When the invitation to visit Park City came through my inbox, I didn’t have to think twice about going. I love it there and am always down for a visit. The notion of staying at the incredible Stein Eriksen Lodge, working out with the people from Altra and Nordictrack iFit, indulging on delicious food and drinks from various Park City haunts all while hanging out amidst the beautiful foliage laden backdrop of Deer Valley only upped the ante. Talk about in my wheelhouse. Workout, eat, drink...that’s basically my weekends in a nutshell. The fact that the setting was Park City, Utah only made it more intriguing. So with very little hesitation, I hopped on that big metal tube we call an airplane and headed out West for a trip that was taylor made for me.
Stein's and Deer Valley set an Unrivaled Standard of Excellence
If you have been to Deer Valley, you know that there is just something that separates it from the pack. Sure their terrain may not be the gnarliest (you can find some though if you look) but there are reasons abound as to why they consistently rank as one of the top ski resorts in the United States. The place is just beautiful and the vibe is very homey and familial. However, where they really distance themselves from others is their food scene.
My local driver from the airport to the resort even said, “as a local, I don’t really eat at ski resorts, but I make sure to eat when I am at Deer Valley.” I don’t blame him. The food there is unreal. On my first day, we had a picnic with individual packages that consisted of an artisan cheese platter, roasted beet and arugula salad and braised beef short rib over gnocchi. Yes, you read that correctly, braised short rib over gnocchi...at a picnic! It was DAMN GOOD too. Who does that?
My grab and go breakfast that day at the Deer Valley Grocery Cafe was ridiculously tasty too. Most people think that breakfast is breakfast, but not this one. The Breakfast Plate which included an ample serving of scrambled eggs mixed with Cabot cheddar cheese, asparagus and an heirloom tomato salad was enough to tantalize my taste buds however it was the Niman Ranch apple sausage links that really put everything over the top. You could tell that it was incredibly fresh and the sweet yet salty flavor was something that I’ve never experienced in a sausage before.
As far as experiences go, there is no better word to describe the Stein Eriksen Lodge. Utah’s only five star resort is luxury at its finest and my absolute favorite place to stay. How could it not be? The staff is available and smiling the second you walk through the door and the rooms...the rooms are incredible. Even the entry level ones have beds that suck you in like a vacuum so that you’ll never want to leave. Seriously, I need to find out where they get their pillows, I’ve never slept so good on trips in my life.
When you do finally wake up, you have this majestic view of the sunrise over the Wasatch mountains while wandering the most beautiful grounds a hotel could have. So beautiful, you can easily get lost, hopefully finding yourself at some point in their new pool or, even better, their brand new game room, reliving your childhood racing friends on the snowmobile game or playing four-way air hockey.
Want to act more like an adult? That’s fine too, especially if you are adulting at Stein’s famous Jazz Brunch. Do yourself a favor and start off with their Carnivore Bloody Mary. Topped with bacon and beef jerky, It’s the obvious choice when you aren’t sure whether you want to eat or drink. Once you’re ready, pick up a plate and get on it. There’s so many platters of deliciousness to choose from that you should really plan on spending a few hours.
I encourage you to go in courses and by courses I mean the omelette course, the cured meat and cheese course, the smoked fish course, the pancake and waffle course. You get my drift. Trust me, the only disappointment that you’ll experience is that your stomach is not big enough to eat it all. Other than that, the word disappointment doesn’t exist at the Stein Eriksen Lodge. It’s simply that good.
Time to work, I mean work out with Altra and Nordictrack iFit
The luxurious accommodations provided by the Stein Eriksen Lodge and Deer Valley resort were only the tip of the iceberg on this trip. There was also the little component of being invited out there to workout while demoing some new gear from Altra and new equipment from Nordictrack iFit. In all honesty when I first met the peeps from Altra at Outdoor Retailer this summer, I had only heard of the company and knew very little about them. Since that time, I have received a few pairs of their shoes that I wear every single day. I actually forced my wife to purchase a pair, that she also wears regularly to run in. We even rocked them on our recent trip to Disney and they held up quite nicely amidst the six days of walking, a compliment that if you’ve ever been, you’ll completely understand.
