Part 2: Park City Mountain Resort
Park City Mountain Resort is big...really big. I mean, duh, it is the largest ski resort in the United States thanks to Vail Resorts acquisition of the original Park City Resort which they connected with the former Canyons Mountain via the Quicksilver Gondola. This gave them 7300 acres of ski-able terrain and something you probably should trying skiing all in one day. However, when you're on a tour of the resort, you can damn sure try.
Although we fell short by quite a bit we did manage to ski from The Canyons Village side to the Park City side and back all before lunch. This was an insane amount of vertical and terrain by a day's standards but worth it nonetheless, to both see what this grandiose mountain has to offer and earn the, once again insane amount of food and beverages I would consume the rest of the day.
The Best Breakfast Burrito Fueled my Park City Mountain Tour
Thank God I ate what I have been describing all week as the best breakfast burrito I've ever had because with all that acreage we covered, I needed the energy this big guy provided. Seriously, this breakfast burrito from Murdock's was delightful. Filled with eggs, two different types of cheeses, sausage, applewood smoked bacon, and hash browns it had me all fueled up and was the perfect start to, what would turn out to be, an amazing day. Our sojourn began when we met Margo and Jessica (the resort's communications managers) at the Red Pine Lodge, site of our lunch.
From there, they gave us the grand tour of Park City Mountain Resort which took us around the Canyons, to the Quiksilver Gondola, which offers up some pretty amazing views, and back. I feel like I got a really good idea of what this place is all about and my only regret is that I didn't have time (like 5 days) to spend there and ski some more...hopefully next time. Who knows, maybe I can find a way to stay at one of these ridiculously big houses that people have on the mountain as their third or fourth house.
St. Paddy's Day Après Began at Lunch
Our return to the Red Pine Lodge was the beginning of the St. Patrick's Day festivities that consumed my afternoon. I actually ordered a salad (yes a salad) and a beer. Good thing I kept it kind of light at lunch because once we left, it was all downhill from there, and I'm not talking about the skiing. I mean we did ski a bit...about 30 yards to the lift which we took up to The Lookout Cabin where we stopped for a Bloody Mary, some poutine and the incredible Wasatch Mountain views. I mean, seriously, who doesn't like poutine with a view?
Somehow a quick stop turned into an hour visit and with après ski looming at The Umbrella Bar we needed to get a few more runs in quickly. One of those runs was a steep tree run which emptied out into a natural half pipe. This was definitely one of the coolest trails I've ever been on, partially for its luge like characteristics and partially because there were felled trees blocking parts of the pipe portion of the trail. Cool factor aside, as we finished it up, I was thirsty and the time had come to really begin celebrating this wonderful saint.
The Umbrella Bar: How Après Ski Should Be
The Umbrella Bar was packed which should come as no surprise since there was live music, it was 55 and sunny and it was St. Patrick's Day. Ordering a beer was never a problem, they've got their system on lock however, finding a seat did get a little tricky. Rocking my green All About Après sweatshirt and green All About Après distressed trucker (shameless plug), we meandered around until Paul was able to make friends with a young ski bum who flew in for the weekend and was nice enough to let us sit with him. That's what après ski is all about though, meeting new people and sharing your stories. With the weather this beautiful and the beers flowing the stories just kept getting better and so did the people watching. Particularly of the three 50 something year old guys behind us who were blatantly hitting on the two 20 year old girls sunbathing or sunburning. We managed to convince our new friend that he needed to be back there talking to those girls since he was actually single and young. Nothing like living vicariously through the new guy.
All the while, the band was playing, everyone was having a blast and the St. Paddy's day paraphernalia was being tossed around like beads at Mardi Gras. Meanwhile, I was highly engaged in a really interesting conversation with the aforementioned Jessica Miller on what she described as the three types of après ski: Type 1 is where you head right from the slopes to an on-mountain bar and then out from there into town to party all night in your ski pants without any shame; type 2 where you head home after a day on the mountain and party among friends at the condo/house usually with a hot tub, bevvies and food involved; and type 3 is slopes to apres ski on the mountain with a quick stop at home to freshen up and then out to dinner and bar hopping.
