News

Park City named one of the 'most stunning' mountain locations in the nation - Deseret News

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Aug 02, 2017

Scott Cramer - Dusk View of Park City Glowing. Scenic village from above with cool blue dusk light and glowing warm lights. Dusk View of Park City Glowing

Oyster.com, a hotel and travel information website, just ranked the “most stunning” mountain travel spots across the country.

And Park City made the list.

The list showed off popular and “stunning mountain destinations” that aren’t near major cities.

Rather, the list displays places travelers will need to visit on their own.

“Not all of us have the pleasure of living in major U.S. cities like Seattle, Denver, and Los Angeles, where mountain views are a part of the daily routine,” the list’s description reads. “Most of us will have to travel to get our fill of these scenic natural creations, which were formed as a result of Earth's tectonic plates smashing together.”

The list doesn’t include a numbered ranking.

Park City sits toward the middle of the list. Oyster.com celebrates the city’s proximity to the Salt Lake City International Airport and “its legendary powder skiing.”

“While you're in town, head for Main Street, which is lined with 19th-century buildings that were built during the silver mining boom. Park City residents also support the arts with indoor and outdoor music venues, while the town hosts the Sundance Film Festival each January,” the Park City description reads.

Tullruide, Colorado, also made the list as an alternative mountain destination to Denver.

The list also includes spots such as Yosemite, California; Taos, New Mexico; and Stowe, Vermont.

Travel and Leisure previously gave Park City the No. 1 spot for top mountain towns.

The survey results were based off reader responses, which answered questions about travelers’ favorite spots. Readers were also asked to rank locations on affordability, restaurants and public parks.

Readers most enjoyed the city’s galleries, restaurants and theaters.

Park City ranked ahead of Taos and Asheville on that list.

“When the local mines closed, Park City, Utah, turned its ambitions above ground — to its 7,000 acres of Olympic-level ski terrain — helping it transition into one of the country’s premier resort destinations, and this year’s favorite mountain town,” according to Travel and Leisure.

In unrelated rankings, Park City also topped a USA Today list for its s’mores.

America’s 20 Best Mountain Bike Towns

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Jun 15, 2017

America’s 20 Best Mountain Bike Towns

To foster authentic bike culture, a town needs more than just high quality trails. These 20 mountain bike hamlets around the country (in no particular order) offer bucket-list rides, new trail development, a variety of outdoor recreation, and a fun, bike-friendly vibe. Bike on.

2017 SUMMER CONCERT ROUND UP by Emma Prysunka

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
May 31, 2017

2017 SUMMER CONCERT ROUND UP by Emma Prysunka

While Park City is often recognized as a world-class winter resort destination, summers here are truly magical.  Perfect temperatures, 400+ miles of easy-access trails, outdoor deck dining galore, and let us not forget the plethora of live music and outdoor concert venues.  Park City and Summit County’s live music scene is booming, and includes something for every budget (some are FREE!) and every taste.

DEER VALLEY MUSIC FESTIVAL - SUMMER HOME OF THE UTAH SYMPHONY/UTAH OPERA (USUO) When: Throughout the summer, starting in July Where: Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater/various locations throughout Park City The Deer Valley Music Festival is the summer home to the Utah Symphony/Utah Opera.  Enjoy a unique variety of classical, chamber, and pops music at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater at Deer Valley Resort.  Where else can you see Patti Austin performing the songs of Ella Fitzgerald alongside the Utah Symphony? Deer Valley offers a variety of delicious concessions during these performances, or, if you’d rather, you may bring your own picnic basket and your favorite beverages into the venue. Explore the full summer 2017 lineup. Deer Valley Summer Concert Symphony

ST. REGIS BIG STARS BRIGHT NIGHTS, A PROGRAM OF THE PARK CITY INSTITUTE When: Throughout the summer, starting July Where: Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater Live performances by your favorite stars and crisp mountain air with a beautiful Park City backdrop – what could be better? This year’s Big Stars Bright Nights concert series features artists like Aloe Blacc, X Ambassadors, Melissa Etheridge and Kellie Pickler. All shows take place at Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, where seating ranges from assigned lawn chairs close to the stage, to lawn seating where it is BYOB – bring your own blanket (and beer!).  Picnic baskets and outside beverages are allowed. Buy your tickets here.

CANYONS VILLAGE FREE SUMMER CONCERT SERIES When: Saturday evenings, starting in July Where: Canyons Village, Park City Mountain Resort Grab your dancing shoes, your family, and a blanket for these summertime concerts at Canyons Village, hosted by Park City Mountain Resort.  The stage, located on the hill just above Canyons Village base area, allows for scenic views of the resort area and Snyderville Basin. This concert series highlights musical acts from across the U.S., and they always get the crowd moving.  Picnics are welcome. Canyons Village Summer Concert Photo credit: Park City Mountain Resort 

GRAND VALLEY BANK COMMUNITY CONCERT SERIES AT DEER VALLEY RESORT When: Wednesday evenings, starting in June Where: Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater This free concert series, held at the picturesque Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater at Deer Valley Resort, is a consistent favorite among locals and visitors alike. Grab a picnic, your favorite beverages, and a blanket, and allow an array of local and visiting musicians serenade you as you take in the beautiful Park City sunsets. The temperature cools off once the sun sets behind the mountains, so don’t forget a few warm layers.

DEJORIA CENTER SUMMER CONCERT SERIES  When: Thursday evenings, starting in June Where: Dejoria Center, Kamas A new addition to the list of Summit County music venues, Dejoria Center is located about 15 minutes from Park City in Kamas, UT and will offer free outdoor concerts every Thursday evening. Enjoy live music on the patio, accompanied by a beautiful backdrop of both the Uinta and Wasatch mountain ranges, before grabbing a bite to eat at the recently opened State Road Tavern or Bar Josephine. Dejoria Center will host a variety of other live entertainment throughout the summer, including their "First Friday" concert series. High Star Ranch

SILVER STAR CAFE When: Throughout the summer, starting in May Where: Silver Star Café, 1825 Three Kings Drive Located just off the beaten path, Silver Star Café is a rustic, cozy café, with delicious food, wine, beer and cocktails, accompanied by a beautiful outdoor seating area and a variety of live music offerings throughout the summer. Enjoy views of the Uinta Mountains, the Park City Golf Course, and Park City Mountain Resort as you listen to talented local musicians throughout the summer. Their 2017 summer lineup is something to get excited about! Silver-Star-Cafe Photo credit: Silver Star Cafe 

NEWPARK AMPHITHEATER When: Thursday evenings, June through August Where: Newpark Town Center (Kimball Junction) Located in the Kimball Junction area of Park City, Newpark Town Center’s Amphitheater sits between restaurants, shopping, and with Swaner Nature Preserve serving as a most perfect backdrop.  This free venue is incredibly family friendly, and offers a great space and environment for children to play.  The lineup for this free concert series features acts from all over the U.S.  Bring a cooler with your favorite local beer and some snacks, or grab a bite at one of the many restaurants in the Newpark area after the show.

WOODENSHOE PARK IN PEOA When: Friday evenings, starting in June Where: Woodenshoe Park, Peoa Peoa, UT is a small town, located just outside of Park City in Summit County and its outdoor concert venue, located in Woodenshoe Park, plays a large role in the vibrancy and sense of community created within the town.  Every Friday night throughout the summer, members of the Peoa community and greater Summit County join together for an evening of BBQing and dancing along to live music among family, friends, and neighbors.

Wait-- there is more! Check out Mountain Town Music’s website for a complete schedule of Park City summer concerts, some of which include:

  • Park Silly Sunday Farmers’ Market: Every Sunday, starting June 4, during Park Silly Farmers’ Market, stages are set up along Historic Main Street and feature local musicians
  • During Savor the Summit, June 17, Historic Main Street
  • Billy Blanco’s at Quarry Village: Every Sunday at 4:00 PM, starting in June

America's Greatest Places You Absolutely Have to Visit During Spring- By Jay Gentile

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
May 23, 2017

spring destinations
Antoni Murcia/Shutterstock
alaska
Sean Kurdziolek/Shutterstock
key largo florida
Lawrence Cruciana/Shutterstock
gulf shores alabama
Erika Goldring/WireImage/Getty Images
Antelope Valley, California
saraporn/shutterstock
new orleans
Erika Goldring/Getty Images
Texas Hill Country
Dean Fikar/shutterstock
Shenandoah National Park
Jon Bilous/Shutterstock
Brockway Mountain, Michigan
Bonita R. Cheshier/Shutterstock
Breckenridge, Colorado
welcomia/Shutterstock
Park City, Utah
Johnny Adolphson/shutterstock

How to Experience Heber Valley's Luxurious Side - By Jenna Herzog

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
May 12, 2017

How to Experience Heber Valley's Luxurious Side, by Park City, UT
Heber Valley makes the perfect setting for a scenic and luxurious getaway.
Heber Valley makes the perfect setting for a scenic and luxurious getaway.

