Why give up comfort for value at a premium resort off-season? Park City’s summer climate, beauty,You already know all about the extraordinary winter sports facilities in Park City, Utah. After all, you were glued to the set when Park City hosted one-third of all medal events for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, right? In winter, Park City is a place with ski-in/ski-out access to your lodging, squads of ski valets who warm and later store your Lange Comp 100 boots. This is where you spend a morning zipping along in a dusting of light powder on the two-mile run from Sunset to Sunset West to Ontario. Oh yes.
This is where you mingle with the tan, the sleek and the chic, bien sûr, gripping their Rossignol Bandits as they clomp off the slopes at 9,100 feet around 13:00 for that steaming turkey chili at Cushing’s Cabin atop Flagstaff Mountain. (Of course, you then ease back down that kinder slope, Ontario, in your slightly overstuffed state.) This is where you opt, afterward, for the Post-Ski Therapy Detoxifying Herbal Wrap and finish with a full-body massage (only later to dip into the fondue and raclette back at the lodge, to keep body and soul together for Heaven’s sake!). This is where you go on a night sleigh ride under the full moon and later cuddle in your Austrian, hand-painted antique bed under the duvet with the windows wide open. Oh yes.
Let’s face it; Park City in winter is chic, but not cheap. And don’t even think about the last week in January; that’s when the Sundance Film Festival takes place and you can’t get down Main Street sideways for the throngs of cineastes (that’s the $2 word for cinema buffs, by the way) and, further, it’s even harder to find a room where the per-night rate doesn’t have a comma in it.
Ah, but then there’s summer, when the $500 boots and the $900 skis are packed
away, when serenity, sanity and warmer temperatures prevail.
I am about to become your fairy godmother, because, for the meeting planner who wants a gorgeous setting, distinctive meeting and event space, a hundred restaurants, and an equal number of shops and galleries, plus an exhausting array of exciting activities and a comfortable climate…all at a truly reason-
able price, Park City in summer is a dream come true.
DETAILS, DETAILS t
First of all, Park City is tucked into the eastern fringe of the Wasatch National Forest, so the backdrop is cool and green. With the city limits’ altitudes ranging from 6,720 to 8,460 feet above a sea that’s a thousand miles away, the summers are cool, dry and mild. The average summer high is 80 degrees with low humidity. As I write this late at night, the temperature in Park City is a comfortable sleeping temperature of 62 degrees and that’s down in town. Up higher in the Silver Creek area (more later), it’s a bit cooler yet. The French doors out to my balcony let in scented air from the aspens and pines.
As high as it is, Park City is still dwarfed by the Wasatch Mountains that sweep up more than 10,000 feet in the background.
Three major ski resorts create their own energy fields here: The Canyons Ski Resort in the north, Park City Mountain Resort in the middle, nearest the historic town, and Deer Valley Resort in the south. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Deer Valley was rated the #1 ski resort in North America by the readers of Ski magazine in 2005.
Happily, nothing in Park City is any farther than five miles from anything else and there is a cute, complimentary and regularly scheduled shuttle all around town.
More than 7,000 lucky individuals live within the city limits, part of a total of 35,000 residing in the county. Park City’s residents are quite cosmopolitan, according to Sarah Myers, meeting and convention sales and marketing manager for the Park City Chamber & Visitor Bureau (parkcity-meetings.com). “We have an international community, transplants from around the world who are drawn by a shared enjoyment of the outdoors and skiing.”
Certainly, exceptional achievement in sports characterizes the more recognizable residents, who include Tiger Woods, who maintains a second home in Park City; 2006 Winter Olympics gold medalist Ted Ligety; the very personable former-Olympian, Picabo Street; and 1952 Olympic gold-medalist Stein Eriksen, who has long been associated with the Deer Valley Resort, first for his namesake inn and further,
as director of skiing, the enduring spirit of panache on the slopes.
Relative to population size, Park City has an astounding array of things to do besides its renowned skiing. The local cultural scene offers more than 32 art galleries, just on Main Street. Locals and visitors also look forward to more than 40 outdoor concerts each summer. Some 300 miles on 75 trails around town provide endless hiking, cycling and trail-running opportunities. There is also lift-served mountain biking at several of the area’s ski resorts.
