Winter’s Snow Still Applies in Park City, Utah
By Kathy Chin Leong
For families who love to ski, consider going to Park City, Utah on your next winter or spring break. This is what the Carroll clan did when they took a week to drive from the Bay Area to Utah, experiencing the glorious powder snow of this state.
With nine days officially off school and work, buttressed by two weekends, the Carrolls spent two days on the road on each leg of the trip and enjoyed Utah for a five-day consecutive block of skiing, shopping, touring, and fun.
HOW THEY DID IT
Splitting the drive up into two segments, Carol and Charlie Carroll with grandma and two sons, ages 13 and 6, piled into the family SUV and left San Jose at 6 a.m. By 3 p.m., spent from driving, Charlie and company spent the night in Winnemucca, Nevada.
They figured it was a good halfway point, and the next day they woke up and headed out by 9 a.m. and rolled into town at 3 p.m., where they stayed with her cousin. Snacks, workbooks, DVDs, iPod music systems kept the little ones busy throughout the ride, notes Carol.
Since the couple have been avid skiiers, they wasted no time in scoping out three ski slopes in Deer Valley, Solitude, and Brighton-three different resorts not far from the other.
By far the family’s favorite was the Deer Valley Resort, rated Number One in North America by Ski Magazine. This year it celebrates its twenty-fifth year in business. According to Carol, attention to details such as curbside service was amazing. At Deer Valley, ski resorts attendants help guests disembark and unload gear as customers drive up to the entrance.
The friendliness of the ski school staff, she notes, was phenomenal. Enthusiastic instructors, roominess in the children’s indoor area, and overall program gets a thumbs up, she noted. Rates for Deer Valley aren’t cheap. All-day lift tickets run $74 for adults, and down the line even tots three years and under cost $19.
Over at the Solitude Mountain Resort, the ski area sits in the center of a modern Barvarian village of condos, inns, and townhouses. Lift tickets run $50 for an all day adult pass; $28 for junior skiiers; kids six and under are free.
There, the ski school supports some 90 instructors teaching kids through adult ages in snow boarding, nordic skiing, alpine skiing and telemarking throughout its 20 kilometers of trails.
And Brighton Ski Resort, right next to Solitude, prides itself as the best for families on a budget, for kids who are 10 and under get free lift tickets. An introductory snow board or ski less is only $65 which includes gear, a limited lift ticket, and instruction.
All three resorts feature their own terrain parks for non-skiing snow activities and are approximately 35 miles away from the Salt Lake City Airport. According to Carol, snow in Utah is different than snow in California, and that’s not just myth. During her trip she learned that one-inch of rain in the Sierras is equivalent to a foot of snow in Lake Tahoe. However, in Utah, she explained, one inch of rain is actually 30 inches of snowfall. "Snow comes down drier in Utah, and that makes it lighter. It is really skiing on powder," she says.
True, on the vacation, Grandma didn’t ski, but the whole family did get to partake in other activities. One day the Carrolls went to the Family History Library, a five-story edifice run by the Mormon church. With records on over 2 billion deceased in its archives, the library is the largest one of its kind in the world.
A popular tourist destination, the 142,000-square-foot library is free to the public and keeps records on those from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Austrailia. Some 230 full-time librarians, researchers, and support staff, plus 200 volunteers are available to help visitors who want to trace their family roots.
With interest also in the Olympics, the family hit Utah Olympic Park, based in Salt Lake City. While the park is used to train athletes, it is open year round for tours, camps, and activites. "We got to see where the Olympic athletes practice and saw the training grounds, snow jumps, and the entire facility," says Carol. "It was fascinating.
The park also features a café, museum, and several rides such as a steep zip-line, alpine slide, and a bobsled run for kids 16 and up.
And roaming through downtown Park City with shops and eateries was a pleasant way to balance the week, she added. Says Carol, who wouldn’t hesitate to go back, "It was a great vacation and a lot of fun."
* www.deervalley.com - prices, ski packages, and other info on the Deer Valley Ski Resort
* www.skisolitude.com - all you need to know about the history, lodging, ski conditions, and lift tickets at the Solitude Mountain Resort
* www.skibrighton.com - details on the Brighton Ski Resort and surrounding area
* www.utaholympicpark.com - photos, things to do and see at the Utah Olympic Park
* www.utah.com/mormon/family-history.htm - info on the Family History Library, hours and location
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