Guest Post – First Impressions of Canyons Resort
First Impressions of Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah, by Bruce Sallan
The first time I skied in Park City was in the 1970’s. I came up with a buddy and we stayed in a dungeon of a hotel on Main Street. There was this baby resort near the entrance of town that had another name than Canyons Resort, but its reputation was simply that it was a tiny resort for beginners. Being the cocky teens we were, we didn’t bother going there.
Fast-forward a bunch of decades and I discovered the poshness of Deer Valley. When I first went there and saw ski valets and a buffet that rivals any in Vegas, I was in heaven. The runs were sweet, if not too difficult, but even their heavenly chocolate chip cookies couldn’t quench my taste for more.
Late last year, my wife and I bought a town-home in Park City after being Californians and Mammoth skiers for years. We heard that Talisker purchased Canyons Resort and had grown to the point where it was now the third largest – as far as skiable terrain – in the country. Hello?! It was time to check it out.
As luck would have it, the first couple of days were very cold, but we began to get a feel for the mountain. The first highlight – especially for my cold-blooded tiny wife – was riding the Orange Bubble Express chairlift with its heated seats. Yes, heated seats! Her bum was quite happy, as was I to finally see a big smile on her face.
Over the next few days, we had bluebird days and snowy days, and realized that Canyons is NOT the baby resort of decades ago. In fact, it may be one of the best all-around ski resorts I’ve ever skied.
Throughout the rest of this season, I will be sharing my continued explorations of Canyons Resort. Since I love to do “list” columns, I’m going to list the many things I have discovered at this truly awesome mountain, in no particular order:
~~ Size– Canyons has been named one of the Top Five ski resorts in the country by Forbes and Outside, more disparate pair of magazines I can’t imagine, as well as being featured in every major Ski Magazine. Why? Perhaps it’s the extraordinary size of the mountain and the variety of terrain, not to mention all of Talisker’s upgrades.
~~ Orange Bubble Express – New in 2010, this lift is simply a delight. It gets people out of the base area faster and you get a heated seat AND an orange drop-down cover to protect you from the elements. This is class. This is style. This is cool! No wonder it’s in GQ this month: http://bit.ly/Wt4VYQ
~~ Long runs – What I love most are trails that go on forever. Runs off of the Ninety-Nine 90 lift have a 1,500’ vertical drop and some are nearly a mile long. They left me breathless!
~~ Canis Lupus – For me, this trail alone is worth the trip to Canyons. It’s a natural mile-long chute/half-pipe with dozens of banked turns. The annual Canis Lupus race strikes me as truly crazy. It’s beautiful, wild and completely different from anything I’ve ever seen. Here’s my trip through it: http://youtu.be/hE-J8uY9YUo
~~ Lack of crowds – We have skied here twice during holiday periods with almost no lines! The mountain is so big that it’s relatively simple to find your quiet spots. We were skiing great runs without another person in view!
~~ Feed me! – It seems that everywhere you go, there’s another option for food or drink. From Bruges Waffles at mid-mountain to the sit-down fine dining of the Lookout Cabin (with the best view in Park City from its deck), there are more eating options than I’ve ever seen on a mountain. You can grab a quick warm-up anywhere on the mountain and never be overwhelmed with crowds.
~~ Resort Village – the base area has shopping, eating, lodging, and simply sitting and watching places. It’s wide and open. I hear there are concerts in the spring and summer. At some of the nine hotels, you have ski-in, ski-out access. Is it true that summer is even better?
~~ Vistas – for me, my favorite view is following my wife when she skis – not only because she skis so beautifully but also because she fits so well into her ski outfits. For the rest of you, the vistas at Canyons Resort are simply gorgeous. The aspen trees that often surround your rides up various chairs look like paintings!
~~ Greatest Snow on Earth – Utah is world-renowned for the quality of its snow. ‘Nuff said.
~~ Friendly folks– Are these the best-paid lift operators in America? Because they sure act happy! I’m amazed how friendly and eager they are to help you board the gondola! Now that I think of it, I haven’t met a single Canyons Resort employee who didn’t have a smile on their face. I suppose they realize how lucky they are to be there, too!
~~ Moguls – My wife and I love bump runs. The ones we skied, so far, at Canyons Resort are long and varied. Some are steep and truly challenging, while others were intermediate-level but lots of fun because the slope made turning every bump easier.
I guess you can tell I like this place. Given that I’ve literally skied all over the world, the only other resort that might come close to Canyons Resort – for me – is Jackson Hole, Wyoming. However, getting to Jackson Hole is a big pain and while it’s a terrific mountain, it’s got not only a shorter season but has a fraction of the variety that Canyons does.
Finally, a disclaimer. I have a business relationship with Canyons Resort to help out with social media. They were a generous sponsor of #DadChat on January 24 when they gave away four sets of lift tickets to lucky winners. However, no amount of freebies (and that is all I’m getting) can buy my endorsement. I’ve never had a sponsor of #DadChat that I didn’t believe was a legitimate and worthwhile company. Canyons will be my home for many years to come… even if they never give me anything more than a mug or a t-shirt.
Bruce Sallan’s second book is an e-book only – “The Empty-Nest Road Trip Blues: An Interactive Journal from A Dad’s Point-of-View” – and costs a whopping $2.79 for PDF and $2.99 on Amazon/Kindle. It’s a travelogue, an emotional father-son story, and it contains 100 photos and 7 original videos. Bruce is also the author of “A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation” and radio host of “The Bruce Sallan Show – A Dad’s Point-of-View.” He gave up a long-term showbiz career to become a stay-at-home-dad. He has dedicated his new career to becoming THE Dad advocate. He carries out his mission with not only his book and radio show, but also his column “A Dad’s Point-of-View”, syndicated in over 100 newspapers and websites worldwide, his “I’m NOT That Dad” vlogs, the “Because I Said So” comic strip, and his dedication to his community on Facebook and Twitter. Join Bruce and his extensive community each Thursday for #DadChat, from 6-7pm PST, the Tweet Chat that Bruce hosts.