Approximately 40 miles from the bustle of Salt Lake City lies the hidden gem of Heber Valley. Nestled in the foothills of the impressive Wasatch Mountains and brimming with opportunities for year-round recreation, cozy lodging, and elegant dining, Heber Valley makes the perfect setting for a scenic and luxurious getaway.

Day 1

Whether planning a summer escape or a snowy winter vacation, the St. Regis Hotel at Deer Valley puts visitors within close reach of all that Heber Valley has to offer. With an ideal location in Park City at the base of the Deer Valley Resort, guests can head straight to the ski slopes in the winter, or the mountain biking and hiking trails in the summer. No matter what time of year, the St. Regis is known for its dining, exceptional spa, luxurious rooms and suites, and awe-inspiring mountain views. (For a complete guide to Heber Valley lodging options, click here).

Planning the perfect weekend in Heber Valley is all about tailoring your days around the activities of your choosing. Winter visitors at St. Regis will have ski-in, ski-out access to the slopes of Deer Valley Resort, which boasts 2,026 acres of groomed trails and more chairlifts than any other resort in Utah. Guests looking to mix it up can drive two minutes up the road to Park City Mountain Resort, where both skiers and snowboarders are welcome to enjoy the largest skiable terrain in the United States, featuring more than 300 trails.

Meanwhile, summer in Heber Valley offers opportunities for for many activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, boating, golfing, and simply relaxing by the mountains. Head to Deer Creek State Park for some of the state’s best fishing prospects, as well as boating, sailing, windsurfing, and swimming in the mountain-ringed Deer Creek Reservoir. Jordanelle State Park, situated along the Jordanelle Reservoir outside of Heber City, provides another great option for those looking to take a dip in the water or cast a fishing line.

Golfers will be in paradise in Heber Valley, with five award-winning golf courses to choose from, each boasting incredible mountain scenery. Just north of the town of Midway, Wasatch Mountain State Park features two golf courses: the gentler Lake Course and the more challenging Mountain Course, both carved right into the mountain and marked by pleasantly cool summer temperatures.

The Wasatch Range is also home to two golf courses at Soldier Hollow, where golfers are treated to spectacular views of Heber Valley down below. In the valley itself is another beautiful golf course, Crater Springs, an 18-hole championship course that nestled between the mountains. You’ll also find dining options for the whole family, ranging from casual sandwiches to Simon’s Restaurant, which features classic American fare made with fresh, local ingredients.

After a day spent on the slopes, by the water, or out on the golf course, savor the farm-to-table cuisine and excellent wine selection at St. Regis Deer Valley’s J&G Grill. Sample fresh meats, fish and salads from the menu designed by famous chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and sip a glass of wine, craft beer, or a specialty cocktail all while taking in the mountain views through the floor-to-ceiling windows. For the true wine aficionado, spend the evening in the St. Regis Wine Vault tasting from its cellar of more than 14,000 bottles.

Day 2

The next day, save time for the most unique experience Heber Valley has to offer: Homestead Crater. Located in the town of Midway, this geothermal spring is enclosed by 55-foot tall limestone walls and stays within a perfect temperature range of 90 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit every day of the year. The crater’s opening brings in fresh air and a stream of sunlight, making Homestead Crater an ideal setting for a mineral-water soak, scuba diving, snorkeling, or a guided paddleboard yoga session.

Visitors enter the crater through the rock tunnel constructed from the ground level of the property, then walk down to the wooden decks alongside the spring for easy access to the water. Bring a bathing suit for a therapeutic soak in the spring, or rent snorkeling equipment to explore beneath the surface. Experienced scuba divers can enjoy the warm waters on their own, while those interested in taking lessons and getting certified can do so in Homestead Crater as well.

After visiting Homestead Crater, indulge in an equally unique dining experience at the Blue Boar Inn & Restaurant in Midway. This one-of-a-kind restaurant has earned an exceptionally high Zagat rating of 26, as well as the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. With an elegant combination of classic European and American styles, the ambiance of the Blue Boar Inn sets the scene for five-star cuisine. Executive Chef Eric May mirrors this European and American fusion with the three-course menu, which changes seasonally to feature the freshest ingredients and herbs from the Inn’s garden. Enjoy your evening in the formal dining room or al fresco on the restaurant’s Hinterhof outdoor patio in the summer.

Looking to create your perfect weekend in Heber Valley? Check out its schedule of events to see just how much there is to do.

NEW RESTAURANTS IN PARK CITY, UTAH by Visit Park City

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Apr 11, 2017

NEW RESTAURANTS IN PARK CITY, UTAH

by Visit Park City

Park City’s food scene continues to evolve and grow, adding a different spice to a town once known for being a mecca specifically for outdoor enthusiasts.  With its variety of flavors, Park City’s restaurants truly have something for everyone – regardless of taste.  In addition to a long list of new eateries, some of the Park City favorites have redone their spaces and menus as well.

FIREWOOD ON MAIN Firewood brings unique and interesting flavors to Park City’s Historic Main Street, as it is committed to serving a menu cooked entirely by firewood.  The menu’s bold flavors pair well with the restaurant’s luxurious and rich, yet welcoming environment. Firewood opened in mid-December of 2016 and serves dinner from 5:30-9:30 PM Sunday-Thursday, and from 5:30-10:00 PM Friday and Saturday.

FIVE5EEDS After opening its doors in December of 2016, Five5eeds has kept with its motto of Great Food. Serious Coffee. The café utilizes seasonal and local ingredients to create delicious, Australian-inspired dishes, and an exceptional restaurant environment.  A delicious option for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or a quick treat, Five5eeds is open seven days a week from 7:30 AM-3:00 PM.

FRESHIES LOBSTER CO. Fresh Maine lobster… in Utah? Freshies Lobster Co. promises its customers lobster that arrives from the Maine shore to the Utah store in 24 hours. Freshies was established in 2009 with a food truck that they set up at the Park Silly Sunday Market and area farmers markets, and in December 2016 opened a café on Prospector Drive.  The café menu not only features their classic lobster rolls, but has soups, salads, and sandwiches, too! Open Monday-Saturday from 11:00 AM-8:00 PM and Sunday from 11:00 AM-3:00 PM, you can now satisfy your craving for an authentic Maine lobster roll seven days a week.

HARVEST CAFÉ A quaint café located near the bottom of Historic Main Street, Harvest’s menu includes Australian-inspired breakfast, lunch, and tasty coffee.  Harvest Café opened its doors in mid-November 2016 with fresh, simple decor, and fantastic natural light. The eatery prides itself on serving food and drinks that provide big tastes and flavors, while using seasonal ingredients and creativity.  Open from 8:00 AM-3:00 PM, seven days a week, Harvest Café is a must-stop for breakfast, brunch, or lunch.

RIVERHORSE PROVISIONS Riverhorse on Main, one of Park City’s fine dining favorites, recently opened its own provisions shop at the top of Historic Main Street.  Since opening its doors at the end of December 2016, Riverhorse Provisions has impressed visitors and locals alike with its variety of artisan grocery products, dine-in, take out, and prepared meal options. “Accessible gourmet on Main,” available for breakfast, lunch, après-ski (and any of your other needs!) seven days a week from 7:30 AM-7:00 PM.

VERSANTE HEARTH + BAR Located in the newly remodeled Park City Peaks Hotel, Versante Hearth + Bar opened its doors in the beginning of January 2017.  A great, casual addition to Park City’s culinary scene, Versante’s menu offers a variety of American and Italian-style favorites, including flatbread pizza, pasta, craft beer, and specialty cocktails – all at a great price point, too! Versante is open daily from 3:00 PM-12:00 AM, making it great option for après-ski.

RESTAURANT UPDATES: THE SPUR BAR AND GRILL An old Park City favorite with a brand new look, the Spur Bar and Grill recently renovated and expanded their space. A popular spot for live music and dancing, the Spur’s space (formerly accessible via an alleyway) now sits directly on Historic Main Street with an upstairs balcony and oversized windows that offer expansive views. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, and dancing, the Spur is a go-to option for visitors and locals alike. Open from 10:00 PM-1:00 AM daily.

