10 Things To Do Over the Holidays in Park City


With the early promise of a snowy winter season, Park City is ready to show off for the holidays in all of its winter wonderland glory. Getting into the holiday spirit is easy in December, with a month of events to entertain locals and visitors both young and old. I’ve curated a list of the top ten things to do over the Holidays below:

(Photo Credit: Heber Valley Railroad)

North Pole Express

Heber Valley Railroad
450 South 600 West, Heber City
Mondays – Saturdays through Dec. 23
All ages

Take your kids on a train ride to the North Pole while enjoying Mrs. Claus’ famous chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa on the Heber Valley Railroad’s North Pole Express. Santa joins the 90-minute round-trip ride, visiting each child and presenting them with a special gift. “North Pole” (regular) and “First Class” tickets are available, along with private cars available for groups. Tickets and dates are listed here, but be sure to book early, as this event always sells out.

(Photo Credit: Holiday Nights™)

Holiday Nights™

Jordanelle State Park
Upper Fisher Loop, 515 UT-319, Heber City (approx. 10 minutes from Park City)
Nightly through Jan. 4, 5 – 10 p.m.
All ages

Holiday Nights™ at Jordanelle State Park has taken the tradition of driving through neighborhoods to check out holiday light displays to a whole new level. This 1-2-mile leisurely drive winds through the state park and features more than 40 sparking LED displays, including animated snowmen, elves, poinsettias, candy canes, a 200-foot light tunnel and a mega tree display at Santa’s Holiday Village. Advance tickets range from $20-$40, depending on date and car size, and can be purchased by clicking here.

(Photo Credit: DeJoria Center)

Santa on the Ranch

DeJoria Center/State Road Restaurant
970 North State Road 32, Kamas (approx. 20 minutes from Park City)
Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 & 21 from 5 – 9 p.m.
All ages

Head a few miles outside of Park City to the picturesque Kamas Valley for a special evening with Santa at the DeJoria Center & State Road Restaurant. “Santa on the Ranch” features dinner, pictures with Santa, cookie decorating and letters to Santa with his helpers. Adults ages 13 and older are $48, kids ages 4-12 are $38 and kids 3 and under are $10. Reservations are required, and can be made by calling 435-783-3530. Click here for more information.

(Photo Credit: Park City Santa Pub Crawl)

Park City Santa Pub Crawl

Various locations on Main Street
Park City
Saturday, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m.
Ages 21 and over

Parkites love any excuse to dress in costume, and the holidays are no exception, as evidenced by the annual Park City Santa Pub Crawl. Revelers dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus abound, along with reindeer, angels, elves … the costume creativity knows no bounds. The evening begins at 6 p.m. at Butcher’s Chop House and Bar (751 Lower Main Street), then heads to the Downstairs (625 Main Street) from 6:45 – 8:15 p.m. Attendees can then spread out and choose the No Name (447 Main Street), The Spur (352 Main Street) or Flanigans (438 Main Street) from 8:15 – 10:30 p.m., with the final stop at The Cabin (427 Main Street) for the End of Night Crawler Party from 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. There’s no cost to participate, but everyone is encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Park City Toy Drive, along with cash, as the bars get packed and credit cards can slow the flow. Stay up-to-date on the event by following there Facebook page here and checking out fun pics from past years.

(Photo Credit: Egyptian Theatre)

Park City Holiday Spectacular & Sing-Along!

Egyptian Theatre
328 Main Street, Park City
Friday, Dec. 14 & Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m.
All ages

Start a family tradition with this annual showcase of local entertainers of all ages and abilities as they take the historic stage at the Egyptian Theatre. Performing acts are interspersed with chances for the audience to singalong to holiday classics. Regular seats are $12 for youth and $15 for adults, with Front-of-House tickets are $19 and Cabaret tables immediately in front of the stage are $25 each. To purchase tickets, please click here.

(Photo Credit: Park City Mountain)

Santa Arrives on the Town Lift

Town Lift Plaza
825 Main Street, Park City
Saturday, Dec. 21, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
All ages

In true ski town-style, Santa comes to Main Street each year via the Town Lift to spend some time with his biggest fans on the Plaza. Past years have included, live music, hot chocolate and cookies for those awaiting Father Christmas’ 6 p.m. arrival, which is followed by photo opps with the man of the hour. For more info, click here.

(Photo Credit: Kurt Bestor)

Kurt Bestor

Egyptian Theatre
328 Main Street, Park City
Saturday, Dec. 21 – 8 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 22 – Wednesday, Dec. 25 – 6 p.m.
All ages

Emmy Award-winning Utah favorite, Kurt Bestor, visits Park City every holiday season to bring his larger-than-life personality and talent to the Egyptian Theatre for a five-night engagement featuring holiday favorites and original music in an intimate setting. Tickets are $34 for House Seating, $40 for Preferred Front of House seating, and $50 for Cabaret Table Seating in front of the stage. To purchase tickets, click here.

(Photo Credit: Deer Valley Resort)

Santa Claus Visits Deer Valley Resort

Deer Valley Resort
Snow Park Lodge (2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Lower Deer Valley)
Silver Lake Lodge (7600 Royal Street, Upper Deer Valley)
Tuesday, Dec. 24, 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
All ages

It wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without Santa making his annual appearance to take photos with all of the good boys and girls on the slopes of Deer Valley Resort. St. Nick will visit guests at the Snow Park Lodge area from 9 – 11 a.m., and at the Silver Lake Lodge area from 12 – 1:30 p.m. For more information, click here, or call 435-649-1000.

(Photo Credit: Deer Valley Resort)

Deer Valley Resort Torchlight Parade

Deer Valley Resort
2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City
Monday, Dec. 30, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
All ages

Another quintessential ski town tradition is a torchlight parade, where skiers travel in formation down a ski run at dusk holding torches to create an otherworldly glow. Deer Valley Resort’s Torchlight Parade is held on Big Stick ski run (behind Snow Park Lodge) at around 6 p.m., with complimentary hot chocolate, cider and cookies served on the plaza from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Click here for more information.  

(Photo Credit: O.P. Rockwell)

Roaring ‘20s New Year’s Eve Party Gold Standard Music

O.P. Rockwell
268 Main Street, Park City
Tuesday, Dec. 31 – 9 p.m.
21 and over

Swing in the New Year with the opulence of “The Great Gatsby” at this Roaring ‘20s-themed party, dancing to the jazz/electro/soul hybrid sounds of Gold Standard Music. Opt for the VIP Dinner & Party package for $175, which includes dinner in The Rockwell Listening Room followed by VIP entry to the O.P. Rockwell Mezzanine lounges, or join the party for $100 with free appetizers in General Admission. The venue is requesting guests arrive in themed attire, such as top hats, cravats, evening gown and bow ties. For full details, click here.

