & SuitesBest Western Plus Landmark Inn, and Hyatt Place Park City - Wag-o-meter props: Less expensive rooms and pet fees. BYOB(owls). Grab treats and poop bags at the front desk.

Looking for your new home or to sell yours, visit our website to see current listings and to see how we can help you. Here are February’s Closings:

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1620 Downington Ave SLC Closed 2/18/20
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3000 Canyons Resort #4912 PC Closed 2/10/20
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2153 W Red Pine Court PC Closed 2/24/20

On the topic of moving, Realtor Magazine shares What to Do Before the Movers Show Up. Homeowners still need to prep the house for the moving company before they arrive to pack them up. Realtor.com® recently highlighted several of the items homeowners should do before the moving company arrives, including:

Protect your floors - To help avoid damage to the house, remove anything fragile that could be in the path as furniture and boxes get moved. Notify the movers about any hardwood flooring. “If you have hardwood floors or tile in any rooms, let your movers know ahead of time so they can prepare the right materials—and make sure your contract includes hardwood floor protection,” Miranda Benson, marketing coordinator at Dolly, a San Francisco–based moving company, told realtor.com®.

Make a clear path - Make the movers’ job easier and think ahead to a variety of potential obstacles on moving day. For example, consider the parking situation outside your home. Where can the movers leave their truck when packing up? You may even need the local city government to get involved to get appropriate signage and allowances. Also, ensure that access points of the home are clear of any debris.

Be available - don't hover, but be readily available to answer any questions. Alert the movers to anything special they should know that could impact how they move out your furniture and boxes. “There are little things about your house that you only learn from living there: The hallway closet door never stays closed, the third step down has a slight bend, a pack of hornets tends to congregate around the back door, so use the front—these are all valuable things that make your movers’ lives easier,” Benson told realtor.com®. “On top of that, being available to answer questions, whether that’s in person or via phone, can make your move much smoother.”

Read more moving preparation tips at realtor.com®.

Activities In Park City

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Feb 19, 2020

Coming to Park City,  but not a huge skier -  here are 8 Great Things To Do In Park City, Utah Besides Skiing. There’s lots to do in Park City for those who prefer to hit the slopes, but not so hard.

Family sleigh ride at Deer Valley Resort.

1. Enjoy The Greatest Snow On Earth - Relive the 2002 Winter Olympics through memorabilia and interactive exhibits at Utah Olympic Park's free museums. In summer, watch aerial skiers hurtle through the air, landing with a splash in the Olympic pool. Or be a passenger in a bobsled if you dare. Take a sleigh ride to a remote Viking Yurt. After being tucked in with warm blankets, a snow-cat pulls you up 1,800 feet through fairy tale forests, past looming mountains and views of Park City’s twinkling lights.

Take a Saturday Morning Snow Shoe Tour of Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter. It’s cheap and snowshoes are provided. Or let a pack of huskies and their musher whizz you through the forest. Snowmobile along miles of groomed tracks, or, for a slower pace, enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides at Park City Mountain or Deer Valley.

A woman gets a spa treatment in Park City.

2. Luxuriate For The Day - For the luxury touches of herbal body products, fluffy robes, and soaking in hot water with mountain views, head to Stein Eriksen Lodge. Booking a spa treatment means access to other facilities, such as a steam room, sauna, whirlpool, and a heated indoor/outdoor infinity pool as well.

Or buy a day pass at Hotel Park City to use their heated pool, steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools, meditation rooms, fitness equipment, and hydrotherapy tub. (Passes are available spring and fall, and sometimes summer. Call for availability.) At Montage Deer Valley, day passes include access to an indoor mosaic lap pool, a co-ed or separate women’s relaxation area, selected fitness classes, and locker rooms offering a steam room, sauna, whirlpools, and deluge showers.

End with Montage Deer Valley’s free daily s’mores (open to all). Graham crackers, dark and milk chocolate bars, and gourmet, house-made marshmallows including cinnamon, mocha, salted caramel, and peppermint flavors are roasted up around a patio fire pit from 4 to 6 p.m. and later in summer.

Looking up Historic Main Street on a summer night.
3. Explore Main Street - Main Street feels like a Western movie set, as Park City was once a silver mining town with 27 saloons. But boom and bust happen, and by 1951, Park City was listed in Ghost Towns of the West. The township pulled itself up by the bootstraps, becoming the world-famous ski resort it is today.

Learn more about this history at Park City Historical Museum. The museum also offers summer walking tours during which you can learn more about some of Main Street’s 64 heritage-listed buildings. You’ll definitely want to book ahead.

You can also join a Last Friday Gallery Stroll (Monthly, June to December) for complimentary refreshments, music, and the chance to visit 19 local studios. To find Franz the Bear, an iconic bronze sculpture and photo-op sitting on a park bench (and an elusive Banksy mural) download the city’s Free Self-Guided Art and Sculpture Tour Map. Stop by the Alpine Pie Bar for a slice of pie and a cocktail made from locally crafted spirits from Alpine Distilling.

4. Hit The Shops- Once a mining town, these days Park City seems paved with gold. Stunning homes dot the hillsides and Main Street has many high-end shops. Personal favorites include Burns Cowboy Shop with hundreds of crafted designer boots, Alpaca International for wrinkle-resistant travel garments, and Cade and Co's for handmade leather baby shoes.

Dolly’s Bookstore showcases regional authors and Dolly the cat sunning herself in the window. Atticus Coffee Books and Teahouse offers comfy reading spots and pots of tea chosen from 65 loose-leaf varieties.

The street is steep, so catch the free trolley back up. My grandson adored this trolley. He was too young for skiing, so I wasn’t the only one hitting the shops.

Or catch a bus to Outlets Park City. All public transport is free (plan your route using the myStop app). Arrive and grab a free coupon book from Customer Service. Then it’s full-throttle ahead, foraging through 65 outlets including Old Navy, Levi, Gap, Nike, Vans, and Sun and Ski Sports. There are no onsite cafes, so fortify yourself with lunch beforehand.

The Ice Castle in Herber, Utah.
5. Head To Heber - A 25-minute drive away in Heber, you can experience an Ice Castle -- a magical winter fairy-tale world of caverns, tunnels, and fountains carved by artists and lit by magical lights. I recommend dressing warmly and wearing snow boots. Utah is famous for its cheese, so stop at Heber Valley Artisan Cheese for tastings, tours, and cheese-making classes. Homestead Resort in nearby Midway has a geothermal hot spring in a 55-foot high beehive-shaped crater. Water bubbles up at 90 to 96 degrees. You can book dips (it’s deep) and even do paddleboard yoga in the crater.
The Egyptian Theater in Park City.
6. Sundance All Year- Film fans flock to Park City in January for the Sundance Film Festival. Some tickets are hard to score, but those on waitlists often get in. If this interests you, consider a Sundance membership to access special screenings and pre-sale tickets before the mad scramble begins.

You can also enjoy Sundance venues all year long. The Park City Film Series hosts films at “The Santy” (Jim Santy Auditorium). Film choices, projection, and sound quality are top-notch. Locals introduce films, popcorn comes with free refills and real butter, and local traders offer door prizes.

The Egyptian Theater has been associated with Sundance since the festival began in 1978. This 1926 Art Deco gem was built in the excitement surrounding the opening of King Tutankhamun’s Tomb in 1922. An Egyptologist supervised the theater’s decoration, which includes scarabs, lotus leaf motifs, and hieroglyphics. The venue offers famous musical acts and top stage shows throughout the year.

7. Explore The Local Food Scene - Park City has over 150 restaurants. Most have excellent ratings, making it hard to choose where to dine. For restaurant tips and deals, locals recommend the Park Record.

Queues indicate greatness. Five5eeds serves Australian-style coffee and avocado toast with whipped goats cheese. It’s easier to get seated here on weekdays. We also recommend Park City Food Tours for reasons as multi-pronged as a fork. You’ll experience a number of restaurants, a guide offers other local recommendations, and, as Julia Child said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” So good company is assured. No two tours are identical, but the much-talked-about Riverhorse and Handle restaurants are often on the itinerary. Note that drink pairings are extra.

8. Enjoy Drinking (In Moderation)-  Some tourists even fear not getting a drink in Park City. They shouldn’t worry.

Visit Alpine Distilling (located in Silver Creek) and the Alpine Pie Bar (lower level of 350 Main Street). Alpine Distilling is Utah's Distillery of the Year for the second year in a row and the Pie Bar was voted Best Casual Eatery be LuxLife. The Alpine Pie Bar is also home to the world famous Gin Experience.

Park City is home to High West Distillery and Saloon, Utah’s first legal distillery (opened in 1870!) and the world's only ski-in distillery. The food is excellent, but if you’ll be dining with under-21s, head out to their other distillery at Wanship, which is classed as a restaurant, not a bar.

Fox School of Wine has a Weekend Wine Series known locally as “the educational happy hour.” Their Saturday Mines and Wines Tours allow participants to take in six historic places with wines paired to each location. Mountain Town Olive Oil offers The Next Course -- an opportunity to cook gourmet recipes paired with wine. At Paint Mixer, you can create your next artwork in a social setting and enjoy an on-site wine service.

Even the local market, Park Silly Sunday Market (June to September) has a DIY Bloody Mary beer garden. The drink becomes breakfast once you top your glass with offerings including asparagus, olives, sausage, pickles, and crispy bacon.

Wasatch Brew Pub (established in 1986) is Park City’s first brewery since Prohibition. Check out the tongue-in-cheek beer labels, such as Polygamy Porter’s, which asks, “Why have just one?” Wasatch’s founder also convinced the Utah Legislature to allow brewpubs in the state, making it possible for you to enjoy good pub grub, including burgers, mac ’n’ cheese, and spicy buffalo wings. As it’s a brewpub rather than a bar, you can dine here with your skiing family.

Park City is more than just epic ski vacations — here’s why by the Points GuyIf you’re an ardent fan of winter sports, you’re no doubt already familiar with Park City, Utah. Many events during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games took place at this year-round tourist destination. From the beauty of the great outdoors to the glamour of the Sundance Film Festival, the city offers a wide range of activities all winter and summer long.

It’s a posh vacation spot for tourists seeking the beauty of the mountains no matter what the season. During the winter, Park City houses the U.S. Ski Team. In the summer, it hosts the training center for the Australian Freestyle Ski Team. The historic Egyptian Theatre, the home base of Sundance, brings films from across the globe to audiences. Celebrities are often spotted throughout the week-and-a-half-long festival that takes place in late January — so if you’re headed here then, be sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled.

Getting to Park City - Park City is one of the most accessible vacation destinations in the country. It’s just 25 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC). Shuttles from the airport to Park City are frequent and can drop you off directly at your hotel.

Where to hit the slopes - As you can imagine, if Park City was host of the 2002 Winter Olympics, its slopes are world-class. Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort are the two major ski resorts in town — with more than 2,000 and 7,300 acres of terrain, respectively. The slopes are open from November to April and cater to thousands of visitors.

Photo courtesy Deer Valley Resort
Photo courtesy Deer Valley Resort
During the Olympics, the mountains were home to award-winning athletes. The Park City Mountain Resort held four Olympic events while Deer Valley Resort hosted two Olympic events. As a visitor, you get the privilege to use the same slopes where the U.S. Ski and Snowboard teams both won medals. Don’t know how to ski or snowboard? Both resorts offer lessons for beginners. With hundreds of trails, the slopes at Park City offer a unique winter sports experience for all.

Where to stay near the slopes - While Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort are awesome for snowy-weather activities, you have other options — especially if you’re using Marriott Bonvoy points.

Visit Utah Olympic Park- Ever wanted to visit an Olympic village? You’re in luck: The Utah Olympic Park offers tours year-round. The village includes the Alf Engen Ski Museum and the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum. The facilities also offer an intimate look into the history of Utah’s winter sports.

During the summer, Olympic Park offers summer tubing and bobsled, zip-lining and ropes courses. The Nordic ski jump used by Olympic-level athletes gets converted into a summer tubing hill. With a custom plastic surface, the ride smoothly glides just as well, if not better, than on snow. The activity is perfect for thrill-seekers as speeds can get up to 50 miles per hour.

Olympic Park in Park City (Photo by PhotographyPerspectives/Getty Images)
Olympic Park in Park City (Photo by PhotographyPerspectives/Getty Images)
From December to April, you can join the Winter Bobsledding Experience. Gear up to use the very same sliding track used for bobsled, skeleton and luge events during the Olympics. You can also enjoy tubing down the Soldier Hollow, the longest tubing lanes in the state. The skating rink at the Utah Olympic Park features a unique skating program that complies with the national and international standards of Learn to Skate USA. With world-class instruction in speedskating, hockey and curling.

Where to stay near Olympic Park - The Utah Olympic Park is about eight miles from downtown Park City. While there isn’t lodging within walking distance of the park, some of the closest hotels are just a short 10-minute car ride away. The Hyatt Centric Park City offers ski-in and ski-out access to the Park City Resort and the Wasatch Adventure Guides slopes. With 120 deluxe guest rooms, the hotel is a cozy home-away-from-home.

Experience the beauty of summer- Even if you don’t ski, Park City is the perfect destination to explore the great outdoors — especially in the summertime. If you’re interested in hiking, biking or camping, visit the nearby Uinta National Forest. Other trails include The Armstrong Trail or the Mid-Mountain Trail at Deer Valley Resort.

When you’re done touring the trails in Park City, join a hot air balloon ride. Soar above the scenic greenery of Utah’s national parks and mountain resorts. For fishing and river rafting lovers, the forest offers beautifully preserved lakes and rivers, such as the Logan, Weber, Ogden, and Provo rivers.

Where to stay- Sunrise Lodge by Hilton Grand Vacations is a beautiful mountain resort nestled in the Canyons Resort and next to the Sunrise Lift. The resort offers free shuttles to restaurants and shops on the main street. With guest rooms and full suites with kitchen amenities, the Sunrise Lodge is perfect for families on vacation.

Head to Sundance and Slamdance- In late January, Park City is home to the largest independent film event in the country: Sundance Film Festival. Thousands of movie-lovers, industry executives and celebrities from around the world come for the 10-day festival. The entire town transforms into a film mecca with The Egyptian Theatre is the crown jewel. The festival has a total of nine venues scattered throughout town. Transportation around Park City is easy year-round with a free public transit system.

The Egyptian theater for the Sundance film festival. (Photo by Pureadiancephoto/Getty Images)
The Egyptian theater for the Sundance film festival. (Photo by Pureadiancephoto/Getty Images)
Even if you can’t afford Sundance credentials or are unable to buy tickets, there are tons of free events happening in the city. Stop by the Festival Headquarters at the Sheraton Park City, the New Frontier Lab or any sponsored event venues for fun on a budget. You might even spot celebs at local coffee shops and restaurants.

Another option is to visit Slamdance Film Festival during the last week of January. The artist-led festival focuses on low-budget and emerging talent as an alternative to Sundance. Though smaller than Sundance, Slamdance’s tight-knit community offers a more accessible and intimate experience.

Where to stay for the festivals - When finding a hotel during Sundance, it’s important to stick close to the festival’s bus route. There are three Marriott hotels directly on the route: Marriott’s MountainSide, Marriott’s Summit Watch and Sheraton Park City. The Sheraton is also Sundance’s festival headquarters and the location where industry members can pick up their credentials. Staying at the Sheraton means that celebrities come to your front door. The lobby is often known for celeb spottings and hosting industry meetings.

Bottom line - Park City can be your home base for many different types of vacations, from a traditional ski vacation to active adventures in the summertime to exhilarating film festivals. Choose the face of Park City that you want to see and use your airline miles and hotel loyalty points to help you plan an affordable trip. Just plan for those peak ski dates or trips that coincide with Sundance.

World's Most Admired Companies

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Feb 11, 2020

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Great news! Berkshire Hathaway has been named in the top 5 of the WORLD’S MOST ADMIRED COMPANIES for 2020.

