Discover Utah! Great Family Destination
advertises their snow as the "Greatest Snow on Earth". They even trademarked it.
I hadn't been to Utah in a while so I was somewhat skeptical. On this trip we
set out for some lessor known areas. It was an attempt to hit Utah before the
Olympic buildup. But we were a bit late out of the start. Here's what we found.
Utah is undergoing a metamorphosis
to gear up for the 2002 Olympics. Construction is everywhere and sleepy areas
are being transformed into destination areas in record time. The place is abuzz
with activity. And the people of Utah, well, they're so friendly! "Welcome to
our mountains. Enjoy yourself. How can I help? Did you have a nice day?" And they
genuinely mean it. How refreshing!
We hit Snowbasin, site
of the Olympic downhill, the first day. Snowbasin's mountain is pretty awesome.
They have put in more high-speed lifts in the last two years than some states
combined. They have got two eight-passenger gondolas, one high-speed quad, and
an innovative 15-passenger tram that takes you to the tippy-top of the mountain.
Though it's been on the map since 1940, Snowbasin is a work-in-progress. Look
to the future for a great family resort. Until then, think of a visit pre-Olympics
to bask in this historic resort. The lodge is down-home (new one goes in this
spring), and the road up is intriguing to say the least (new road completed in
Sept. of 2001).
For a family on a budget,
a stay in Ogden is the way to go. There are plenty of inexpensive hotels and motels
within walking distance to Historic 25th Street (lots of trendy shops and restaurants).
Of note, Karen's, a great little café that serves a wonderful family breakfast.
Quite good for dinner was Roosters, with their own brewery on premises. Be sure
at the historic Shooting Star Saloon to get a look at the stuffed Saint Bernard
on the wall. It might be best to leave the kids in the car while you take a peek.
They may never be the same.
While on that side of the
hill, spend some time at Powder Mountain for some incredible powder skiing. You
won't find any high speed quads, but you will find lots of untracked caches of
fluff. Nordic Valley is great for the kids, plus they have night skiing for an
Our last day was spent
at The Canyons, once Park City West and Wolf Mountain. The base area, still in
transition, and the mountain undergoing a huge expansion, The Canyons' potential
is enormous. Catering to families (with a flexible budget), the new Grand Summit
Lodge at the base of the mountain, offers slopeside accommodations with full kitchens.
You'll love the health club. The kids will love the outdoor heated pool and whirlpools.
Just out the door, the Gondola wisks you up to 3300 skiable acres (will eventually
expand to 6000 acres), five on-mountain restaurants, and lots of great skiing.
The base village, still under construction, will have a center ice skating rink,
state-of-the-art children's center and an assortment of shops and restaurants.
Nightime tubing adds to the adventure.
consider The Canyons for a great winter destination vacation. Just down the road
you can explore Park City Resort as well as Deer Valley. Luxury doesn't come cheap.
Book early for next season.
Thinking about the 2002
Olympics? Tickets go on sale in the fall of 2000. Get
on the e-mail list now for advance notification of events. Tickets will be
allocated based on availability and by random drawing. This is one event your
children will recall for a lifetime. Best events to view include ice hockey, ice
skating, luge, bobsled, freestyle ski events, snowboarding halfpipe, Nordic jumping,
giant slalom and slalom ski events. While there are many other events, some are
more difficult to see than others. Just the Olympic climate is worth experiencing.
Utah will put on a great show, that's for sure.
Archived March 15, 2000