Whether it’s an outing for the whole family or a special date night experience, when you Choose Park City, you’re certain to have a unique and memorable time. Learn more about possibly calling Park City “home” by connecting with Christine Grenney at 435-640-4238, or visit her website by clicking here to learn more about the area’s neighborhoods.

Getting Ahead of Sundance: A 2020 Festival Survival Guide


Locals who have lived in Park City for any length of time will likely have a few Sundance Film Festival stories to share – whether it was getting to attend the premiere of a soon-to-be-famous film (think “Napoleon Dynamite” or “The Blair Witch Project”), or simply spotting celebrities strolling along Main Street or dining in their favorite eatery – nearly every Parkite will agree that Sundance brings a certain energy to town, but knowing how to survive those ten days can mean the difference between a positive or a negative Festival experience.

Image result for sundance film festival 2020
(Photo credit: Sundance Institute)

This year’s Festival runs Thursday, January 23 through Sunday, February 2, though the first weekend tends to be the busiest in town, with the highest profile premieres occurring in the first few days. If you don’t have to go into town during the day, it’s best to avoid the I-80 off-ramps at Kimball Junction, S.R. 224 from Kimball Junction into town, Old Town/Main Street, and the Prospector neighborhood, especially Kearns Boulevard. Consider sticking to shopping and the restaurants in Kimball Junction, or plan on early and late-hour grocery runs.

In the past, Park City High School and Treasure Mountain Junior High have adjusted their release times to account for afternoon screening times at the Eccles Center (adjacent to the high school), so if you have students at those schools, keep an eye on emails and social media for updates.

Stay up-to-speed on traffic incidents, road closures, weather conditions and other emergencies during the festival by signing up to emergency alerts. Just text FILMFEST to 888777, and you’ll receive alerts during the event, which can be helpful for locals navigating around town.

In the spirit of, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” consider volunteering for this year’s Festival. Not only will you receive one of the super-cool volunteer jackets, you’ll have a chance to meet film buffs from across the U.S. and throughout the world. Check out the volunteer opportunities by clicking here.

Image result for sundance film festival, sundance.org, volunteers
(Photo Credit: Sundance Institute)

Looking forward to hitting Main Street for that coveted Jon Hamm sighting? It’s a great time to use Park City Transit, especially the Ecker Hill Park-and-Ride and Kimball Junction Transit Center. Just download the “myStop Mobile” app for current routes and departure/arrival times, and get ready to mix and mingle with locals and visitors while en route!

Though the local pass and ticket packages went on sale Oct. 15 and have already sold out, you can still find ways to “Fest” during this year’s event. “Open Tickets” are available at the Main Box Offices and online through Feb. 2, and cost $25 each, or $10 for Kids Screenings. Another option are eWaitlist Tickets, which means you join an electronic queue for the chance to score last-minute tickets to films via the web at ewaitlist.sundance.org (NOTE: This site is not yet up-and-running for Sundance 2020) or by using the mobile app. To “get in line” for the eWaitlist, just register your account, choose a film, and then receive your eWaitlist number. You’re then required to arrive at the theater no later than 30 minutes before the screening, and can see the likelihood of getting into the film within the system, though tickets are not guaranteed. These tickets are $25 each, or $10 for Kids screenings, and are cash only.

The two much-anticipated free screening opportunities for locals – Townie Tuesday and Best of Fest – are still scheduled for this year’s festival, but tickets will not be available in advance, as they have been previously. Instead, tickets for both will be available through the eWaitlist system described above, with Townie Tuesday on Jan. 28 at the Redstone Cinema at 7 p.m., and Best of Fest screenings scheduled for Monday, Feb. 3. Best of Fest screenings will be announced online the morning of Sunday, Feb. 2, and eWaitlists for films on both days will open two hours before each screening.

Regular ticket packages for the first half of the Festival have also sold out, but there are still Express Passes and Eccles Theatre Passes available for the second half of the Festival, which is Jan. 29 – Feb. 2. The Express Pass is $3,500 and includes access to screenings at all theaters with priority access, plus one official Festival photo credential and one awards party ticket. The Eccles Theatre Pass is $2,000, and provides access to all screenings at the Eccles Theatre, where most premieres are held, along with priority access and a Festival photo credential. There is also a 10 Ticket Package for the second half of the Festival for $600, which includes 10 tickets, two official Festival credentials and two awards party tickets, or you can purchase a standalone non-screening, non-photo Festival credential for $300, which provides access to non-theatre venues, including the Filmmaker Lodge, New Frontier, and daytime admission to the ASCAP Music Café (must be 21). Information for all passes and packages can be found by clicking here, but you must register or sign-in to access the page.

Image result for sundance film festival, sundance.org
(Photo Credit: Sundance Institute)

Once the Festival starts, be sure to bookmark the Festival Map on your phone to easily locate shuttle stops, theatre locations and box offices. As in years past, the Festival Headquarters are located in Prospector Square at the Sheraton Park City (formerly the Marriott Park City – 1895 Sidewinder Drive). The Main Box Office also returns to its previous location at the corner of Swede Alley and Heber Avenue in Old Town, and is where patrons pick up ticket packages and passes.

If you live out of town and need help planning your trip, the Festival is incentivizing patrons to utilize their online portal to book lodging by offering the choice of a Lyft voucher, Whole Foods gift card, or two film vouchers with certain bookings. And there’s no need to rent a car, as there is no parking at any of the screening venues, so plan to utilize the Festival shuttles or rideshares.

However, I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend you head to Main Street at least once during the Festival. It’s highly likely you’ll spot a few celebrities ranging from A-listers to that “person you saw in an HBO series once, but can’t quite remember their name.” The energy in Old Town during Sundance is unmatched, and if you’re up for venturing out at night, check out O.P. Rockwell’s, a sophisticated live music venue with an excellent dance floor and raised stage perfect for taking in both established and up-and-coming musical acts.

Sundance definitely brings a unique set of challenges and opportunities to the community each year, but with some foresight and patience, it can be a positive experience for both locals and visitors. And it’s just one more reason why so many people Choose Park City for their new home or vacation property. To learn more about the special events that make Park City so special, connect with Christine Grenney at 435-640-4238, or visit her website by clicking here.

Live PC Give PC: The One-Day Fundraiser that Changed Park City’s Giving Landscape


Giving is good for the soul, and there is no day better for the souls of all Parkites than Live PC Give PC – a one-day, 24-hour giving event that has raised more than $10.3-mllion for local nonprofits since its inception in 2011, with $2.4-million raised in 2018 alone. This year’s Live PC Give PC is on Friday, Nov. 8, and I suggest you mark the day in your calendar and begin to ruminate on which of the more than 100 participating nonprofits inspire your support.