For the seventh year in a row, Berkshire Hathaway is one of Fortune Magazine's top 5 most admired companies in the world. We are honored to be apart of such a prestigious network that provides so much value to our clients.

This week we are highlighting an upcoming non-profit event and two local developments.

 Red, White & Snow is the National Ability Center’s premier fundraiser. This culinary, wine, and ski festival is among the top in the country and continues to rise in popularity and recognition. The weekend-long event celebrates some of the nation’s top chefs and finest vintners. The program offers a unique opportunity for culinary and wine connoisseurs, vintners and snow sports enthusiasts from across the country to mingle in an extraordinary setting. Learn more about this exciting event here.
Pendry Residences Park City, a new luxury offering by Montage, has broken ground in Canyons Village. Debuting in winter 2021, Pendry Residences Park City will offer fully serviced condominium residences that combine Montage's legendary service culture, four distinct restaurant and bar offerings, Spa Pendry, indoor event space, curated retail, Pinwheel Kid's Club, and a rooftop pool deck are all part of the impressive year round experience. Studio to four bedrooms from $470K to over $3M. Reserve yours today!
YOTELPAD Park City - IN THE HEART OF CANYONS VILLAGE, EVERYTHING YOU NEED FROM THE LOW $300,000s. YOTELPAD residences are one giant leap for Park City. Everything you need, steps from the lifts. Space to live. Space to play. Space to socialize. You’re steps from the Village hub, at the center of one of North America’s largest four-season playgrounds, with everything it offers on your doorstep. YOTELPAD distills all the elements of luxury resort condominiums into efficient, playful spaces, dialing up the cool factor while dialing down the cost. How? Through design that makes smart use of every inch, social spaces both indoors and out, and intuitive technology services that allow more time for fun. Click here to learn more.

FIS World Cup and February Events

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Feb 04, 2020

This week we are sharing the 2019 Wasatch Back Real Estate Market Overview, click here to read the full report.

The FIS World Cup is returning to Deer Valley February 6th-8th. The Park Record has shared a great overview of the upcoming event.

Next week the world’s best freestyle skiers will descend upon Park City to participate in the Intermountain Healthcare Freestyle International Ski World Cup at Deer Valley Resort. Beginning on Thursday Feb. 6 and concluding on Saturday, Feb. 8, the crowd will be treated to a combination of moguls, aerials and dual moguls for free.As the only domestic World Cup stop for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team, the competition will serve as a homecoming for the Americans, most of whom live in Utah.

Among those competing will be American star Winter Vinecki, a former star runner as a youth who has turned herself into one of the better aerials skiers in the world. “I had no idea about aerials growing up in northern Michigan before moving to Salem, Oregon, where I took up running,” Vinecki said. “I don’t remember exactly when I figured out about aerials. … I think it was around the time before I came out to Park City to try the sport. But once I did, I was hooked and loved it. … And now it’s taken me all around the world. “

But now Vinecki is all in on aerials, and her 2020 World Cup season is expected to start this upcoming week. Her first competition of the season came on the NorAm Tour — or U.S. selections — right before Christmas 2019, where she took second place on both days.

“This will be my third time ever competing at the World Cup in Deer Valley, and the one thing I can always count on is the crowds. … They’re incredible,” Vinecki said. “I was out for the 2018 season with a torn ACL injury, and then followed that up with a really good season in 2019. I’m excited to be healthy and can’t wait for that intensity of the event. … And I’m ready for it.”

“You’re surrounded by a lot of family and friends, you get to sleep in your own bed, no time zone traveling and you’ve trained on sites. … So many positives,” Vinecki said. “With us being at Deer Valley, there can definitely be a bit more pressure but that can also make it more exciting. It’s definitely more fun with a big crowd of people we all know because you feel like you have that extra support.” The moguls competition takes place on Thursday evening, with aerials on Friday and dual moguls finishing up on Saturday.

 

February Events

Now - 4/14: Utah Jazz, Salt Lake City

Now - 2/11: Utah Grizzlies Hockey, Salt Lake City

Now - 2/23: The Gallivan Center Ice Rink, Salt Lake City

Now - 2/29: Ice Castles - Midway, Midway

Now - 2/22: Winter Market by Farmers Market Ogden 2020, Ogden

2/6 - 2/8: FIS Freestyle International Ski World Cup 2020, Deer Valley

2/7 - 2/8: All Star Monster Truck Tour 2020, Salt Lake City

2/7 - 2/15: Giselle by Ballet West, Salt Lake City

2/8: Brandi Carlile, Salt Lake City

2/8: Chinese New Year Celebration 2020, Salt Lake City

2/14 - 2/15: Valentine Dinner Dance, Thanksgiving Point

2/28 - 2/29: Singin' in the Rain: Film in Concert with the Utah Symphony, Salt Lake City

2/29: U92 Hip Hop Legends, Salt Lake City

2/29: Silver Summits Challenge, Park City

Food In Park City

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Jan 29, 2020

Looking for a new place to eat or drink in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival — or after all the Hollywood types have gone home? Here’s a guide to four new spots that’s as easy as A, B, C — and D — to remember.

A for Alpine Pie Bar. Alpine Distilling is located in Park City’s Silver Creek development. It launched this new speak-easy bar, micro-distillery and retail space as a way to showcase its award-winning spirits to the crowds on Main Street. As the name suggests, customers can enjoy a slice of locally made pie by Auntie Em’s baked goods along with the whiskey and gin cocktails. Founder and distiller Robert Sergent says the combination of pies and cocktails makes “a surprisingly good pairing, especially when they include complementary seasonal ingredients.” The underground space — for those 21 and older — also offers a Gin Experience, where guests make their own custom gin and get a lesson in distilling history.

The Alpine Pie Bar was awarded Utah’s Best Casual Eatery by Lux Life and for the second year in a row Utah Distillery of the Year. Alpine's main distillery is in Silver Creek and their micro distillery for the world renowned gin experience is located in the Pie Bar.

Alpine Pie Bar • 350 Main St., lower level, (435) 200-9537 or alpinedistilling.com. Open daily from 3 to 10 p.m. Retail is open from 1 to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday selling their locally made, award winning spirits.

Alpine Distilling - 7132 N Silver Creek Road. Open Tuesday to Friday 10 am - 5 pm with tours on Saturday at 11 am, 12 noon and 1 pm, visit alpinedistilling.com to find out more and to book your tour.

B for Baan Thai Cuisine. Located in the Marriott Summit Watch plaza, this new Thai restaurant offers all the favorites from massaman curry to drunken noodles and pad thai. One of the four co-owners, Maneerut “Fon” Chitratonn, said the partners have previously worked in the restaurant business and two are the co-owners of Thai So Good at Park City’s Kimball Junction. The kitchen, she said, uses fresh meats, seafood, vegetables and herbs. Part of the bright, modern decor is the live, green plants on one wall that spell the word BAAN — which roughly translated means house.

Bann Thai Cuisine • 710 Main St., Park City; (435) 604-0243 or facebook.com/BaanThaiPC. Open Sunday-Thursday, noon to 9:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.

C for Courchevel Bistro. A taste of the European countryside can be found inside this restaurant named for Park City’s sister city in the French Alps and located in the historic Coal & Lumber Building on the corner of Main Street and Heber Avenue. Executive chef Clement Gelas — who has lived in Park City since 2005 and served as executive chef at Wahso, Waldorf Astoria and Talisker on Main — shares the culinary influences of his native France and the Rhône Valley, including braised beef, lamb roulade, steak frites and cheese raclette. Adjacent to the bistro is a bakery and cafe with pastries made by chef Franck Peissel, formerly of Franck’s Restaurant in Holladay. The space transforms into a dessert destination in the evening.

Courchevel Bistro • 201 Heber Ave., Park City, (435) 572-4398 or courchevelbistro.com. Cafe and bakery, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; bistro, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Sunday brunch, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

D for St. Regis Deer Valley. This luxury resort is undergoing a $42 million expansion and renovation. RIME is the property’s new dining centerpiece — replacing the J&G Grill. The surf and turf menu, by chef Matthew Harris, includes seafood (selections arrive daily from Maine, Boston and Nantucket) and meats, including wild game (such as elk from Utah). This is Harris’ second go-round at the St. Regis. He was the chef de cuisine of J&G Grill when it opened 10 years ago. He left to work as the executive chef at the Nantucket Yacht Club and returned in 2016 to open tupelo. RIME — a spinoff of Deer Valley’s RIME Raw Bar — is one of four new dining options at the resort, including the St. Regis Bar & Lounge; the French-inspired Brasserie 7452; and the casual grab-and-go Terrace Café, which also offers an après-ski caviar bar. Fun fact: Rime is the frost formed on cold objects by the rapid freezing of water in cloud or fog.

RIME • 2300 Deer Valley Drive East, Park City, srdvdining.com. Open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Sundance 2020

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Jan 22, 2020

Sundance starts tomorrow and the box office is open! For Locals and visitors alike this means giving yourself plenty of time to arrive where you need to go as traffic and parking will be congested. For skiers and snowboarders head to the mountains as it is a great time to enjoy the slopes with everyone at the movies.

We found a great article, Insider Tips and Tricks for Making the Most of Your Sundance Film Festival, that is useful for locals as well as for those coming into town.

Prepare for the Weather - Temperatures in Park City this time of year tend to hover around 12°F and 33°F during the day, so don’t be tempted to pack light.

“Put a pair of gloves in each of your jackets/coats (and bring extras). You will lose a glove or two,” says Rosie Wong, our director of industry relations, who’s coming up on her 16th Sundance Film Festival. “And if you live near a Uniqlo, I swear by their Heattech thermal leggings and undershirts. They’re thin, but they really work.” Don’t overlook the smaller details when it comes to your wardrobe choices. “Change your socks once a day—you’ll feel like a whole new person,” says Ashley Hoyle, assistant to our director of programming. Our director of producing and impact strategy, Brenda Coughlin, had some of my favorite advice on the subject of staying warm: “Two words: Hot. Toddy.”

Eat Well and Stay Energized - As several colleagues have pointed out, when you’re rushing between screenings, it can be hard to find time to eat—which is probably fine on the first day of the Festival but won’t feel so great by the end. Some words of wisdom?

Do stock up on food when you arrive—that way you won’t be tempted to subsist on sugary snacks and caffeine as the Fest wears on. But don’t go overboard: “That pot of lentils? Not going to get cooked or eaten,” notes Brenda. “Don’t drink [alcohol] on your first day; the altitude is a huge game changer,” says Ashley. “Drink as much water as you can. When you think you’ve had enough, drink some more!” “Put some protein or snack bars in your coat pockets for those times you forget to take time to eat (because who has time to do that???),” Rosie says. As for dining recommendations in and around Park City? “For all the Brits out there, the mushrooms on toast at Five5eeds is delish,” Brenda advises.

Plan Out Your Schedule - There’s an art to planning the perfect Sundance Film Festival schedule for yourself, and to master it, you’ve got to think about the distance between venues (“Allow at least 45 minutes to get anywhere,” says Brenda), sprinkling in a good amount of variety into the mix, and knowing your limits in terms of how late you can stay up (or how early you can wake up).

Luckily we’ve got an app (available in the App Store and Google Play) that can make things way easier, especially when you’re on the go. “The Sundance app’s eWaitlist works,” Ashley says; just make sure to show up to the venue at least 30 minutes early once you get your waitlist number.

And make sure you check out all of the things we have going on outside of the theaters. One highlight we hope you’ll join us for? “The Imagined Futures bonfire following Power of Story on Thursday, January 30,” Brenda says. “It’ll make for an amazing afternoon of rabble-rousing inspiration and warm contemplation as we head into the end of the Festival.”

See the Sights in Salt Lake City - Locals are already hip to the fact that we host a ton of our screenings and events in Salt Lake City (as well as at the Sundance Mountain Resort). In fact, buying our Grand Theatre Pass is one of the most economical ways to experience the Festival; it offers you admission to every screening at the Grand between January 24 and February 2.

“Experience the Festival in Salt Lake,” advises Michaela Buccola, assistant director of operations for artist programs. “Great theaters, amazing restaurants and bars, the same movies, and the same buzz! And if you want to ensure you have an experience like being on Main Street in Park City, be sure to select the Rose Wagner or Broadway theaters, and go to my favorite restaurant and next-door bar combos, such as Takashi and Post Office Place or Current and Undercurrent.”

Avoid the Festival Flu - Yes, it’s a thing. That’s why our volunteers recommend staying hydrated and starting a vitamin regimen ahead of your arrival at the Festival.

“Don’t touch doorknobs or elevator buttons with your bare hands!” Rosie cautions. “Use your elbows—do you know how many germy fingers touch those things every day? And carry antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer; you WILL encounter someone who is sick.”

And Finally, a Few Things You Might Not Have Thought to Pack … Courtesy of our volunteers, who come from all over the country (and even all over the world) to help us put on the Festival every year. If you see a volunteer, remember to thank them, and note that Wednesday, January 29, is Volunteer Appreciation Day!

  • Lotion (your poor chapped hands will thank you)
  • Altitude-adjustment pills (FYI, Park City is about 7,000 feet above sea level)
  • A phone battery pack
  • A small flashlight (so helpful late at night)
  • A good thermos (good for eating in line)
Need a day off from the hill or away from the movies of Sundance? Here’s the skinny on dozens of energy-burning activities for all ages, from ropes courses and ice castles to swimming and tubing. Park City Magazine shares Family Fun 101: Guide to Off-Piste Play in and around Park City. Parlay a break from the ski hill into all manner of indoor and outdoor fun. Check out these off-piste, energy-burning, adventures.

Sled and slide - Grab a couple of sleds and head to a local hill. For newbies, hit the mild slope beside Park City Library (1255 Park Ave), also home Lucky Ones Coffee, a convenient hot cocoa warm-up spot. For a bit more speed and air, try Park City Ice Arena (600 Gillmor Way) and slide off the back side of the rink into a soccer field runout; helmets are handy if you’re planning to hit the oft-present jumps. For those willing to work for the downhill, grab a handheld swiss-bob, and hike roughly a mile and 800 feet of vertical up Iron Mountain Trail (mountaintrails.org); slide the entire way down (helmet recommended).

Prefer to be pulled up the hill? Nab a seat on Park City Mountain’s Alpine Coaster (parkcitymountain.com) and control your own speed as you whoop through the track. Or mosey over to Midway’s Soldier Hollow (utaholympiclegacy.org) and allow the conveyer to pull you—and your tube—up to the top of six lanes of downhill sliding. Tips: Book ahead. You can also check out the new Woodward Park City’s tubing hill and more (details on p. 98). Olympic venue Soldier Hollow is also ideal for a Nordic outing (see more cross-country options on p. 76).

Reach new heights - Throw on a harness and hit the ropes courses at Utah Olympic Park (UOP, utaholympiclegacy.org). Start at the Discovery Course beside the Nordic jumps, then work your way up to the Canyon and Summit Courses, both located beside the bobsled track. Winter and spring at the UOP tends to be less crowded in terms of ropes course antics, but team training can be in full-throttle mode, which means you could spy an elite athlete while hanging out 55 feet in the air. Not into ropes courses? Check out the hands-on exhibits at the on-site museums, take a tour, consider splurging on a bobsled ride with a pro (if you’re age 16-plus and have a minute), or plan your trip to coincide with an event—perhaps the IBSF Para Sport World Cup in February. Tips: Call ahead, as the ropes courses are not always open during snowy months (also, check to see if additional activities, such as the Extreme Zipline and Drop Tower, may be up and running); stop by the Visitor Information Center (1794 Olympic Pkwy) to grab a BOGO coupon for the UOP’s Gold Pass; and check the weight requirements for the activities to avoid disappointing little ones.