EATING ESTABLISHMENT Eating Establishment, located at the top of Historic Main Street, revamped in the fall of 2016 and has a new look along with a new menu. Eating Establishment has been open since 1972, making it the oldest continuously open restaurant in Park City. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the new space features a cozy dining room, breakfast counter, and a brand new bar offering classic cocktails. Perhaps also notable – Eating Establishment is partially-owned by actor Ty Burrell, who plays dad of three on Modern Family.  Open seven days a week from 8:00 AM-10:00 PM Friday-Sunday and 8:00 AM-3:00 PM, 5:00-10:00 PM Monday-Thursday.

9 UNIQUE EVENTS IN PARK CITY TO EXPERIENCE IN YOUR LIFETIME - by RootsRated

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Apr 03, 2017

The Sundance Film Festival is one of the most popular times to visit Park City. Park City, Utah, is a special place any time you visit. But there are certain events that come along each year that make it an extraordinary place to visit. Whether it’s the Torchlight Parade on Christmas Eve, the country’s most popular film festival, or a lung-burning mountain bike race, you’ll find events throughout the year that give you even more reasons to visit Park City. Here are nine annual events that keep people coming back every year.

1. SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL RR - Events, Snowboarding The action may be inside during the Sundance Film Fesitval, but that means you'll get much of the mountains to yourself.  Locals and longtime visitors to Park City have gotten used to the fact that for 10 days at the end of January, Hollywood takes over and paints the town black. During this time, lodging options are booked out in advance at the highest rates, and you will likely have a snowball’s chance of getting a table at a local restaurant or après hot spot. But it’s not a complete takeover: Locals know it’s usually one of the best times to ski. For one thing, it’s the right time of year when the Wasatch storm cycles really start dropping the white stuff on the peaks of Deer Valley and Park City Mountain resorts. Look for lodging out by Redstone and Kimball Junction like the Newpark Hotel. Think of the public bus system as a giant Uber that will drop you off at the mountains. Once you make it to the slopes, you’ll be thinking “where is everyone?” Plus, if you want to take in a movie or go people watching in downtown Park City, it’s all there for you. This year the festival takes place from January 19 to 29, 2017.

2. PARK CITY POINT 2 POINT MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE 

The Park City Point 2 Point mountain bike race started out as a single long ride through many of the area’s choicest cuts of singletrack trail, until inspiration hit founder Jay Burke with the idea that it would make a killer race event. The epic Labor Day event is 75 miles long and includes 12,000 vertical feet of climbing and descending. Yes, you’ll spend the better part of a year training for the race, but it will be worth the effort. The trail riding is spectacular, but it’s the community of participants that make this event so special. You just need to mark your calendar for February 15, 2017, which is when online registration opens for the 9th edition of this ride. It will sell out the limited number of spots in minutes.

3. TOUR OF UTAH RR- Events, Tour of Utah The Tour of Utah is one of the top road races in the country.  For road cyclists, the Tour of Utah is the top race in the state, and one of the best stage races in the country. The demanding, weeklong event travels across Utah, with the final stage and finish often in Park City. Spectators will find an all-day festival on historic Main Street to enjoy as the riders take on the final 78-mile stage that includes 7,883 feet in elevation changes, including the infamous climb of Empire Pass. The event begins on August 1 and finishes on August 7.

4. AUTUMN ALOFT RR - Autumn Aloft Look to the skies of Park City for the Autumn Aloft festival.  Each September, those in the hot-air balloon community—and those who enjoy the spectacle—come to Park City for the Autumn Aloft festival. The event is free to spectators, who can arrive in the morning to watch the launch or check out the evening balloon glow, where tethered balloons light up the night sky. The sight of the balloons soaring over the mountains in the fall makes this one of the best weekends to visit Park City.

5. THIN AIR INNOVATION FESTIVAL RR - Thin Air Festival The Thin Air Innovation Festival brings thought leaders to Park City. The Thin Air Innovation Festival is a newcomer to this bucket list, but the inaugural event held in 2016 was so successful, we think it will be around for years to come. It takes place in early to mid April, right about the last week the resorts are open in Park City. It’s a think-tank style event that combines engaging speakers and panels, with every year having a new theme to center on. The event is structured in a way that companies and groups can bring their meetings and “bolt-on” to what Thin Air offers, but it’s also open to curious individuals and entrepreneurs who want to network, learn something new, and engage with current thought leaders—and maybe write off a spring ski trip as a business expense. It’s capped off with an open air street concert on lower Main Street. The 2017 event takes place from April 5-7.

6. FREESTYLE WORLD CUP The best freestyle skiers in the world will be coming to Deer Valley for the FIS Freestyle World Cup—and you can watch their incredible acrobatic skill on the mountain. Using the same venue and runs as in the 2002 Olympics, competitors will be under the lights for this nighttime event that features a party atmosphere. Taking place from Feb. 1-4 (and airing on NBC), the competition will feature men’s and women’s aerial events on Friday night, with men’s and women’s moguls and dual moguls on Thursday and Saturday night. After the conclusion of the finals each night, stick around for a fireworks display.

7. KIMBALL ARTS FESTIVAL RR - Kimball Arts Festival The Kimball Arts Festival brings artists from all over the country to Park City.  This year, the Kimball Arts Festival celebrates its 48th anniversary of bringing artists to downtown Park City to display and sell their creations. You’ll find artwork in 12 different categories—from drawings, paintings, and photography to glass and wood creations—and the weekend is filled with cultural events to accompany the festival. In addition to the more than 200 artists in town, visitors will find live music, kids activities, fashion shows, dance exhibitions, and yoga classes. The Festival After Dark keeps the entertainment going into the night, with movie screenings and musical performances in Deer Valley’s Snow Park Amphitheater. The 2017 event takes place from August 4-6.

8. TORCHLIGHT PARADE 

For more than 50 years, Christmas Eve in Park City has meant the Torchlight Parade. The annual tradition starts in the plaza of the Park City Mountain Resort, with live music, coffee, and hot cocoa. The crowd then moves to the base of the mountain and watches resort staff ski down the PayDay run while carrying red torchlights, creating a spectacle that’s not to be missed. This holiday tradition continues this year on December 24.

9. PARK CITY FOOD AND WINE CLASSIC RR - Park City Food and Wine The town is filled with wine lovers for the Park City Food and Wine Classic.  At the Park City Food and Wine Classic, food and wine lovers get a chance to meet some of the top tastemakers in the country. You’ll find winemakers, vineyard owners, and master sommeliers all discussing their favorites, while some of the country’s top chefs will preparing the perfect dishes to pair with your finds. The festival is filled with opportunities for tasting, as well as special events that pair outdoor activities in Park City with food and wine. Spend the morning mountain biking before enjoying a gourmet lunch with the perfect wine pairing. Take a class in preparing ceviche from a master chef, or simply stroll around the city sampling the incredible offerings. This year’s festival will be held from July 6-9, 2017.

Originally written by RootsRated.

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5 Things Every East Coast Skier Should Know About West Coast Skiing

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Mar 22, 2017

By: Jordi Lippe-McGraw

Growing up I was privileged enough to take annual ski trips with my family. Our go-to spot was Killington, Vermont, and I have very fond memories of hitting the slopes with my dad, enjoying family meals by the fire, and taking a dip in the hot tub. But, aside the occasional side trip to upstate New York or Connecticut, this was the only skiing I ever knew. That was until I took my first West Coast ski trip to Park City, Utah.

After hearing about the record snow fall the area got this year (and the lack of snow New York got), I decided to book a quick three-day getaway to the famous resort area. My assumptions were it would be pretty much the same as east coast skiing, so I should know what to expect. Right? Boy, was I wrong.

Here are five things every east coast skier should know about west coast skiing.

 

1. The Snow Is Scientifically Proven To Be The Best

Utah’s license plates proudly display the saying, “The Greatest Snow on Earth.” In fact, it’s even trademarked. While many will argue that spots like Colorado have the best skiing conditions, a number of Utah scientists and meteorologists over the years have done their research and make a compelling argument for their state.

“The secret of Utah’s unique and wonderful powder is the structure of the individual snow crystals,” said William Alde, retired chief meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Salt Lake City office. “Under cold, relatively dry conditions, light crystal-type snowflakes called dendrites are produced. These snowflakes are thin and symmetrical in shape, and they float down through the cold atmosphere, accumulating like fluffy down or powder on Utah mountains.”

