Not sure if you remember but way back in March, Ryder and I took a trip to Park City Utah for his spring break. Well, technically it was spring break, but the purpose was for a mother-son time on the slopes, and there’s nothing Ryder loves more than snowboarding. Now with ski season upon us again, I thought it was perfect timing to fill you in on our adventure!
I’ve probably been to Park City a half dozen times over the years, so my intent was to check out some of the surrounding areas. Rather than my typical digs in Park City, we opted to stay in Zermatt, a quiet little town about 45 minutes from Salt Lake, at the Zermatt Resort. Considering its location, the Zermatt Resort is central to Park City, Deer Valley, Sundance, and the Heber Valley.
The Zermatt featured an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, fine dining and family friendly dining, a European bakery, a pub, and my fav a full-service day spa. Oh, it’s just steps away from The Crater, but I will get to that later! Upon arrival, we dropped our bags in the room, and headed out to explore! First, we stopped to get for our skis and snowboard. We all own gear, but often I prefer renting gear for trips to limit the baggage. The fact that Adventure Haus rental shop was located right in the Zermatt Resort made things super easy, because they housed our rentals until we were ready to use them.
The schedule for the following day was jammed to the hilt, so we went for an early dinner and called it a day! In the morning, Ryder and I enjoyed a breakfast in the lobby before heading out. I think those breakfasts were the first time he’d tried a western omelette, which has become his favorite. After we finished up, we drove to Park City to hit the slopes. And what a lovely drive it was, with crisp clean air, and snow capped mountains sprawling as far as the eye could see. As we approached Park City Mountain, I started to get butterflies, because I still get nervous on skis, regardless of how many days I log in a season. Ryder could see I was sweating it a bit, so he put his arm around me as we were walking from the parking lot, and told me “you’re gonna do great mom” which absolutely made my day. We hit the trails all morning and afternoon, and I pushed myself harder than any other day on the mountain. Happy to say I road down some pretty steep blue trails. So glad my little man had my back!
That evening back in Zermatt, Ryder and I experienced the coolest thing ever! The Crater, a one-of-a-kind geothermal spring is hidden within a 55′ tall beehive-shaped limestone rock with waters over 65′ deep. The hole at the top of the dome lets in sunlight and fresh air while the interior stays heated by the mineral water, at a consistent temperature range of the mid 90s! A tunnel was dug through the rock wall at ground level so visitors can access decks and a soaking area of crystal-clear blue mineral water and the warmth of the crater. We must have spent at least two hours in there, which was just what our sore muscles needed after a long day of skiing! I can’t believe that such a geological and archaeological wonder was just steps from our hotel. Needless to say, we slept like babies that evening.
The following day, it was off to another mountain…. Sundance! The last time I was there Jason and I were just dating, so it brought back a ton of memories. After a bunch of runs, Ryder begged me to go on the zipline. I was terrified Again, Ryder had much more courage than mom! That said, it was A-maz-zing! Sundance Mountain Resort offers a summer zip lining as well as a winter zip line experience. Ryder and I took in breathtaking views of a snow covered Mount Timpanogos from the sky! We rode side-by-side on the zip line’s double cables cruising over 65 miles per hour. At one point, I just stopped mid-air to take in the views, which were out of this world. Anyone visiting Utah this winter should definitely put this tour at the top of their list! I’m still shocked that I built up the nerve to ride.
After slaying Sundance Mountain, Ryder and I took a journal making class, which turned out to be super fun! Located in the art room of the resort, we designed and imprinted the leather cover with metal stamps and burning tools, then created paper signatures and stitched them to the cover. It was so therapeutic and most relaxing- the polar opposite of our ziplining or time on the slopes!
Our last full day in Utah was just as jammed as the others, as we signed up for a Made In Midway Tour! It started out on the family owned farm of Kohler Creamery, where we met the cows and tour the farm. Look at my little city boy taking on the country life! In 2011, the family built a new creamery and began using their farm’s milk to handcraft and age artisan cheese. We sampled some of the cheeses which were so fresh and delicious!
Next up, it was onto the Deer Creek Express – Heber Valley Railroad! This 90 minute trip offers incredible views of the Wasatch Mountains, the wide- open vistas of Deer Creek Reservoir, and the beautiful Heber Valley. The Deer Creek Express departs from the depot, follows the shores of Deer Creek Reservoir to Decker Bay, and returns. This particular ride included a train robbery when the train briefly stops at the Soldier Hollow platform. Its all in fun and is kid friendly, but does include cowboys with guns and bandanas over their mouths at the start. During the December, there will be a holiday themed trip called the North Pole Express and After Christmas North Pole. Too bad we weren’t there to check this one out!
We couldn’t leave Utah without shopping on Park City Main Street. We picked up some souvenirs for the girls and of course something for Ryder so he can remember this special trip! A reader saw we were in town and messaged us to have dinner at her new restaurant before leaving town, so we headed over to Twisted Fern which was hands down our favorite meal of the trip! A MUST for anyone visiting town!
Speaking of the holidays, there are some other holiday themed activities to look out for in Heber Valley this season…
Holiday Lights Tour at Jordanelle – Drive through acres of more than 1.5 million lights, all synchronized to holiday music you’ll hear right through your radio. Giant candy canes, snowmen, arched pathways and plenty more will take you to another world.
Midway Ice Castles – This experience is built using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists. The castles include breathtaking LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains and much more. So wish we could’ve experienced this one, but guess we will need to make another trip out!
Wow. What a trip and with some much needed one on one time with Ryder. He had a blast and has already asked when our next mother-son trip will be! May we will come back when its warm out. I love these little getaways with the kiddies!
Big Thank you to Heber Valley Tourism for hotel and accommodations and allowing up to explore beyond Park City!
This post was originally published November 14th, 2019.
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