Icy magic - As long as the temperatures are right, the Ice Castles in nearby Midway (Homestead Resort, icecastles.com) provide a fantastical outing from late December through late February. Stroll, crawl, and slip through the 25-million-pound ice edifice, covering roughly an acre with tunnels, slot canyons, thrones, slides, 40-foot spires, and infinite LED-lit icicle wizardry. Tips: Book ahead online, try to hit weekdays to avoid crowds, and wear waterproof pants for exploring the frozen slides and tunnels.

Glide in the Zamboni’s wake at two local rinks: Park City Ice Arena (600 Gillmor Way, 435.615.5707, parkcityice.org; check the website for open skate times) or Resort Center Ice Rink, outdoors at PCM’s base (1415 Lowell Ave, 435.615.8165, parkcityicerink.com). Have your own skates? Head to the pond at Willow Creek Park, and maybe drop in on a hockey game—but check Basin Recreation’s grooming report (basinrecreation.org, under the Trails Report tab) to make sure the ice is solid and cleared first.

New kid on the block - If the 125-acre action sports playground replacing (and expanding) what was once Gorgoza Park is half as cool as its sister POWDR properties, Woodward Park City (3863 Kilby Rd, 435.658.2648, woodwardparkcity.com) is vying to be the top spot as kid, teen, and teen-at-heart heaven. Slated to open this winter, the campus rolls out lift-served skier/snowboarder zones, targeting starter snow bunnies to extreme athletes. And for those lamenting Gorgoza’s passing, there’s a revamped tubing hill, too. Feel like heading indoors? The on-site, 66,000-square-foot facility (well equipped for testing those flips, twists, and beyond) is tricked out with ramps, a trampoline, a foam pit, a spring floor, parkour, and a concrete zone—essentially a skatepark, but for all nonmotorized wheels (think BMX); there’s a pump track, too. Already, plenty of elite athletes have loaned their expertise to the creation—slopestyle fans, don’t miss Red’s Backyard (a Red Gerard-designed park). Oh, and there’s a bar-café on tap for viewing the action, lodge-style eats on the main level, and a digital media lab on the lower level. Though the campus is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., folks can drop in or stay all day. Tips: Book the two-hour tubing hill or indoor facility passes ahead, snag a day pass, or go all-in for a $100 monthly pass.

Splash - Sometimes the best way to tire out the clan is a day of swimming—yes, even in winter. The South Summit Aquatic Center (350 E 200 South, Kamas, 435.783.2423, ssafc.org), also known as the Kamas Pool, has a massive indoor leisure pool complete with lazy river, two-story tube slide, small slide, and splash features, as well as a lap pool with two diving boards and a climbing wall (open intermittently). Tips: For added indoor fun, the facility’s 33-foot climbing wall (not the more petite poolside one) is open Saturdays. Wrap up the outing with a slice of cheesy pie at Summit Inn Pizza (80 S Main St, Kamas, 435.783.4453, summitinnpizza.com). And don’t show up on Sunday, when the Kamas pool facility is closed.

Home Trends And The Annual Report

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Jan 15, 2020

This week we will take a look at home ideas for 2020 and share the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Utah Properties 2019 Annual Report. Click on this link to open the full report.

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What’s Trending Next? Here are A Dozen Home and Design Ideas for 2020.

REALTOR® Magazine asked our favorite real estate trend watchers and influencers what to expect in 2020 and beyond. For starters, most agree that gray is on its way out, while deep hues are becoming the stars in interior paint. And more homeowners are following the craze of decluttering and tidying up popularized by Marie Kondo so they can focus on experiencing joy in their home.

While some fads are natural evolutions and others are more far-fetched, we’ve whittled it down to a dozen that are sure to inspire your buyers and sellers alike. Plus, don’t miss five up-and-coming kitchen trends that are bound to spark interest and maybe a remodel.

1. Comfortable Dining Rooms - Homeowners have decided they don’t want to give up their dining rooms—that’s in the past. Now they want dining rooms to be less formal and more functional, says architect Elisa Morgante of Morgante-Wilson in Chicago. The best way to do this is by investing in a multipurpose table that can take wear and tear, comfy chairs with high backs and armrests, and washable fabrics. Fun light fixtures are replacing delicate ones, and some traditional dining room furnishings are disappearing—such as china cabinets used for fancy entertaining, says real estate broker Jennifer Ames, partner at Engel & Volkers in Chicago.

2. Fabulous Foyers - Homeowners know the importance of exterior curb appeal, but now they’re taking advantage of the foyer as another opportunity to impress, says Liz Brooks, vice president of sales and marketing for Belgravia Group, a development firm in Chicago. At Belgravia’s condo building Renelle on the River, foyers are “gracious” in size with walls to hang a mirror or art or offer views through to a living room and beyond. The architects at Morgante-Wilson like foyers in multilevel homes to incorporate a dramatic stairway with wider or more curved treads, risers, and railings fabricated from novel materials. Some include a clerestory or skylight at the top to flood the area with light, says Morgante.

3. Mass Timber - Mass timber is beginning to receive recognition as a smart building material because its production generates less carbon emission than steel or concrete, says sustainable architect Nathan Kipnis of Kipnis Architecture + Planning in Evanston, Ill. The material is also fire-resistant and strong and performs well during seismic activity, according to the Mass Timber Code Coalition. Plus, it’s cost-efficient and can be constructed faster since it’s prefabricated, and it can be used on walls, floors, and roofs—even in innovative sculptural forms. “With mass timber, there’s no waste on a site that must go into a landfill,” says Sam Ebersol, general manager of Mid-Atlantic Timber Frames, a heavy timber construction company in Paradise, Penn.

4. Home Elevators - As the baby boomer population ages, first-floor master bedroom suites are becoming more popular. But not every house or townhome provides space to include them. In cases where a home has multiple levels, an elevator provides help for those who have trouble climbing stairs, says Kipnis. He recommends building the feature in new homes, or at least leaving adequate space—3 1/2 feet by 4 1/2 feet on each level for future installation. The cost will vary depending on materials, finishes, and an electrician’s hourly labor charge, but the total expense might run about $15,000 per floor.

5. Communal Oases - Developers of multifamily buildings now recognize that homeowners want a green space to garden, even after they’ve vacated suburban homes. And while rooftop gardens have become more prevalent, other green spaces are popping up, too, as more developers note their health benefits. Carl Dranoff, founder of Dranoff Properties based in Philadelphia, planted a two-level garden at his newest project, Arthaus Condominiums in downtown Philly, which will include a greenhouse to grow orchids, outdoor plots to raise vegetables, flowers, and herbs, and an extended lawn off a communal event space. A horticulturalist will offer residents professional expertise. The architecture and interior design firm CetraRuddy in New York has focused on adding greenery in another way—through large terraces that bring more light and air and a sense of space into the interior of its ARO building in Manhattan, as well as its surrounding block. Such tactics are more important in denser urban environments, say the building’s principals, Nancy Ruddy and John Cetra.

6. Graphic Bathroom Floors - Boldly patterned floors are adding a spark of interest in bathrooms that were recently trending very monochromatic and spa-like. Staging and design expert Kristie Barnett, aka The Decorologist, in Nashville, took this approach in one client’s homes. She used an encaustic, graphic floor tile, similar to those that show up along kitchen backsplashes. But Barnett adds one caveat for bathrooms: “When choosing this kind of pattern, it should be the lead actor in the show while other elements play supporting roles. A bathroom should still be a personal sanctuary, and too much visual noise could weary the eye.”

7. Remodeling Before Listing - Many homeowners don’t want to take on the work and extra cost of fixing up their home before they list. Yet many buyers don’t want to invest in a home where they know there are walls to paint, countertops to replace, and floors to resand. Consider the latest trend that helps remove buyer objections: a contractor who tackles the work and fronts the cost or who partners with a firm that provides financing. Sellers then pay back the funds at closing. The big reward usually is a higher price and speedier sale, says Mike Valente, a licensed general contractor who works with many homeowners through his Renovation Sells firm in Chicago. Compass, a national real estate firm, has established its Compass Concierge service to deliver a similar revamp option. A calculator on the company’s website helps suggests how much sellers might spend.

8. Living Walls - For homeowners downsizing to a property with a smaller yard—or for those who have trouble bending down—living walls offer a way to connect to greenery by growing plants, vegetables, and herbs along the walls of a home, garage, or outbuilding. Landscape designer Michael Glassman of Michael Glassman & Associates in Sacramento, Calif., says, “Gardening is going up rather than out for aesthetics and consumption.” He recommends vines like star jasmine and creeping fig, edibles such as tomatoes and cucumbers, and herbs like rosemary and basil. “Plant walls” resembling art are also showing up inside, especially when homeowners don’t have an outdoor space, says David Dynega, CEO of Detail Renovations in Great Neck, N.Y. 

9. Better Looking Performance Fabrics - Instead of looking only at fabrics that appeal for color, pattern, or texture, homeowners want materials that will last and perform—hence, the name they’ve earned: performance fabrics. Originally, they were designed for outdoor spaces, where the sun, wind, water, or inclement weather took their toll. But as the fabrics have become more attractive, designers and homeowners have started using them indoors, where they can withstand the wear and tear of pets and people, says Chicago designer Rebecca Pogonitz of GOGO Design Group, who’s a big fan of the trend. Greg Voorhis, executive design director of Sunbrella, well-known for its performance fabric designs, says his firm is seeing the rise of more textured chenilles, boucles, and chunky wovens. “They bring new energy into familiar spaces without sacrificing comfort or durability,” he says.

10. Downsizing Homes, Rooms, and Ornate Features - The McMansion craze has been dead for years, resulting in more homeowners looking to downsize and millennials never planning to go big. “They favor experiences over owning large high-maintenance, high-cost homes filled with lots of stuff,” says Ames. “It’s the Marie Kondo version of shedding stuff.” Many home shoppers are also looking for simpler architectural detailing that pares maintenance and cost, as well as fewer rooms that will go unused, Ames says. Lendlease, a development company that created the new Cirrus building in downtown Chicago, heeded this mantra when it planned its range of scaled-down units and beefed up its many shared amenity spaces, says Ted Weldon, executive general manager. Sheri Koones’ new book, Downsize: Living Large in a Small House (The Taunton Press, 2019), offers an abundance of information for homeowners looking to pare down

11. Deeper Hues - You can read into the emerging palette of deep hues a desire to counter global unrest, as some designers speculate, or you can take the colors as an antidote to years of pale grays. Either way, the darker hues are coming on strong. Pantone anointed “classic blue”—a very royal tone—as its color of the year. Could it be a nod to the Sussexes or appeal of The Crown? Sherwin-Williams’ Sue Wadden, director of color marketing, touts her company’s “naval” (SW 6244), “anchors aweigh” (SW 9179), “ripe olive” (SW 6209), and “dard hunter green” (SW 0041) as choices to visually mitigate stress. Another emerging trend: monochromatic rooms, donning a single paint color on the walls, trim, and ceiling.

12. Hipsturbia - Live/work/play has become a way of life for millennials who aren’t willing to compromise when they have children. As they move to the suburbs for more space, they choose communities with urban amenities—thriving walkable downtowns with dining, shopping, entertainment, public transportation, and jobs. “Success has a way of spreading,” the Urban Land Institute noted when it coined the term “hipsturbia” in its Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2020 report, says Mary Cook, founder of Chicago-based Mary Cook Associates. “Every development we work on today is located in areas that fit this formula and foster community interactions,” she says. One example is Toll Brothers’ Apartment Living Oleander building outside Atlanta, which offers residents flexible community spaces equipped with state-of-the-art technology to accommodate events, co-working spaces, and more. The building sits on Emory University’s expanding Executive Park campus near new medical complexes designed to attract health care professionals.

Top 5 Kitchen Trends - Instead of adding a 13th trend to the list, we decided to give kitchens their own section because they remain the number one focus in the home. The new fads being cooked up are giving this room an update in style, appliances, materials, and colors, as well as a way to enhance surrounding spaces since many are part of the open plan living-dining-kitchen area. While white may still dominate cabinets and countertops, other colors and materials are popping up—so are new technologies that help homeowners prepare food more effortlessly and healthily. Here are five kitchen trends to watch in 2020.

  1. Materials. GE appliances are showing an uptick in more white and black matte finishes as well as a new look of glass-covered stainless steel fronts that’s emerging. These new materials fit in better with other room furnishings, too, says Marc Hottenroth, executive director of GE’s industrial design division. Also showing up in kitchens is a greater mix of metals, such as brushed bronze and copper to help freshen appliances, which generally last about 10 years.
  2. Technology. Voice assistants now read recipes and cooking directions for homeowners so they don’t have to turn cookbook pages with flour-coated fingers. Appliances with gourmet guided cooking technology provide recipes and tutorials through an app that communicates with the appliance via Bluetooth. The chef no longer has to turn knobs to adjust temperatures. For instance, a rack of lamb might be roasted, then finished with a broil, which would all be adjusted automatically. And a new wall oven with hot air-fry capability is offering a healthier alternative to deep frying.
  3. Function. A new kitchen island is emerging, which combines an island with a dinette, according to Gena Kirk, vice president of design at KB Home, a national home builder based in Los Angeles. The island features a place to prepare meals at one height and an additional countertop that slides out at a lower level for people to eat around when desired. Scaled-down appliance sizes are becoming popular in smaller open-plan homes and condos. In its new Cirrus building, a 47-story tower going up on Lake Michigan, Lendlease camouflaged appliances behind millwork paneling, says Linda Kozloski, creative design director. The company also went with smaller, more European-size appliance choices because of the units’ smaller sizes, which helps counter rising construction costs. Example: a 24-inch-wide refrigerator was selected instead of a 48-inch model.
  4. Workspace. After so much buzz about whether to stay with granite or switch to quartz or quartzite, KB Home offers another idea: natural wood cutting boards for a portion of the countertop surface. The wood area provides a convenient workspace without having to pull out a cutting board or leave one out all the time.
  5. Details. Chicago kitchen designer Mick De Giulio, principal of de Giulio Kitchen Design, is introducing design character in novel ways to surprise and contradict. One example includes the hand-hammered finish on a stainless steel Bacifiore sink to add sophisticated sparkle instead of a plain-Jane stainless or ceramic white model. Another is the instillation of polished stainless steel toe kicks at the bottom of cabinets that hardly show the dirt, scuffs, or mess that painted wood ones do.
Trends are meant to inspire rather than make agents and their clients feel the need to rush into a renovation to make a house hip or more marketable than another. These points represent what’s new or coming through the pike. In the future, for example, there may be more technology that will warn homeowners about natural disasters before they occur. And before clients invests in any updates, make it clear that it’s best to do so for personal enjoyment rather than to boost salability.

Trend to Watch: Car Charging Stations - The jury may still be out when it comes to electric car charging stations at home. They’ve become a popular amenity at multifamily buildings, and now some single-family homeowners who have invested in electric cars to shrink their carbon footprint are seeing the wisdom of installing charging stations in their garages, says architect Nathan Kipnis of Kipnis Architecture + Planning in Evanston, Ill. The cost is relatively modest, perhaps $500 for the charging box and an electrician’s hourly charge to bring a 220-volt line into the garage. The outlet is best installed on the side of the garage where a homeowner plans to park their vehicle to avoid stepping over a cord, he says. But not everyone is convinced that it’s a huge trend. According to a recent survey from Erie Insurance, only 6% of respondents said they would want one, 55% would not, and 39% took a noncommittal stand and said they might. Sounds like a trend definitely to watch.

Growth in 2020

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Jan 08, 2020

2020 is in full swing and according to Forbes Utah Ranks Among The Fastest Growing States In The Nation - Here’s Why. Utah’s economy is booming thanks to a combination of strong employment growth, a vibrant tech industry and collaboration between business, labor and government. The Beehive State ranks among the fastest-growing states in the nation, with a 1.9 percent growth in population from 2017 to 2018 and is the youngest state in the nation with a median age of 30.5 years.

