If you’ve skied both east and west coasts, you are familiar with the difference in the conditions. West coast mountains have heavy snow with prime conditions, unlike some of the ice you may have experienced upstate NY. Since the kids started skiing and fell in love with it last year in Vermont, Jason and I have been eager to take the kids on a ski trip out west. While trying to decide which destination to choose, Utah immediately came to mind. Park City brings back a ton of memories for Jason and I, as it was one of our first vacations together over thirteen years ago, long before we were married. Our 2005 trip was during the Sundance Film Festival, and I remember being over whelmed by the sweet little town, so it was an easy choice for a trip with our little beginners.
Our flight was early evening after school let out, we headed straight to the airport with the kiddies. We arrived in Salt Lake City, when it was super dark. The drive from the airport to Park City is full of breath taking, mountain ridden landscape, so the occasional head light shining on the backdrop gave us a little taste of our surroundings. Our hotel for the duration was New Park Resort. They offer traditional rooms with the main building, but there are also privately owned condos along the property. We needed the space, so we opted for a 2 bedroom condo.
I knew a long, late travel day, and two hour time difference would leave the kids wiped the next day, so rather than hitting the slopes our first day, I decided to book a Dog Sled adventure. Since we were five people, we needed two separate sleds and twice as many dogs. 16 dogs to be exact.
This was a first for all of us, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I will say it was definitely a memorable experience. Jason and I helped the guides as they secured the dogs to their place in line of their formation. Before we took off, Gemma made her rounds petting every single dog, even memorizing some of their names. Most of the dogs were rescues and super sweet.
Gliding along the trail was a blast. Jason had the kids yelling out MUSH the entire time. It didn’t seem to do much, but it was hysterical nonetheless.
Our ride was about an hour, and afterwards, we walked over to grounds where they are kept, to see three adorable new pups. I’m sure the girls would have loved to take one home had I offered.
One of Salt Lake and Park City’s claim to fame is the 2002 Winter Olympics. The games left its stamp in Park City with plenty of new housing and various new businesses, and as homage there is the Utah Olympic Park. On the way back from sledding, we stopped at the Park, to take in some Olympic heritage with past ski fashions, gear, and artifacts. The bobsled course is still functional, having been converted into Comet Bobsled Ride. We would have loved to ride, but riders need to be at least 16 years old.
These are the jump trails from the Olympics that are now used for those who are training.
The kids asked ton of questions. It was cool to let them see this piece of local history, and all the interesting ski stuff that they have taken a liking to. We even caught a glimpse of young ski team coming down the jumps!
After the trip to Olympic Park, we were all really itching for a day on the slopes, so it was time to get some gear. We have yet to invest in skies for the kids, because they are growing so rapidly and I didn’t expect to have as many ski weekends as we have this season. On that note, I will say, the gear is the one downside to skiing. It’s big, it’s heavy, and going to pick it up can be overwhelming at times. Well, there’s actually a solution for the ski rental schlep. Ski Butlers, delivers all of your ski or snowboard gear right to your hotel, or they’ll even meet you right on the slopes if you need to swap a size, or something breaks. We filled out all of our info on their website, and one of their techs came to our condo, with multiple size boot options, skis and snowboard for each of us! In about 30 minutes, we were decked out with everything we needed for our next day on the mountain! Now, it was off to dinner.
That evening, we took a cab to Silver Star Cafe, located just on the foot of Park City Mountain. The food was fantastic, and it had plenty of ski town atmosphere. We listened to live music while enjoying an upscale rustic type of cuisine. In fact, they are located at the base of the Silver Star ski chair at Park City Mountain Resort, for skiers to access during lunch or après ski. This place is truly a hidden gem, and must-go to if you are ever in Park City!
Day 2, we hit the slopes! The kids are slowly getting the hang of it on skis, but they still have lots to learn, so I enrolled all three in ski school. At first, I was hesitant at the idea of being apart from them for the entire 9am-3pm session, but I thought back to their lessons in Vermont. After 6 hours of uninterrupted time on the slopes, they have no choice but to build confidence and learn. They pick up so much even in just one day, its pretty amazing to watch. Park City Mountain has two ski schools, one on the Park City side, and another on the Canyons side. We opted for Canyons, which was closer to our condo.
