Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Slip-Sliding into Park City

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By Cecil Scaglione 

 Mature Life Features

PARK CITY, Utah —- It’s simple to assess whether or not you’ve achieved Success here. It’s the title of a trail at the world-renowned Deer Valley Resort that lets you know when you’ve graduated from beginner to intermediate skier.

I arrived as a senior hoping to stand up all the way down a hill and left as an intermediate skier after enjoying Success several times. The 20-or-so-minute run also is embraced by clusters of multi-million-dollar condominiums designed to accommodate those considered to have mastered financial success.

Such moneyed manifestations should not deter you from considering this mining town-cum-ghost town-cum ski resort in the Wasatch Mountains as a focus for fun and, perhaps, a site to settle down.

That’s what a sizeable – some estimates reach as high as 500 – ex-Delta Air Lines crew members decided who have re-located here, according to ex-captain Rich Dolan. During a break in his day as a volunteer Mountain Host at Park City Mountain Resort, where you can grab a lift that begins right in the heart of town, he explained that he retired here in 1991 after visiting for a dozen years. His remuneration for volunteering a day a week to assist anyone who looks dismayed or dumbfounded is a season’s ski pass, which runs around $1,500.

During the no-snow season, he resorts to tooling around on his motorcycle. “The weather here is great,” he said. “There are no bugs — no flies — because of the altitude. You don’t need air conditioning. And it’s not as cold as Colorado or Montana or British Columbia. It’s a dry cold. You can’t make a snowball here,” he said. It’s been reported that you can clear your yard of snow with a leaf blower, all 500 inches – more than 40 feet – that falls each year.

Should skiing and snowboarding become boring, you can slip off for fly fishing in the nearby Green River to catch your lunch. Yep, they don waders and slosh into the frigid waters at any time of year to snag tasty trout for their plates and palates.

You can do a triple play here in one day: ski in the morning, golf in the afternoon, and then go fly fishing. That’s usually about March. While this kind of life and living draws folks here, the accessibility of both the bright lights of  Salt Lake City and its airport just 30 minutes away are also attractions. 

For the lazy or less adventurous who still hunger for fish, the Deer Valley seafood buffet is lauded long and loud by both neighbors and newcomers. Deer Valley has been described by some as a cluster of fine restaurants with ski slopes attached to them.

But you don’t have to ski to the dining lounge. You can drive up. Or you can hike or bike up in summer when the ski lodges surrounding this community are open to an array of non-snow-season activities that include rock-climbing, and horseback and scenic lift rides.

Deer Valley limits the number of its daily ski-lift tickets in winter to 6,500 – the number of seats in its restaurants – so no one will have to pass up a comfortable lunch or dinner.  It and neighboring Alta do not permit snowboarding on their slopes.

For the more sedate, a stroll through the community is a hike through history. There are the mines that flourished after federal troops were sent here in the 1850s to quell any possibility of a rumored secession. As many as 350 mines were producing silver, copper, lead, zinc, and a little gold. All this activity dwindled to dust in the late 1800s and the community was little more than a ghost town when it sprang back to life in the 1950s as winter sports began growing in popularity.

A mine elevator still takes skiers to a summit and many of the mines now produce “liquid gold” – water that has filled several tunnels and is piped into Park City faucets.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2009

Written by Cecil Scaglione

November 5, 2011 at 12:05 am

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