Despite falling fertility rates, Utah continues to have the largest household size in the nation at 3.19. Ninety-one percent of the population in Utah lives in an urban setting and the population continues to diversify racially and ethnically. Following the release of the July 2019 employment numbers for the state of Utah, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows Utah is ranked No. 1 for total job growth in the nation at 3.6%. In addition, Utah is ranked No. 1 for private sector job growth at 4%. For unemployment, Utah is ranked No. 5 at 2.8%, tied with Hawaii.

In 1997, the nonprofit Envision Utah launched an unprecedented public effort aimed at keeping Utah beautiful, prosperous, healthy and neighborly for future generations. The initiative brought together residents, elected officials, developers, conservationists, business leaders and other interested parties to make informed decisions about how the state should grow. Housing was one of the cornerstones of that vision. Utah’s population had been growing slowly through the 1970s and early 1990s, said Robert Grow, president and CEO of Envision Utah. “We began to grow very rapidly as our economy really started to take off. We had new industry clusters, including high-tech, that were growing. And because of that, the state and the public became very focused on growth in the ’90s.”

Utah’s labor market includes approximately 1.6 million people, most of them concentrated along the Wasatch Front, a chain of contiguous cities and towns stretched along the Wasatch mountain range. The state’s unemployment rate in October stood at a very low 2.5%.

Utah’s thriving tech sector is driving much of the state’s success, helped by its deep talent pool and relative affordability compared with other growing tech hubs. Proximity to other Western tech centers, the region’s large and growing talented workforce and lower real estate costs have spurred development of Silicon Slopes, the hub of Utah's startup and tech community, and the University of Utah Research Park, also known as Bionic Valley, a bioengineering epicenter on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Approximately 3 million people live in Utah. By 2050, the population is forecast to nearly double to 5.4 million. Grow noted that Utah has been one of the few places in the country where over 20 years the state undertook a significant effort to make certain there were jobs for everybody and that incomes were growing.

Utah’s unemployment remains at a near record low in Salt Lake City. Grow said, “We have the lowest unemployment in the country, and because of that people are coming here. People are staying here because there are good jobs. So keeping up with that housing market has been a challenge. We’ve been building more housing units in Utah than we’ve ever built before. But there are a number of things going on right now to help with that housing. One is the mix of housing has been changing, so we have a lot more multifamily opportunities. Another thing that has happened is our largest home builder, Ivory Homes, is working with the universities and is offering a major financial award and competition every year on how we can improve housing in the state. And Ivory Homes actually has a special program now to help school teachers, first responders and others find housing in the community.”

“One of the things that came out in the quality growth strategy was civic will to build a really good public transportation system. And so we built public rail faster than anywhere in America over the last 15 to 20 years. We have a very good mixture of transit systems here. We have a major backbone of commuter rail system that’s 92 miles long that runs up and down the Wasatch Front. And then we have all these light rail lines that go off of it. We have bus rapid transit, we have street cars. People who come to Utah are shocked to see this fabulous transit system in what is viewed as a Western conservative state.”

So, with that knowledge here is What You Need to Know About Buying a Home in 2020. Millennials, expect a slew of housewarming party invites to start rolling in. The general consensus is that millennials will be dominating the home-buying market, thus shaping many 2020 trends.

Here’s why: In 2020, millennials will be reaching some key life milestones. Nearly five million millennials will be turning 30, which is a time when many people start getting serious about buying a home, according to an analysis from Realtor.com. But then the oldest members of this generation—let’s call ’em the elder millennials—will be approaching 39, which is a time when people start looking to move from the city to the ‘burbs in search of more family-friendly amenities (i.e. trading a condo close to the best happy hour spots for a backyard equipped with a swing set). Collectively, millennials will account for more than 50 percent of all mortgages by the spring, according to Realtor.com.

So, here’s looking at you millennial buyers. These six home buying trends are expected to come into play in 2020.

Inventory Will Be Low - Inventory shortages, which have been plaguing buyers since 2015, will continue in 2020 and could even reach historic lows, predicts Realtor.com. This is especially true in the entry-level category, which poses a tough hurdle for first-time buyers. Inventory is low partly because Boomers and Gen-Xers are staying in their homes longer, or buying second homes instead of selling their first, explains Philadelphia-based realtor Jim Armstrong. If Gen-X buyers look to upgrade, it could free up some of those hard-to-come-by entry-level homes. In addition to low inventory, first-time buyers are also competing against investors who can make all-cash offers, as well as older buyers who are putting more money down, points out Ohio-based Realtor Michelle Sloan.

We’ll Want Our Homes to Be Smaller - America, we’re downsizing. Sprawling suburban homes are becoming dinosaurs, an ongoing trend that Zillow has zoomed in on and predicts will continue into 2020. The median square footage of newly built, single-family homes has been decreasing over the past five years. In fact, the typical U.S. home has shrunk in size by more than 80 square feet since 2015, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. Millennials prefer homes in urban areas, with restaurants and parks and other amenities within walking distance—not mansions in the suburbs.

The Market Will Be More Colorful - Expect some bold pops of color in the open houses you tour in 2020. Though we’ve really been flirting with this trend (think: color-saturated front doors) for years, Zillow predicts color is staging a mighty comeback after almost a decade of minimalism, neutrals, and subdued Scandinavian modern designs. Look for color in lighting fixtures, on interior doors, moldings, kitchen cabinetry, and appliances.

You Might Be Able to Come in with a Low Down Payment - “Due to the strong demand, lenders have continued to roll out loan options for well-qualified buyers,” says Jason Kraus, broker at RE/MAX Advanced Realty in Indianapolis. You probably already know you don’t need to put down 20 percent (though, it can help you avoid Private Mortgage Insurance, or PMI). But, Kraus says, lenders have continued to provide low-down payment options, including 3 percent and 1 percent down on conventional loan options. That’s even lower than the 3.5 percent down you’d need to scrape together for an FHA loan.

Mortgage Rates Will Remain Low - Interest rates fell in 2019 and are expected to remain low for most of 2020, experts predict, including those at Zillow. While that’s generally a great thing for buyers, it will keep demand strong, which could mean more price growth in the parts of the country where homes tend to be more affordable. So, this is a good news-bad news situation.

Buyers Will Look for Move-In Ready Properties - Because the starter home inventory has been so low, many first-time buyers have been willing to take on some pretty hefty “Fixer Upper”-style projects so that they can break into the real estate market. But buyers in 2020 will be less willing to do those bigger makeovers.

“Simply put, today’s first-time buyers are busy and unable to take on a renovation project prior to moving in,” says Barbara Ireland, a real estate agent from DJK Residential in New York, New York.

Happy New Year!

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Jan 01, 2020

Judy and I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year! We have enjoyed a wonderful holiday season with family and friends and look forward to another year of providing excellent service to our clients. Best wishes of happiness and health in 2020.

This week we will kick off the New Year with the 2020 Housing Market Predictions: A Snapshot by RISMedia as well as 2020 home trends.

Home-Building - Although homebuilders maintain optimism, buyer demand is stronger, and analysts are divided on whether inventory is meaningfully rising. For 2020, the National Association of REALTORS® expects 10.6 percent more housing starts (multifamily and single-family), while realtor.com® researchers forecast a 6 percent increase in single-family starts. On the flip side, the Urban Land Institute projected single-family starts to tumble 4.7 percent. According to Census data, construction in November spiked—an encouraging indicator.

Home Prices - After a cooling-off period, home prices reignited this year, and are expected to further increase in 2020. How much? At most, a cohort of economists at the NAR Forecast Summit predicted a 3.6 percent rise; at least, realtor.com predicted 0.8 percent; and in the middle, both the ULI and Zillow settled within 2 percent (2.5 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively). By comparison, from January-November 2019, the median price rose 3.18 percent, according to data from Homesnap.

Home Sales - Despite benefiting from low mortgage rates, buyers continue to grapple with limited options, contributing to muted sales this year—a challenge continuing into 2020, experts predict. As of September, NAR expected a 3.4 percent gain in home sales in 2020; in December, however, realtor.com researchers dialed down to a modest 1.8 percent. On an annual basis, existing-home sales inched up 2.7 percent, according to NAR’s November report.

Mortgage Rates - Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve kept the key rate unchanged, and with the economy humming, analysts anticipate continued lows in 2020. Out of the NAR Forecast Summit, economists expected a favorable 30-year fixed mortgage in 2020, at 3.8 percent. Realtor.com researchers have a similar take: 3.88 percent. According to Freddie Mac, as of December 19, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.73 percent.

Odds of a Recession - Throughout much of 2018 and 2019, analysts debated the probability of a recession, either in 2020 or 2021. The consensus at the NAR Forecast Summit: at best, no recession, and at worst, a 29 percent chance. For its part, Zillow forecasted no recession whatsoever, thanks to Americans’ confidence (equaling increased spending), a heartening labor market and promising wages.

The Takeaways - “While we are seeing near-term positive market conditions with a 50-year low for the unemployment rate and increased wage growth, we are still underbuilding due to supply-side constraints like labor and land availability. Higher development costs are hurting affordability and dampening more robust construction growth.” – Robert Dietz, Chief Economist, National Association of Home Builders

“For the last few years, the lack of inventory has constrained the pace of home sales and increased the rate of home-price growth, leading to affordability challenges across the country. November’s strong monthly and annual gains indicate that potential homebuyers next year will have more properties to choose from…[and] the continued increase in permits indicates that the pace of construction should stay strong in early 2020.” – Mark Fratantoni, Chief Economist, Mortgage Bankers Association

“While the economy is in a sweet spot, improvements in housing market sales volumes will be modest heading into next year simply due to the lack of available inventory. The demand is clearly not being met for entry-level millennials and trade-up Generation X homebuyers. If there was more inventory of unsold homes for buyers to choose from, home sales would be rising at a faster rate.” – Sam Khater, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac

“As inventories of starter homes continue to be a barrier for millennials, we will see more non-traditional households, such as roommate situations or even multigenerational living, popping up to support the financial load. This trend shows no sign of slowing down in the coming year, which presents an opportunity for agents to appropriately guide these younger adults to homes that balance both their desire for homeownership and potentially elevated costs.” – David Mele, President, Homes.com

“If current trends hold, then slower means healthier and smaller means more affordable. Yes, we expect a slower market than we’ve become accustomed to the last few years, but don’t mistake this for a buyer-friendly environment—consumers will continue to absorb available inventory and the market will remain competitive in much of the country.” – Skylar Olsen, Director of Economic Research, Zillow

“Housing remains a solid foundation for the U.S. economy going into 2020. Although economic output is expected to soften—influenced by clouds of uncertainty in the global outlook, business investment and trade—real estate fundamentals remain entangled in a lattice of continuing demand, tight supply and disciplined financial underwriting. Accordingly, 2020 will prove to be the most challenging year for buyers, not because of what they can afford, but rather what they can find.” – George Ratiu, Senior Economist, realtor.com

“The consensus [at the Forecast Summit] was that mortgage rates may rise, but only incrementally. I expect to see home price affordability improvements, too. This year we witnessed housing costs grow faster than income, but the expectation is for prices to settle at a more reasonable level in the coming year, in line with average hourly wage growth of 3 percent on a year-over-year basis.” – Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, NAR

Now, before you pack up your brass fixtures, terrazzo accents, and macrame, take some time to sneak a preview of what real estate experts say are the top home trends we’ll be checking off our lists in 2020.

Minimalist kitchens - We’re currently in age of Marie Kondo, when tossing out appliances that bring us no joy (au revoir, blender) is all the rage. Whether removing unwanted kitchen clutter completely or cleverly concealing it, experts agree minimalism is key. This minimalist cabinet lends itself to a streamlined look. “Kitchens may be designed [to make] more of a design statement than a functional statement,” Arriz says.

Elissa Morgante, founding partner of Morgante Wilson Architects, concurs. “There’s definitely a trend toward modern, cleaner looks, achieved through everything from concealed appliances to slab stone backsplashes,” she says. Further, “Even in homes where the kitchen itself is tucked away, there’s a desire to remove unnecessary visual clutter so that it’s a more inviting space.”

Speaking of tucked away kitchens, Frank Bodenchak, licensed salesperson and senior global real estate advisor, has seen this trend materializing in the Hamptons. Bodenchak describes “prep areas behind kitchens, which allow homeowners to entertain in the main kitchen, while food is prepared or warmed in the secondary area.” Talk about kitchen inception!

Thoughtful foyers - The foyer is often overlooked in condominium design, but it is one of the most important elements of a floor plan because it evokes a grand sense of arrival. “Buyers, especially those opting for a condominium in lieu of a single-family home, appreciate having a dedicated entryway that allows for a more graceful, defined transition to the rest of the home.” The added sophistication is appreciated by those living in multi-unit buildings that might lack this classic home feature. Says Arriz, “I think there is like a little bit more of a pause when you walk into an apartment, because people do like that it adds elegance.”

Award-winning interior design firm Est Est, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, uses its foyers to set the tone for highlighting the breathtaking landscape of the Southwest. This is especially evident in their work on the renowned Optima Kierland luxury apartments and condominiums.

Keeping palettes black and white - In addition to classic white, black is now developing a reputation as a household neutral. According to Morgante, “We’re seeing a trend toward more adventurous choices such as special dark, monochromatic and very saturated wall colors. “Black certainly fits into that category, and it can be very dramatic, classic, casual, or modern depending on how it’s used. There was a long period of time where people were intimidated by black or thought it was too goth, but that’s not the case anymore as they’ve seen—either through magazines, TV or the internet—how it can be used as a neutral to ground a space. We’re using it everywhere from whole rooms and accent walls to black-stained floors, cabinetry and trim.”

A recent survey by Sherwin-Williams confirms the trend, with 66 percent of professional interior designer respondents sharing that black is now a new neutral. With that said, the more traditional white walls aren’t going anywhere in 2020. Bodenchak shares, “Clean palettes are in! Bright white has replaced off-whites and colors as the paint of choice. New home buyers are appreciating homes with straight lines, minimal trim, or even no trim (like no crown moldings) in favor of the busier trim popular a decade ago.”

Smart and savvy homes - No list of 2020 trends can be without tech advancements. With voice-activated services assisting us from turning off our lights to ordering takeout, our preference for—and even reliance on—technology is evident in upcoming home design.

Says Bodenchak, “All new constructions these days have some ‘smart’ home features, but to varying degrees. Most thermostats and pool equipment, for example, can be controlled remotely by the customer’s iPhone. But more expensive houses often take it to the next level, offering integrated control over heating/cooling, pool, music, theater, alarm, and video surveillance. More advanced homes offer remote lighting capabilities, allowing the homeowner to regulate lighting for certain paths, or their entire home, remotely.”

As the nation braces itself for full deployment of the fifth generation of wireless technology, folks may find themselves enjoying not just faster, more efficient connection, but the opportunity for new devices, collaborations, and services to support our smart homes.

Merry Christmas!

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Dec 24, 2019

Merry Christmas from our family to yours. Judy and I are enjoying time with the grandchildren and wanted to share the fun happenings in Park City this holiday week.

