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  • Discover Utah! Great Family Destination

    By Tammie Thompson

    Snowboarding is funUtah 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 to Skiing with Dadstop 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 incredible value.

    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.

    Look Ma!Certainly 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

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