Finding Fun Off The Slopes

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Celebrating the ski season in the mountains is a wonderful chance to create future memories with your loved ones. While our favorite way to do this is schussing down the slopes of Deer Valley® Resort or Park City Mountain Resort or shredding at Woodward Park City, there are plenty of “off piste” ways to create unique memories. Below are a few of our favorites to refer to when skiing is not in the cards.

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Rent some snowshoes from just about any of the sporting good shops in town and head up to either the Uintah Mountains or Guardsman’s pass up above The Montage at Deer Valley, and head out on the mid-mountain trail. Basic Sorrel or LL Bean type boots work simply fine. Poles highly recommended!

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Self-Driving Unofficial Holiday Lights Tour:  Best place to start this off is at Kimball Junction heading towards Park City on Highway 224. About ½ mile past the traffic light at the entrance to the Utah Olympic Park, you’ll be treated to the incredible light display at Ranch Place/Bark City Veterinarian and Bear Hollow community. Famed local restaurateur Bill White (creator of Grappa, Chimayo, Ghidottis, Sushi Blue, and Billy Blanco’s) originally owned the Bark City building and operated it as Bill White Farms. He installed a magnificent and very colorful light display a decade or so ago at the Farm and started a new trend around town away from all white lights to the very colorful LED lights. Continue into Park City observing all the twinkling lights along ridgeline neighborhoods. Turn off Hwy. 224 onto Deer Valley Drive and then at the roundabout, turn up Marsac and follow that up to Empire Pass to The Montage. On your way down the hill, turn up Bob Wheaton Way to Silver Lake Village and check out all the lights there, most notably the Bald Eagle Club, resplendent in white as always. From there, take the cruise down Royal Street to lower Deer Valley and enjoy the birds eye view of all the lights.

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Enjoy a truly memorable experience at the Viking Dinner Yurt which starts with a sleigh ride pulled behind a snowcat from the base of Park City Mountain Resort up to a slopeside locale. The yurt opens through the end of March. Space is limited to 40 guests and very popular, so book early!

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Get your heart pumping and see why so many athletes use Nordic and skate skiing as part of their training regimen. Take a classic cross country or skate ski lesson from the uber slender pros at White Pine Touring Nordic Center from their yurt at the Hotel Park City parking area.

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Are there ardent fans of Downton Abbey and The Queen in your household? Consider a dress up day with high tea at The Grand America in Salt Lake City, served daily from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m.;  – online reservations required.

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Another memorable experience for the seasoned yogis in your group is to visit the Homestead Crater in the charming town of Midway (about 30 minutes from Park City) for SUP yoga (quite the balancing act on a paddleboard!) in the Homestead Crater. Learn more here.  This geothermal hot spring was created over 10,000 years as melting snow went deep into the earth and percolated upward from being heated by the earth’s interior. As the warm water rose to the surface, it picked up minerals – eventually creating the beehive-shaped limestone deposit now called The Homestead Crater. Mineral rich water maintains a temperature of 90-96 degrees year-round and you can relax in the water while the opening at the top of the dome lets in the crisp mountain air and sunlight. For the non-yogis in the group, it’s wonderful to simply soak in the minerals or consider snorkeling! The Crater also offers scuba certification.

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While not unique, spa days are always a wonderfully relaxing and therapeutic way to enjoy an off-slope afternoon. Luckily, the Park City area offers a plethora of spa facilities and treatment options, including the always popular couples massage option. Here’s a comprehensive list of spa facilities and services.

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If you are a fan of the Iditarod dog sledding race across Alaska, you can experience a bit of that thrill yourselves with a dog sled adventure. While there are numerous operators, the closest to Park City in Browns Canyon is Luna Lobos dog sledding. We highly recommend this unique experience.

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Visit the Utah Olympic Park right off Hwy. 224 at Kimball Junction to see all the great facilities built for the 2002 Winter Olympics and visit the free Alf Engen Museum at Utah Olympic Park, where you can try out the mountain sport simulator, enjoy the thrill of ski jumping or snowboarding from their interactive displays and check out their new topographic map, which shows all the Utah Ski resorts and how closely their peaks are to one another on the Wasatch Back.

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Or you could just preorder a Lego set to be delivered to your lodging property, stoke up the fire, gather around the coffee table and have some family fun building totally unique toys.

I hope you find this resource list helpful. Frankly, Felicity and I, and our dog Ruby love to spend our non-ski days snowshoeing, but some days it’s nice to sit curled up in front of the fireplace, with a terrific book, roaring fire and hot cocoa while classical music fills the home. Or you could just watch the Playoffs… You get to choose how active your off-slope day can be!

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