What’s particularly amazing about this day of giving is it’s all done online. That means donors can donate to their favorite charities from the comfort of their homes, in their pajamas, no rubber chicken dinner or toe-pinching stilettos necessary (though some local fundraising evenings are a notoriously good time!).

Each year, I select certain charities that I believe match the mores of clients I’ve had the good fortune to work with during the past year and donate in their name. It’s my way of showing gratitude for the good fortune I’ve had as a realtor in our community, and to demonstrate to my daughters that sharing my success is just part of an altruistic life.

I’ve already earmarked a few worthy nonprofits that sometimes fly under-the-radar in the Park City’s robust giving scene, which include:

PC READS

Photo Credit: PC Reads

PC READS was founded in 2014 by two local mothers, each with a daughter who struggled to read early on and was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia. They advocate for recognition and education of dyslexic students, and promote elevating literacy through early identification of struggling readers, effective reading interventions and appropriate classroom accommodations. PC READS provides resources and support to families with struggling readers, particularly those identified as dyslexic.

Mountainlands Community Housing Trust

Photo Credit: Mountainlands Community Housing Trust

As a realtor, I know firsthand how rising home values and scarcity within rental opportunities can price some residents out of the area. Mountainlands Community Housing Trust (MCHT) operates based on the belief that a safe, affordable home is often a family’s first step towards economic self-sufficiency. Having served 164 families and 376 individuals since 2003, MCHT’s Transitional Housing Program (THP) has maintained over a 95% success rate in locating affordable permanent housing for its participants while empowering them in the attainment of other life goals.

Summit Land Conservancy

Photo Credit: Summit Land Conservancy

As Park City and the surrounding communities continue to grow, the effort to preserve open space is becoming more critical with each passing year. Summit Land Conservancy is the only nonprofit dedicated to saving the open spaces of Park City and Summit County. They protect and monitor this community’s investment in local open spaces by defending 38 permanent conservation easements on 5,766 acres of land—and they’re currently working to preserve an additional 5,000+ acres of the landscapes the community cherishes.

Utah Avalanche Center

Photo Credit: Utah Avalanche Center

Avalanches go hand-in-hand with having the Greatest Snow on Earth, so the Utah Avalanche Center works with the U.S. Forest Service to help make backcountry and sidecountry fun and safe by providing up-to-date avalanche forecasts and education and mountain weather forecasts.

EATS Park City

Photo Credit: EATS Park City

Created in 2013 in response to community concerns over the health and wellness of Park City youth, PC EATS empowers children and their families to take control of their nutrition and food through Curious Cooks cooking classes, Garden Education and Community Collaborations to increase access & ensure opportunities to develop lifelong healthy habits and access to fresh, nutritious appealing food. They collaborate with Park City School District to ensure the availability of healthy school lunches and nutrition information for all kids.

And because we all know Park City loves a good party, Live PC Give PC donors aged 21 and over are invited to a celebration at High West Distillery & Saloon (703 Park Avenue) from 8 p.m. to midnight that evening, where final donations are tallied and celebrated. What a great opportunity to revel in the charitable efforts of your fellow Parkites, and just another reason why so many Choose Park City, as charity and community continue to be a top priority for so many of us.

To connect with Christine Grenney, call or text 435-640-4238, or visit her website by clicking here and learn more about the many ways new and current residents can give back to the amazing community in which they live.

Creating a Teachable Thanksgiving for Your Family


Thanksgiving has many definitions, but one that resonates – yet is often lost in the hubbub each fourth Thursday of November – is simply, “The act of giving thanks.”

This Thanksgiving, I once again challenge you to use Thanksgiving as a teaching moment. Show your children the many ways to express gratitude, and help them to step outside of their own experiences and place themselves into the shoes of those who are less fortunate, which can help deepen their appreciation for all they have.

Collect Items for the Peace House

Photo Courtesy: Peace House

In 1995, the Peace House domestic violence shelter was built in response to an incident three years earlier when a local woman was murdered by her husband in a local grocery store parking lot. Since then, the critical services provide by the Peace House have expanded to include a Community Campus, where transitional housing and childcare are provided to complete the continuum of care that allows survivors of domestic violence to work toward independence. The Peace House can use many types of contributions – both cash and in-kind – but one way your kids can help is to organize a neighborhood goods drive. Items listed by the Peace House as “urgent needs” include toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, cases of bottled water, soft soap pump bottles, children’s snacks and juice boxes. Help your children create flyers to distribute to throughout the neighborhood, inviting your neighbors to contribute the listed items and deliver them to a box placed on your front porch. Contact the Peace House’s Volunteer Donations Coordinator, Kathy Churilla, at 435-649-6823 or [email protected], for information on delivering your donations.

Make Items for Patients at Primary Children’s Hospital

Photo Credit: Primary Children’s Hospital

Many of us have had to take advantage of Primary Children’s Hospital in SLC, and certainly gave thanks at the time that we have easy access to such a world-class health facility. With our heightened awareness of bullying and the detachedness social media can cause, teaching empathy to kids is critical to help build their mental health and acceptance of others, and can even lead to a more successful adulthood. Teaching your kids about having empathy for children facing medical issues is facilitated with step-by-step directions provided by Primary Children’s Hospital for creating play dolls, teddy bears and monsters, and fleece blankets. This would make a great post-Thanksgiving dinner activity, or during a playdate over the long holiday weekend with your children’s friends.

Craft a Thankfulness Turkey

Photo credit: Kidnurse.org

To help get your Thanksgiving guests in on the gratitude train, create a Thankfulness Turkey. This engaging activity can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age, and involves creating a large turkey, then cutting out multi-colored feathers upon which each guest can write what they are thankful for as they arrive. Children get the fun of affixing the feathers to the turkey, providing a gratifying and gratitude-building experience for everyone!

Deliver Food Boxes to Families in Need

Photo Credit: Utah Food Bank

Did you know that Utah has a childhood food insecurity rate of 20.4%, with 13.4% of children in Summit County struggling to access food regularly. To help raise awareness with your children that kids are going hungry locally, consider volunteering for the Utah Food Bank. Children ages six and older can participate in their Family Volunteering programs, which include decorating and delivering food boxes to families in need. Each box includes one week’s worth of non-perishable food, plus bread, fresh produce and protein. Food Box Volunteers are required to deliver to a minimum of three clients per month, for a minimum of six months, so this is a consistent commitment your family can look forward to participating in together. The Utah Food Bank is located in Salt Lake City, but their services touch all corners of the state. To learn more, contact the Food Box Coordinator at (801) 887-1271 or [email protected].