Shows at the Mary G. Steiner Egyptian Theatre

Tickets and show times: parkcityshows.com 

Emmy-Award winning Kurt Bestor (December 21-25) crafts a memorable evening of holiday spirit with traditional favorites and original music. With 22 Top 40 Hits and 6 Grammys, The 5th Dimension (December 26-31) delivers legendary favorites, including “Aquarius” and “Wedding Bell Blues.”
Thursday, December 26
Movies During Break: A Christmas Carol
4–5:30 p.m.@ the Park City Library

Savor this classic holiday flick. Free. parkcityfilm.org

Friday, December 27
Choice Weekend Wine Series: Bubbles and Beyond
6–7 p.m. @ Silver Baron Lodge

Join The Fox School of Wine for a casual wine tasting experience full of laughter and learning, a.k.a. “educational happy hour.” 21+; $44 per person. Reservations required. foxschoolofwine.com

Last Friday Gallery Stroll
6–9 p.m. @ Main St. Park City

Enjoy light refreshments while perusing a wide variety of art, with special showings, installations, and artists’ receptions along the way. parkcitygalleryassociation.com

Park City Film: The Parasite (Dec. 27–29)
Friday and Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 6 p.m. @ Park City Library
The Parasite examines the near symbiotic relationship of two families, the wealthy Parks and the street-smart Kims. When an interloper threatens to upset the balance, chaos ensues. General admission $8; students and seniors $7. parkcityfilm.org
Saturday, December 28
Saturday Morning Snowshoe Tour
8:30–10 a.m. @ Swaner EcoCenter

The Swaner Preserve wetlands are magical this time of year. Explore with a guide, discovering the flora and fauna of the winter season. Lucky hikers may see an abundance of birds, elk, or even nesting sandhill cranes. Come prepared for the elements with winter boots, snow pants, hats, gloves, coat, and water bottle. Snowshoes can be rented from the EcoCenter ($2.50 for members, $5 for non-members). Tours are $10 per person, $5 locals, and free for Swaner members. swanerecocenter.org 

Mokie
8 p.m. @ O.P. Rockwell

Grateful Dead fans will appreciate Mokie’s intuitive covers and similarity to Dark Star Orchestra. $25. 21+ oprockwell.com

Torchlight parades brighten both resorts over the holidays.

Image: Courtesy Deer Valley Resort

Monday, December 30
Movies During Break: Toy Story
4–5:30 p.m.@ the Park City Library

A family favorite for all ages. Free. parkcityfilm.org

Park City Film: Ethel
7 p.m.@ the Park City Library

This feature length documentary explores the fascinating life of Ethel Kennedy through insights and reflections of her family. Directed by Emmy-Award winning daughter, Rory Kennedy, the film features candid interviews with Ethel and seven of her children. Ethel provides a rare window into a political dynasty built on adversity and perseverance. Free. parkcityfilm.org

Torchlight Parade
Dusk, around 6 p.m. @ Deer Valley Resort

Deer Valley employees ski with torches in a dazzling parade down Big Stick ski run on Bald Eagle Mountain. Complimentary hot cider and cookies served in the Snow Park Plaza. Free. deervalley.com 

Tuesday, December 31
Noon Year’s Eve
11–12:30 p.m. @ Kimball Art Center

Celebrate the New Year with a kid-friendly, midday party. Design your own 2020 resolutions, create edible art, mix science and art to create indoor “fireworks,” craft your own NYE party hats and flaunt them in a prop-filled photo booth, enjoy an apple cider toast and countdown to the 12 p.m. balloon drop. $25 per child, free for adults. kimballartcenter.org 

Canyons New Year’s Eve Celebration & Fireworks
7: 30 p.m. @ Canyons Village

New Year’s Party with DJ Velvet, live music by The Cover Dogs, fireworks, s’mores and hot cocoa. Free. parkcitymountain.com

New Year’s Eve 2020: A Gold Standard
9 p.m. @ O.P. Rockwell

Ring in the New Year with the Roaring ’20s! Get your Gatsby on and make a night of it with a VIP Dinner & Party package followed by VIP entry to the O.P. Rockwell mezzanine lounges for the dance party, or join the party with free appetizers and a general admission ticket. Remixed and updated jazz standards accentuate live drums, DJ, sax, and flute. $100-$175. 21+ oprockwell.com

For more events and up-to-date happenings around town, check out our event calendar.

Holiday Activities

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Dec 18, 2019

This week we are sharing about the opening of the Woodward, Utah's holiday cheer and visiting Park City for Christmas. The Woodward Park City is Utah’s newest and most unique resort and it is now open. Deseret News shares that even after a short time to process it, Jeremy Jones can’t express how it felt to see athletes exploring the state’s newest, and likely its most unique ski resort, a day before it opened for the public on Saturday. “It’s indescribable. I just don’t have the words for it.”

That’s because what he witnessed happening at Woodward Park City — a resort and action sports training facility — was more of an energy than it was something he could touch or articulate. “The emotions,” said Jones, who is one of the resort’s athlete ambassadors. “It was unreal.” On Saturday, when hundreds of locals joined competitive athletes, including current and former Olympians, the energy was a mix of joy, wonder and adventure seeking. Parents joined their children hand-in-hand on trampolines that sent them flipping and flopping into foam pits.

Elementary age children chattered with each other as they took turns navigating the BMX ramp and terrain park, which also offered a foam pit for the learning — and creation — of new tricks. It was a wall-to-wall, elbow-to-elbow giddy crowd that didn’t seem the least bit bothered by long lines, unintended bumps or the vicious snowstorm and windstorm that limited traffic up Parley’s Canyon to four-wheel drive or chains.

“It’s seriously one of a kind,” said Olympic gold medalist Sage Kotzenburg, who left the snowy slopes to sign autographs for aspiring action sport enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes. “You have the Woodward in Tahoe, the Woodward in Copper, and obviously the east and west ones, but this one is a full resort. There are beginning stages of where you can take your snowboarding and skiing outside, and you can also take your practice stuff indoors, too. It’s definitely one of a kind.”

The Park City native won the first-ever Olympic gold in snowboarding slopestyle in the Sochi Winter Games in 2014. He did so landing a trick he said he’d never even tried before, and then told the Deseret News back then, “That’s what’s cool about snowboarding. You can go out there and try your own trick, put your own flair on it. ... This sport is based on what you want to do. There is no blueprint.”

Which is why Woodward Park City is so unique and valuable to the community it aims to serve — those who’ve embraced action and nontraditional sports and those who think they might want to give something in that universe a try. It offers what Woodward Park City general manager Shaydar Edelmann calls “safe progression” in what program development director Phoebe Mills calls “a community of passionate people ... in an inclusive environment.” The bottom line is, whatever you’re looking for, you can find it or create it, and you’ll likely find some friends or companions with whom to share that exploration.

“You really feel like you belong, right away, without much effort,” Mills said, acknowledging that after she left gymnastics for snowboarding 20 years ago, she didn’t see a lot of women in the action sports universe. That has changed, and places like Woodward Park City promise to change that reality even more.

“There is a community and a place to go that will make you feel welcome,” Mills said. “We have programs specifically for girls, like camps and clinics, but even without that, it’s just a really welcoming environment. ... And wherever you’re at, we’ll help you with your progression.” Kotzenburg said it will only help the evolution of the sports he loves because it makes what some see as fringe activities so accessible.

“I like this a lot because it’s in my backyard,” he said. “So when I heard rumors about this starting, I was definitely pushing for it a lot. And for me, just basing out of here, and training here, and being able to ride with the younger kids here is really special.” Edlemann said the draw for the native New Zealander was that this incarnation of Woodward resort isn’t attached to something that already exists.

“We sort of see us as the leader in action sports going on 50 years,” Edelmann said. “The biggest deal is that we get to do things right from the start.” Every aspect of the design — from guest services to affordable housing to the lifts and terrain parks — are designed for the athletes that will use and be served by the resort, which was all created in 15 months.

Jones, who created his first snowboard in the 1980s with an old skateboard, said having a facility like this would have certainly meant more success in the sport for him.

“I see the difference that it would have made for me now in these kids,” Jones said. “And I just think it is amazing. This is literally dreams that I would sketch on notepads in junior high and high school — facilities like this, one stop shop where you could go thrash things to pieces on the snowboard, then skateboard, then BMX, or whatever, skis. Whatever your thing was. And everything being real intuitive to the mountain, like there are transitions everywhere, rollers everywhere, and it’s not just this linear thing.”

Take for instance the courtyards. At Woodward Park City, they are also terrain parks. Instead of adapting what they do to architecture that had some other use in mind, everything is tailored to the needs, imagination and development of action sport athletes of all genders, abilities and aspirations. “I mean, it’s just dreamland, Disneyland, from my perspective,” Jones said. “It’s a complete action sport facility. It’s totally complete, and it’s on an urban mountain.”

Holiday News - (KUTV) has shared that Utah has the third-most Christmas spirit out of the 50 states, according to a recent report from CenturyLink. Based on an analysis of Americans' online activity and area culture when it comes to the holidays, the telecommunications company's research team determined which U.S. states have the most and least Christmas spirit, finding that Utah has topped their list at No. 3. Additionally, Utah received the top accolade for being the most giving state as well. According to data from the IRS, Utahns have donated 4.8% of their adjusted income in 2018.

These were the top 10 states with most Christmas spirit:

  1. Tennessee
  2. North Carolina
  3. Utah
  4. Ohio
  5. Alabama
  6. South Carolina
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Oregon
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Kansas
These were the states that bottomed CenturyLink's list with the least Christmas spirit:
  1. Nevada
  2. Hawaii
  3. California
  4. Florida
  5. Arizona
According to the report, all the bottom five states share a low chance of having a white Christmas, which may be why it's harder for them to tap into the holiday cheer. There are at least 25 to 30 million Christmas trees sold in the U.S. annually. To put that into perspective, that's more trees than the entire population of Switzerland (8,591,365)The most expensive Christmas ornament goes for $130,000. According to CenturyLink, it's composed of 1,578 diamonds, 18-carat white gold and 188 rubies. The pricing may be absurd but all the proceeds go to charity.

Conde Nast Traveler has share that Europe might get most of the hype during the holiday season (those Christmas markets are pretty great), but there are plenty of festive cities right here in the U.S. While we'd recommend visiting any time of the year, these cities seem to shine just a little bit brighter—in many cases, quite literally—during the Christmas season. Whether they're New England towns with major storybook vibes or some of the country's biggest and brightest metropolises, celebrating in these cities is worth the price of a domestic plane ticket. And let's face it: You haven't really experienced Christmas cheer until you see it through the shiny lens of Las Vegas. From Austin to Washington, D.C. there are 19 best places to spend Christmas in the U.S. and Park City makes the list. Click here to see them all.

Park City, Utah: As if the world-class skiing and Sundance Film Festival weren't reason enough to visit Park City this winter, the town also happens to be a wonderful place to spend Christmas. The former Olympic city has ample opportunities for skiing, fly fishing, snowmobiling, and dog sledding—with no shortage of resorts to warm up in between runs, too.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Snowfest (December 22 through January 6), a festival at Park City Mountain, includes live music, ugly sweater parties, fireworks, and Santa skiing down the slopes.

Stay here: The 12-room Washington School House is just a hop away from Park City's lit-up Main Street, and we must say its Christmas decorations put a lot of other hotels' to shame.

Sundance and Small Towns

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Dec 11, 2019

The 2020 edition of the Sundance Film Festival is set to run January 23rd through February 2nd in and around Park City. This week we share the unveiling of the Sundance lineup, the best small town in Utah and what to do if you cross paths with a moose.

Sundance Unveils Female-Powered Lineup Featuring Taylor Swift, Gloria Steinem - the indie festival, which is close to achieving its goal of gender parity, will debut films that center on a Russell Simmons rape accuser, Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and the opioid crisis, among many others.

As Sundance director John Cooper’s 11-year run at the helm of the indie film festival comes to a close, he is going out with a bang. With a nod to what he dubs “youth’s role in activism,” Cooper has packed the 2020 fest lineup with a slew of hot-button films that cover everything from an abortion road-trip drama to high school gun control efforts.

Cooper, who will step down after the 35th incarnation of the festival wraps and segue to the newly created role of emeritus director, has filled his final slate with such films as Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always , which revolves around a pair of teen girls in rural Pennsylvania who hit the road to cross state lines when one is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, and Kim A. Snyder’s documentary Us Kids , which tracks the survivors of a Parkland, Florida, school shooting and the birth of a youth gun control movement. Both films are playing in competition.

Among the 118 films that will screen across 10 major categories are Julie Taymor’s The Glorias, featuring Alicia Vikander, Julianne Moore and Steinem herself as the trailblazing feminist at varying ages, as well as Lana Wilson's doc Taylor Swift: Miss Americana, which delves into the pop icon’s transformation from apolitical star into someone willing to harness the full power of her voice. And Barack and Michelle Obama will be represented by Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht’s doc Crip Camp , about a 1970s summer camp for disabled teens (the Obamas’ Higher Ground banner produced the film).

Unlike other high-profile film festivals, Sundance is close to reaching its goal of gender parity. This year’s lineup features 118 full-length films, representing 27 countries and 44 first-time feature filmmakers. Of the 65 directors in the four competition categories, comprising 56 films, 46 percent are women, 38 percent are people of color and 12 percent are LGBTQ+.

The Robert Redford-founded fest often embraces and reflects current events, and the upcoming edition will be no exception with a slate that includes Rodrigo Garcia’s Four Good Days (Glenn Close stars as the mother of an opioid-addicted daughter), Bryan Fogel’s doc The Dissident (about the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi) and an untitled Kirby Dick-Amy Ziering doc , which chronicles the plight of a former hip-hop executive who accused one of the most powerful men in the music industry of rape (though the film’s logline is vague, the music mogul is said to be Russell Simmons).

As was the case for the 2019 edition, the most commercial films of the coming fest will screen in the premieres section, namely Jim Rash and Nat Faxon’s Downhill (starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell), the Benedict Cumberbatch Soviet-era drama Ironbark, Miranda July’s Kajillionaire (led by Evan Rachel Wood), the Margot Robbie-produced Carey Mulligan-starrer Promising Young Woman and the serial killer drama Lost Girls, documentarian Liz Garbus' narrative feature debut . And though Sundance also hosts a robust acquisitions market, many of the hottest titles are already spoken for, including Downhill (Fox Searchlight) and Taylor Swift: Miss Americana and Lost Girls (both Netflix). Kajillionaire was poised to be distributed by Annapurna/United Artists, but it is now being sold by UTA.

Sundance 2020 will also see the return of directors who enjoyed breakout career moments at the festival in the past, including Dee Rees (The Last Thing He Wanted , starring Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe and Rosie Perez), Justin Simien’s horror satire Bad Hair and Benh Zeitlin’s Wendy , which offers a twist on the classic story of Peter Pan. But the event known for discoveries should produce several in this year’s U.S. and world competition sections.

The 2020 edition of the fest is set to run Jan. 23-Feb. 2 in and around Park City.

A list of the films confirmed for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival follows.

A few days ago, The Best Small Town to Live in, in Every U.S. State was released as Heber tops the list for Utah. There’s something universally alluring about a small town like “Gilmore Girls”’ Stars Hollow. The coffee shop owner knows your order, your name, and if you’re having a bad day. There’s no traffic. It doesn’t take 30 minutes to find a parking space when meeting friends for a drink. It turns out, The Wall Street Journal reported that more and more millennials have been relocating to small towns, claiming that, “Since 2014 an average of about 30,000 residents between 25 and 39 have left big cities annually.”

According to Beatrice de Jong, Consumer Trends Expert at Opendoor, there are many reasons why we’re seeing more folks head to small towns. She tells Apartment Therapy, “Remote work is becoming more common, and this growing trend has empowered homebuyers to live outside of major metropolitan areas. While cities have historically been prime real estate with higher price tags, homeowners can get more bang for their buck in the suburbs or rural areas.”

On top of the flexibility and cost, small towns tend to have better public school systems than cities do. Broker Michael J. Franco at Compass Realty explains, “One of the other main reasons I see people leaving New York is the cost of raising kids in the city and schools where the process can be complicated and, of course, expensive with private schools. Many suburban areas have top-ranked public schools where attendance is granted simply by your residency/domicile.”

We defined a small town as one having a population of less than 20,000 based on the most recent Census data available, and our criteria included attractiveness in terms of what the town offers its residents (parks, shopping, landmarks, food options, etc.). We noted median home listing or value based on data from Zillow, as well as median rent, according to data from Best Places—most of the small towns we chose are less expensive than big cities, minus a few special gems.