I’m not a scientist, but what I can tell you is that the conditions on the mountain were considerably better than what I was used to back east. Instead of dodging ice patches, I was able to actually get that floating feeling described by the experts making for a smoother (less terrifying) run.

2. Gourmet Meals Are The Norm At Ski Lodges

Whenever I would stop for a lunch break while on a family ski trip my options were typically a barely tolerable sandwich or lukewarm pizza. If I was lucky, a cup of instant hot chocolate would be an added treat. That is certainly not the case at any of the Park City resorts.

Over my three days in town, I skied Deer Valley, Canyons Village and Park City Mountain, all of which had some of the most delicious food ever. For lunch in Deer Valley, I enjoyed Artisan Fleur de Neige Flatbread with house made local sheep’s milk cheese at Royal Street Café. Back at Park City’s Cloud Dine on top of the mountain, a chef took about seven minutes to handcraft an Asian chicken salad and the hot chocolate was reminiscent of that from Angelina in Paris. Oh, and did I mention I never took my ski boots off?

The après ski situation was just as good, if not better. At the bottom of slope at Canyons Village a restaurant called The Farm served up a butternut squash cocktail and a macaroni-and-cheese version of spätzle complete with Oregon truffles. And The Mariposa at Silver Lake Lodge had a cheese plate consisting entirely of locally-made cheese by their in-house Belgium cheese maker.

I don’t know about you, but any place that will immediately reward my outdoor activities with delicious food has my vote.

3. The Hotel Rooms Are Basically Luxury Homes

While clearly I did not stay in every hotel in Park City, what I do know is I would happily call the one I did stay at home. The Hyatt Centric is one of the newer properties in the area having just been redone in the last year or so, but I expected to walk in and find a pretty standard hotel room. Again, I was sorely mistaken.

The room turned out to be a home with a kitchen I could do laps in (and I did), an upstairs loft (which I never ended up using), and had two bathrooms and two fireplaces (I used all of them). And it was decorated with little cozy hints of the area like a Utah-shaped pillow and pictures from local artists. It truly was a warm and homey place to come back to after a long day on the slopes.

Though I didn’t get to visit any other properties during my stay, I have heard from others who visited that places like the St. Regis, Montage Deer Valley, Stein Eriksen Lodge and the Waldorf Astoria are all luxurious in their own right.

4. It’s Not Miserably Cold On The Slopes

As a child and teen, I have vivid memories of my toes being completely numb after two runs on the slope. Most of my time was spent thawing out from the frigid temperatures and figuring just how many layers I needed so not even a centimeter of skin was showing. I feared it would be the same this time around as well. Again, I was wrong (sensing a theme yet?).

You know how being in the desert is often more tolerable than the tropics even if it’s hotter? It’s much easier to handle dry heat than it is wet. The same holds true for cold. Though the temperatures were below freezing and we did have to deal with some strong winds one day, I never once felt cold because the air was so dry. Yes, I had to use excessive amount of lotion and lip balm because of it, but not once did my toes go numb.

In fact, I was so comfortable, that I skied for the longest period of time ever in my whole life clocking in about five hours straight one day. Oh, but if you do get cold on the slopes, there’s a heated chairlift at the Canyons Village to warm you up between runs.

5. You Can Ski All Day Without Doing The Same Trail Twice

The scale of the mountains in Park City was something I was not prepared for. I am by no means a skiing aficionado and am intermediate level at best, so I’m happy sticking to the same green circle and blue square trails and doing them a few times. That was actually really my only option growing up and is likely why my ski days would end around lunch time (and the fact I couldn’t feel my feet by that point).

Out west, it feels like you are skiing across the state with the number of options of trails. While the trails were slightly more difficult than I was accustom to overall, I was amazed that after a few hours of skiing our guide would point where we started and it was miles away. Park City Mountain realized the extent of their property and even started to offer Peak To Peak Guided Ski Experiences where a ski instructor will take you on an all-day tour of the 7,300 acres. You can literally ski out of your hotel in the morning and on to the main street in Park City by evening without ever doing the same run twice.

 CONVERSATIONS
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5 Places To Visit In The U.S. In 2017

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Mar 15, 2017

 

Here are 5 U.S. destinations that look especially fetching right now, thanks to new hotel and restaurant openings, special cultural events and big anniversaries.

OAHU, HAWAII

In spring, the first Honolulu Biennial will bring international artists to show works alongside local artists.In 2016 the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina opened, as did the Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club in Waikiki. In the Chinatown district of Honolulu, the new Tchin Tchin! is a rooftop bar and small-plates eatery. Also in Honolulu, there’s SALT at Our Kaka’ako, a recently opened collection of eateries and shops. And don’t overlook the 15th Waikiki Spam Jam on April 29, a street festival that features Spam dishes from local restaurants, live music and related merriment.

PARK CITY, UTAH

Park City is 45 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport. It has an old-fashioned Main Street and the biggest ski resort in the country: Park City Mountain Resort, which combined with Canyons Resort in 2015, setting off changes all over town.

Chef John Murcko’s Firewood Restaurant opened in December on Main Street. Down the road, visitors can browse landscape photos at David Beavis Gallery, caffeinate at Pink Elephant Coffee Roasters, get a sugar fix at Peace, Love & Little Donuts or taste wine at Old Town Cellars, a private-label winery. (All opened in 2016.) But think twice before booking Jan. 19–29. Those are the 2017 Sundance Film Festival dates.

SAN FRANCISCO

The 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love is coming, and San Francisco ventures such as the Magic Bus (which does ’60s-themed local tours), San Francisco Love Tours (which uses VW buses with psychedelic paint jobs) and Flower Power Walking Tours will make the most of it in Haight-Ashbury and beyond. Find Jimi Hendrix’s old place on Haight Street (the apartment, above a tobacco shop, is a private residence), and the North Beach coffee shop where Janis Joplin did some singing. Now it’s Maggie McGarry’s Irish Pub, and there’s more singing than ever.Various street fairs are in the works, including one in Haight-Ashbury in June, and ’60s-themed exhibitions are planned at the California Historical Society, the De Young Museum, the Berkeley Art Museum and San Francisco City Hall. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will still be celebrating its May 2016 expansion.

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

All the usual reasons to visit apply, plus this: In early summer, rangers will reopen the park’s Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, home to about 500 of California’s biggest trees. During the grove’s two-year closure, the National Park Service added hiking trails and boardwalks, upgraded toilets, removed a gift shop and rerouted tram traffic.

BOSTON

Boston is booming, adding restaurants and lodgings even as a commemorative note sounds: May 29 marks the centennial of the birth of favorite son John F. Kennedy. Expect special programming at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and Kennedy’s birthplace in Brookline (a Boston suburb), now known as John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site. Meanwhile, the Godfrey Hotel Boston, a luxury boutique lodging in the Downtown Crossing area, opened in early 2016, as did Aloft and Element hotels on near the city convention center. A 326-room Yotel micro-hotel is due to open this year in Boston’s Seaport Innovation District.

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Seven Stunning Utah Chairlift Rides

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Mar 07, 2017

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By Yeti \ March 2 2017 \ 7 Pictures

Utah's 14 resorts offer some incredible skiing. From moguls and groomers to chutes and drops, you'll be hard pressed to find more accessible and diverse terrain anywhere. If that's not enough, the lifts you use to get to all that fantastic skiing offer some of the most spectacular views around.

With no shortage of striking peaks and sprawling terrain, these photos show off some of our favorite views from the comforts of a cushy chairlift ride.

Supreme Lift, Alta

Scope all kinds of lines from the top of Utah's classic Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Stats & Views: Panoramic views of Mount Superior and Twin Peak summits paint a jagged ridgeline against a bluebird sky while you are whisked up to 10,595 feet. After unloading, choose your way down some of the best terrain around, including top notch moguls, groomers, and gnarly chutes.

Lift Conversation: Don't be surprised to hear stories of "the good old days" or plans to hit secret stashes.

Olympic Tram, Snowbasin

Lose your breath as you ascend to the top of what was once the start of the downhill ski events in the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Stats & Views: From the top, enjoy 360-degree views of the Wasatch Range and the Great Salt Lake, then let loose on the definitely-not-for-beginners run and feel your heart jump into your throat as you harness your inner Bode Miller and descend from 9,500 feet. The eight-person car gets a little cozy, but the eight-minute ride to the top offers a perfect perspective to appreciate the steepness of the run below, not to mention pristine views of the landscape sprawling out from the resort.

Lift Conversation: It's not unusual to hear fellow passengers' worried conversations about how on earth they are going to get down. Or did you know that Olympians reached speeds near 80 mph on the upper section of this downhill course.