Park City has four golf courses and more than 100 restaurants and bars. There are hayrides, horseback riding tours, fly-fishing, kayaking, hot-air ballooning, white-water rafting, 14 spas and well over a 100 stores and boutiques to experience or explore. Multiple team-building companies have designed activities specifically suited to the area’s enticing terrain.
BEFORE SKIING, SILVER
WAS GOD t
Those mountains all around Park City are filled with holes. Silver veins were discovered as long ago as 1868 and the resulting 1,200 miles of tunnels—more than the New York City subway system—are remnants of the era.
A couple of years after discovery, savvy George Hearst, father of William Randolph, paid $27,000 for a mine that delivered to him some $50 million. (Do the math in today’s dollars; Yahoo and Google move over?)
Incidentally, we’d like to salute that era’s spirited Park City maven Susanna Egera Bransford Emery Holmes Delitch Engalitcheff, whose monthly take of $50,000 out of the surrounding hills in 1902 enabled her to live by her “Enjoy life!” credo with gusto, embarking on countless trips abroad as well as four trips up to the altar (the last, at 72, to a Russian prince; you go, girl!).
Sixty-four of the town’s buildings from the mining era qualified for protection on the National Register of Historic Places, many of which you can see just by strolling along Park City’s charming Main Street. (You’ll be huffing a little that first day, though, because of the altitude.) Don’t miss the Park City Museum & Territorial Jail (parkcityhistory.org); this basement jail would help anyone see the error of their ways.
Mining began to give way to skiing in the second half of the 20th century when Snow Park opened in 1946, followed by Treasure Mountain in 1963. Finally Ski Park City West opened in 1968. These three subsequently morphed into, respectively, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons.
Beyond space in the hotels (noted in our hotel chart on page 72), Park City offers a choice of four distinct, year-round meetings venues. Winter sports are the raison d’etre for each site, so they have built-
The most comprehensive is Deer Valley Resort (deervalley.com), which has nearly 37,000 sq. ft. total in a collection of three quite different day-only lodges. The first of these three is the 15,000-square-foot Snow Park Lodge, situated at the base of Deer Valley Resort’s point of entry and the site of Park City’s primary outdoor concerts. In summer, you can arrange for your group to have a pre-concert reception
and dinner in the lodge, step outside to your reserved
seating for the entertainment, and then enjoy dessert and champagne at intermission, perhaps on the Lodge’s second- floor deck. There’s also the Summer Adventure Camp here for children up to 12 years old, if you want to bring
The second of Deer Valley’s venues is 14,610-square-foot Silver Lake Lodge, situated mid-mountain at 8,100 feet in Silver Lake Village, immediately adjacent to several of the most luxurious boutique hotel properties in the Park City area. You take a scenic chair lift ride between these first two lodges.
Finally, the third Deer Valley venue is the intimate 7,335-square-foot Empire Canyon Lodge, set in a remote meadow not two miles from Silver Lake Village. It provides a delightful off-site venue for special events. All three buildings were designed with timbered ceilings, wood paneling and huge fireplaces, but don’t miss Deer Valley’s teepee building activity in summer as an opportunity to bring out the (cooperative) kid in your attendees.
Situated at the foot of Park City Mountain Resort (parkcitymountain.com), Legacy Lodge has 8,175 sq. ft. of meeting space. Summer activities here include the 3,000-foot-long Alpine Slide, the ZipRider, which carries you downhill, elevated on a cable 110 feet above the resort’s ski runs at around 60 mph, and the 4,000-foot-long Alpine Coaster, which whisks you on one- or two-person toboggans winding through aspen glades on curves, bends and loops, only to transport you again—craving for more, of course—up to the top of the track. Their Summer BBQ program includes an all-inclusive menu and the alpine slide.
