Firsthand Report: Utah’s Park City 2
Author thumbnail By Connie Lawn, DCSki Columnist

The sweeping panoramas from the top of McConkey’s Lift offer a view that some may describe as Heaven. Breathtaking! But heaven was a bit cold that day, with winds and dropping temperatures. So we did not stay long, but hurried on our way as we cruised down the long and relatively easy runs. There are so many choices - Tycoon, Homerun, Silver Queen are among the most popular.

Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.

In Park City, I always feel like an Olympic champion. In fact, I see very few mediocre skiers there - the blues and double blue runs are cut and groomed so well, they appear to do the skiing for you. As my husband Charles and I whizzed down the slopes, I realized there were dozens of people skiing and snowboarding in rhythm besides me. We were in harmony together, not fighting to crash into or cut each other off. It felt like a Warren Miller ski movie, and we were part of the action. Astounding! I don’t know why I can’t achieve that feeling on every mountain, but it just happens in a few select areas. I get the same experience in Deer Valley and Telluride. In Park City, the trails that accomplish this for me are Treasure Hollow off the Payday Lift and Hidden Splendor from the Silverlode Lift. But there are so many excellent trails - 101 open when we were there with 14 lifts. It would take a long time to experience them all.

Of course, there are the extremely fast and steep Olympic runs. Race training is often underway on them and on smaller NASTAR courses. And there are terrific terrain parks and pipes - this is the home of some of the top Olympic champions. This year’s crop included gold medal winners Ted Ligety and Shaun White. There are also the Park City All Stars Snowboarding and Ski Teams. Easy to see why the champions like to live and train in Park City. Not far from the resort there is also a large ski jumping park. Unfortunately there were no jumpers using them while we were there.

Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.

Among the athletes enjoying the mountain are a relatively large number of adaptive skiers. Park City has one of the largest such programs in the nation. It is housed in the National Ability Center, and hosts a variety of year-round activities for those with special needs. This past week, there was also a group of 25 children and teenagers who were battling cancer and leukemia. Most of them were from Chicago and other areas of the Midwest. Some of the adaptive activities are made possible by generous donations.

I could not believe what I was seeing among these skiers. Lord, are they fast and skilled! That included the skiers on sit skis who whizzed down the mountain with great talent. In some cases, they are not tethered, and were in perfect control. Their volunteer instructors had to hustle to keep up with them. In other cases, the one-legged skiers with outriggers on their poles also flew by, but in better control than most of us. There were also blind skiers who could sense the beauty around them. The wide slopes of Park City make it an ideal resort for the growing number of adaptive skiers. It is wonderful that the National Ability Center is perfectly integrated with the rest of the resort, and is located right next to a lively bar on the slopes.

Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.

In addition to the slopes, Park City boasts a large series of shops and restaurants - it is a growing city with great ambiance. Most are within walking distance of the slopes, but stow your heavy boots first! There are also remnants of the region’s mining past, and it is interesting to see the old, rusting mine houses and equipment on some parts of the mountain. Because Park City is relatively large, there are a variety of lodges to stay in - ranging from inexpensive to high end. There is also the convenient system of shuttle buses, running from Park City to Deer Valley. Or you can choose to stay in Salt Lake City, as we did, and commute in. But there is a risk to that, if snow and ice storms block the highways.

In short, thank you Park City for another wonderful experience. Wish I could always do as well. Now, I will go back to my usual bad habits on other slopes!

About Connie Lawn

When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.

Author thumbnail

Reader Comments

March 4, 2006
Yo Connie - yup even the NASTAR pacesetters are ex-US Ski Team Members! I got my clock cleaned by many 15 year-olds lol and you think I ski fast!!!!!

Hey .. ROCK ON!
March 25, 2006

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