Park City, Utah: Not Just for Skiing Anymore!
By Barbara Sloane
When you hear the words Park City, Utah, chances are your thoughts go immediately to skiing. And why not? It’s a winter paradise with wonderful slopes, tobogganing, ice skating, snow shoeing, dog sledding, sleigh rides.
Park City in summer is chock full of excitement with a host of activities, festivals and concerts. The sheer, soaring beauty of the place – purple mountains, verdant valleys, pine forests – make this a very good choice for a summer family vacation.
Many of the activities available are sure to excite. For starters, you’re not wearing 15lbs.of heavy clothing and shivering in the wind. For some of us who prefer warmth, summer in Park City has it all over winter!
A brief history of Park City:
40,000 B.C. – Saber-toothed tigers hunt bison.
1600 A.D. – Indian bands travel the high alpine valleys in search of game
1847 – Brigham Young and the Mormon settlers pass near the north end of this city on their way to Salt Lake
1995 – Salt Lake City is awarded the 2002 Winter Olympic Games; 40% of the events are held in Park City .
Fast forward to now:
Just 35 minutes from Salt Lake City, Park City is located in the heart of the Wasatch Mountains, part of the Rocky Mountain Range. Seven thousand residents live here year round, and each January the population swells to 80,000 when the Sundance Film Festival comes to town.
No Bedtimes Here
Park City’s historic Main Street is lined with great art galleries and a very lively world-class restaurant scene. Here you’ll find some of the best mountain biking and road cycling available. If you’re craving excitement, consider the Xtreme Zip zipline! It’s a thrilling activity at the Park City Mountain Resort offering an exhilarating 60 second ride that suspends you 100 feet off the ground, and reaches speeds up to 45 mph. There’s rock climbing, hot air ballooning, hiking – something for everyone. Just about now, you’re probably thinking – get me to a spa! And Park City can do that. There are several luxurious spas, a welcome retreat after biking or hiking some of the 325 miles of this city’s trails. After dinner, you may want to wind down with an evening of jazz or at one of the local dance clubs. Park City boasts "There are no bedtimes here!"
The town hosts a spectacular bevy of summer festivals. There’s the Sundance Institute Outdoor Film Festival (July 9-August 17) with free outdoor screenings appropriate for all ages and held just after sunset on the grass in City Park. Over 6,000 film watchers bring blankets and picnics, enjoying films under the stars.
The Park City Jazz Festival is held this year on August 24, 25 and 26. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, attendees can bring food and beverage and it becomes not just a festival but a genuine happening.
The 2007 Deer Valley Music Festival (July 21-August 18) has planned a Saturday Pops concert including Andrew Lloyd Webber and Friends on July 28 and Tony Bennett with the Utah Symphony Orchestra on August 4. There will be a comic opera weekend, classical concerts and chamber music. This is the only place in the world where you can wear shorts and sandals while gazing at the Rockies and listening to a great live performance. Gourmet picnics and wine sipping are the norm.
The Big Stars, Bright Nights Summer Concert Series performers this year include Lyle Lovett with k.d.lang, Judy Collins, Amy Grant, and Vince Gill to name just a few. This series takes place from July 14 through Labor Day weekend.
For art lovers, the Annual Kimball Art Center Festival , the first weekend in August, elevates the art scene at 7,000 feet! All of the galleries are open to the public free of charge, and visitors can enjoy art exhibits, events and education at the Kimball Art Center. Here are some fun facts: The Kimball Art Festival is showcasing 220 artists, 3 beer gardens, 30 live bands, dozens of arts and crafts at the Kimball Kids’ Corner, and finally, the longest running arts festival in the west!
Olympic Museum, at the Olympic Park is a fun place to visit. On the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics, this museum is home to the Ski Hall of Fame, the Winter Games Museum, attractive retail shops and it highlights the history of all skiing disciplines through touch-screen displays, videos, and the virtual reality ski theatre. Something here for the whole family.
Rising to the Challenge
There is a place in Park City that, in its own way, may just leave you as breathless as when you stumbled off the Ziprider. It is called the National Ability Center . A non-profit organization, it is committed to the development of lifetime skills for individuals of all ages with orthopedic, spinal cord, neuromuscular, visual and hearing impairments. Its summer programs include water skiing, cycling, canoeing, river rafting and horseback riding.
Meeche White, a woman with a vision to build self- esteem for the handicapped, founded the National Ability Center 20 years ago. In 1997, she was given the Utah Woman of Achievement Award, and is recognized and lauded by the International Paralympics Committee for her determination to help make athletes of all abilities achieve their best. In May of 2006, she took Iraqi veterans who suffered catastrophic injuries rafting through the Grand Canyon. A visit to the National Ability Center, to see some of the participants involved in their programs, and perhaps have the chance to meet Meeche White herself, is an experience at once inspiring and profoundly moving.
Park City, Utah. It's a little city, but it packs a huge wallop, and is, no doubt, a fantastic place to vacation and explore.
If You Go:
The Canyons Grand Resort Hotel; www.thecanyons.com; Tel: 866-604-4170
Goldener Hirsch Inn; www.goldenerhirschinn.com ; Tel: 800-252-3373
Park City Marriott; www.parkcitymarriott.com ; Tel: 800-754-3279
Olympic Park; www.olyparks.com ; Tel:435-658-4200
National Ability Center; www.DiscoverNAC.org ; Tel: 435-649-3991
Kimball Art Center; www.kimball-art.org ; Tel: 435-649-8882
Big Stars, Bright Nights; www.ecclescenter.org ; Tel: 435-655-3114
Utah Symphony & Opera’s Deer Valley Music Festival
www.deervalleymusicfestival.org ; Tel: 801-869-9021
Sundance Institute; www.sundance.org ; Tel: 435-658-3456
Park City Jazz Festival; www.parkcityjazz.com ; Tel: 435-940-1362
Man & Woman
Mark Maziarz, Courtesy of The Park City Chamber/Visitors Bureau
Boy on Climbing Wall
Courtesy of The National Ability Center
Writer Barbara Sloane lives in New York City. This is her second article for BAFT.
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