Vacation: Not gonna get away?
July 15, 2008
With gas prices breaking the $4 barrier this summer, families around the country are opting for the "staycation," a low-cost twist on the standard vacation that saves travel costs by doing vacation activities at local places.
So it only makes sense that the concept is being tested in Park City, where locals can enjoy the luxury of having a vacation destination right at their doorstep.
Local resorts have seen record weekends this summer and continue to offer plenty of options for families in and around the Summit County area.
Deer Valley and the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) both reported record numbers at their resorts over the July 4 weekend and many of those were Park City and Salt Lake residents.
At the Utah Olympic Park, marketing and public relations manager Linda Jager says that hard numbers back up the recent trends she has seen. Last year, the number of locals who came to the park more than doubled, rising from 10 percent to 35 percent of the total visitors to the venue. Jager suspects that after this summer the number will be even bigger. The UOP doesn’t charge admission to enter park, which Jager said also helps.
"Since we have no admission charge, we see more Summit County residents come back to the park," Jager said."
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With that free ticket, the UOP offers self-guided tours, a ski history museum and a 2002 Olympic Winter Games museum and people can watch world-class athletes train on water ramps and ski jumping hills.
fee, families can ride the Zipline Zip rider, the Comet, a bobsled mounted on wheels and an alpine slide. Jager notes that this is one of the only places in the country where people can take a bobsled ride or watch ski jumpers train. On Saturdays, the Flying Ace All-Stars present a public aerial show on the water ramps and often perform to record crowds. On July 4, 1,800 gathered to watch the show.
Jager notes that the largest growth she has seen is in freestyle clinics a three-hour training class on the at water ramps offered to the public after the Flying Ace show and throughout the week. The UOP also offers extended hours in the summer, opening at 9 a.m. and staying open until 8 p.m. in the evening.
"We want people to know what we have in our own backyard," Jager said.
Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) communications manager Paula Fabel said that when she heads to the plaza area of the resort on weekends it is always packed. She said that since PCMR started offering the Park Pass, an all-day activity pass for a flat rate, on a continuous basis, locals have been coming out to enjoy the summer offerings in large numbers.
"It’s a trend we’ve seen in the last few years and we’ll only see it increase," Fabel said.
PCMR has always been popular in the summer because of its alpine slides and hiking and biking trails, but now the resort has added a number of new rides and attractions. With everything PCMR offers, a full-day pass seems to make sense. According to Fabel, the resort offers the Alpine Coaster, a roller coaster built on the mountainside, four alpine slides, the ZipRider, lift-served mountain biking and hiking, scenic chairlift rides, a climbing wall, horseback riding, a park and other activities. They also have a restaurant, Legends Bar and Grill, which stays open seven days a week, and offers indoor and outdoor mountain views.
Deer Valley communications manager Erin Grady said that even without knowing exact numbers, the number of people coming to the resort in the summer is large. With some of the most well-known mountain bike riding hiking trails in the state, locals flock to the resort. For those looking for more of a true "staycation" experience, Grady recommends lodging package deals that include tickets to Deer Valley’s many headlining concert series.
At the nearby Homestead Resort in Midway, golf superintendent Chris Briscoe has taken the "staycation" one step further. The Economic Stimulus Package says it all in its name. To encourage people to stay home on their days off, the Homestead offers a package that includes a room at the resort, a free round of golf, breakfast and the extra bonus that seals the deal a $50 gas card from Sinclair Oil Company.
Briscoe says that since the program started June first he has seen a number of families take advantage of the offer. Besides the golf course, the resort also offers horseback riding, bike riding and a number of other amenities.
"We’ve seen a good response so far," Briscoe said. "They especially like the $50 gas card."
"Staycation" destinations links
Deer Valley – http://www.deervalley.com
Park City Mountain Resort – ww.parkcitymountain.com
The Homestead Resort – http://www.thehomestead.com
Utah Olympic Park – http://www.olyparks.com
The Canyons http://www.thecanyons.com