This time around, Altra subjected me to a 4.5 mile trail run that began at 8000 feet and culminated at 9300 feet. Let me preface this with the fact that I have never run 4.5 miles in my life, don’t train at intervals much further than a mile and absolutely, positively have never train at an altitude like this. And...I did it! Thanks to my running guide from Altra, Gary and their Lone Peak trail runners I felt completely comfortable the entire way and a sense of pride upon completion.
I also donned the Lone Peaks while demoing Nordictrack I-Fit’s new line of training equipment. This stuff is like Peloton on steroids. Each machine, from the rower to the bike to the treadmill has it’s own high def screen that is equipped with a multitude of programs conducted by world class trainers. Some workouts are filmed in the studio but what is really cool is that others are filmed on remote locations around the world.
I was actually running on the treadmill while paying attention to the trainer who was guiding me while running in Vernazza, Italy. Taking in those incredible views of the Cinque Terra made the monotony of treadmill running easier to handle and I was bummed when my session was over. The best part, since the machine is your trainer, you don’t have to worry about adjusting the speed or incline. It’s all done for you based on the program you choose, taking the thinking out of the equation and making it ideal for the majority of the general population.
We Earned our Après. Time to Eat and Drink in Park City
It’s a good thing we did all of that working out especially since overindulgence is the word that I would use most to describe my food and drink experience that weekend. I earned it though, especially after the two hour mountain bike ride on Saturday afternoon. Now it was time to stray from my macro tracking lifestyle and live a little. As I mentioned earlier, the food at Deer Valley Resort and Stein Eriksen Lodge is quite amazing, and oh so worth it. In fact, I would’ve been happy to gluttonize myself right there all weekend. However, despite our home base’s delectably delicious sustenance, we did venture into Park City to sample some local fare.
Venturing down to historic Main Street is a must. There is so much to do with shopping, restaurants and bars that a weekend just isn’t enough time, but we did make a small run at doing it some justice, kicking off our mini-tour at the High West Distillery. A highly acclaimed, James Beard nominated gastro-distillery, the food and drinks at High West are off the charts. Known for their core four whiskey offerings that they serve on their own or stirred up into some tasty cocktails you simply cannot go wrong. Try their signature Dead Man’s Boots, a tasty mixture of tequila and rye and be sure to complement it with an array of food, including their wings (some of the best that I have ever eaten) and the shishito peppers. With food and drink that does not disappoint and a convenient location next to the town lift, it's an easy choice for the first stop on your Park City après-ski tour.
With cocktails and apps this good merely serving as the kick off our Saturday night on Main a high bar had been set and anything else after had big plates to fill. The first night Tupelo accepted the challenge knocked it out of the park right away with the most ridiculous southern biscuits and honey butter that have ever graced my taste buds. Seriously, I could have been happy with just them. In fact,as the waiter went to take this basket from the table with one left in it, I quickly reached out snatching it away like a little kid stealing a candy bar. Embarrassed? Nah, the table understood completely. These bite sized bits of goodness were a tough act to follow but the appetizer of heirloom tomatoes, burrata and roasted brussel sprouts as well as the Elk Bolognese were equally stupendous. I left full and replenished from a day of tough workouts.
Sunday night was more of the same as the group invaded Riverhorse on Main. This Main St. institution is a must and was where I really took some risks with my order. Not that I eat Elk very often, but I eat Buffalo far less and anything tartar rarely graces my palate. Yet, the Buffalo tartar was exactly what I ordered as an appetizer and when it can out with a soft egg yolk on top, I knew that I was in for a treat. Anything topped with runny egg is instantly elevated to next level status in my book and this dish went far beyond. With one poke of the fork, the ooey gooeyness of the egg instantly burst onto the rare buffalo creating an indescribable melange of flavors. Sticking with my mid-West game theme, I went with the braised buffalo short ribs for dinner and basically licked the plate clean. No dishwasher needed here. It was fall-off-the-bone tender and each bite melted in my mouth. Washing it down with the Intermountain Wheat beer from the local Epic Brewing served to compliment the dish well and it was arguably the best beer that I had that entire weekend from a sample size was not small. I am after all in après-ski training season.
Turns out that this trip to Park City was perfect for that. The very notion of working out followed by gathering with friends to chat about it over so food and drinks is exactly what we are all about. The fact that it was set amidst the beautiful backdrop of Deer Valley resort, at the Stein Eriksen lodge whose five star luxury conditions are unrivaled with night caps taking in the foodie scene on Main St. only added to how spectacular this trip really was.