Jordanelle Express Gondola, Deer Valley

Breathe in the winter air while gazing out across a beautiful mountain lake and the distant Uinta Mountains.

Stats & Views: The gondola offers a panoramic shot of Heber Valley and Jordanelle Reservoir all along the smooth five-minute ride to the peak. From the top, look out across the rest of the resort and peer down into Park City from your 7,930-foot perch.

Lift Conversation: Speculation about whether or not you'll run into a celebrity (and which one you're hoping to).

Great Western Express, Brighton

Views for days. Look closely, and you might be able to pick out runs and lifts at Solitude, Alta, and even the top of the tram at Snowbird.

Stats & Views: Spanning from base to summit (1,748 vertical feet), the lift allows for seven minutes of extended photo opportunities before you have to raise the bar and put your phone back in your pocket. Underneath the lift, several beginner, intermediate, and advanced runs trickle down from the 10,504 foot peak, making it a great lift for the whole family.

Lift Conversation: Friendly games of ski resort "I Spy" interjected with debate on who went the biggest on that last jump.

Giant Steps Express, Brian Head

Appreciate desert skiing at its finest, while shredding some of the deepest, driest snow around. 

Stats & Views: Southern Utah is not known for an abundance of skiing as much as it is for stunning desert terrain. Brian Head shows off both, offering views of gorgeous red rock cliffs covered in fresh Utah powder. Get a bird's eye view of desert peaks and valleys from the 10,970 foot summit. With the highest base elevation in Utah (9,600 feet), Brian Head offers the perfect combination of great scenery and other-worldly skiing.

Lift Conversation: Not much to hear on this ride, everyone is too stunned by the unique beauty of skiing near this red-rock landscape.

Ray's Lift, Sundance

Take in the true austerity of the Wasatch underneath one of its most impressive summits—Mount Timpanogos.

Stats & Views: Perched beneath one of the Wasatch Range's most iconic peaks, Ray's Lift offers a chance to revel in the glory of all 11,752 feet of Mount Timpanogos. Stare in awe for eight straight minutes as the lift delivers you to the top of the front mountain, or enjoy watching beginners get the hang of it on the run below the chair.

Lift Conversation: Mom/Dad can I have my ski treat now? (Perfect for beginners with slow, steady groomers underfoot, crash courses in ski and board basics, including how to properly get off the lift are often overheard).

The Tram, Snowbird

Wrap your head around the sheerness of the Wasatch from one of its most iconic fixtures

Stats & Views: While the Tram offers a single green run amidst a collection of intermediate and advanced terrain, one should still be comfortable with steep groomers before embarking on this vertigo-inducing ten minute ride. That being said, if the staggering, beautiful terrain seen while enjoying the 2,900 vertical foot trip gives cause for concern, there is always the option to ride back down. And might we recommend grabbing a bite at 11,000 feet before returning to the base?

Lift Conversation: Last one down is a rotten egg! Excited chatter and careful planning of the next run down the Cirque, not to mention the operator's obligatory spiel prior to unloading.

Kid-Friendly Dining in Park City

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Feb 27, 2017

It’s no secret that there are a lot of places to get good food in Park City, it’s a little harder to tell which ones are kid-friendly. Park City is a pretty casual town, but you’ll find a mix of casual to upscale dining. If your kids are anything like mine, pizza and macaroni and cheese are the only safe bets, but I also know there are kids that are a lot more adventurous eaters than my 2-year-old.

Since pizza is always a safe bet, I’m going to start with that:

Red Banjo Pizza is Park City’s oldest restaurant. It opened in 1962 and is still running strong. They have pizza and sandwiches sure to fill you up. They also have pizza by the slice lunch specials and delivery if you are staying in town.

Davanza’s is a local favorite. They have a mix of pizza, burgers, tacos, and fried food that will hit the spot after a hard day of skiing.

Vinto is on lower Main Street and my final pizza recommendation. It’s a little more upscale than the other two but still very casual. They offer a variety of wood-fired pizza, pasta, paninis, and salads….and a good selection of gelato to finish off your meal.

Now onto everything that isn’t pizza:

The Bridge Café and Grill is right next to Town Lift so a great place to start your day and grab breakfast or lunch. Traditional breakfast is served all day, and then for lunch, they have soup, salads, sandwiches, and burgers with added Brazilian flair.

Back Door Delicatessen is right on the corner of Swede Alley and Heber Avenue near the 4-way stop. They’re only open for lunch but worth a mid-day stop for great sandwiches that everyone will love.

The Eating Establishment is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s a casual atmosphere with a wide variety of food that includes soup, salads, sandwiches, burgers, steaks, and seafood, so there is sure to be something for everyone.

Wasatch Brew Pub is the first brewpub to open in the state of Utah. And, it’s also very kid friendly. With traditional pub fare, you’ll all enjoy the night out for dinner.

Bandits’ Grill & Bar meets all of your BBQ needs. Good sandwiches and BBQ plates. And I have to say that I’m a big fan of their fried pickles, zucchini, and onion rings.

Zoom is Robert Redford’s restaurant and definitely more of a dining experience. If you were to just walk by you may not guess that they have a great kids menu to go along with a great dinner for you, but it’s a great option.

High West Distillery makes some of the best whiskey around and also makes some of the best food in town. It is our go-to when we are eating in town; I never get sick of it. Their macaroni and cheese is so good; it’s one of those kids’ meals that I am happy to pick at after I finish my dinner.

Those are just a few recommendations that everyone in the family will be happy with. Hopefully it helps get you started in the never-ending “what should we eat for dinner” conversation. But keep in mind, that Park City is a pretty casual town and you know your kids better than anyone so as long as it’s not a bar, they are welcome to join you anywhere. And if all else fails, you can always grab ice cream at Cow’s as you are wandering around town. I haven’t met a kid that doesn’t like dessert for dinner.

10 Best Après-Ski Bar as chosen by readers of USA TODAY

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Feb 15, 2016

Best Apres-Ski Bar as chosen by readers of USA TODAY and 10 Best

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Readers Choose The Matterhorn as Best Apres-Ski Bar!

No Name Saloon & Grill, The Rack BBQ, High West Distillery and Saloon and The Snorting Elk Cellar place top 5

After a long day on the slopes, there's nothing quite like sitting down with good friends and cold (or hot) drinks for an evening of après-ski revelry. USA TODAY 10Best readers have voted these 10 ski town bars as the best in North America for après-ski action.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Après-Ski Bar are as follows:

  1. The Matterhorn - Stowe, Vt.
  2. No Name Saloon & Grill - Park City, Utah
  3. The Rack BBQ - Sugarloaf, Maine
  4. High West Distillery and Saloon - Park City, Utah
  5. The Snorting Elk Cellar - Crystal Mountain, Wash.
  6. Garibaldi Lift Co. - Whistler, B.C.
  7. Peruvian Bar - Alta, Utah
  8. Mangy Moose - Teton Village, Wyo.
  9. Le Chamois & The Loft Bar - Squaw Valley, Calif.
  10. Wobbly Barn - Killington, Vt.
Additional nominees in the category of Best Après-Ski Bar include Ajax Tavern, The Bag and Kettle, Bavarian Lodge, The Beach, Garfinkel's, Gold Pan Saloon, Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, Montanya Distillers and Unbuckle Apres Party.

10Best and USA TODAY extend their congratulations to all the winners.

Park City's Best-kept Dining Secret

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Feb 13, 2016

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The scene: Last week the celebrities and paparazzi descended on Park City for the annual Hollywood extravaganza known as the Sundance Film Festival. Now that they have gone, Park City returns to its normal clientele: skiers, snowboarders, cyclists, hikers and nature lovers. Easily reached from Salt Lake City, the longtime ski town is an increasingly year-round vacation destination, and has been in the limelight a lot lately, with new hotels, a new golf course and most of all, the largest ski resort in the United States, which opened here earlier this winter. There are lots of good reasons to visit Park City, but one of the best-kept secrets among them is the Silver Star Cafe, wildly popular with locals and worth seeking out.

One reason the restaurant has remained off the tourist radar is its location, in the plaza at the base of Park City ski resort’s Silver Star lift. The lift is one of the less-used lifts at the huge resort, serving mainly homeowners in the development where the slopeside eatery is located. This makes it a great lunch alternative to the resort-owned spots on the mountain, as well as for après happy hour. It adjoins the cross country trail system, and in summer sits right on popular mountain bike paths, as well as the public Park City golf course. Whether they are in Lycra shorts, ski boots or golf shirts, the crowd here is often on their way to or from something fun.

