From the cool mornings to the bouquets of orange, yellow, and red decorating our mountains, it’s clear that fall has arrived in the Wasatch. There’s so much to be excited about this time of year in Park City. It’s time to take in the foliage. Score our last hurrahs by foot and by bike on summer trails. It’s time to celebrate Halloween, consume pumpkin everything, and enroll in your favorite ski conditioning class. And, of course, it’s also time to express our gratitude. I’ve rounded up some of the best events in the Park City area to tick most of these autumn activities off your list. Here are the must-do fall events in Park City for 2018.
Red Bull 400 – September 15
The Utah Olympic Park (UOP) in Kimball Junction is an all-seasons sort of place. Indeed, for the UOP, there’s no off season. The now annual Red Bull 400 event proves it. The uber-athletic, the daring, and the Red Bull-fueled will race up the venue’s 400-meter ski jump. If you count yourself among those groups, enter the challenge. If not, you might still want to head up to UOP to observe the insanity. Not a bad place to take in sights of foliage in Park City either. My Olympian friend and client Liz Stephen won the battle in 2015.
Autumn Aloft – September 15-16
On lucky mornings in summer, I catch sight of a colorful hot air balloon floating against an alpine backdrop. There’s something about this vision that sets my mind at ease. Maybe it’s the serenity of an artful object drifting through an already beautiful setting. Or the magic of a giant balloon up in the sky. Now, imagine dozens of these balloons taking flight all at once. That’s Autumn Aloft. This annual hot air balloon festival is enchanting to children and a prime photo opportunity for the camera-inclined.
Tour de Suds – September 16
For some, this annual Skullcandy-sponsored race is a grueling mountain bike race. For others, it’s an opportunity to give your Halloween costume a trial run on wheels. And for racers of all stripes and spectators alike, Tour de Suds is a rockin’ party in the woods. Riders will climb nearly 3,000 feet from City Park in Old Town up to Guardsman Pass, then descend back down. This is when the suds part comes in, served up by Red Rock Brewery, alongside awards and a costume contest.
Oktoberfest at Snowbird
Speaking of suds, an annual pilgrimage (or three) to Little Cottonwood Canyon for Oktoberfest is an autumn essential. It’s the best time and place of the year to drink one of 50 local brews out of giant beer steins while listening to German folk music. But Snowbird’s Oktoberfest isn’t only for beer fiends or those with proud German heritage. The beer-averse can partake in the wine garden or throw back shots of Jager. And the kids will go crazy for giant pretzels and apple strudel.
Park City’s Longest Shotski – October 13
If you want to make drunk history (again), show up on Main Street to take a synchronized shot this fall. Park City has been claiming and reclaiming the title of longest shot ski from Breckenridge for three years now and the time has come once more to take what’s ours, Park City. So whether it’s the spirit of this friendly competition or actual spirits that move you, get your ticket now and join 1,274 others in knocking one back on the afternoon of Saturday, October 13.
Howl-O-Ween! – October 31
If there’s one thing everyone in Park City can agree on, it’s that we love our pups. So dress up your beloved dog and head to Old Town this Halloween to show him or her off in this annual parade. You may find me there with our fast-growing puppy Callie. Little children and treat-hungry dogs alike will be invited to trick-or-treat their way up and down Main Street. Adults will be invited to steal their children’s candy (as usual) and snap photos galore.
Park City Ski Swap – November 2-4
The ski swap is not a casual affair. It’s not an, “Oh, maybe I’ll swing by and see what they’ve got” situation. This is a make-a-game-plan-a-week-ahead-and-line-up-two-hours-before-doors-open-then-shop-til-you-drop type of thing. Why partake in the intensity? Because there are indeed incredible deals to be had on skis, snowboards, helmets, goggles, jackets, and everything else you need to shred this winter. And it’s kind of fun to be reminded of just how ski-crazy this town really is. Need a slightly-used downhill suit for a costume? This is the place for you. If you think you’ve got what it takes, I do recommend showing up to Basin Rec a couple hours early with camp chairs, snacks, beverages, and patience. Make an evening out of it! If you really want to go but are the claustrophobic type, settle for smaller inventory and show up later on day two or three to avoid the chaos.
8th Annual Live PC Give PC – November 9
I feel strongly that the heartbeat of Park City is our thriving nonprofit community, filled with people committed to making a difference. The annual Live PC Give PC event is the ultimate chance to support that community. This day of giving drums up funds for over 100 local organizations. Last year, over $2,000,000 was raised in a 24-hour period. This year’s goal is 4500+ individual donors, so whatever you can contribute will make a difference; the minimum donation is $5.00. While this is more of a virtual event, be sure to mark your calendar and identify the causes you hope to support this year. You can check out some of the local nonprofits I’ve highlighted in the past here.