Park City Mountain Resort Zip Rider // © 2011 dancampbellphotography.com
When the 2002 Winter Olympics drew hundreds of thousands of spectators to Park City, Utah, from around the globe, most gave little thought to what was buried beneath all that beautiful snow. As summer rolls around and “The Greatest Snow on Earth” relinquishes to warmer weather, nature lovers head to the hills to bask in an entirely different recreational haven. There are definitely two sides to Park City, and each appeals to those who thrive on sinking their teeth into the great outdoors.
Park City’s three world-class resorts — Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and Canyons — as well as Utah Olympic Park shift into summer mode with miles of biking and hiking trails, and speed-inspired thrill rides.
This year’s summer season ends on Sept. 3, but will be extended to Sept. 10-11 Mother Nature permitting. So encourage your clients to head out pronto for a top-notch, summer-ending getaway.
Park City Mountain Resort
As in the winter, Park City Mountain Resort’s lifts transport you up the mountain. But instead of skiing back to the base, you can hike along groomed access roads, explore mining heritage on pristine trails and finish it up with a scenic ride back down.
Lift-served access is available directly from Park City’s historic Main Street via the Town Lift or on the PayDay Lift located at the Resort’s Base Area. To better negotiate the trail system, simply request a detailed map at the ticket windows.
For more of a rush, soar above the tree tops as the ZipRider propels you 110 feet over ski runs up to 45 miles per hour. The competition heats up as speed freaks race side-by-side to the finish. Or you can ride tandem on the new Soaring Eagle Zip Line that debuted this summer. Single rides are $20 and $14 respectively.
Another resort claim to fame is Utah’s only Alpine Coaster. An elevated track winds through more than a mile of loops and hairpin curves at speeds up to 30 mph. It’s like an eco-coaster since it weaves through such refreshing mountain scenery. This downhill run is $20.
One of the longest in the world, the resort’s Alpine Slide thrills with more than 3,000 feet of gliding and sliding down a luge-like track. With four to choose from, you can experience a unique ride each time. There’s even a track reserved for those who want to take their time and reign in the natural speed that builds up in the curves. A hand break lets each rider speed it up or slow it down. Each trip runs $11.
Those wanting to run amok can tap into the All-In-One Alpine Pass that allows an entire day of unlimited rides. Prices are from $60-75 for those over 54 inches in height and from $25-40 for those 54 inches and below.
Or if your time is limited, Combo Passes are just the ticket to a single ride on the most popular adventures. The Double Play ($25) provides one ride on the Alpine Coaster and Alpine Slide, while the Triple Play ($41) allows a single ride on the Alpine Coaster, Alpine Slide and ZipRider. For more details, visit www.visitparkcity.com.
Deer Valley Resort
The wonderfully relaxed summer days and activities at Deer Valley Resort make the transition from winter to summer something even die-hard snow lovers tend to anticipate rather than simply tolerate.
The resort recommends starting the day at Snow Park, which offers ample parking. Bike rentals and lessons are available from all locations.
Rated by Mountain Bike Action as one of the ten best mountain bike destinations, Deer Valley whisks bikers and their rides up the mountain on the Sterling Express, Silver Lake Express and new Ruby Express to some 60 miles of panoramic trails. If you’re not into mountain biking, you can reboard the chairlift and descend. Those hiking up the mountain are rewarded with a free chairlift ride down.
Adult full-day bike passes are $34, with a single ride bike pass for $24. An adult scenic ride pass is $20. Children 6-12 are $15, with children under five riding for free. For more information, check out www.deervalley.com.
One of the country’s largest winter resorts offers you an equally large number of summer activities and events. In addition to fresh mountain air and breathtaking scenery, Canyons provides gondola rides, single-track hiking and mountain biking trails.
Take the Red Pine Gondola excursion to access the Mid-Mountain Trail, where you can explore on your own or via a guided tour. Views of the Wasatch Mountains are stunning as the gondola speeds to alpine adventures at 8,000 feet. Open until Oct. 2 for the summer season, the gondola is $15 for adults and $10 for children.
In September, Canyons will launch two new zip line adventures located at mid-mountain. The intermediate option is an 800-foot-long treetop ride through the Red Pine area, while the advanced line covers over 2,100 feet as it whizzes across the canyon between Lookout Peak and Red Pine Lodge.
Also taking off in September is trout fishing in Canyon Resort’s mid-mountain reservoir. For information and lift tickets, check out Canyon Mountain Sports in the Resort Village. Fishing rates range from $7 an hour to $25 for a full day. www.thecanyons.com.
Utah Olympic Park
Although it has been a decade since it was thrust into the spotlight during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Park City’s “King of the Mountain” still shines with memories and hope for gold by future Olympians in training. The Utah Olympic Park is home to the three-story Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center that houses the Alf Engen Ski Museum, Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame and the 2002 Eccles Olympic Winter Games Museum.
This world-class venue highlights the history of skiing disciplines through interactive touch screen displays, videos, virtual reality ski theater, games and topographic maps. Visitors can relive the glory of the 2002 Games through a gallery of visual highlights and artifacts. Admission is free.
Presented by Montage Deer Valley, the park’s Flying Aces is an action-packed thriller where Olympians and national team athletes put on a 30-minute freestyle aerial show every Saturday at 1 p.m. during the summer. This choreographed performance literally leaves visitors in pure awe as skiers soar up to 60 feet in the air and perform acrobatic feats before landing in a 750,000-gallon splash pool. General admission is $10 for adults and $7 for youth. No reservations are required.
Activities here range from somewhat mild to wild. On the former side, the Quicksilver Alpine Slide is the first European-style alpine slide of its kind in North America. Operating on a state-of-the-art steel track, riders whip down a narrow course that concludes at the base of the K-64 ski jump. It’s a great way to get an idea of what it’s like to slide down a track like a luge, skeleton or bobsled athlete. Through Sept. 3, drivers (8 and older) are $15, while lap riders (3-7) are $5.
If the thought of tackling the world’s steepest zipline pumps you up, fly down the XTREME Zip at 50 miles per hour along the K-120 ski jumping hill. You’ll experience the sensation of ski jumping as you zoom down the cable in a harness to the base of the jumps. A shorter version of the XTREME, the ULTRA launches from near the top of the UOP freestyle skiing hill, adjacent to the K-120 Nordic ski jumping hill. These thrillers are $20 and $15 respectively.
But what’s truly considered the ultimate thrill beast is the park’s Summer Comet Bobsled. Professional pilots take three passengers on an adrenalin rush ride down the entire length of the Utah Olympic Park bobsled track, reaching speeds up to 70 mph with 4Gs of force.
True to form, you take off from the actual bobsled start used during the 2002 Olympics and zoom down the full track from start to finish. The course measures just under a mile and drops an equivalent of a 40-story building in less than a minute. So if speed isn’t your bag, you may want to skip this one. The revved up ride runs $60.
Summer activities operate until Sept. 3. Reduced rate packages combining ride options are also available. www.oylparks.com.