The 50-seat restaurant (plus more outside in summer and sunny winter days, annually winning the town’s “Best Patio” award) has a cozy, alpine mountain feel, with wooden walls and crazily angled ceilings, exposed beams and heavy wooden trestle-style tables. The space is compact and warm. There is live music three nights weekly, and it is an especially alluring choice during any peak holiday time in Park City, such as the upcoming Presidents Day weekend, or during the Sundance Festival, when every spot on Main Street is jammed. But I would go anytime — it was the best of many meals I had in town, at much lower prices.

Reason to visit: Braised slab bacon, pork osso bucco, fried chicken, house burger, all desserts

The food:  “American roots cuisine” is what the chef at Silver Star Cafe calls the food here, but it is basically comfort mountain fare using well-chosen flavor combinations and top-notch ingredients to up the wow factor considerably. For instance, the delicious slab bacon appetizer, a standard steakhouse offering, is braised for perfect consistency and uses heritage breed duroc pork. It is tender, rich and succulent. The creative house burger is a ground daily blend of short rib, flank steak and chuck topped with smoked onions and poblano peppers with Jack cheese on a toasted ciabatta bun. When Guy Fieri came here to do an episode of his show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, he featured the signature osso bucco pork shank, using meat from naturally raised purveyor Niman Ranch. Like some of the other standout eateries Great American Bites has visited over the years, Silver Star Cafe proves that springing for the best ingredients really makes a difference.

The osso bucco is excellent and probably the most popular item for first-time visitors, garnished with a zesty fresh tomatillo salsa that perfectly pairs with the meat, and set on a bed of unusual but utterly delicious coconut creamed corn. Regulars are more likely to gravitate to the exceptional fried chicken. A deboned half-bird from Colorado’s all-natural Red Bird Farms is soaked in buttermilk before frying, and the restaurant has a separate fryer that is only used for this dish. The rice flour (gluten-free) breading is very crunchy but exceptionally light, almost like Japanese tempura, and lightly finished with a perfectly matched persimmon-chile glaze. It is served over a bed of “dirty lentils,” a healthier take on traditional Cajun dirty rice, packing in flavor with many of the same ingredients, including chicken livers. I don’t even like lentils and I loved it.

Portions are generous and this food is not light by any stretch of the imagination, but because of the athletic nature of the regular clientele, it is done in a health-conscious fashion. “We take regional comfort food and lighten it up, with no trans fats or high fructose corn syrup, using as much meat as possible that is antibiotic- and hormone-free,” said Jeff Ward, who along with his wife Lisa owns the place. It might be best described as active gourmet cuisine. In this vein, they chose to offer all desserts in “mini” sizes, sold individually or as customizable trios. Sales have spiked ever since, because so many people were skipping dessert due to its size. The sweets here are fabulous, especially their take on the homemade peanut butter cup, using locally renowned chocolatier Ritual’s dark chocolate with sea salt and sunflower seed butter, which tastes just like the peanut version, but without the allergy potential. There is a fantastic oatmeal bacon cookie sandwich with cinnamon cream cheese ice cream and a Canadian-inspired spiced maple and brown sugar cake, among several others.

Lunch is less elaborate but still features dishes made entirely to order, including sandwiches, burgers and pizza. The extensive craft cocktail menu features exclusively local spirits, such as award-winning High West whiskies and Salt Lake’s Beehive gin and Sugar House Distillery vodka. They even have an array of custom house-labeled wines, using California-grown grapes blended and aged in Utah, with proceeds from these going to support a local children’s non-profit. Whether you go for lunch, dinner or après cocktails, it is hard to go wrong here — there’s a feel-good vibe and everything is excellent.

Pilgrimage-worthy?: Yes if you visit Park City, where it surpasses the flashier and better-known eateries in the town center.

Rating: OMG! (Scale: Blah, OK, Mmmm, Yum!, OMG!)

Price: $$ ($ cheap, $$ moderate, $$$ expensive)

Details: 1825 Three Kings Drive, Park City; 435-655-3456; thesilverstarcafe.com

Larry Olmsted has been writing about food and travel for more than 15 years. An avid eater and cook, he has attended cooking classes in Italy, judged a barbecue contest and once dined with Julia Child. Follow him on Twitter, @TravelFoodGuy, and if there's a unique American eatery you think he should visit, send him an email at travel@usatoday.com. Some of the venues reviewed by this column provided complimentary services.

Fodor’s Travel: Utah the Top Destination in the World to Visit in 2016

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Feb 09, 2016

Photographer on the Canyon Rim Trail of Bryce Canyon National ParkPhotographer on the Canyon Rim of Bryce Canyon National Park

Utah, December 8, 2015 — Fodor’s Travel, a leading name in travel recommendations for almost 80 years, for the first time ever has selected a top destination for the year: Utah. Fodor’s annual Go List highlights 25 can’t-miss spots around the world that should be on every traveler's radar for the next year, and places Utah on top.

“It has been a big year for the state with record numbers visiting our Mighty Five national parks and the opening of the largest ski resort in the nation, Park City, and 2016 is looking to be even bigger.” said Vicki Varela, Managing Director of Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding.

While there are hundreds of reasons to visit Utah year-round, in honor of this exciting distinction, here are ...

25 must-do 2016 activities in Utah

1. Find Out Why The Bird Is The Word In Box Elder CountyBear River Migratory Bird Refuge’s 74,000 acres of marsh and upland habitats offers some of the most phenomenal waterbird watching in the United States, with mind-boggling numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds from March to November.

Wetlands of the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

2. Go See Goblins — Located along the San Rafael Reef, Goblin Valley State Park is a place that captures and stretches the imagination, with its landscape covered with sandstone “goblins” and fascinating formations often compared to Mars.

Hikers in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park

3. Explore the Cosmos of Utah’s Dark Skies — Utah is home to five officially designated Dark Sky Parks, meaning that it’s one of the best places for stargazing — and beyond. At Cedar Breaks National Monument, observe swirling nebulae, twinkling star clusters, and distant galaxies through powerful telescopes.

Stars of the Milky Way over Utah's Double ArchDouble Arch • Arches National Park

4. Reel in the Big One at Trophy Lake Trout ParadiseFlaming Gorge Reservoir is legendary for its trophy lake trout with huge fish caught regularly every year, including the Utah record — a trout weighing in at a whopping 51 lb, 8 oz!

5. Get Your Zoom On at Utah Motorsports CampusUtah Motorsports Campus (UMC) recently announced plans for a driving school and racing series featuring the new Formula 4 racecar, promising high speed thrills year-round.

6. Discover the Real Big Chill at Midway’s Ice Castle — Built by hand from more than 20,000,000 pounds of ice, the gotta-see-it-to-believe-it Utah Ice Castle in Midway is started by "growing" more than 5,000 icicles each day that are then harvested and sculpted together to create large towers, tunnels, archways, caves, caverns and safe pathways for pedestrian exploration. Explore off-the-slopes winter experiences.

7. Welcome the Bard to Utah — The Emmy- and Tony-award winning Utah Shakespeare Festival (June 27 through October 22, 2016) attracts more than 100,000 theater lovers to Cedar City’s Southern Utah University campus each year, for three months of world-class works by Shakespeare.

Merchant of Venice at Southern Utah University's Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival

8. Say “Prost!” in Snowbird — Snowbird hosts one of the most authentic — not to mention longest — Oktoberfest events in the nation, taking place every Saturday and Sunday from mid-August through mid–October (yes, three months!), including over Labor Day Weekend.

9. Walk With Dinosaurs — Jurassic Park for real? Well, this is safer. Northeastern Utah’s dinosaur legacy comes to life at Dinosaur National Monument, where geological and climatic forces have tilted, warped, and eroded the earth’s crust to reveal a treasure trove of fossils.

Sightseers gaze over the vast Canyonlands National Park

10. Feast Your Eyes on an Island in the Sky — Resting on sheer sandstone cliffs over 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain, the Island in the Sky mesa in Canyonlands National Park offers spectacular views along a paved scenic drive.

11. Take a Jeep Tour of Monument Valley — It’s not a covered wagon, but it’ll do. A Jeep Tour of the iconic Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park will take you amid the towering rock formations that have captivated visitors (and Hollywood filmmakers) for decades.

12. Soak in the Sights on Scenic Byway Highway 12 — Scenic Byway Highway 12, Utah's nationally designated All-American Road, offers motorists twisting canyons, red rock towers, pine forests, and pioneer towns, not to mention breathtaking panoramas, national parks and monuments, recreation areas, and state parks.