Create a Gratitude Chain

Photo Credit: WithLoveIma.com

In the spirit of the paper chains many of us made as schoolchildren, take the month of November to create a chain of gratitude to display during the holidays. Simply cut out colored construction paper into one-inch strips and have each family member write down one thing they are grateful for every day in November. This placed the focus on being thankful throughout the month, and not just on Thanksgiving Day. Since it’s suggested that articulating your gratitude can have very real benefits, this exercise not only provides for a festive holiday decoration, but could also improve your physical and psychological health.

I am continually grateful to live in a community like Park City, where opportunities to support nonprofits and share in these experiences with our children abound.

To learn about more about the many reasons new homeowners Choose Park City, connect with Christine Grenney at 435-640-4238, or visit her website by clicking here to learn more about the reasons Park City and its surrounding communities are unmatched in their charitable endeavors.

Helping Kids Get the Most Out of Utah’s Mountains


With snow from the weekend blanketing our mountain town, minds are turning toward the impending ski season. Whether or not we have a banner year to match last season, one thing is for certain: Winter is what you make of it.

That’s why the Ski Utah 5th & 6th Grade Passport is such a great way for young skiers and snowboarders to sample all of Utah’s mountains during one season for just $45. Yup! Just $45 for 5th Graders to receive three passes at each resort, or 45 days of skiing (that’s $1 per ticket if you use all 45), or one pass at each resort for 6th Graders! Not to be left out, adults can join their kids by purchasing the Yeti Pass to receive one pass at each resort for 15 days of skiing for just $649.

Photo credit: Ski Utah

“Ski Utah is so proud to offer the 5th And 6th Grade Passport to families looking to get outside and experience Utah’s mountains,” explained my friend Anelise Bergin, director of communications at Ski Utah. “Not only does the Passport give families an affordable ski pass option, but the pass also encourages our visitors and our locals to explore all 15 resorts in the state of Utah and enjoy the wide variety of skiing and riding options that our beautiful resorts have to offer.”

To learn more about this amazing opportunity, I asked Anelise a few questions to help parents and grandparents navigate the registration and redemption process.

Last year was the 20th anniversary (the program started in 1998). The passport initially started with only 5th grade, then 6th grade was added three years later.

What is the goal of the program?

The main goal of the program is to encourage growth in the sport and to offer a low cost opportunity for kids (and families) to explore the entire state of Utah and ski or ride all 15 resorts on one pass.

How many students participate annually?

The program has seen healthy, consistent growth over the last few years. On average we see around 10,000 participants.

Do you have to have a Utah address to enroll?

No — this is open to any 5th or 6th grader in the world! The majority of passport holders are locals, but we encourage any families with 5th or 6th graders to consider the Passport as an option.

What is the deadline for enrolling?

The passport does not have a deadline, but it is highly recommended to apply before Christmas. We suggest signing up sooner than later, this way families have the most time to explore all the resorts and have the passport ready and approved as soon as they are ready to ski.

What are the steps for redemption?

Most of the resorts allow you to redeem the Passport at their ticket windows, but Park City Mountain requires participants to redeem at a pass office. More details on redemption are listed here: https://www.skiutah.com/passes/passports/fifth-grade-passport-faq/index.html/#how-to-redeem. The student needs to state their first name, last name, and date of birth, but identification is not needed at redemption.

Are there Yeti Passes still available for adults who might want to ski or ride with their kiddos?

Yes! But quantity is limited on these passes, so we advise purchasing ASAP.

Anything else that would be helpful for parents to know beforehand?

Sign up sooner than later, and read through the information on our website. There is an ample amount of helpful information listed here: https://www.skiutah.com/passes/passports/fifth-grade-passport-faq. We also send regular emails to passport parents that will have helpful information, resort opening dates, and more — be sure to open and read these to stay up to date!

Is Woodward Park City included on the Passport?

Yes! Three full days at Woodward Park City are included as a part of the 5th Grade Passport, with one full day for the 6th Grade Passport. Reservations are recommended for this pass redemption.

Other facts:

The Passport program gives fifth graders three days (45 days total) and sixth graders one day (15 days total) of skiing or riding at each of Utah’s 15 resorts. Since the inception of Ski Utah’s school program, more than 200,000 fourth graders have learned to ski or snowboard and more than 150,000 fifth and sixth graders have continued to hone their skills on the slopes in Utah.

I’m looking forward to exploring a few new resorts with my 6th Grader this season, thanks to the Ski Utah Passport program, and hope to see some of you out there taking advantage of the breadth of local resorts, as well!

Learn about more unique-to-Utah opportunities that inspire so many new homeowners to Choose Park City. Connect with Christine Grenney at 435-640-4238, or visiting her website by clicking here to learn more about the reasons Park City and its surrounding communities are unmatched in experiences for kids throughout the year.

‘Tis the Season to Purchase Your Pass


Though many warm mountain days still lie ahead, fall is prime time for deciding where to ski during the upcoming season. An impressive snowpack during the 2018-19 will assuredly get more folks out on the hills this year, so being strategic as to where to spend those ski or snowboard dollars is imperative if crowded slopes aren’t your thing.

However, while Utah’s liquor laws might be confusing to some, trying to figure out the best opportunities among the newly-minted, multi-resort pass options might be even more challenging to comprehend. While this helpful article from The New York Times manages to unravel the myriad of opportunities that make up the 2019-2020 multi-mountain passes, we’ve also put together the following primer as a resource to help you decide which mountain (or mountains …) calls your name.

It should be noted that discount tickets are available for most resorts (if purchased in advance) at local ski/snowboard shops or Costco, but season passes are usually the best value, as long as you spend a certain number of days on the mountain.

Deer Valley Resort

Photo credit: Deer Valley Resort

The toniest of Utah resorts, the skier-only Deer Valley Resort was consistently ranked as one of the top resorts in North America by Ski Magazine until the periodical eliminated its resort rankings last fall (though Deer Valley still earned a “Best Service” distinction). But for those of us who have chosen to “Ski the Deer Valley Difference®” (yup, the saying is even registered) for years, the ranking was just window dressing to miles of corduroy leading to large servings of world-famous chili. With its recent acquisition by Alterra Mountain Co., Deer Valley’s full season pass options now include certain ski privileges provided by the Ikon Base Pass at 40 resorts, including limited days at Utah resorts Solitude, Brighton, Alta and Snowbird.

Full season passes are outlined in the table below, with restrictions regarding the Ikon pass as noted.