Heber City, Utah - Population: 15,792 - Median home price listing: $660,726

Median monthly rent: $1,033 for a 2-bedroom

Life in Heber City is lived outdoors. Located about a 45-minute drive to Salt Lake City, the town is home to Jordanelle State Park, Deer Creek, and Uinta National Forest—all perfect for those who love to hike or go camping. In town, make it a date at the Avon Theater, and grab dinner at Back 40 (known for its fresh, farm-to-table eats), or Snake Creek Grill, which looks like a vintage saloon and serves some of the best comfort food in Utah.

Around this time of year we always like to share Park City Magazine's Trail Safety 101: When You Meet a Moose - How to avoid angering one of Park City’s most frequently seen wild animals.

If you’ve spent any time of Park City’s trails, you’ve probably spotted a moose or two. Around these parts, moose are even known to wander into town to take a stroll down Main Street. Presumably, most people who live here know how to handle themselves around these notoriously irritable animals, but it’s always worth mentioning again for those of us who just can’t seem to help wanting to get closer.

If You Meet a Moose

  • Give the moose plenty of space and DO NOT approach it. Keep at least 50 feet between yourself and the moose while you walk past slowly. From a distance, a moose may simply be content to watch you warily or move away, but if you get closer, your presence might agitate it.
  • Make sure your dog is leashed and under control. The moose will likely decide you and/or your dog is a threat if your pup is running around and barking. Moose will not hesitate to kick a dog, which can be lethal.
  • Don’t get between a mama moose and her calves. If you happen upon a female, be extra careful to assess the scene in case she has little ones nearby. Baby moose are vulnerable to a number of predators, including cougars and bears, so mothers won’t hesitate to aggressively defend their young.

Reasons a Moose Might Charge & Signs of Aggression

Just like other animals, moose have their way of telling you they’re feeling threatened. An angry moose will likely pin its ears back, lower its head, or raise the hackles along its shoulders. If the moose starts moving towards you, it’s a crystal clear message for you to run and get under cover if possible. Usually, if you stay well away from them, moose will simply run away or eye you suspiciously as you pass. A stressed, cornered, or harassed moose, however, might decide to charge. Bull moose are more aggressive and particularly dangerous in September and October during the mating season while cows get prickly during the late spring during calving season.

If A Moose Charges

Should a moose decide to charge you, your only option is to run and take cover. Moose can reach speeds of 30+ m.p.h. so you probably won’t outrun it for long, but at least you’re not going to trigger a predatory response. Your best bet is to try find some kind of cover or climb up a tree if you have time. If the moose catches up and knocks you down, curl into a ball, cover your head as much as you can, and don’t move until the moose leaves. Getting up might make the moose think you’re a renewed threat.

Remember, if you provoke a moose, you’re setting yourself up for a loss since they’re much bigger and more dangerous than you. Best to make some noise, stay away, and let it go about its day.

Home Staging and Skiing

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Dec 04, 2019

This week we will start with 13 Brilliant Tricks Professionals Use When They Don’t Really Have Time to Stage A Home followed by updates on our local ski resorts as well as flying under the radar for skiing in Utah. In an ideal world, everybody would have the help of a home stager to make their space really shine. However, hiring someone can get pretty expensive. The next best option? DIY. But that can be time-consuming, which is a problem when you’re already spending most of your free time dealing with the intricacies of real estate.

We’ve asked three expert home stagers to share these sneaky time-saving tips. Not only will their insights and techniques make potential buyers think you did, in fact, have a home stager set up your space, but you’ll also be pleasantly surprised at just how long it didn’t take you.

1. Provide a warm welcome - You only get one chance to make a first impression, so add a cute wreath, welcome mat, or potted plant to your front entrance, says Kari George, co-owner (with Katie Hilbert) of The Home Sanctuary, a home organizing, styling, and staging company in Louisville, Kentucky. “Everyone loves good curb appeal, and adding these personal touches helps people envision themselves coming home after a long day at work.”

2. Move some things around - Take five minutes and move furniture to allow for an easy flow throughout the room, says Joni Rentz, president of FØRM, a New York City-based interior staging and design company. “A room will feel larger if you can easily maneuver around it,” she says.

3. Pare things down - While you’re moving furniture, see if you can also move anything unnecessary to another room. Rentz says each room should only have a few well-chosen pieces furniture and accessories that accentuate the features of each room. Less is more. “It will make it easier to take it all in if the eye knows where to go,” she explains.

After furniture, take another five minutes to scope out if there are any personal touches, like photographs or memorabilia, that can be removed as well. Having a clean slate makes it easier for potential buyers to picture themselves in the space, Rentz says.

4. Pay attention to your countertops - Kitchens are one of the spaces that can really make or break a sale, Hilbert says. “Let the buyers see clean, open counters instead of every small appliance you own.” Also be sure to remove magnets and papers from the refrigerator.

5. Let there be light - Have great natural light? Highlight it, says George. During the day, open all the blinds and curtains to let in natural light, which buyers love. By night, turn on all lamps and lights for a bright, cheerful look.

6. Tweak your window treatments - Don’t have great natural lighting? It might be your window treatments. Make rooms as bright as possible by removing heavy drapery and cornices, advises Rentz. “Replace them with neutral-colored, lightweight linen or sheer curtains,” she says. If you have a little more time (and haven’t already done so), be sure to hang your window treatments from the very top edge of the ceiling to add height to the room.

7. Tidy up your fixtures - Even if you’re relying on natural light, don’t neglect your overhead lamps. They might be surprisingly unsightly. “Make sure all light fixtures and fans are dusted and free of any dead bugs, especially if you have any fluorescent lights,” George says. “These are little things that are often overlooked on a daily basis but can be a big turn-off to potential buyers.”

8. Don’t overlook lightbulbs - While you’re at it, take a minute to check all your lightbulbs to make sure a) they’re working, and b) of the same type and wattage. These two steps will ensure a space is in the best light, says Hilbert. Uneven lighting can make a small space look even smaller.

9. Set the mood - Another quick lighting move? Adding plug-in dimmers to fixtures, Rentz says. Staging is all about creating a mood, and controlling the brightness or softness in each room can greatly help that aim.

10. Add texture - When staging most rooms, think light, bright, and full of opportunity. (One key exception? The powder room.) This a neutral palette often works better than a colorful, busy one. But colorless doesn’t have to mean boring. You can add visual interest to an otherwise bland-looking room in an instant by adding in different textures. In a living room with a wool sofa, add a fur throw or fuzzy pillow, says Rentz. In a bathroom, she recommends keeping the neat and clean look going by hanging fluffy white towels neatly on hooks, towel rods, or rolled up in a basket. In the bedroom, swap out patterned sheets and bed covers for simple white sheets and then diversify texture with neutral-colored blankets or an overstuffed duvet.

11. Add a mirror (or two) - Instantly make any room seem bigger and brighter by adding one large mirror or multiple mirrors to the walls, Rentz says.

12. Curate your plant family - We all love a good houseplant, but try to avoid that overgrown jungle look. “Moderation is key,” Rentz says. “A few strategically placed, neat, and well-maintained plantings can add warmth and personality to a room.”

13. Straighten up your storage spaces “Remember that buyers are very curious,” Hilbert says. “They will open all closets, cabinets, and drawers.” Of course, you don’t have to stage the inside of your cabinets just as strongly as you do the outsides. You do want to show how spacious your storage spaces are, after all. But try not to make them look cramped. Hilbert recommends at least tidying and thinning them out.

Ski Magazine has crunched the numbers and Park City Mountain and Deer Valley Resort have made the top 10 of the top 30 resorts in the West according to our 2020 Reader Resort Survey. Whether you're dreaming of face shots and blower pow or noon groomers followed by an après hot toddy, it's all here. Let our Top 30 western North America ski resort rankings carve the way to your best winter yet. 

The SKI Magazine Reader Resort Survey is "a much watched and anticipated event," according to long-time ski industry professional Chris Diamond. SKI is proud to share the results of the Survey with you for 2020.

No. 5: Deer Valley, Utah - This skier's-only resort joined the Ikon Pass last season, and readers were happy to report that the top-notch service remains intact. “Deer Valley has always boasted incredible grooming, attracting visitors from all around the world to partake in this rare skier’s-only experience. Limiting its ticket sales makes it an even more enjoyable experience for all involved, especially during the peak holiday times.” See why readers ranked Deer Valley No. 5 for 2020

No. 10: Park City Mountain Resort, Utah - Nothing like finishing a ski day with a great cocktail and a greater view. “This mountain is huge! Lots of runs of differing difficulty. My family enjoys skiing here. The town of Park City has plenty to do when you're not skiing.” See why readers ranked Park City Mountain Resort No. 10 for 2020

Park City Magazine shares - A Guide to Skiing Utah’s Under-The-Radar Resorts with seven, off-the-beaten-path mountains where you can enjoy “the greatest snow on Earth.” Routine can be a powerful monster. You wake up, do your five favorite runs at Park City and are back in front of your computer before noon. You wake up. You drop the kids off at Deer Valley ski school and take a quick lap with your “lift pool” buddies and then have the littles back at home for nap time. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. We call this a rut. And while comfortable is good and gets the job done, maybe this season it’s time to mix it up. Here are seven road trip–worthy Utah resorts that, chances are, you’ve heard about but never visited. They each offer unique and, often, throwback experiences that will feel new to you, despite the retro vibes.

Powder Mountain’s massive size and limited crowds mean you’ll find untracked powder days after a storm. Acreage, divided by lift tickets sold, equals the least-crowded resort in North America and, last season, the resort capped its season ticket sales. Powder Mountain loyalists are proud that their home hill doesn’t make its own snow, meaning as pampered as you’ve become with larger resorts’ commitment to good coverage, you just might have forgotten what real snow feels like. That ethic carries over to the resort’s lodges, which are straight out of your childhood. Case in point: Most days you’ll find John Burrows behind the mic at the Powder Keg. The transplanted local came from the East Coast five years ago, and tired of the icy slopes, found the powder he craved in the Utah mountains. But the real treasure at Pow Mow is off-piste terrain served by snowcat. The cat ride up to Lightning Ridge is a must and often offers access to vast acres of untouched powder.

Logistics: Powder Mountain doesn’t offer on-mountain lodging, but the Eden Valley below is one of the most bucolic and scenic places in Utah. Be sure to visit the Shooting Star, the oldest bar in Utah.

Don’t miss: We’ll say it again. Snowcat service. If you find yourself on the fence, trust us and pay for at least one cat ride. It won’t be the last.

6965 E Powder Mountain Rd, Eden 801.745.3772

Snowbasin - Long runs; a balanced mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced terrain; plus, thin crowds define Snowbasin. However, the word is out, since Snowbasin was named one of the 20 Access Resorts of the Year by the editors of Ski magazine. The site of several 2002 Olympic Winter Games events, Snowbasin was revamped in 1998 to include two gondolas and a high-speed quad. In contrast to its Eden Valley neighbor, Powder Mountain, Snowbasin cannot remotely be described as “rustic.” The lodges around the resort were built by the showy oil and gas millionaire Earle Holding, who, while he may have been lacking in, let’s just say restrained taste, did not skimp on quality. Giant fireplaces, comfy wingback chairs, with nary a rickety bench in sight are among the hallmarks. Amid those lodges is some otherworldly terrain, especially above and below John Paul Lodge, which overlooks the men’s and women’s downhill runs.

Logistics: You’ll want to at least try the “beer can” lift that services the top of the Olympic downhill runs. The views from the top peaks of Snowbasin are jaw dropping and give you excellent vantages of the Eden and Odgen valleys. Don’t worry, you can ride down if that first drop looks too rough.

Don’t miss: Umm. The bathrooms. How many times have you schlepped down slippery stairs to a yucky resort bathroom? Not so at Snowbasin. And, while maybe it’s not dinner table conversation, we all quietly love that the stalls all come with private floor-to-ceiling hardwood doors. Mr. Holding apparently liked his thinking time.

3925 SnowBasin Rd, Huntsville, 801.620.1000 

Nordic Valley packs a wide variety of terrain into a small, uncrowded space. About half of the terrain is intermediate, plus a terrain park filled with features helps keep things interesting. Nordic Valley is a family affair. Just last season, the resort gave more than 200 first-timer lessons over Christmas break. In its iconic base lodge, fondly called “The Old Barn” by the loyal, multifamily generations who ski there, is a place to gather and warm up between runs and lessons. You’ll often find families enjoying the liberal brown-bagging policy while gathered over board and card games on these breaks. Here, quality time together is as important as the snow outside.

Logistics: If your littles need a new place to learn, consider a trip to Nordic Valley. Lessons are affordable, and its unintimidating size and open cruisers mean the smaller set has a safe and fun place to play and learn.

Don’t miss: There’s more snow fun to be had after dark at Nordic Valley, with ample (and inexpensive) night skiing; so skip the après and stay out late on the hill.

3567 Nordic Valley Way, Eden 801.745.3511

Eagle Point is basically one giant surprise located in the largely untracked Tushar Mountain Range. It’s only open Thursdays through Sundays, so if a storm hits early in the week, there is fresh powder on Thursday morning and there will still be fresh pockets on Sunday. While Eagle Point has plenty of beginner terrain, some of its best runs are so steep that the small resort doesn’t have the ability even to attempt to groom them. The village is petite, mostly comprised of slopeside rental properties that vary in size and can sleep as few as just you and as many as the whole crew. This range (and low prices) make it the kind of place to round up a few families or a bunch of your friends and make a weekend of it. There is exactly one bar and restaurant at Eagle Point, the aptly named Bar and Grill; and you and your crew can pretty well take it over for what feels like your own private party.

Logistics: Cook in. Most extended-stay lodging options at Eagle Point offer full kitchens. Pick up supplies in Cedar City or Parowan and gather round the table with family and friends.

Don’t miss: The Hot Tub Garden. Oh, it’s a thing. The restaurant and bar’s patio is a great spot to watch the sunset and has three open-for-the-taking hot tubs to soak your bones while you wind down from the day. So pack your bathing suit.

150 S West Village Circle, Beaver 855.324.5378

Brian Head - Nowhere else in Utah can you regard its two most famous topographies juxtaposed with each other. From the top lift below Brian Head Peak, you can gaze off into Utah’s famous red rock country as you contemplate the snowy hills below. This mix of desert, snow, and sky makes Brian Head a very special place. Also, Brian Head is actually a town. Think Park City 30 (or maybe 50?) years ago. The resort and the village are entwined, and people who travel to Brian Head—often Las Vegans and Los Angelinos—tend to stay a few days or over a long weekend. This situation creates a friendly atmosphere of vacationing folks who feel the freedom to stay up a little later, perhaps in the glow of the Lift Bar’s ginormous fireplaces. The mountain is divided into two sections: the Navajo Peak area, completely devoted to beginner terrain, and the main mountain, which offers a wide range of terrain for skiers and boarders of all levels. Brian Head is also Utah’s highest resort, at 9,800 feet above sea level, and a repository for southerly storms that often don’t make it to the Wasatch.

Logistics: Brian Head is located up the gnarly Parowan Canyon, above its namesake town. Do yourself a favor and book a long weekend in one of the plentiful vacation rentals and lodges in the small ski town itself.

Don’t miss: The town teams up with nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument to offer a series of evening “Dark Sky” events. Rangers from the monument lead fascinating tours of the night sky, while local astronomers share their telescopes and celestial knowledge with visitors. And there’s hot chocolate and a warm lodge to get out of the cold.

329 UT-143, Brian Head 435.677.2035

Cherry Peak is the newest resort in the United States, unless you include the stitching together of Park City Mountain and Canyons resorts. Located in Richmond Canyon, 15 miles north of Logan, Cherry Peak opened for business in the 2014 season. Its owner, John Chadwick, grew up backcountry skiing on the family property where he built his resort, which now includes three triple chairlifts, a 500-foot magic carpet, night skiing, ice-skating, and a tubing hill. The spot is popular with locals from Cache Valley, and you’ll find packs of Boy Scouts on its night-skiing hill. Of note: Chadwick designed the technique he used for linking together logs to create the resort’s base lodge.