13. Hike Bryce Canyon’s Rim Trail — This popular trail above Bryce Canyon National Park connects all the scenic overlooks from Fairyland Point to Bryce Point, offering hikers the opportunity to see Bryce, encompassing the main amphitheater, from “on top.” In the winter, the Rim Trail is a great snowshoeing and cross-country skiing destination.

14. Navigate Through The Narrows of Zion National Park — This day trek through The Narrows takes you to where the North Fork Virgin River runs beneath thousand-foot walls of Navajo sandstone, where centuries of erosion have been sculpted into some of the most beautiful rock forms in all of the American Southwest, and one of Utah's most iconic slot canyons.

Hikers in The Narrows of  Zion National Park

15. Glide Into the Only Ski-in Gastro-Distillery in the World — Not a bad way to finish off a ride down the mountain. Located in Old Town Park City, High West Distillery & Saloon is an intimate gathering place serving small plates of nouveau Western fare, a full selection of fine wine & spirits, and its own small-batch, award-winning whiskeys & vodkas.

16. Have a SUP Yoga Session in the Homestead Crater — The Homestead Crater (located at the Homestead Resort in Midway, near Heber) is a geothermal spring, hidden within a 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock, 100,000 years in the making. Swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, even paddleboard yoga classes are all available.

17. Take A Ride On the 2002 Olympic Bobsled Track at the Utah Olympic Park — The Olympics may be over, but you can still live out your gold medal dreams at Utah Olympic Park, where the bobsled track is offering the ride of your life, as a pro pilot guides you on a thrilling journey.

18. Ski the Largest Resort in the U.S. at Park City — With the mammoth Park City Mountain Resort and famed Deer Valley just minutes apart, you'll find a playground of more than 9,300 skiable acres. Revel in The Greatest Snow on Earth and see why the 2002 Winter Olympic Games were held on these legendary slopes.

Skier kicking up snow at Park City Resort

19. Float the Provo River — Regarded as many Utah’s “home water,” the famous Provo River offers multiday river-rafting trips on both whitewater and flatwater runs, sandy beaches beneath colorful, sculpted canyon walls miles from anywhere.

20. Dig Up Fossils in Delta — This private quarry located an hour west of Delta, contains one of the world's richest deposits of trilobites some of which are more than 550 million years old. The best part? You get to keep what you find.

21. Play Cowboy For a Day at Blue Sky Ranch — Experience rustic luxury at Blue Sky Ranch, a 3,500-acre hospitality and recreational paradise, just minutes from the fabled ski town of Park City. Horse riding lessons for all skill levels offered.

22. Check out the Longest Art Gallery in the World — Utah’s Nine Mile Canyon has been referred to as the “world’s longest art gallery” thanks to the thousands of Native American petroglyphs that adorn the rock walls here — the largest concentration of rock art in the United States. See an itinerary to Nine Mile Canyon here.

23. Hang Out with the A-List at Sundance ResortSundance Resort, founded by Hollywood legend Robert Redford, features casually elegant accommodations, year round mountain recreation, award winning dining, spa, and an art studio. Skiing, snowboarding, fine dining — and of course, celebrity watching — are all offered.

24. Discover the Spiral Jetty — The massive earthwork sculpture Spiral Jetty by famed artist Robert Smithson is in a remote but accessible area of the Great Salt Lake. The earth art is popular with photographers and travelers who enjoy exploring off the beaten path and is an internationally known earth art piece.

25. Experience Cute Overload at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary — Can you handle all of the cute? Located just five miles north of Kanab, off of Highway 89, the sprawling Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, home to about 1,700 animals, is open for year-round tours.

Pups at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Large increase in home sales expected in 2016, report says

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Feb 05, 2016

Ravell Call/Deseret News

Large Increase in home sales expected in 2016, report says

By Jasen Lee   |  Posted Feb 5th, 2016 @ 9:46am


SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake area housing market experienced near historic growth in 2015, and this year is predicted to be another "very good year," a new report says.According to the Salt Lake Housing Forecast, 2016 is primed to be another year of double-digit increases in the volume of existing homes sales.The Salt Lake Board of Realtors Friday reported that 13,323 existing single-family homes were sold last year in Salt Lake County — the highest level in nearly a decade and the third highest in the county's history. Only 2005, when 15,317 units sold, and 2006, when 15,283 units sold, registered higher sales levels.The number of single-family homes sold in 2015 represented a value of $4.1 billion — a 22 percent year-over-year increase, the report states.

"The gains achieved in 2015 were driven primarily by exceptional market fundamentals, strong job growth, improving income and wages, solid demographic growth and, of course, very favorable mortgage rates," said the report's author, James Wood, Ivory-Boyer senior fellow at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah.

He said local market fundamentals and conditions will likely continue to be favorable for the area real estate market in 2016.

The strong demand for housing was not limited to single-family homes, Wood noted. The sale of multifamily units such as condominiums, town houses and twin homes set an all-time record of 3,800 units and accounted for 22 percent of all residential sales last year — the highest share ever. The value of multifamily units sold last year was $774 million — an increase of 36 percent above the prior year, the report states.

In addition to the increase in the number of properties sold, the price paid for them also rose in 2015. The median sales price of a single-family home climbed to $272,000 — up almost 7 percent compared to 2014. Similarly, the median price of a multifamily unit climbed 8 percent year-over-year to $189,000.

Wood said the recent rise in housing prices also benefited homeowners with underwater mortgages. In 2010, 21 percent of all home mortgages in Utah — about 80,000 homeowners — had negative equity, owing more than their home was worth, he said. However, the number of homeowners with negative equity has now dropped to around 4 percent of all home mortgages, or 15,000 households, which has put upward pressure on prices.

Affordability Factor

Meanwhile, the market has maintained a relatively high affordability factor, according to the report. In 2014, the median household income in Salt Lake County was about $63,000. Assuming a household with a median income devoted 30 percent of their income to a mortgage payment — including taxes and insurance — that household could carry a mortgage of about $290,000.

Last year, approximately 56 percent of the single-family homes sold in the county were priced under that amount.

Economists have predicted interest rates moving between 4 percent and 5 percent this year, said Cheryl Acker, president of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. For 2016, the Salt Lake Board of Realtors predicts that total countywide residential home sales will surpass 19,000 units sold — an 11 percent increase over last year.

Prices

With demand for housing continuing to outpace available inventory, the price of a single-family home will rise 5 percent to 7 percent this year to a median price of $290,000, the report states. The price of a multifamily home is expected to increase to a median value of 8 percent to 10 percent to around $205,000.

"There is still room for moderate house-price increases provided mortgage rate increases are gradual," Acker said. "In Salt Lake County, housing prices over the past 15 years have increased at about 1.8 percent annually in inflation-adjusted dollars."

Utah’s Unicorns, How “Silicon Slopes” is Gaining Momentum

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Dec 27, 2015

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Check out this article about Utah's booming startups.

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Shop With A Cop

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Dec 10, 2015

We are delighted to be a part of the Annual Shop with a Cop each year. Here is a nice article from the Park Record:

Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD
Posted:   12/08/2015 04:41:19 PM MST0 Comments
Kacey Bates, a Summit County Sheriff s Office detective, peruses the toys with Tyler Stone Saturday morning at Walmart during the Shop with a Cop event.
Kacey Bates, a Summit County Sheriff s Office detective, peruses the toys with Tyler Stone Saturday morning at Walmart during the Shop with a Cop event. Upward of 75 youngsters and between 45 and 50 law enforcement officers participated in the program this year. Jake Shane/Park Record
Jay Randall, a Park City Police Department sergeant, worked a nontraditional beat on Saturday morning: the toy aisles at Walmart.

Randall was one of the law-enforcement officers from a group of agencies who were at the store to brighten the holidays for underprivileged children. The annual Shop with a Cop event drew between 45 and 50 officers to assist as upward of 75 youngsters moved through the store selecting gifts.

Randall was with three siblings, a 4-year-old boy, a 6-year-old girl and a 7-year-old girl. They live with their family in Elk Meadows. The kids picked up gifts for their mother and father, hiding them from the mother as she walked toward them. There was nail polish, lip gloss and a necklace for the mother. They found a thermal shirt for their father as well as a Christmas-themed tie.

"Maybe finally having the opportunity to have a regular Christmas that all their friends get," Randall, who has participated in 12 Shop with a Cop events, said about the morning. "To look in their eyes, you can see how excited they are."