Pass Name Through
10/16/2019
Beginning
10/17/2019
Adult One (23-64) $2,365 $2,766
Midweek (Mon-Fri)* $1,350 $1,465
Young Adult (13-22) $1,400 $1,695
Child (5-12) $660 $765
Senior (65+)* $1,100 $1,236
Military Season Pass** $1,650 $1,650
Tot Season Pass*** $160 $185
Adaptive Pass* $1,235 $1,235

*Midweek, Senior and Adaptive Season Passes do not receive a complimentary Ikon Base Pass

**Military Season Passes are valid for active, reserve, honorably discharged and retired U.S. Military personnel and their spouse and are non-transferable. A current valid military photo ID for each pass holder must be presented at the time the pass is issued. Honorably discharged members of the military can purchase a military pass by calling 435-645-6626

***Tot Season Passes are not included in the Wasatch Benefit Program

There are also more wallet-friendly options available, such as Midweek Season Passes at just $1,350 (until Oct. 16) good Mondays-Fridays (but not during the Christmas holiday), or via Locals Only® Passes, which provide discounts of up to 40% off the ticket window rate:

Pass Name Pass Price Per-Day Pricing
Adult (18+) 5 Pass
(Valid seven days per week)
$525 $105
Adult Midweek 5 pass
(Monday-Friday)
$450 $90
Young Adult (13-22)
5 Pass
$440 $88
Child (5-12) 5 Pass $320 $64

When (weather permitting) the resort opens on Dec. 7, it will be interesting to see the effect of the Ikon Pass as it continues to offer up Deer Valley terrain to more skiers than before.

Park City Mountain

Photo credit: Park City Mountain

As Vail Resorts, Inc., which owns Park City Mountain, continues to resemble Pac Man – gobbling up resorts like blinking ghosts – the value of the company’s Epic Pass continues to grow. New this year, Epic Passholders have access to Snowbasin, Sun Valley and (if you’re in the area) Rusutsu-Japan, providing access to a massive number of resorts across North America and around the world.

But unlike Deer Valley Resort, which limits its number of skiers each day, Park City Mountain does not have a daily limit, sometimes resulting in long lift lines on the busiest days of the season. With the most terrain of any resort in North America, however, there’s plenty of mountain for everyone once you’ve made it past either the Park City or Canyons base areas.

Its cornerstone pass product, the restricted Epic Local pass, includes some blackout dates, but costs just $719 for adults, $579 for teens (ages 13-18) and $379 for children (ages 5-23). While unrestricted full Epic Passes are $969 for ages 13 and older, or $509 for ages 5-12, and offer unlimited riding at Vail’s wholly-owned resorts, with limited days at additional ski areas in Canada, Europe and Peak Resorts in the Northeast (pending regulatory reviews). Little ones through age four can receive a free season pass.

A truly “epic” value when it comes to passes is the Military Epic Pass option, which offers a full, unrestricted pass for just $159 for either active or retired military, with the same price offered to their dependents.

Snowbird, Alta or … Both?

Photo credit: Snowbird

For skiers and snowboarders, alike, Snowbird is hallowed ground, where extreme athletes and every-day cruisers can both find terrain to their liking. However, skiing purists (but not snowboarders) might prefer the Alta-Bird Pass, which offers a great value by allowing unlimited access to both resorts, while the Ikon and Mountain Collective passes provide access to additional ski areas beyond Little Cottonwood Canyon. For those looking to stay at Snowbird, or preferring to combine Alta and the Bird, the pass options are as follows (info on Alta-only passes can be found here):

Pass Type Current Price
(through Sept. 13, 2019)
Summit Adult $1,149
Summit Senior (65+) $799
Summit Young Adult (19-25) $1,249
Summit College/
Medical Resident
$739
Summit Military $739
Summit Teen (13-18) $439
Summit Youth (7-12) $299
Summit Family 4-Pack
(two adults, two kids)
$2,299
Pass Type Current Price
(through Sept. 13, 2019)
Alta-Bird Adult $1,549
Alta-Bird Senior (65+) $1,299
Alta-Bird Young Adult (18-25) $1,249
Alta-Bird Military $1,249
Alta-Bird Teen (13-17) $619
Alta-Bird Youth (7-12) $459
Alta-Bird Family 4-Pack
(two adults, two kids)
$3,099
Alta-Bird 6 & Under $89

Ski Utah 5th & 6th Grade Passport

One of the sweetest benefits of living (or just visiting) Utah is the Ski Utah 5th & 6th Grade Passport. At an all-in cost of just $45, 5th Graders can ski or ride three times at EACH of Utah’s resorts – which means a whopping 45 days on the mountain for just $45. The 6th Grade Passport is a little more modest with just on ticket at each mountain, but that’s still 15 days of skiing for just $15. Of course, the kids will likely need an adult to drive them to the mountain, so consider getting the Ski Utah Yeti Pass for $649, and receive on ticket at each of Utah’s 15 resorts to accompany your little shredder on his or her quest to conquer ALL the snow in Utah.

Additional areas to consider in Northern Utah include the budget-friendly Brighton, easy-to-navigate Solitude, charming Sundance and deeply-snowed Snowbasin. But wherever you find your favorite stash of Utah powder, you’ll find just one more reason why people Choose Park City. Connect with Christine Grenney at 435-640-4238, or visiting her website by clicking here to learn more about the distinctions between each resort, and the many mountain properties providing easy access to each.

Nonprofit Spotlight: Park City Education Foundation – Filling in the Funding Gap to Help Local Students Reach Their Life-Long Potential


With Utah routinely placing at the bottom of all states for per-pupil spending, the “It Takes a Village” mantra has been fully adopted by the residents and businesses of Park City, as evidenced by their support of the Park City Education Foundation (PCEF).

Founded in 1986, the mission of PCEF is to “help launch well prepared, curiosity driven, creatively inspired citizens of the world,” with the seven focus areas encompassing Academic Success, Wellness, College and Career Readiness, STEM, Early Childhood Education, The Arts, and Professional Development & Teacher Recognition.

During the 2019-20 school year, more than 100 programs will be funded by PCEF at the four elementary schools, Ecker Hill Middle School, Treasure Mountain Junior High and Park City High School, including Special Ed and DLI support, coding, National Ability Center Adaptive PE, Latinos in Action (LIA), academic fee waivers and mentor programs. District-wide programs include the Excellent Educator Awards and Teacher Grants. In total, PCEF has provided $11-million in program funding over the past 31 years, which accounts for 100% of the District’s discretionary funding.