Logistics: Cherry Peak is in Richmond, a town north of Logan, a larger ville that is home of Utah State University. Logan is a fun college town with restaurants and bars, which makes it an ideal place to stay over and explore both Cherry Peak and Beaver Mountain.

Don’t miss: The famous Aggie Ice Cream

3200 E 11000 N, Richmond 435.200.5050

Beaver Mountain - Generations of Utah State University students learned to ski at “The Beav,” as the locals call it. Beaver delivers old-school charm and an abundance of intermediate terrain with some beginner and advanced areas tossed in for variety. One of the last family-owned resorts in the United States, the Beav is still run by the Seeholzers. Harold and Luella Seeholzer opened Beaver in 1949 and turned the resort over to their children, Marge and Ted. Marge still runs the ticket window (really). Now, the third generation is taking over. You’ll find Travis Seeholzer, the resort’s general manager, out on the hill often without a helmet, conspicuously eschewing modern ski fashion. In the main lodge, you’ll find generations of families who come up from Logan for the day. Often Grandma and Grandpa will be camped out in an easy chair dozing while their pride and joy play in the snow outside.

Logistics: Just 12 miles from Bear Lake (one of Utah’s bluest and prettiest sights, especially in winter), the resort is a stone’s throw from a new crop of year-round, lakeside resorts offering lodging to skiers when the snow flies. We don’t recommend jumping in the lake, however.

Don’t miss: Getting back to the terrain served by Marge’s Triple; try Sour Grapes, a Seeholzer family favorite.

40000 E Hwy 89, Garden City 435.946.3610

We will see you on the slopes.

Happy Thanksgiving

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Nov 27, 2019

Judy and I would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

The Best Ski Resorts for Families list is out from Travel+Leisure and Park City Mountain's expansive trails make it one of the best ski resorts for families in the United States. Adults will love exploring the 330 trails over 7,300 acres of terrain on this Utah mountain while kids (and adults who are learning) will find themselves at home at the resort’s High Meadow Park, which includes “Adventure Alleys” where beginners can try their hand at “off trail, groomed” runs. After a day of skiing, relax with a 23-minute snowcat-pulled sleigh ride up the mountain to a yurt where guests are served a five-course dinner and greeted with hot spiced glogg. Park City Mountain Resort, 1345 Lowell Avenue, Park City, UT.

Park City Mountain Resort also makes the list in Travel + Leisure's Best Ski Resorts in the US. Whether you're gliding down black diamond runs or down Main Street, you're sure to have a great winter vacation in Park City. Take a skiing tour of the city's old, abandoned mining buildings to learn about its history. Later in the evening, pick from several après-ski options while still in your ski and snowboard gear, or close out the night with a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride.

Total trails: More than 330 Total skiable acres: More than 7,300 Longest run: 3.5 miles

We understand that skiing and snowboarding is not for everyone and wanted to share Park City Magazine's 20+ Things To Do In Park City This Winter That Have Nothing To Do With Skiing or Snowboarding. The slopes might be Park City’s calling card, but you don’t need to strap on a pair of skis or a snowboard to have a great time here. Not only are there plenty of other ways to enjoy the snow, our little mountain town also offers a plethora of options for foodies, art connoisseurs, and anyone who just wants a bit of rest and relaxation.

There’s no better way to see Park City’s winter wonderland than by strapping into a pair of snowshoes. It’s a fun, easy, and economical winter sport to get into. You can rent a snowshoe set up (plus trekking poles) for as low as $18 a day from local retailers (Cole Sport, JANS Mountain Outfitters, and White Pine Touring) and strike out on the surrounding trails. If you don’t want to do the planning, no worries. Multiple outfitters offer tours with guides, including excursions across the local wetlands with the Swaner Preserve & EcoCenter. You’ll be surprised with what a good workout this almost 6,000-year old form of winter travel, so dress in light layers and don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses on bluebird days.

No ski town would be complete without ice skating options. Gliding across the ice is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. For a dreamy outdoor experience, check out the cozy Resort Center Ice Rink (1415 Lowell Ave) in the middle of Park City Mountain’s base area or if you’d prefer to skate indoors, head over to larger sheet of ice at the Park City Ice Arena and Sports Complex (600 Gillmor Way, Quinn’s Junction). Other options include Basin Recreation’s neighborhood ice rink at Willow Creek Park and the city ice rink in the cute Swiss-inspired hamlet of Midway. Click here for details.

Unless you follow winter sports avidly, you may never even have heard of curling. This relatively obscure winter sport, first played in Scotland during the 16th century, is surprisingly entertaining. Curling teams consist of four players who take turns sliding 42-pound stones across a sheet of ice to try to score points (a bit like a giant shuffleboard). If you’re keen to learn, check out the latest information from the Park City Curling Club and book yourself a time to throw some rocks at the Park City Ice Arena (600 Gillmor Way). Curling is also available at the Olympic Oval and Ogden Curling Club.

Live out your own version of jingle bells in a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the wintry wonderland of Park City. You could hardly ask for a more romantic outing or escort to dinner. Whether you’re looking for a one-horse open sleigh or one large enough to accommodate the entire family, local sleighing companies have your back. This is just one of those unique activities you really can’t get back in the city.

Horses don’t have a monopoly on pulling sleighs; by way of a team of dogs and a musher, aka dogsledding, is another exhilarating way to experience winter. On your trip, you’ll not only be zipping along the snowy trails, you’ll also get to meet the dogs, usually huskies, and learn about the art of dogsledding from the sleigh handler, a.k.a. musher. This is a perfect excursion, especially for families with kids (ages 3+) and we guarantee you’ll leave with a smile on your face.

If you lived somewhere cold as a kid, chances are high that you remember sledding on a local hill. In Park City, you have the chance to relive those childhood days sans the exhausting trudge uphill when you hit up local tubing areas Gorgoza Park (closed 2018-19 season) and Soldier Hollow. Both locations offer lower lanes for the younger kiddos and longer runs that are thrilling even for adults.

Shredding powder isn’t exclusively for skiers and snowboarders. For adrenaline-pumping fun without breaking a sweat, hop on a snowmobile and go full throttle. Even if you’ve never been on a snowmobile before, or even considered the possibility, you might just find yourself an enthusiast after one go. Head 45 minutes out of town to Daniels Summit Lodge for a snowmobile retreat, or check out a few of the outfitters in town like Destination Sports and AdventuresRed Pine AdventuresSummit Meadows AdventuresThousand Peaks, and Wasatch Adventure Guides.

Park City is well-known for its stellar mountain biking scene, but for winter excursions on two wheels fat tire bikes are the way to go. Some of the best areas to hit up include Round Valley, McLeod and Willow Creek, Glenwild, and the Historic Rail Trail. Just keep in mind, many of Park City’s trails are multi-use so make sure to stay clear of classic skiing tracks and review the trail conditions before heading out. For rentals, check local outfitters All Season Adventures, Storm Cycles, Jans Mountain Outfitters, and White Pine Touring.

Have you ever done yoga on a paddle board inside a geothermal crater? Well, now’s your chance yogis because Park City Yoga Adventures offers sessions at the Homestead Crater, a geothermal spring with Caribbean-clear blue water that’s a balmy 95 degrees--go ahead and fall in! You can also pair your yoga session with snowshoeing or sunrise/sunset hikes. We dare you to find a more unique yoga class out there!

A trip up to the Utah Olympic Park is worth an entire day for many. They offer a number of winter activities, including rock climbing, zip lining, adventure courses, and the unforgettable bobsled experience where you zoom down the 2002 Olympic sliding track. While you’re there, you can also visit their free museums chronicling the Salt Lake Winter Games and the Alf Engen Ski Museum to learn about the skiing history in the area through interactive displays, games, and a virtual reality ski theater.

You can’t beat the spectacular bird’s eye view of the Wasatch mountains from a hot air balloon. Pop a bottle of champagne with your sweetie over a romantic breakfast for two above the world or bring the whole family along for an unforgettable ride. Two companies in town offer balloon rides, Skywalker Ballooning Company and Park City Balloon Adventures.

Traditional horseback riding and sleigh rides are both readily available in the area, but there are far more ways to enjoy horses than just saddling up. Park City Horse offers a number of unique experiences--from horse meditation circles and reiki to family adventures and corporate team building--that allow you to connect with horses and yourself while exploring self-awareness, intention, and communication. Or, check out Wild Heart Sanctuary where you can practice yoga and experience the healing powers of rescued wild horses.

Park City isn’t just an outdoors mecca, this quaint mountain town also embraces arts and culture in a major way, too. For two weeks every January, the film industry pours into Park City for the iconic Sundance Film Festival. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg, er, mountain.

Park City’s historic Main Street has a higher density of art galleries than most places. Walking up and down the street, you can pop into more than a dozen. While you can pop into the galleries any time, we recommend joining in on the Last Friday Gallery Stroll when local gallerists throw open their doors and ply passersby with refreshments from 6 to 9 p.m. on the last Friday of each month.

For a dose of independent film, check out the exquisitely curated program from the Park City Film (PCF). Almost every week of the year, PCF screens films ranging from artful child-inspired sagas to thought-provoking documentaries and features. They also have some pretty amazing popcorn toppings (everything from Parmesan cheese to chile sauce).

If music is more your thing, you don’t have to look far because even if you don’t ski the après concerts at Park City Mountain and Deer Valley are free and open to everyone. You can also hit up popular live music venues on Main Street, including Park City Live and O.P. Rockwell or see what’s on Park City Institute’s line-up.

While the cultural program at the Eccles Center, the home of the Park City Institute, includes its fair share of concerts, there’s much more available on the line-up. This venerable organization, which celebrated its 20th birthday in 2018, also prides itself on bringing in unique dance groups and a variety of entertainers, authors, and public figures.

Find out the nitty, gritty history of our mountain town by visiting Park City Museum. This isn’t some small, outdated town museum smelling of moth balls and mildew either. Inside you’ll find interactive, attention-grabbing displays that will immerse you in the by-gone days of Park City’s formative silver mining era. The museum even houses its own dungeon, a.k.a. the town’s old jailhouse, which is supposedly haunted.

This historic Egyptian Theatre may have changed names over the years, but its been a constant in Park City’s cultural map since the late 1800s. Today this landmark venue hosts a variety of music performances, theater productions, comedy acts, film, and community events, and more.

In addition to art exhibits, the Kimball Art Center also hosts dozens of classes throughout the year in almost every artistic discipline. Highlights include family-friendly holiday themed classes like Gingerbread House Sculpture, Egg Dying, and Valentine’s Day Bowls and adult only Sip & Paint sessions at Old Town Wine Cellars where you can (as the name implies) sip wine while creating. Whether you’re looking for a one-off session or multi-week courses, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

Did you know Park City is home to a number of ghosts? Find out all about them and the rough-and-tumble mining days by taking a Park City Ghost Tour. Even if you’re not a big believer in the supernatural, the tour guides make the experience entertaining and the stories they tell about Park City’s earliest residents are quite interesting despite the inclusion of horrific deaths.

Are you ready to get your Catan on? If you’re a board game lover in Park City, then you need to check out the new Sunset Room Board Game Café (1781 Sidewinder Dr). With a library boasting dozens of different types of games, ranging from classics like Monopoly to strategy, deck building, and party games, this is a great place to chill out, relax, grab some food and drink, and make new friends.

Are you ready to shop till you drop? Forget the chain stores you can find anywhere and opt for the mom and pop chops unique to Park City. Spruce up your wardrobe with Western flair at Burns Cowboy Shop or mountain chic looks at Farasha, Flight Boutique, Prospect Clothing, and Cake Boutique. Don’t limit yourself to the Main Street thoroughfare, you’ll also find cute shops in Prospector and Kimball Junction, including Indigo Highway (1241 Center Dr), Whimsy (1351 Kearns Blvd), and The Exchange (1755 Bonanza Dr).

While Park City’s food scene is certainly inspired by our surroundings, skiing is certainly not a prerequisite for indulging in the dining scene. We couldn’t possibly name all the options out there, but here are a few to get you started.

Despite the significant (and sober) Mormon population, the craft distilling and brewing scene are blossoming in Utah these days, including right here in Park City where High West Distillery reigns supreme. Stop by their saloon for a tour and finish off with a meal and craft cocktails featuring their whiskeys or take the short drive out to Wanship to visit their new distillery on the Blue Sky Ranch. But don’t stop there, you’ll want to hit all the stops on our roadmap to beers, wine, and spirits in town.

If wine is your thing, then check out one of the many tours and classes offered by the Fox School of Wine. This is “educational happy hour,” meaning in addition to tasting several wines, you’ll also learn about their characteristics and add to your wine vocabulary.

You can make dinner into an event when you book a table at the Snowed Inn. Your evening begins with a horse drawn sleigh ride up to the Snowed Inn (located on the mountain at Park City Resort) followed by a gourmet western dinner, entertainment, and finally a sleigh ride back down the mountain.

There’s nothing quite like a spa day to make your feel like you can take on the world. Pamper yourself with full body treatments, facials, waxing, and, of course, massages of all kinds. You’ll find no lack of options in town with hotels/resorts ready to cater to all your wellness needs, including the Spa Montage, Knead A Message, Remède Spa at the St. Regis Deer Valley, the Spa at Hotel Park City, and more.

Channel Eleven from Stranger Things and lose yourself in a sensory deprivation tank at the new Sync Float (1200 W Lori Lane). The tanks are loaded with nine hundred pounds of Epsom salt to you can float effortlessly and forget the world. As the name implies, sensory deprivation removes external inputs like light, sound, and gravity so your body can heal physically and mentally. Just don’t open a door to the upside down!

Ski Maps and Snow

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Nov 19, 2019

Ever wondered who hand painted all those tiny trees on your favorite ski resort map? Meet Jim Niehues, the man behind most of the ski resort maps you've probably ever admired. Ski Utah Magazine shares that more than 25 years ago, Niehues painted this craggy landmark along with the rest of Alta’s terrain and 116 runs, capturing the Little Cottonwood Canyon resort in his distinctive style. He admits tackling Alta early on in his career was a challenge. But since doing so, he’s painted 194 more trail maps for ski areas both big and small, and his work has become as endemic to skiing as GORE-TEX and Stein Eriksen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76yg1oT_Z0c&feature=youtu.be

Niehues’s 30-year career as a trail map illustrator began partly by chance. While looking for work in the Denver area, he approached Bill Brown, a painter who worked on landscapes and trail maps. Hoping to be adopted as an apprentice, Niehues asked Brown if he had any extra work and Brown handed him a project to paint the Mary Jane Territory at Winter Park Resort in Colorado. To ensure the resort’s management was happy with the illustration, Brown asked Niehues to leave his work unsigned until Brown had a chance to confess to his employers that it had actually been painted by Niehues. Winter Park accepted the map and Niehues went on to paint revisions of Brown’s older trail maps, eventually striking out on his own.

Each trail map Niehues paints begins with him climbing into an airplane to take aerial photos of a resort, which he admits is his favorite part of the process. This step also helps him understand the features and terrain as he manipulates multiple aspects and cardinal directions to fit the mountain into one or two perspectives. “It’s very important to depict the mountain at a point when shadows are cast across the slopes,” he says. “I usually find that the best time of day is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.”

When asked about which resort he most enjoyed painting, Niehues relays, “I would say Snowbird because of the backdrop. It just has dynamism to it in terms of the composition. Alta is right in there, too.” He says he also enjoyed painting a regional map depicting all the Utah resorts, which presented the heady challenge of combining multiple mountain ranges, aspects, perspectives and resorts into one, digestible view.

