Local dogs dine like Vikings in new picture book
Joy Vik, and her husband Geir, have owned and operates the Viking Yurt, a restaurant at Park City Mountain Resort for nealry 20 years.
Every night, for the past 19 years, the Viks treat their guests to a European dining experience that includes a six-course dinner with other guests at tables that sit six to 10 people, and a sleigh ride up to the yurt, which sits at an elevation of 8,700 feet.
“The yurt experience isn’t really for children,” Vik said during an interview with The Park Record. “So I found a way the adults can bring the experience home to their kids.”
Vik is referring to her new picture book, “When Dogs Dine Like Vikings, Park City, Utah.”
“This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever done,” she said laughing.
The book features photographs of various Park City pups enjoying the Viking Yurt dining experience. There are photos of dogs in the sleigh, at the entry and at the table near the fireplace and piano.
“I thought it would be funny to show that,” Vik said.
The idea for “When Dogs Dine Like Vikings, Park City, Utah,” began more than 15 years ago, when Vik donated some money through the Viking Yurt to the nonprofit pet rescue organization, Friends of Animals, now known as Nuzzles & Co.
“As a thank you for donations, they would send a photographer to your home and take photos of your dog for a calendar,” she said. “I thought that sounded boring, so instead of taking photos of my dog Jack at my home, I said, ‘Let’s do it at the yurt.’”
Jack, a golden retriever, had grown up with Vik’s two daughters and was used to being dressed up.
“We were able to get some hysterical shots,” she said.
Vik dug up the photos five years ago when Liz Field, publisher of Mountain Express Magazine, wanted to put one of them in the magazine.
“We talked about how cute and fun it was, and I thought I should do more dog photos,” Vik said.
She decided to go for it in October.
“I saw two beautiful Bernese, as I was coming out of Five5eeds Restaurant, and I went back into the restaurant and found (their) owner,” Vik said. “I said, ‘I’m a crazy lady, and I want to photograph your dogs at my restaurant in the mountains.’”
The project avalanched from there.
“I contacted my friends who have fun dogs and made a bunch of car trips up to the yurt and took more photos,” she said. “Park City has this insane society of dog lovers, and a lot of dog owners who are friends of mine are women who are unbelievably devoted to their dogs.”
She also found dog owners whom she didn’t know.
“I feel privileged that I got to know these people,” she said. “All of them who agreed to get their dogs’ photos taken are all wonderful and kind.”
While all the owners were accommodating, some of their pets weren’t.
“Since Jack, who has since passed away, grew up with two little girls who liked to play dress up, he was so compliant,” Vik said. “So I thought it was normal for dogs to sit still while getting their pictures taken while they are getting dressed up. But I found that some of the dogs could be very difficult to work with. That was a little dismaying to me.”
In addition to not holding a pose, some of the dogs tried to rip off the clothing.
“There were even a couple of them that got into a fight on the way up to the yurt, so one was a little bloody when we arrived,” Vik said. “Another little dog ran off with one of my daughter’s sweaters and wouldn’t come back. And I watched the precious sweater getting dragged through the dirt.”
Also, Vik found one good photo for every 30 or 40 photos she took.
“It was a ridiculous project to go through all the photos I took,” she said.
Still, Vik finished the book within a month, and thanked local photographer Rick Pieros for his help.
“He has books of his photographs and I’ve always loved them, so I contacted him and he led me through the whole process of how to make a book,” she said.
Since the book has become available at Right at Home, Cole Sport, Dolly’s Bookstore, Atticus Coffee and Tea, Stein Erikson Lodge gift shop, Vik said she has had to clear up some misconceptions regarding the Viking Yurt.
“Some customers think they are welcome to bring their dogs to dinner, or take a dog-pulled sleigh ride to the yurt, which is not the case,” she said. “I just did the book for fun, and it was an interesting experience.”
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