Park City

Who knew 24 hours in Park City could be so much fun?!

When you love hiking and skiing but live in a place as flat as Chicago, you have to get creative. Having visited Salt Lake City in 2003, I knew that you could make it from the airport to the mountains in just 25 minutes. Over Tuesday dinner, my friend Purani asked if I wanted to take a weekend trip to visit nature. Four days and two cheap plane tickets later, we were on our way to Utah!

I’m a big believer in the rule of three: “that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying or more effective than other numbers of things.” Three epic experiences made Park City one of the best weekend trips I’ve ever had.

Straight from Salt Lake City airport, we beelined for Mill Creek Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains. This range divides Salt Lake City and Park City. The west face is great for hiking and the east face is Park City Mountain Resort. Thanks to suggestions on avalanche-free winter hiking in Salt Lake City, we layered up for a steep hike to Grandeur Peak and were rewarded with unobstructed views of the entire valley.

We made it back to the trailhead just before sunset at 4:59 PM. The night before, it had snowed five inches and snow at the ground level hadn’t yet melted away. We drove nine miles further into Mill Creek Canyon along the main road to admire the niveous landscape. This amphitheater of freshly frosted evergreens backlit with the setting sun made for the most breathtaking winter wonderland I have ever seen. (The picture doesn’t do it justice!)

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Our next stop was Utah Olympic Park. We were initially bummed to find out that bobsledding was temporarily closed, but we no longer cared once we found out why: the park was hosting the 2015 FIL Luge World Cup! We attended the final event, the Sprint Cup Race for men’s doubles and women’s singles. “The Sprint Cup is a new event on the world cup circuit and features the top 15 sliders in a one-run heat down the track with timing beginning 330 feet from the start.” The contenders were hitting speeds of 50-75 miles per hour! Luge doesn’t have a huge fan base or following, so the event was open to the public—and they even gave free pizza to attendees. Attending an Olympic-level competition for free without the crowds was surreal.

Completely beat from a long day of too much fun, we checked in at Westgate Park City Resort & Spa, a monstrous resort at Canyons Village at Park City Mountain Resort (formerly Canyons Resort). We relaxed in the indoor pool, hot tub, steam room and sauna before calling it a night. I didn’t mind turning in early since I wanted to catch the sunrise…

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This was my first time staying at a ski in, ski out resort. We bought discounted lift tickets at Whole Foods at Redstone Center and rented gear at Aloha Ski and Snowboard Rental (which offers a discount for hotel guests). From Aloha, it was a quick walk to the Orange Bubble lift. I was excited to hit the slopes after a three year hiatus!

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After a half day on greens and blues, we scurried back to the airport and caught our flight home. Having had this much fun makes me think twice about what I can accomplish in 24 hours!

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