Graphic credit: Park City Education Foundation

Within College and Career Readiness, the Bright Futures program helps guide first-generation college students up to – and through – higher education. With the college graduation rate for first-generation students at just 11%, Bright Futures connects with participants while in 10th grade stays with them until they successfully complete their college career. Tools such as financial planning,

An area PCEF funds in order to address a growing community need is the Park City School District Afterschool Program for kids in grades K-9. This program offers opportunities for students ranging from homework help to outdoor activities, all supervised and providing a safe place for approximately 450 students after the school day ends.

PCEF is also dedicated to providing funding directly to teachers and administrators by awarding more than $1-million annually in grants for classroom and school programs. “Express Grants” of $1,000 or less are also available, and must inspire students to reach their academic and lifelong potential in the areas of Academic Success, The Whole Child and/or Innovation.

One Book, One Community,” a program created by the American Library Association (ALA), encourages community-wide literacy by focusing on one book each year, with that book’s author visiting students at Treasure Mountain Junior High and Park City High School, in addition to participating in a community conversation open to the public. Past authors include Garth Stein (“The Art of Racing in the Rain”), Daniel James Brown (“Boys in the Boat), and Camron Wright (“The Rent Collector”). This year’s book is “The Boy who Harnessed the Wind,” by William Kamkwamba, and will include events on Oct. 8 & 9. This will be the 11th author visit presented by PCEF.

Running with Ed, Park City’s most entertaining relay race, takes place each May and raises significant funding for PCEF programs. (Photo credit: Park City Education Foundation/Running with Ed)

Finally, one of PCEF’s most high-profile events – and one I had the honor of co-chairing in 2019 and will be again in 2020 – is Running with Ed, which is a 38-mile relay race comprised of 10 legs traveling between each of the District’s seven school locations, with participants dressing up in fun costumes and enjoying themed gatherings at each of the school stops. I’m proud to report this year’s event raised $280K, and encourage you to participate when it returns on May 16, 2020!


Want to support PCEF’s many initiatives? There are simple ways, including the Foundation’s “Give $180” program, which represents a donation of just $1 per day of the 180 school days each year (and if you give before Oct. 5, you’ll get out of receiving call during their Phone-A-Thon). Donors at $1,000 or more annually can become members of the “Scholar Circle,” while “Golden Apple Sponsors” provide sustaining gifts of $50,000 or more. And – because Park City LOVES a party –  the annual Red Apple Gala has become one of the hottest event tickets in PC ( though this year’s event on Sept. 7 is sold out, keep an eye out for next year’s on-sale date by signing up for the PCEF newsletter here).

There are many reasons people Choose Park City, but the community support of its vibrant nonprofits definitely tops the list! Connect with Christine Grenney at 435-640-4238, or  by visiting her website by clicking here to learn more about the many amazing nonprofits that make this community one of a kind!

Property Taxes: When to Consider an Appeal


“… in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Benjamin Franklin, 1789

As the end of summer approaches, so, too, does the dreaded arrival of the Summit County Property Tax Notice. While rising property values are beneficial if you’re buying or selling, the increase also means a home or business owner’s tax burden will go up over the previous year.

Taxes in our community fund essential services, such as road maintenance, public schools, fire and police protection. The amount of tax paid is based on the appraised home value, which the office of the Summit County Assessor, Stephanie Larsen, determines the reasonable market value for your home, based upon prevailing local real estate market conditions but not necessarily “market value.”

A mountain biker enjoys one of the many trails maintained by the publicly-funded Basin Recreation.

In Utah, if a property is a primary residence, is it taxed at 55% of assessed value for up to one acre – anything more than one acre is taxed at 100% of assessed value. This can also apply to a property that is rented to a single tenant year-round, provided the owner applies for a Primary Residence Exemption. Second homes used as vacation homes, along with homes that are rented nightly or for short periods of time, are taxed at 100-percent of assessed value.

Make sure the county has not listed your property as a second home or vacation property if it is your primary residence, which can nearly double your taxes owed. It will state “Primarily Improved Property” as the property type. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure the information on record at the assessor’s office is accurate, and property owners cannot receive refunds for any previous taxes on properties not listed as primary. The exemption form can be found online by clicking here.

If the amount on the notice seems unreasonable, property owners do have the option to appeal their market value by the mid-September deadline. The following are a few steps to take to determine if your property’s assessed value is fair:

Double Check the Property Description

If the number of bedrooms, square footage and/or other amenities are inaccurate, this can affect the assessed value. This can be corrected by a reappraisal of your property, or by submitting drawings to the assessor’s office. The office relies on property owners to provide the most accurate information possible.

Talk to Your Neighbors

If your bill seems high, it’s likely your neighbors are having similar thoughts. Get together to strategize and possibly present a unified appeal for your particular neighborhood or subdivision. A homeowners association in Georgia recently mobilized, involving the state in their appeal, when their taxes increased by as much as 1,000%. However, if recent sales in your neighborhood demonstrate a significant jump in property values, which is not uncommon in Summit County, it might be best to appreciate the fact that your investment is sound.

Hire an Appraiser or Use a Recently-Conducted Appraisal

It’s possible your property was over-assessed. If you’ve recently purchased your property and have a current appraisal that falls well below the county’s version, it’s likely the professional appraisal provided at the time of your transaction will be considered as valid.

Filing Your Appeal

After receiving your property tax notice, you have 45 days to file an appeal. This can be accomplished by either submitting an electronic Board of Equalization Appeal Form via the county’s online portal, or downloading a PDF version to fill out and send to the Summit County Board of Equalization. You must include a copy of your property tax notice, along with any evidence, such as an appraisal, sales comparable to your property or MLS – Multiple Listing Services – data to support your appeal. Contact me if you would like help with this.

Decisions depend on the availability and workload of Board of Equalization Appeal Officers, and could take several weeks. Once a decision is reached, you can expect to receive a “Notice of Determination.” If your appeal is denied, you cannot appeal your final property tax bill when it is received in November.

For more information, contact the Summit County Assessor’s Office at 435-336-3257, or visit them at the county courthouse in Coalville, at 60 North Main Street. The Assessor can be emailed at [email protected].

If you have any questions or need help finding comparable properties to support your appeal, please reach out to me. I’m happy to walk you through the art of how to appeal your property taxes anytime.

There are many reasons people Choose Park City beyond continually-increasing home values. Connect with Christine Grenney at 435-640-4238, or visiting her website by clicking hereto learn more about the many benefits to living in this amazing area.


The Value of a Review


Back in the ‘70s, Faberge Organics launched an iconic advertising campaign for their shampoo wherein one person so loved their product, she “told two friends, and they told two friends, and, and so on, and so on …”

In the era of social media, every interaction is now broadcast as a similar word-of-mouth endorsement, with both positive and negative experiences shared with our group of followers or friends. And with online review sites, those experiences can be seen globally.