Another cool thing about three kiddies in ski school was just Jason and I having the entire day on the mountain to ourselves. This was perfect, because I needed to brush up on my skiing. I am embarrassed to say, that I think Ryder may already be better on skis, than his mom! I think I had a fear of the slopes from a snowboarding tailbone injury, but its time to let that all go, so I could keep up with my littles.
It’s funny, you would think we would be living it up without the kids, but on every chairlift ride, I continued to look for Ryder and Siella zooming down the mountain with their coaches. Why can we never get our kids off the brain!
With temps in the 40s, the conditions were absolutely fantastic. The lift lines were tiny, so it was run after run. And with all the running around, we felt it. With a base altitude of 6900 feet, and 10000 at the top, you know you’re up high. We are not familiar with feeling the altitude back home, on our smaller mountains. But I am not complain, the payoff is super long runs, on beautiful trails.
Eventually, it was time to pick up the kids from ski school. We were met with ear to ear grins, and raves reviews from their coaches. After listening to Siella and Ryder’s stories and a couple of photos, we planned to go down a few trails together, but we were all wiped out. It was back to the condo, for a little dip in the hot tub, on our back patio. Siella and Gemma called it a mermaid pool. Look at these two!
After our dip and showers, we headed into town for dinner at Zoom, another great local spot to have a family dinner! The kids are still talking about their strawberry lemonade which had a sugar rim on top! On our drive into town, it started to snow, so it couldn’t have been more magical. We walked through the streets, popping into little boutiques for souvenirs to take home, adding to our monstrous collection of refrigerator magnets. On ski trips, we have added stickers to our souvenir list, to don the kids’ ski helmets.
Sunday morning, it was back to ski school, and back on the mountains. Coincidentally, neighbors and their sons, who are Ryder’s age were in town. The kids were eager to ski together, but since we were already enrolled in ski school, we had to wait until the afternoon for the kids to tear up the trials together. That didn’t stop Jason from taking a couple of runs with them. They’ve all been skiing for years, so he got his moneys worth on a black damond mogul field. His legs still have yet to recover.
It was lots of fun to be there with friends. Jason and I have agreed that we need plan something with a big group, next season.
After ski school, the kids took a few runs together, before heading down to the lodge for some hot cocoa. We listened to live music, while the kids found a hockey table, and giant Jenga set. Lights were strung overhead, music was jamming and everyone was hanging outside in their snow gear. What an awesome way to end another epic day on the snow.
Unlimited amounts of hot cocoa consumed is always a treat!
Skiing (and I guess I should say snowboarding, since Jason is a boarder) is really the perfect family sport, because it lets you grow and hang with your children. They are happy to be up on that mountain with their parents, and I think it’s something they will want to do 10 years from now, when they are older, in their “I don’t want to be seen with my parents” phase. Having young children, I am not going to sugar coat it, getting on the slopes is a magic commitment. It’s a ton of heavy lifts and getting them dressed in their gear, and naturally the minute everyone is dressed and ready to go, one has to go to the bathroom and you have to then undress them. Jason and I have given each other plenty of side eyes during our ski jaunts but honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way! It is all so worth it!
Before heading to the airport, we spent the morning back in town on Main Street. While walking around, we stumbled upon the cutest brunch place called Harvest! I’m talking avocado toast, poached eggs, grain bowls, and Siella’s had the most delicious acai bowl! A definite recommend!
And finally, we were on the road, but this time it was during daylight. With some fresh snow fall, the views from the road were spectacular. Nothing but white and mountains in every direction.
Needless to say, the trip was epic! The kids are older now, and sure to remember lots of these destinations. They know how to pack their own backpacks, how to behave in lines at the airports, and how to keep it down to a low roar on the planes. And lets not forget their stop in the cockpit, every time we board a plane! Proud to say they’re little experience travelers.
Here’s a video I put together of my instal-stories. This is the first of many to come of our travels! And yes I promise next time to hold my camera correctly! Be sure to subscribe to the SITC Youtube channel!
Big thank you to Visit Park City for hotel and accommodations, along with these everlasting memories!