Jessica's après ski breakdown is brilliant and, looking back on it, one that I wish I had recorded on video. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to go back and experience this all over again. Be sure to expect a more in-depth analysis on this in a separate post. Stay tuned.
An Overindulging Dinner at The Farm
Our après ski at The Umbrella Bar lasted a bit longer than expected. This left me short on time to check in at our pretty sweet accommodations, the Waldorf Astoria, Park City, and make it back to The Farm for dinner. Not a real farm, of course, but rather a restaurant conveniently located in The Canyons Village, adjacent to the Umbrella Bar. The Farm also happens to be a pretty cool après ski spot as well and serves up a special menu just for that. Another reason that I will have to go back, I guess. While at après, Jessica had mentioned that the chef there was German so I felt compelled to order the Niman Herb Brined Tomahawk Pork Chop which with pretzel and apple bread pudding and a white cabbage salad seemed quite German. I also partook in the Herbed Spatzle (very German) and local charcuterie board (quite possibly the largest I've ever seen) braised oxtail onion soup for myself. None, and I do mean none, of this disappointed. It is hard to go wrong with a charcuterie board filled with cured meats and cheeses except if you are a vegetarian who is lactose intolerant and the oxtail soup was a creative play on the traditional French onion soup that you would normally order. However, it was the spatzle and the pork chop that stole the show. Creamy, cheesy and filled with delightful flavors of shallots and truffles it was a taste explosion. Meanwhile, the Tomahawk Pork Chop may actually have been the size of a real tomahawk and while being cooked to perfection and paired with the ideal sides was a meat eater's dream.
A Night Out in Park City, Utah
Normally a few hours of après ski and a glutinous dinner is enough to send a skier back to their room in a food and drink induced coma. However, this is Park City Resort and we were working on a type 3 après. We still had the town to explore and it was, after all, St. Patrick's day so quitting now was not an option. Heading into Park City for the first time ever, I was struck by how clean it was. Like it wasn't in a place where snow and mud existed to form the slop that usually prevails in ski towns. I'm not sure how they keep it this clean but it's quite impressive.
We began our night on the town at Old Town Cellars, a location that I have featured before on the site and a must visit location on Main St. in Park City. Having trademarked the phrase, The Official Wine of Après, these guys are truly All About Après. A winery in the heart of ski town might seem a bit illogical given the burgeoning craft beer scene that has associated itself with après ski. However, I love it! Dare to be different and then do it well and that is exactly what Old Town Cellars is accomplishing.
The location offers a laid back and chill vibe. Patrons where flannels and hats and drink shots from the bar's shotski, a notion that is very hard to believe for a winery. However, this is a ski town though, so it shouldn't be surprising and their wine fits the bill. The two that I had were very drinkable, tasty wines in particular the Old Town Outlaw which I enjoyed on its own but thought would go well with food too. Overall, I loved OTC and wish more people would take unique chances like they have.
The next and last stop of the night was the equally unique and legendary No Name Saloon. The No Name Saloon appears perennially on the list of the top après ski locations in America and is a must stop for anyone hanging out in downtown Park City. What an interesting and fun place. Every inch of the bar is filled with stuff. Yes, stuff...there's no other name for what is hanging, sitting, sticking to the walls, tables and ceiling. Take for example the row of old toilets perched on the shelf along the wall on the upstairs, outdoor patio. WTF.
There were equally as many people packing this joint and the atmosphere was loud, boisterous and super fun. The No Name Saloon seems like the perfect place to start your après ski adventure with a few cocktails, a definite possibility since it is located about a block from the town lift, and for us, the ideal location to bring an end to an amazing day in an epic resort town.