The Canyons Resort (thecanyons.com) offers scenic rides on the Flight of The Canyons gondola up to the 6,500-square-foot Red Pine Lodge, set mid-mountain in a grove of aspen and fir trees. The venue is ideal for afternoon receptions and evening barbecues. The Canyons has lift-served hiking and mountain biking, horseback riding, hot-air ballooning and free outdoor Saturday night concerts.
An activity-driven legacy of the Olympics is the 389-acre Utah Olympic Park (utaholympicpark.com), which was planned from the onset not only as a state-of-the-art training facility for future Olympians, but also for ongoing public use. In winter, long and aerodynamically built athletes jump to dizzying heights in the various Nordic jump sites or race down the iced tube on bobsleds (an experience available for your bravest group members, too, with a professional driver going 70 to 80 mph).
However, in summer, the freestyle skiing practice sessions, off watered-down artificial slopes, send athletes flying and twisting through the air, only to land in a 750,000-
gallon, specially built pool. It’s a compelling and exciting exhibition for group events. The Park has several event venues, including the Alf Engen Ski Museum & 2002 Eccles Olympic Museum, as well as the Day Lodge directly overlooking the pool, for a total of 5,650 sq. ft.
SUMMER FUN t
The Deer Valley Concert Series (firstname.lastname@example.org) presents classical, pop and country performances at its outdoor natural amphitheater behind Snow Park Lodge, from the end of June through Labor Day. Highlight performers this year include Bonnie Raitt at the end of this month and Willie Nelson on Labor Day. The Fidelity Investments Park City Jazz Festival (parkcityjazz.com) takes place the last weekend of August. Locals pack picnic baskets and take blankets to spread out on the meadow. Groups who call early enough can purchase a block of reserved seating and tie it in with catered service at the adjacent Lodge.
HELP AT HAND t
Sarah Myers, of the Park City Chamber & Visitor Bureau, says that the bureau specializes in the customization of service, starting with the RFP, also in site visits and referrals. “We have such a variety of properties and activities that we’re able to fit the needs of a wide range of meeting planners in a customized way.” However, Myers notes, that once lodging arrangements are made, the bureau is a little more hands-off. “We’re not servicing the
meetings, not fulfilling contracts. We’re there in the beginning; really, we specialize in
“Anyone who visits Park City and attends
a meeting cannot help but be inspired by the landscape and the surroundings,” Myers asserts. “Whatever your goal—whether it’s
to achieve sales, get inspired, ski, walk and look around at these mountains—being here just enhances it. Each of us is inspired, and
we can share that with people when they
GROUP DINING• 350 Main. Taste the refined blend of globally inspired cuisine, including the health-giving Menu de Santé.
• Café Terigo. Hearty cuisine crafted from a melding of northern Italy and southern France, located in the heart of the historic Main Street district.
• Zoom. A taste of Sundance style at the north end of Main Street.
• Glitretind at Stein Eriksen Lodge, winner of a Santé award in 2005.
• Empire Canyon Lodge, a dramatic mountain setting with breath-
taking views of the Daly Chutes, an excellent off-site choice for dinners and banquets.
• For a mountain resort, this is one easy place to get to. Salt Lake City International (slcairport.com) is served by 16 airlines with 459 daily incoming flights. Nearly 160 of these arrive before noon, meaning that your group can be meeting, socializing or just having fun on their own all afternoon on their travel day. The best news is it’s a 36-mile, scenic and flat freeway drive to Park City from the airport. Numerous transport companies offer shared and private transfers, including 33-year-old Park City Transportation (parkcitytransportation.com), which operates everything from the latest Cadillac Escalades to midsize coaches.
DON'T MISS• Ziplining. The ZipRider propels riders at speeds of up to 60 mph, 110 feet above the ski slopes at Park City Mountain Resort. The Xtreme and Ultra Ziplines at the Utah Olympic Park are other options.
• Alf Engen Ski History Museum. It’s extraordinary to see what minimal equipment men and women used in mid-century America to brave the slopes as ski champions.
• The quarter-mile Scenic Overlook loop on Bald Mountain at Deer Valley Resort.
• The Scenic Flight of The Canyons Gondola Ride up to 8,000 feet at The Canyons Resort.