Gondola, choppers to give The Canyons a bird’s-eye-view | ParkRecord.com

Gondola, choppers to give The Canyons a bird’s-eye-view

Dan Bischoff, Of the Record staff

As the last of the three resorts to open for summer recreation, The Canyons will debut in "flying" fashion.

Tomorrow, Thursday, the Flight of The Canyons Gondola will open at 10 a.m., and new to this season is a partnership with Park City Helitours.

"The helicopter rides that we will be offering, they are really going to be neat," said Elizabeth Dowd, communications manager for The Canyons Resort.

Park City Helitours will offer five-, eight- and 16-minute rides over the resort.

"We will take off from The Canyons and fly over the mountains and a little bit of the resort areas," said Pam Thompson, president of Park City Helitours. "We will not fly over homes and residential areas. We’ll see the layout of the land and the mountains from the air."

The helicopters will fly out of The Canyons Thursdays through Saturdays. Five minutes in a chopper doesn’t sound too long, however, that doesn’t include takeoff and landing time, and, Thompson said, it’s enough time to cover most of the resort.

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"Five minutes always sounds short but its not," Thompson said. "It only takes us seven minutes to cover the whole area."

"It’s going to go all over The Canyons territory," Dowd added. "It’s cool to see the brick-by-brick view and you’ll be able to point out runs that you skied on last winter. It will be one of the top attractions that we have."

The eight-minute flight will cover the Park City resorts and the 16-minute flight will go further into the mountains to see views over Brighton, Snowbird and other resorts.

"You can see, in our 16-minute tours, Snowbird Brighton and Alta and the entire terrain," Thompson said. "They back up to the Park City resorts and you can’t tell it from this side, it’s pretty exciting."

The flights range from $30 to $90, Dowd said, and safety is a big focus.

"People should know we are an FAA certified company," Thompson said. "Safety is our biggest thing. We make sure there are no problems."

If the helicopter is not your thing, the gondola ride that starts at Red Pine Lodge may satisfy those who crave high-elevation scenery. Those who show their Park City business card can ride it for free all season Thursday through Friday. The Red Pine Café is located at the top of the gondola and guests who purchased a gondola pass will receive 15 percent off on food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Gondola riders will be taken to their destination at 8,000 feet. There they can access hiking or biking trails. 2006/07 season passes can be used for the gondola and riders can bring almost anything with them.

"The only thing they can’t take are their dogs," Dowd said.

Dowd said the mountain is full of wildlife and scenery that hikers and bikers can see on their way down the hill.

"The mountain bikers and the hikers always see the wildlife," Dowd said.

Dowd said there are a lot of advanced biking trails and the family-friendly trails are located near to Red Pine Lodge.

Trailheads can also be found at the base area and maps are available at Canyon Mountain Sports in the Resort Village or can be downloaded from the Web site at http://www.thecanyons.com.

Alpine Disc Golf is a new activity this summer at the resort. It is a nine-hole course located mid-mountain just close to Red Pine Lodge. Public access to the course is free with the purchase of a daily gondola pass. Canyon Mountain Sports has a course map/scorecard and other rental equipment.

The course was launched at the end of last summer, Dowd said, but it was only open a couple weeks before the resort closed.

"I technically look at this as the first year, it looks fun as anything," Dowd said.

The summer concert series and the Farmer’s Market will continue to be staples at the resort this year, Dowd said.

"Park City might be lost without Saturday concerts as well as Farmers Markets," Dowd said. "The concerts series is our fitting institution at this point. It’s a lot of fun."

The summer concerts at The Canyons, Dowd said, are geared toward families.

"I tend to think that summer concerts on the Saturdays are family friendly, they get done early enough to get kids home and in bed on time," Dowd said.

The resort is offering a package at the Sundial Lodge during the concert series. The package costs just under $1,000, according to Dowd and includes two nights, free underground parking next to the concert venue, VIP credentials, group gondola passes to go to Red Pine on Friday though Sunday, several platters of hors d’oeuvres and a stocked bar.

Summers are becoming a top priority for the resorts almost equaling the winter.

"Every year we see more people," Dowd said. "It’s only getting more amped up."

The Canyon’s Summer Schedule:

The Flight of The Canyons Gondola will open June 21, and runs Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Canyon Mountain Sports in the Resort Village. Mountain bikes are welcomed but no dogs are permitted. 2006/07 season ski passes are valid on the Gondola. Trailheads can be found at the base area and via a quick gondola ride at Red Pine Lodge. Trail Maps are available at Canyon Mountain Sports in the Resort Village and can be downloaded from the Web site http://www.thecanyons.com.

Alpine Disc Golf is a recent addition to The Canyons. It is a nine-hole course located mid-mountain just steps away from Red Pine Lodge. Public access to the course is free with the purchase of a daily gondola pass. Canyon Mountain Sports has a course map/scorecard and other rental equipment. The Park City Farmers Market is set to begin June 6 in the Cabriolet parking lot from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. For information on more activities such as helitours, balloon rides and fly-fishing and other events, visit the Web site or call 649-5400.

Third Annual Park City Food and Wine Festival will be returning to Park City this summer from July 12 through 14. Sample from more than 400 wines and a dozen of Park City’s best restaurants while enjoying live entertainment and the Steel Chef competition and cooking demos. For more information or to purchase tickets visit http://www.ParkCityFoodandWineClassic.com .

Park City Perfect 10 Mountain Bike Race on July 28. The Canyons Resort, in association with Mountain Trails Foundation, Snyderville Basin Recreation and JANS, present the inaugural Park City Perfect 10 mountain bike race. All proceeds are to benefit the Young Riders youth cycling program and the Mountain Trails Foundation. The race begins in the Resort Village at 7 a.m. and finishes at 5 p.m. Solo, duo and three-person classifications are available. For more information / registration visit: http://www.parkcityperfect10.com

Wachusett Summer Kids Camp for children up to 12 years old will introduce kids to outdoor activities appropriate to their age. The camp is available daily, weekly and for the full season, Monday Friday from 9 a.m. 4:30 p.m. Activities include hiking, arts/crafts, swimming and more. Extended Care hours are available, for rates and information call (435) 615-8036.

Show your Park City area business card at the Red Pine Cafe Thursday through Friday and ride the gondola for free. Guests who’ve purchased a gondola pass will receive a 15 percent discount on food and non-alcoholic beverages. For reservations, call (435) 615-2888.

The Park City Farmers Market takes place in the Cabriolet parking lot from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The Canyons will host its annual Independence Day celebration featuring a free concert by the Disco Drippers and a massive fireworks display in the Resort Village. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3.

The free Saturday evening concerts start July 21 and continue through Aug. 25, every Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Resort Village. Concert parking is available in the Base Camp lot and the Cabriolet lift will be running during these shows. For more information on the concert schedule, visit http://www.thecanyons.com.