The siblings finished shopping for their parents and moved onto the toy section to find gifts for themselves. They loaded the shopping cart with items like a toy veterinarian set, a toy school bus and a toy truck with a boat attached before heading to the checkout stands.

"We thoroughly enjoy it," Randall said.

The Police Department's lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police organizes the annual Shop with a Cop.

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The three school districts in Summit County referred the youngsters to the program. Mikel Archibeque, a Park City police officer who is the president-elect of the department's Fraternal Order of Police lodge, said each of the kids was given $150 to spend on gifts, up from the $100 per child in past years.At least eight law enforcement agencies participated, creating a tapestry of different colored uniforms inside the store. The Summit County Sheriff's Office and the Police Department from Kamas were the other local agencies involved. State and federal agencies - the Utah Highway Patrol, the state Division of Wildlife Resources, the United States Forest Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI - also gathered for Shop with a Cop.

"I think it gives them an opportunity they otherwise may not have," Archibeque said, predicting there will be "a lot of happiness and surprise" on Christmas.

The day started with a donated breakfast at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Park City - The Yarrow. The fleet of law enforcement vehicles slowly made its way to Walmart on S.R. 224 with lights and sirens activated. The vehicles arrived at the store before it was crowded with holiday shoppers.

As the youngsters filled their shopping carts, they headed to gift-wrapping tables before leaving with boxes of Christmas joy.

The kids who shopped with Randall arrived at the gift-wrapping tables with a cart loaded with toys. There were Matchbox cars and dolls. The green body of a Hulk toy peeked out from underneath. The youngsters left with a cart jammed with colorfully wrapped boxes.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties, a real estate agency with a large presence in Park City, assisted with the event. The Park City office raised approximately $7,500 for Shop with a Cop and more than 24 agents or office staffers volunteered to wrap the gifts, Ramon Gomez Jr., one of the agents who participated, said.

Gomez said he watched a young boy hug and thank the police officer who was with him for Shop with a Cop. He also saw one of the youngsters use some of the money to buy clothes for his brothers, sisters and parents.

"It's to help somebody who's less fortunate," Gomez said. "Christmas is about the kids."

 

Utah Ski Archives

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Nov 03, 2015

KSL posted the following article that we thought needed to be shared. After 25 years, thousands of images, Utah Ski Archives still collecting

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's ski past runs deep and wide in time, as much as with any ski community in the world. The problem, as Dr. Gregory Thompson found, is that this history was as scattered as snowflakes on the mountainside.

Utah's skiing history was, as he discovered, locked away in family scrapbooks, old boxes in dark closets and in fond memories.

So, he set about bringing it to one location — the Utah Ski Archives.

Today, a half-century later, the ski archives in the J. Willard Marriott Library on the University of Utah campus hold thousands of photos, films, books and recorded memories of Utah's skiing past all in one location and all open for public review.

To begin with, Thompson was asked to include Utah into a national look into the history of skiing, but money was short and the effort failed.

At the time he was involved in building a customized archive for American Indian tribes. It was there he learned to organize archives.

"I learned the ins and outs of being an oral historian," he said.

Hired on to work on special collections in 1983 for the U. library, he met Sue Raemer, then assistant to the director and an avid skier.

"I kept telling her that we've got to document (Utah) skiing. Skiing was a major activity here in Utah and the founding fathers, the very backbone of skiing, were passing,'' he added.

Together they approached the library director about opening a ski archives and were given permission to proceed.

Thompson and Raemer recognized early on that it would be impossible to write the history of skiing without dealing with Alf Engen and the Engen brothers, Sverre and Corey, and focusing on the early years of Alta and Sun Valley.

People leaving chair lift at the top of Ogden City ski lift. Photo credit: Utah Ski Archives

"We approached Alf about starting a ski archives and he was very supportive. His became the cornerstone collection and the Engen family collection absolutely became the cornerstone collection,'' he said.

This brought Alan Engen, Alf's son, into the picture.

"And he became a real driving force,'' Thompson said.

First, of course, they needed funding and hit upon the idea of a Ski Affair, a dinner banquet for interested skiers. The first was held at the Fort Douglas Club in 1990.

"We felt we'd be lucky to get 50 people. We ended up with around 150. The next year was even larger and by the third year we'd outgrown the Fort Douglas Club," he said. "People who hadn't seen each other for 30 to 40 years were delighted to see each other again . . . The event told us that, indeed, we could attract an audience."

The next step came with an agreement between the library and Alan Engen, who was working on establishing the Alf Engen Ski Museum in the Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City. The museum officially opened in May of 2002 and today is the official artifact depository for ski history, displaying more than 300 trophies, medals and photos of the late Alf Engen. It also houses skiing equipment dating from the very early days to today's latest and most modern, along with equipment, memorabilia and stories that came out of the 2002 Olympics.

The archives and museum, said Thompson, a perfect marriage. The archives became the intellectual part of Utah's skiing history and the museum became the depository for skiing artifacts.

"Over time it became obvious this relationship was extremely important. Both were supportive and self-service at the same time. Together the sum was greater than the two parts," he said.

"Over the long haul it allowed us to develop and document a pretty incredible story . . . the depth and grassroots of skiing and the ski industry. Utah and Utahns have contributed an incredible number of innovations into the industry.''

Photo shows Snowbird employees Marjorie Trulock (left) and Marge McKenna next to a sign warning of avalanche danger. Photo credit: Utah Ski Archives

Since the very first Ski Affair, Thompson has been very active in searching out and acquiring historical skiing facts. One of the best tools has been word of mouth. Skiers, and sometimes the family of skiers, have been eager to donate everything from photos to books. And, with funding from the affair, he has been able to purchase important collections that probably wouldn't have come to the archives as a gift.

"One of the real challenges has been that we've collected so much, especially photographs and film, we struggle to stay up with the tutorial side," he said.

"We thought in the beginning that in 10 to 12 years we'd top out on this initiative and have to move on to something else. That hasn't been true at all. We've seen some of the best collections come in the past six and seven years. Success beget success. It has allowed us to develop and document a pretty amazing story . . . the depth and grassroots of skiing and the ski industry here in Utah."

As of a few years ago, there were more than 70,000 still images, 5,000 motion films, 200 DVDs, 400 oral histories, 300 manuscripts and several thousand books in the archive. Thompson said there are now nearly 50,000 images online. Ski Racing Magazine recently gave the archives 300,000 photos.

As for the future, Thompson feels the archives needs to focus more on the 1970s on up to the 2000s, "where we wind up with the type of (ski) industry we have today.''

The 25th Annual Ski Affair will be held Thursday (Nov. 5) evening at the Grand America Hotel. Special recognition will be given to the late Dick Bass, co-founder of Snowbird. Social hour will begin at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7:15 p.m. and awards at 8:15 p.m. For information call 801-581-3421.

For information about the Utah Ski Archives call 801-581-8863 or visit the library website at www.lib.utah.edu or www.lib.utah.edu/collections/ski-archives/. For information on the Alf Engen Museum call 435-658-4240 or visit the website at engenmuseum.org.

Third Quarter Stats

By Ramon Gomez, Jr.
Oct 31, 2015

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We are pleased to share the third quarter stats for the Park City area. Check out our blog this week for more information and upcoming events in the Park City Area.

 

Quarter Three Stats Fall 2015 housing stats suggest market complexity and shifts in both buyer and seller mentality. Property types under $1 million continue to sell at unprecedented rates. The interest in condominiums across the board is one of the most outstanding features of the latest reports. Condominiums in Prospector and Kimball Junction for example are garnering more interest than any other property type. Prospector sales went up by an astounding 146%; Kimball Junction condos went up by 77%. New building at Kimball Junction now accounts for a 55% price increase in Redstone condominiums, which have proven very popular among Millennial and investment buyers. Old Town condos have witnessed similar, if not quite so robust, buyer interest. Jordanelle condos are also being sold as they are built. Snyderville Single Family homes saw 200% more sales than those in Park City limits, and prices have appreciated at bullish rates. However, it is likely that--due to dwindling inventory and increasingly selective buyers--we will see a stabilizing of both number of sales and prices in Silver Springs, Trailside, and other Basin neighborhoods. Heading into the ski season, we will be monitoring Vail's arrival and its potential effect on new buyers and development interest.

You can check out all the listing on the MLS via our website to see the homes that are currently available for sale in the Park City area.

Remember our Halloween Special! This is not a Trick... Just a Treat... $100,000.00 off if under contract by November 3rd 2015 on these two homes!!!

Halloween sale6

 
 
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