Though Niehues, now 72, contemplates retiring, he's' apparently not done yet. At press time he was working on maps for Oregon's Mt. Bachelor, Cardrona in New Zealand, and a remake for Sun Peaks in British Columbia. "I announced several years ago that I was retired, and that sure didn't last long," he laughs. Maybe I'll retire next year. It's not really a job, it's a passion." Jim Niehues's iconic body of work is now available in James Niehues: The Man Behind the Map. Containing nearly 200 maps, the book can be purchased here.

Is Park City, UT, The Most Accessible Ski Town in the USA? InTheSnow.com share that when Brits think of skiing in the USA, they tend to associate the reliable powder and friendly hospitality with the necessity of extended flight times, lengthy transfers and generally inconvenient journeys.

But what if we told you there was a charming US town with two world-class ski areas, just 35 minutes from a large international airport – meaning you can hit the slopes the same day you fly in? Set at 7,000 ft in altitude, Park City offers exceptional snow conditions across two of America’s top ski areas, and has everything you could ask for when it comes to a ski holiday. Here are eight reasons why we think Park City is the best destination for your next stateside ski holiday:

1. Direct Flights from London to Salt Lake City - It’s never been easier to get to Park City, with a newly reinstated direct Delta Airlines flight between London Heathrow and Salt Lake City, ensuring a early-mid afternoon arrival. Regular flights will run from December 19th 2019 throughout the ski season and beyond.

Park City resort is also just 35 minutes from Salt Lake City International airport and November 2020 will see the opening of a new $3.6 Billion airport, meaning visitors will arrive in to state-of-the-art luxury – a far cry from a crowded Saturday afternoon at Grenoble!

2. Free In-Town Transportation - If you’ve ever had to carry your skis further than a few metres from the ski slopes to your accommodation, you’ll know how much of a godsend a free ski bus can be – particularly If you’re travelling with small children in tow! Providing free and easy access to the Historic Main Street, recreation areas, both ski resorts, and the Utah Olympic Park, this free transport system allows your holiday to run just that little bit smoother.

A brand new fleet of Electric Xpress buses will whisk you from A to B. Not only more environmentally friendly than previous offerings, but they are highly state-of-the-art, with USB outlets, free wifi and oversized windows allowing unparalleled views of the surrounding mountains. The express route operates from 7:00 AM to midnight, seven days a week, and features stops at the Canyons Transit Hub and Fresh Market. There’s even a free trolley so that you don’t have to make the climb all the way up Main Street with your skis. They’ve truly thought of everything!

3. The Main Street - Speaking of the town’s Main Street, this is definitely another draw for holidaymakers. A vibrant mixture of historic stores, unique art galleries and independent boutiques, this street provides a breath of fresh air from the kitschy souvenir stores of many ski resorts.

Mary Jane’s shoe store and DiJore boutique are two of Park City’s best kept shopping secrets, treasure troves of quality handmade goods, unique apparel and community events. Meanwhile, independent bookstore Dolly’s is also well worth a visit, sure to capture the imagination of the whole family.

Over 150 inventive restaurants are available to fill those rumbling stomachs after a day on the mountain. For a truly special meal, try one of our personal favourites, tupelo. Here, they combine local artisanal produce, sustainable production and huge flavours to create one of the most exciting menus in town. You will enjoy the story behind your food just as much as the meal you are eating. Or, for the best way to fuel up before you hit the slopes, try local hotspot Harvest, which serves up exceptional coffees and breakfasts all the way through until 3pm.

4. Town Lift - Forget lengthy walks to and from the closest ski lift each day; in Park City, there is a chairlift located right in the heart of Main Street. This gives you easy access to both après ski entertainment and accommodation, whilst simultaneously offering some of the best views of the Wasatch peaks that overlook this street.

5. Diverse Lodging Options - Whether it’s the luxurious ski-in, ski-out resorts of Deer Valley or the great value suites of Kimball Junction (ideal for those on a budget), Park City offers pretty much every accommodation type you can think of.

Keen skiers should stay at the mountain hotels in Park City Mountain or Deer Valley, where you can enjoy the maximum time on the slopes. In Deer Valley, stay at the Montage or Stein Eriksen, where you can ski right back to your door at the end of the day. In Montage, not only are the nightly s’mores a hit with both adults and kids, but so too are the delightfully comfortable beds and relaxing heated pools.

If you’d rather be closer to the energetic town centre, stay downtown, where you can enjoy walk-in access to the Park City’s many bars, restaurants, sights and events. Newpark Resort in Kimball Junction might be a more budget option, but it’s by no means lacking in quality. Book a suite to get your very own balcony hot tub, overlooking the mountain peaks, and enjoy the spots’ close proximity to one of the best local pizza joints, Maxwell’s.

6. One Destination, Two World-Class Resorts - How many times can you say you’ve holidayed somewhere with not one, but two exceptional ski areas?

Deer Valley is particularly unique in that it is one of just three skiers-only resorts in the country, which makes it a great choice for skiers that might be less confident amongst crowds. Here, the slopes are rarely busy and you can often enjoy the piste all to yourself.

How? Well, ticket sales are limited each day to ensure that skiers have plenty of space on the mountain and that the slopes are never over-crowded. 2000 skiable acres and 21 chairlifts await skiers on the slopes, while off the slopes, the resorts legendary cuisine boasts signature favourites such as turkey chilli and huge chocolate chip cookies. For increased luxury, there’s even a Veuve Clicquot champagne yurt, where glasses of bubbly are paired with cheese and charcuterie plates!

Park City Mountain Resort - The recent merging of Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort as part of its purchase by Vail has not only made this one of the largest ski resorts in North America, but has also allowed it to become part of the popular ‘Epic Pass’ program.

Park City Mountain Resort is one of North America’s most versatile ski areas, with terrain for every level of skier and snowboarder. Uniquely, you are also skiing in an area steeped in heritage, with mining shafts and buildings left over from the silver mining boom visible on the slopes. We haven’t skied many resorts where you are so immersed in the area’s history and can learn so much from your skis!

The slope-side eating establishments here are also fantastic – at Miners Camp you can enjoy filling flatbreads, salads and Mediterranean kabobs on the sunny terrace with stunning mountain views. Or head up the mountain to Cloud Dine, to sample the famous Cloud Dine doughnuts, with six types of dough made in house each day.

7. Ski-in, Ski-Out Happy Hour - Speaking of apres ski, Park City is home to possibly one of our favourite mountain bars anywhere in the world, the High West Saloon. A joyful combination of tradition, character and history meet here, in what is Utah’s first distillery since Prohibition. It’s also the world’s first ski-in gastro-distillery, so you can hop straight out of your skis and into the saloon! Located at the bottom of Park City Mountain’s Quit’N Time run, this livery stable turned saloon is famous for its award-winning whiskies. Warm up after a day in the snow with a hot toddy or spiked coffee or try one of the delicious hand-crafted cocktails.

8. An Abundance of Off Slope Activities - There’s no escaping that Park City is best known for its excellent ski resorts, but beyond the slopes, you will find plenty of excitement here. It’s a perfect destination for any groups who may be travelling with non-skiers, or for those who aren’t inclined to spend the whole day on their skis.

Explore the picturesque snowy landscapes through a range of alternative activities, such as dog sledding, snow biking or nordic skiing. Or, take on activities you will (probably) never have the chance to do again, such as paddle board yoga in a geothermal crater! Certainly one for the photo albums! So, with all this and more so easily accessible from the UK, Park City might be the perfect place for you to finally take that stateside ski break you’ve always been dreaming of.

For more information, head to visitparkcity.com

Hiking, Stretching and House Hunting

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Nov 13, 2019

This week we are looking at a few great autumn hikes in the Salt Lake area, the importance of exercise & stretching coming into ski and snowboarding season and what to look for when buying a home during the colder months.

Here are Three Fall Hikes Near Salt Lake City - Take a gander at the mountainsides around Salt Lake City and you’ll see the reds and yellows starting to pop, which means only one thing: leaf peeping season is officially here! As any seasoned leaf peeper will tell you, the vibrant hues are fleeting, so get out there while the getting’s good. These three fall hikes near Salt Lake City are perfect for getting up into the mountains and soaking in the fall colors before shoulder season’s mud and cold come to call.

Silver Lake to Bowhunter Loop at Deer Valley - Difficulty: Medium, Dogs: Permitted on-leash, Highlights: High-elevation meadow and views from Bowhunter Loop

Just a short drive up Interstate 80 is Park City, where you’ll be able to enjoy resort town access to trails and amenities without the typical crowds this time of year. This hike to the top of Deer Valley’s Bald Mountain starts at the resort’s mid-mountain Silver Lake Lodge, easing your trek to the high-altitude aspen trees a bit.

Drive past downtown Park City on Deer Valley Drive before heading up Marsac Ave. to the parking garage at Silver Lake Lodge. From there, access the Silver Lake trailhead just past the Homestake Express chairlift. Now for the hard part. Ascend nearly 1,300 feet through twisting, root-covered singletrack towards the top of Bald Mountain. You’ll pass through massive, golden aspen groves with periodic scenic overlooks over the Jordanelle Reservoir before reaching the the summit. From there, descend on the snaking Ontario Canyon trail through a field of crimson scrub oak into a high-mountain meadow will fall wildflowers. A short way further, take a left on the Bowhunter Loop. Complete a clockwise loop on the undulating trail before returning the way you came, up Ontario Canyon and down Silver Lake until you reach the lodge.

Broads Fork Trail in Big Cottonwood Canyon - Difficulty: Hard, Dogs: Not permitted, Highlights: 270-degree views of Dromedary, O’Sullivan and Twin Peaks

Upper Broads Fork is home to some serious alpine terrain, and along on the way, you’ll be treated to some gorgeous high-elevation forests, meadows and waterfalls. Start by driving up Big Cottonwood Canyon on UT 190 for four and a half miles and park just below the s-curve. The trailhead is just past the picnic area, where you’ll begin an ascent of more than 2,100 feet in just over two and a half miles. It’s common to see moose on the trail this time of year. Everyone loves posting moose pictures on social media, but be sure to give them ample distance.

While climbing the steep, heavily-forested trail, you’ll pass by a couple small falls before ultimately reaching your turnaround point in a rocky meadow with breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. Some of the Wasatch’s most imposing mountains, including Dromedary, O’Sullivan and the Salt Lake Twins form an awe-inspiring natural cathedral. After you’ve had your fill of views, return the way you came back to the trailhead.

Ferguson Canyon to Overlook - Difficulty: Medium/Hard, Dogs: Permitted on-leash, Highlights: Overlook views of Salt Lake Valley

The trail up Ferguson Canyon rewards hikers with incredible views of the Salt Lake Valley and mountain cirques similar to those in the Cottonwood Canyons, but since it’s not part of the Salt Lake City Watershed you’re allowed to bring your four-legged companions along. The trailhead is located just past Big Cottonwood Canyon Road off of Wasatch Blvd. Take a left on Prospector Drive just past the 7-11, then an immediate right to continue on Prospector and finally a left on Timberline drive where the trailhead is. Start by heading up the gravel road past the water tank before heading straight up the canyon.

The trail rises some 1,500 vertical feet into the Twin Peaks Wilderness, and is lined with rock buttresses that are popular among rock climbing climbers. Thirsty pooches will appreciate several natural springs along the way. In about two miles, you’ll reach a rocky outcropping with expansive views back over the Salt Lake Valley. Most people will turn around here and head back down the way they came, though truly hearty hikers can continue up the increasingly steep trail for another mile and a half to reach the ridge and climb to the top of Storm Mountain.

The ski resorts will be opening soon and we wanted to share some Tips for Preventing Common Ski and Snowboard Injuries. Stacy McCooey of MountainTop Physical Therapy offers insight into winter’s on-mountain injuries and how to best avoid them. By doing just a few targeted exercises ahead of your time on the mountain can greatly reduce your likelihood of sustaining ski and snowboard injuries.

Of course, avoiding injury altogether is preferable. The good news is most injuries can be prevented with simple exercises or minimizing the amount of time you spend walking in ski boots. Knee problems, for instance, can be mitigated by strengthening the hamstrings and hips while shoulder injuries can be offset by working on the rotator cuffs. “I think dry-land training is so important in injury prevention and now is the perfect time to do it,” says McCooey. “It depends on your sport and body type, but often we develop muscle imbalances from our activities and daily habits. The general theme is to lengthen what is too short and strengthen what is too long. It is all about creating a balance that allows your joints, muscles, tendons and nerves to function optimally. Balance is crucial within the demands of your sport/desired activity.” While it usually takes around six weeks to see meaningful muscle growth from exercise programs, people can begin to gain strength and improve neuro-muscular connections within the first couple of weeks. Although there are dozens of individual exercises, from lunges and squats to hip lifts and everything in between.

So what about stretching? Apparently, the jury is still out on the benefits of static position stretching. Instead, McCooey recommends warming the muscles up with some dynamic movement, taking it easy on the first couple of runs, and tuning into what’s happening with your body. After a day on the slopes, many of us head straight to the hot tub for a long soak, but it may not be for everyone. “For cooling down, you can try some gentle stretches or other forms of recovery,” says McCooey. “A hot tub can feel great and loosen up stiff joints, but it may also increase inflammation.

Anyone who’s wished they too could tumble sans pain into the ridiculous shapes young children do while skiing and snowboarding, also knows injury can become more prevalent as we get older. “Nutrition, genetics, and body type all come into play, but in general, as we age, our bodies become less pliable and we lose muscle mass,” says McCooey. “This increases the demand on a maintenance or ‘TLC’ routine we likely could get by without in years past. The good news is that the effects of aging can largely be mitigated by catching things early, before they turn in to an actual injury.” Adding variety to your routine is one of the best ways to do this. Since most of us spend a lot of time sitting, with our legs bent at 90 degrees, and facing forward, any movement that switches up these day-to-day patterns can be helpful, whether it’s moving from side to side or getting down into the “third-world squat”. McCooey also suggests getting over the ‘one final run’ syndrome. “Injuries usually happen when we’re not feeling one hundred percent and decide to take that last run we’re not mentally or physically prepared for,” says McCooey. “The most important advice to avoid injury is to always listen to and respect your pain.” Need some more ideas for training? Check out these simple, but effective exercises

Are you looking to move, here are 4 Tips for Home-Buying During the Colder Months:

Attend cozy open houses - Use the time you're looking for a home to mingle and fight the winter blues. Go see what's open in your area, check out a new location or inspect a home you really want. Open houses provide many opportunities including the chance to mingle and network. Even if you don't like the house you visit, you may hear of others nearby. You'll find many houses for sale in the winter that have open houses, and checking them out in person can show you exactly what the house will be like during the colder months.

Read the home inspection reports - While it's chilly outside, pull up a comfy chair and a mug of hot chocolate or coffee and do some research. With the bad weather and cold air that come with the season in some areas of the country, it's easier to sit inside and get the monotonous part of moving out of the way first. Plus, getting some of the boring stuff done early gives you more time to spend on the fun things like getting open house gifts.

Look for drafts and other leaks - There's no better time than winter to check out houses for sale. With the home working at the highest level, potential buyers can easily check out windows and doors for air leaks. Gaps are easier to find because drafts are often present when the winter wind is blowing hard outside. Plus, going to showings in the winter lets you see the property during the drab months of the year, allowing you to envision it in the nicer weather.

Check out the parking in bad weather - When you need a parking spot close to home in the winter, it's best to go for showings during this season. Looking at houses when there's snow on the ground lets you see where the problems occur in the area. You can avoid houses that have access problems, drainage issues or are last on the list for the snowplow.

Many people think winter is a bad time to look for a new home; however, several advantages make this season better than most. For example, if you don't want to go out in the cold weather, then chances are neither will your neighbors. Second, a home will show all its problems in the winter because the systems have to work extremely hard to keep up with frigid temperatures.

 
 
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