The majority of my business comes through referrals, and many of those clients making referrals have also taken a few minutes of their valuable time to write a review about how I helped them buy or sell their property. The value of potential clients learning from past clients about how I might handle what is often the largest transaction of their lives is invaluable, and I am eternally grateful to have so many clients who are willing to provide an endorsement that reflects our time together. For me, it’s the equivalent of a chef earning the much-coveted Michelin Stars, or an author reaching the top of The New York Times bestseller list.

I encourage you to check out my GoogleZillow, and Facebook reviews, and – if we’ve worked together – let me know how I did. In an increasingly-competitive industry, I am continually striving to earn every star that every client – past and future – is generous enough to bestow upon me, especially if it inspires more people to Choose Park City in the future.

Ten Things to do in Park City this Summer


Though many recognize Park City as a winter sports mecca, locals know that summer days can be the best days when the Greatest Snow on Earth has left the mountains to fill our many refreshing reservoirs.

Deciding where to start can be daunting, so I’ve culled 10 fun things to do in Park City in the summer, offering something for everyone, regardless of age or ability.

The Flying Aces wow the crowds at the Utah Olympic Park (Photo credit: Flying Ace Productions)

Utah Olympic Park Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Show

Saturdays & Sundays through Sept. 1st at 1 p.m.

Witness the awe-inspiring athleticism of winter sports athletes – sans winter – at the Utah Olympic Park (UOP), one of the Olympic Legacy venues from the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Games. Originally the location of the bobsled, luge, skeleton and ski jumping events, the venue continues to be the training ground for current and future Olympians and National Team skiers and snowboarders, some of whom spend their Saturdays and Sundays in the summer wowing the crowds with their gravity-defying freestyle tricks. During this no-cost, 30-minute choreographed show, athletes soar up to 60 feet in the air before landing the UOP’s Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool. While you’re there, be sure to tour the Alf Engen Ski Museum and George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games Museum. There are also nature trails available for hiking and biking, and the Discovery Zone features a climbing wall and playground to let the wee ones get their wiggles out.

Utah Olympic Park
3419 Olympic Parkway
435-658-4200
[email protected]

Paddle Boarding in the Uintas

Standup paddle boarders learn the ropes from Park City SUP at Pebble Beach in lower Deer Valley Resort (Photo credit: Park City SUP)

Standup paddle boarding (SUP) has become one of the most popular low-impact water sports over the past decade. Many local SUP enthusiasts will head to the nearby Jordanelle and Deer Creek reservoirs, but for a uniquely-Utah experience, I recommend you head up into the Uinta Mountains and bring your SUP to a pristine alpine lake.

Park City provides easy access to the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, which contains the western portion of the Uinta Mountain Range, created by presidential proclamation in 1906 and containing more than 1,000 lakes. Encompassing 460,000 acres, it is the largest wilderness area in Utah. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “Uinta” is derived from the Ute word “Yoov-we-teuh,” meaning pine tree or pine forest, while “Wasatch” is a Ute word meaning “low place in high mountains,” and “Cache is the French word for “to hide,” harkening to the fur trappers who were the area’s first European visitors and would hide their bounty until it could be traded.

The stunning Mirror Lake Highway takes visitors from nearby Kamas up through the forest, cresting at its namesake, a 53-acre lake located at more than 10,000 feet above sea level and encompassing 53 acres. Mirror Lake offers a cool respite from the summer heat at lower elevations, but is often inaccessible until late spring/early summer.

There is a fee for recreating along Mirror Lake Highway, so be sure to stop by one of the ranger stations or self-service areas on the way in. It’s just $6 for 1-3 days, and annual passes are $45. More information on area access and passes can be found by clicking here. Many local shops rent SUPs, but Park City SUP – located in lower Deer Valley – specializes in the sport and provides quick lessons to help get you on your way.

Park City SUP
1375 Deer Valley Drive South
801-558-9878
[email protected]

Mountain Biking in Round Valley

A mountain biker tackles the trails high above Park City (Photo credit: Mountain Trails Foundation)

Park City’s network of mountain biking trails garnered the very first Gold Level Ride Center award from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), and for good reason. Mountain bikers from novice to expert can find room to roll among the town’s 400 miles of contiguous, non-motorized recreation trail. One of the most popular and accessible areas is Round Valley, which encompasses 700 acres of preserved open space, and includes 30 miles of soft surface double-track and flowing single-track trail. Considered appropriate for bikers of all skill levels, you will also find hikers and trail runners enjoying the area. MTB Project provides a good overview of trails to try; check it out by clicking here.

Just visiting, or don’t have wheels of your own? There are many bike rental shops to choose from, with a comprehensive list of rental companies listed here. There are many access points for Round Valley, but the most popular tends to be by the Quinn’s Junction Recreation Complex, located off S.R. 248 just as you head out of Park City.

Round Valley
600 Gilmor Way

AQUA X ZONE at Jordanelle Reservoir

Mondays-Wednesdays – 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursdays-Sundays – 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Test your agility at the AQUA x ZONE at the Jordanelle (Photo credit: AQUA x ZONE)

Summertime temps in Park City can be downright hot, even at 7,000 feet. To cool down, many locals head to the reservoirs, but if you’re looking for some out-of-the-box watersport action, check out the AQUA x ZONE at Jordanelle Reservoir. Located 10 minutes from Park City, the AQUA x ZONE is an inflatable modular water sports park that accommodates up to 75 people at once for running, jumping, swinging and swimming through a variety of obstacles designed for every skill level. Participants must be at least six years old and 48-inches tall, and life vests are provided and required. Passes can be purchased in advance, and vehicles entering the state park must purchase an access pass.

AQUA x ZONE
Jordanelle State Park
515 UT-319 (off Highway 40 on the way to Heber City at the Mayflower exit)
(435) 962-9663

Stewart Falls Hike at Sundance Resort

Hikers take in the splendor that is Stewart Falls (Photo credit: Sundance Mountain Resort)

Any reason is a great reason to visit Sundance Mountain Resort, and the chance to experience one of the most beautiful water falls in Northern Utah is definitely among them.

Stewart Falls is named for the Scottish family that – for two generations – inhabited the land that is now Sundance Mountain Resort, ultimately developing it into a small ski area named “Timp Haven.” In 1969, the land was purchased by actor/activist Robert Redford, whose vision was to create a community dedicated to environmental conservation and artistic experimentation. In addition to visiting the falls, I encourage you to visit one of the restaurants at the resort base, and check out the general store and mercantile, famous for their high-quality artisan goods.

