Two days after we ran our 5K, Austin and I flew to Utah for a week-long ski trip in Park City. I've never been to Utah before so this trip was multipurpose: ski (obvs.), visit a new state, and spend some good quality time with Austin's family.
We left dark and early for the airport on a Sunday morning in early February. We took a pretty quick and painless flight into Salt Lake City and then had the joy of solving the rental car puzzle: how to fit 6 people, 11 suitcases, and several backpacks into 1 Tahoe.
LODGING & FOOD
We stayed at Silver King Hotel (which actually has little condos and not hotel rooms -quite misleading name). Each couple had their own, separate little condo from a nice deal on Groupon. The place was nice (in-room jacuzzis and fireplaces!) and we were able to walk to the slopes each day. There was also the classic steamy hot tub that you run to as fast as you can in your swimsuit to warm up. Can't have a ski trip without that.
On our first evening, we took a trip to the grocery store and stocked up on lots of meals and snacks. We had breakfast in our rooms each morning - eggs, fruit, and bagels. We had soup and grilled cheese back at the condo for lunch some days, others we ate on the mountain. And we each took turns cooking dinner for the whole family. It saved a lot of money, allowed us to watch the Olympics in the evenings, and provided some good, old-fashioned family time. One evening, I taught Austin's family how to make snow ice cream :) Can't go skiing without making some of that! Milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and a bowl full of fresh snow. Delightful atop a brownie.
We had a really, really awesome dinner out one night with the Snowed Inn Sleigh Company. We met by the ski lifts for an old-fashioned horse drawn sleigh ride to the company's little restaurant up the mountain. They served the most delicious western food and played live music. My courses were the vegetarian options and they were seriously some of the best vegetarian foods I've ever had in my life. It was so fun and delicious - you have to do it if you're ever in Park City. For real.
One of the coolest things about the trip was the ski rental place - no lie. When we all walked into Ski 'N See on our first day to get us some skis, we recognized the song playing in the store. A few more seconds in the shop and it dawned on us . . . they were playing The Wedding! (Our brother-in-law was their drummer until recently - he's the one on the far right in the photo down there.) That was cool, so we all smiled and went with it. Then they played another Wedding song, and another, and we realized this wasn't just a song on the radio - they were playing the entire CD!
We found out that one of the shop workers had recently discovered The Wedding and loved them. He enjoyed meeting Matt and we all sort of bonded with the guy. We had lunch with him on the slopes one day and we're all Facebook friends with him now! If you're wondering, yes, we did receive exceptional service. If you're ever renting skis in Park City, go to Ski 'N See and ask for Eric. He's awesome and he likes good music.
We tried to start off easy, since several of us hadn't skied in years, but unfortunately we had a little ski lift mix up and that didn't quite happen . . . But all was well in the end. After a difficult morning, we had a laidback, mostly green afternoon on our first ski day.
After that we had our skiing legs under us a little better so we decided to venture down the "Adventure Alleys." There were 5 of these that wove in and out of trees, over jumps, and around huge build-ups of powder. These were my favorite runs from the trip. Added perk - if you try them all and tell the information desk your favorite, they give you a prize. I won't spoil the surprise, but it's definitely worth doing.
Other favorite runs were Payday, Georgeanna, Treasure Hollow, Homerun, and Claimjumper.
We had lunch once at the Mid-Mountain Lodge and once at the Summit Restaurant (with our new friend from the ski shop). I had a pretty good veggie burger at Mid-Mountain and a really good loaded salad at the Summit.
DOWNTOWN PARK CITY
We spent one day mid-week exploring the town. Everyone was ready for a break after 2 days of fun but exhausting skiing. We started out with a webcam geocache just off the slopes and a walk through downtown Park City before lunch at Vinto. I never knew a 5-onion pizza could be so delicious.
After lunch we found another geocache at Shoe Tree Park - seriously, these are trees with tons of shoes thrown over the branches!
We got cold from all of that geocache searching, so we decided to stop in to Atticus for some coffee/tea/hot chocolate. I had the Goblet of Fire and it was one of the most delicious lattes of my life. There were tons of books to browse and live music to set the mood for a relaxing evening.
SUM IT UP?
I really got out of my comfort-zone this trip. I'm used to leisurely skiing around, enjoying scenery, resting often and this trip was a big change for me. I spent more time on difficult terrain, went over some jumps, literally ran into a tree (thankfully it was a cushion-y evergreen), pushed my speed and control, and conquered unrelated injury and illness. It was a really fun trip filled with exercise, personal betterment, and family time - and I'm so grateful that Austin's parents arranged the whole thing for us!
Things I learned about Utah: It's expensive (at least, Park City is). The snow is good. Sean White has his own mountain there. Deep Relief works wonders on knee pain (okay that one isn't so much Utah). It's possible to fall and literally be stuck in the snow. The slopes are harder - any greens that weren't specifically beginner greens really felt more like blues. It's beautiful.