Summertime on the mountains starts Friday
As Memorial Day weekend approaches, so does the anticipated re-opening of the resorts.
"Friday we kick off summer operations," said Krista Parry, director of marketing and communications for Park City Mountain resort.
The summer season in the mountains is quickly gaining parity with winter, Parry said. People come to Park City to ski, she said, but end up taking a residence in Park City for the summers.
While most people might know the white face of the mountains with trees frosted by snow, others — through hiking and mountain biking — are becoming acquainted with the foliage that has been waiting for warmer temperatures.
With roughly 350 miles of biking and hiking trials above Park City, people can tour the outdoors and enjoy seeing wildflowers such as fireweed, Indian paintbrush, fleabane, buttercups and wild iris.
"It’s absolutely beautiful," Parry said. "It’s amazing to see that we were skiing on these hills that are now lush and green, full of wildflowers.
"We’ve got a wide variety of trails," Parry continued. "The great thing is that a lot of trails connect. You can go from Deer Valley to the Canyons. The summers are what make (residents) stick around because of the beauty they experience."
Spectacular views and wildlife also draw people to the mountains.
"The views are always spectacular when you get to the peaks," said Erin Grady, communications manager for Deer Valley Resort. "Being able to hike through quaking aspens and ride through the wildflowers, it’s beautiful and relaxing. There’s tons of wildlife, there’s moose, there’s deer and elk."
"I had a moose walk out by my window yesterday, we always see the wildlife," added Elizabeth Dowd, Director of Public Relations for The Canyons.
There are also various mountain lakes fed by spring runoff that people can hike to, such as Shadow Lake at the base of Jupiter peak.
Before heading out, however, it may be wise to check with the individual resorts about safety issues. Some parts of the resorts also have revegetation areas so it is advised to stay on trails and don’t approach wildlife. Moose and other large animals could be dangerous.
"Any time you’re outside, be ware of your surroundings," Grady said. "Make sure that you are safe. If you are biking, we require you have a helmet on, and leave everything there for the next person. Everything is pretty safe, it’s all patrolled.
Each resort has emergency medical technicians at the base of the mountain or patrollers that can respond to any accident or emergency.
The resorts offer scenic lift rides where people, who are not as active, can get out of the heat and see the mountain without breaking a sweat.
"It’s always 10 degrees cooler than it is in the valley and it’s easy because you don’t have all the (ski) gear to carry around," Parry said. "We are geared for everybody. All of our activities, you don’t have to be athletic or fit to ride the coaster or the slide. Young and old, you can experience and create memories with your families. There’s no skiing required to have fun at Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) in the summer."
PCMR’s main tourist attractions are the rides at the base of the mountain including the Alpine Coaster, the Alpine Slide, the zip line and others.
"It’s the hub of all summer activities," Parry said. "We have a plethora of activities for the family."
Parry said the Alpine Slide started in 1977 and the resorts is seeing generations come back to ride it.
"The cool thing is, we see a lot of people that came up here as kids and now they are bringing their kids, it’s a fantastic place to create memories with your family during the summertime," Parry said. "You talk to people that say, ‘Yeah, I remember coming up here when I was a kid.’"
Last year was the opening of the Alpine Coaster, but since it didn’t open until September, Parry considers this summer to be its first year. The coaster is an elevated track that winds down more than a mile of curves, bends and loops.
"We got a little late start, but this year it will be open all season long," Parry said.
Each resort offers something different for the recreationist from horseback rides to concerts and trails.
"That’s what so great about this community," Parry said. "We all offer something different. Each of us offers something unique."
The Canyons is scheduled to open June 21 and will continue its free summer concert series.
"Park City might be lost without the free Saturday concerts, as well as the Wednesday farmers markets, those are two staples in the resort," Dowd said.
The Canyons will also continue its disc golf course that it started during the final weeks of last year. The game is played with Frisbee-like disks instead of golf balls and clubs.
"I technically look at this as the first year, it looks fun as anything," Dowd said. "All of the equipment can be rented at Canyon Mountain Sport."
Deer Valley’s summer season is set to begin June 9 with the Pedalfest Cross-Country Mountain Bike Race. The resort will also hold mountain biking classes to go along with the Big Sky, Bright Nights Series, its free Wednesday concerts and the Park City Jazz Festival.
"Concerts are a huge component of what the summer has to offer," Grady said. "I think summer to the resorts, overall, is growing and something we look forward to with all the concerts and mountain biking and hiking and different races and runs."
Dowd said the resorts work with each other to promote Park City.
"We are selling Park City as a whole," Dowd said. "We do feed off of each other in many respects. Everybody has so much to offer at each resort. We have a huge amount of space on our hill."
"We all work very well together," Parry agreed. "That’s what makes it unique is that we have three unique resorts. All three resorts benefit from that."
Summer activities on the mountain:
Deer Valley opens June 14 with lift-served mountain biking, conditions permitting. The mountain bike school will be open daily. Bikers are taken to the Silver Lake Express chairlift from Snow Park Lodge or The Sterling Express chairlift, located mid-mountain. Silver Lake Express operates daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (with last chair downloading at 5 p.m.). Sterling Express operates daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with last chair downloading at 4:30 p.m.). An all-day bike pass is $24, a single-ride bike pass is $16, a season pass is $250 and an interchangeable hospitality pass is $500.
Signed liability releases are required; if under 18, a release must be signed by a parent or guardian. Helmets are required for bikers. Deer Valley’s Mountain Bike Rental Shop and Mountain Bike School operate daily and offer scheduled clinics and tours for all abilities. Deer Valley offers full-suspension mountain bikes and helmets for rent. The Rental Shop and Mountain Bike School are open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and are located outside the Snow Park and Silver Lake Lodges. For more information please call 645-6648.
Saturday, June 9, Deer Valley will host the Pedalfest Cross-Country Mountain Bike Race, for all ability levels. This is the seventh race in the Intermountain Cup Series and takes place at Snow Park Lodge. Other races will follow during the summer.
For a complete list of summer events, log on to http://www.deervalley.com
The Flight of The Canyons Gondola will open June 21, 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 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 othere 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.
Park City Mountain Resort
On Friday, Park City Mountain Resort opens its lifts and family activities including the Alpine Slide, the ZipRider, the climbing wall, miniature golf, horseback riding, the human maze, the Legacy Launcher, Little Miners Park, lift-served mountain biking and hiking and lift-served access to Park City’s historic Main Street. For more information on activities and rates, log on to http://www.parkcitymountain.com.
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