Top 10 winter activities in Park City, Utah: no skis or snowboards required


Park City, Utah, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Utah Olympic Games this season in grand style. If you’re headed there for the skiing and snowboarding, here are 10 other Park City activities to add to your itinerary.

 1. Gold medal adventures: Experience five-times the force of gravity while careening down the full length of the Olympic bobsled run, with a trained driver, fly solo down a section of the skeleton run, or take a clinic in ski jumping, mogul skiing, or terrain park tricks at the Utah Olympic Park. While there, don’t miss the Alf Engen Ski Museum and the Eccles Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum.

2. Zipideedoodah: You must have no fear of heights if you plan to fly over the canyon between Lookout Peak and Red Pine Lodge, a span of more than 2,100 feet, suspended from a zipline on a Zip Tour Adventure at Canyons resort. Too scary? Choose the demo and Red Pine Zip Tour, and skip the big whizzzzzzz.

 3. Wheee! No need to take off the ski boots to ride the Alpine Coaster at Park City Mountain Resort, and since the access is at the base, even those who don’t ski or snowboard can enjoy the dipsy doodles and looping curves of this mountain roller coaster. You control the speed…or not.

4. Lunch run: When the belly rumbles, most skiers and snowboarders at Park City Mountain Resort slide into one of the area’s on-mountain or base restaurants. Instead, head down Creole or Quit’n’time and Town, all intermediate trails, to the base of the Town Lift, on Park City’s Main Street. You’ll have your choice of restaurants.

5. Sip sliding along: Tour, taste, and eat at High West Distillery & Saloon, Utah’s first legal distillery since 1870 and the world’s only gastro-distillery (or so it says). Located downtown, at the base of the Quittin’ Time trail within steps of the Town Lift, there’s no reason not to come in for a tour, including the 250-gallon copper pot still, and a shot; better yet, stick around for dinner, with its whisky-accents. Go ahead, bring the kids, they have their own menu and will enjoy the western flavor.

6. Mine history: The Park City Museum isn’t your usual musty local historical society treasure trove. This one is new, interactive, and engaging. Know those plush high-speed quads and six-packs on the mountain? Here you can experience one of the mountain’s earliest lifts, but sitting in a mining train that transported skiers two miles into the belly of they old silver mine, and view the hoist that lifted them to the surface.

7. Go fish: Yes, it’s pricey, but Deer Valley’s Seafood Buffet is legendary. If it has to do with seafood, it’s most likely here in some form. Traveling with someone who doesn’t eat seafood, not to worry, they’ve got you covered with landlubber fare, too.  Stations may include the Natural Buffet, with fresh options, salads, and smoked and raw fish; Appetizers,  where you can load up on items ranging from bouillabaisse to baby back ribs; Carvery Station, with choices that might include prime rib or duck; Hot Entrees; and, should you still have room, the Bakery with desserts. Go hungry. Really, really hungry.

8. Make like an Egyptian: With an interior inspired by the discovery of King Tut’s Tomb, the Egyptian Theater is a visual feast—and that’s before the show starts. This historic theater, opened in 1926 in the shell of a late19th-century opera house, attracts a wide range of entertainment ranging from hypnotists and comedians to nationally renowned performers and retro acts.

 9. Hit Jupiter Bowl: No, not the famed alpine terrain at Park City Mountain Resort, but the high-tech, ultra-modern Jupiter Bowl lanes in town. Think beer, booze, burgers, and bowling, with lane-side food and beverage service and bumpers for beginners. Still think it’s a snooze? Add multi-screen audio-visual for sports and music, Will consoles, billiards lounge, and an arcade. Guitar Hero? That, too. It’s the hotspot of Kimball Junction.

 10. Bwaahaahaa: It’s Halloween whenever Park City Ghost Tours’ period-costumed guides introduce time-traveling visitors to some of the colorful legends and characters associated with Sin City’s mining days: think hard drinking, gambling, brothels, fights, and unexplained deaths.

Maine Travel Maven Hilary Nangle, author of Moon Maine, Moon Coastal Maine, and  Moon Acadia National Park, writes about travel, skiing, and culture for newspapers, magazines, and websites.

Coaster photo courtesy Park City Mountain Resort
Zipline photo courtesy the Canyons
Bobsled and underground ski lift photos by Hilary Nangle
Stills photo courtesy High West Distillery & Saloon