The hike to Stewart Falls is considered an easy 3.5-miles (total), and takes you through beautiful groves of pines and aspens on the east side of Mt. Timpanogos. The trail begins at Aspen Grove, located along the Alpine Loop Trail, and offers plenty of parking and rest rooms. There is a $6 entry fee, which is paid at the Forest Service pay station. The Utah Outdoor Activities site provides excellent directions to the trailhead and down to the falls. Check that out by clicking here. The falls can also be accessed from Sundance by purchasing a chairlift ticket to Ray’s Summit and hiking down. On a hot day, plan to go all the way up to the falls and cool off in its mist.

Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series at Deer Valley Resort

Wednesday nights at 5:30 through August 21

Concert goers enjoy music in the mountains, courtesy of the Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series at Deer Valley Resort, presented by Mountain Town Stages (Photo credit: Mountain Town Stages)

What began years ago as intimate outdoor shows at the City Park pavilion has morphed into a weekly community gathering of music-lovers at the much larger Snow Park Amphitheatre. Thanks to local nonprofit, Mountain Town Music, this all-ages event features local performers, free-of-charge, serenading crowds who hang out on blankets and chairs, enjoying picnics and the camaraderie of their fellow mountain-town dwellers. Bring your kids, but not your dogs, your favorite cocktail and a bite to eat and revel in one of the regular happenings that makes Park City so very special. Make the evening extra easy-going by pre-ordering something from Deer Valley Resort’s world-class culinary team. Picnics for specific shows can be ordered by clicking here, and concessions items are ordered here.

Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series
Deer Valley Resort, Snow Park Amphitheatre
2250 Deer Valley Drive South
435-901-SONG (7664)
[email protected]

Float the Provo River

A group tubes down the scenic Provo River (Photo credit: High Country Adventure)

Mondays – Saturdays, May through September
Shuttle starts at 10 a.m.

The Provo River originates in the high Uinta Mountains and flows into the Jordanelle Reservoir in nearby Heber City. Below the Jordanelle’s dam, the “Middle Provo” flows to Deer Creek Reservoir, while the lower section of the Provo flows out of Deer Creek through Provo Canyon and into Utah Lake. The river is named for trapper Etienne Provost, for whom the city of Provo is named. It’s known for running high and fast in the spring, due to snow runoff, and the Lower Provo, where I recommend booking a tubing session with High Country Adventure outfitters, features Class I and some Class II rapids, along with obstacles.

For that reason, the outfitter recommends individual tubers be at least 12 years old and taller than 5’2”. Adults can link tubes with children ages eight and older. The weight range for tubing is 80-275 pounds, with heavier swimmers, and those who are non-swimmers, able to enjoy the river on a guided raft, as tubing is strenuous and requires decent swimming skills and good physical shape. The two-hour tube rental includes shuttle service, life jackets and basic river navigation. You can also rent wetsuits, booties and a smaller tube to hold your cooler. Sign up for their $29 barbecue add-on, available with the 4 p.m. rafting trip, and feast on ribs, smoked turkey, pulled pork, beef brisket, BBQ beans, rolls, cheesy potatoes and coleslaw post-float.

High Country Adventure
3702 East Provo Canyon Road, Provo
801.224.2500
Email form

Experience the Kamas Valley on Horseback

Country music artist, Scotty McCreery, takes to the trails with friends before performing at the nearby DeJoria Center in mid-July 2019 (Photo credit: Rhodes Valley Outfitters)

Few activities are considered more “Western” than horseback riding, and you won’t find many places to ride in the U.S. more scenic than the nearby Kamas Valley. Located 20 minutes from Park City, the Kamas Valley has retained much of its agrarian roots, and today is still comprised of many working farms and ranches, intermingled with housing developments.

Because so many wide open spaces still exist in Kamas, it’s a perfect place to book a horseback ride through Rhodes Valley Outfitters. Their rides are customized for riders of any level, and utilize a herd of friendly, reliable horses to traverse more than 800 acres of mountainous terrain. They only book private group rides, so no sharing the trail with strangers as the horses plod forward, clustered head-to-tail. Rides are offered year-round, and riders must be at least eight-years-old to participate, and cannot be heavier than 230 pounds. They’ll even start you off with a 10- to 15-minute arena lesson to introduce you to your horse. Rhodes also offer pack trips to help get your camping gear to into secluded spots, without the hassle of carrying it in yourself. Treat yourself after the ride to a cool beverage or tasty meal at the on-site State Road Tavern & Restaurant.

Rhodes Valley Outfitters
455 E 1450 N, Kamas
435-731-0560
Email form

Weber River Rafting

Adventurers of all ages can enjoy floating the Weber River (Photo credit: Destination Sports & Adventures)

The Weber (pronounced “WEE-bər”) River begins in the northwest area of the Uinta Mountains and empties into the Great Salt Lake. Named for the American fur trapper, John Henry Weber, the Weber flows through pastoral farmlands lands in rural Summit County, offering a river rafting experience singular to the area.

Destination Sports & Adventures takes groups of all abilities (ages 3 years+) out on the Weber for half- and full-day adventures, with options for add-ons like lunch, dinner and transportation to/from Park City. The river experience begins with mild, flat stretches of water that lead to Class II+ rapids and culminate at Taggart Falls. Trips that conclude in the early evening are recommended for the best wildlife viewing. Reservations can be made by clicking here; packages featuring additional activities, such as fly fishing and biking, are also available.

Destination Sports & Adventures
435-649-8092

Hot Air Ballooning

It’s smiles for miles for these balloon passengers (Photo credit: Skywalker Balloon Company)

If you’ve always wanted to be like the 5th Dimension and go “up, up and away” in a beautiful balloon, Park City is the ideal location, with 360 views of the mountains and valleys surrounding the area.

Balloons launch at sunrise, as that’s when the atmosphere is the most stable and predictable (balloons operators will not launch if the weather is unstable or if winds increase to more than eight-to-ten miles per hour). Rides last an hour, and participants can help with the set-up of the balloon, if they’re interested. Most flights finish with a glass of champagne (or juice) in homage to a tradition started in 18th Century France, when the first hot air balloons would land in random fields, prompting farmers to attack them with pitchforks after mistaking them for fire-breathing dragons. Upon landing, the balloon pilots would offer the farmers champagne in a show of goodwill, which was gratefully received as suitable payment for landing rights. I, however, like to think of the champagne as a toast to landing safely on terra firma …

Skywalker Balloon Company
801-824-3934
[email protected]

Bigfoot Balloons
385-285-5899
[email protected]

If your next adventure leads you to Choose Park City, connect with Christine Grenney at 435-640-4238, or visit her website by clicking here to learn more about the area.