Tours de Force
Unique winter experiences in the Park City area
photo courtesy of Monique Beeley
In Park City, we love to color outside the lines. Never satisfied with the status quo, we figure out how to up the ante on almost everything, especially if it involves out-of-the-box adventure with a dash of quirkiness. So if you think you’ve experienced all that a mountain town has to offer, think again—and check out these unique winter tours, found off the beaten path.
A New Twist
Yoga in a yurt? Yup. Blue Sky Ranch (435.336.2646; bluesky-adventures.com) offers a five-hour, all-inclusive workout that tests your endurance yet leaves you completely relaxed. Get your heart rate up by snowshoeing through 3,000 acres of pristine mountain wilderness, then warm up next to a roaring fire while sipping hot chocolate. When you’re ready, an Anusara instructor leads you through 90 minutes of gentle yoga. Refreshed and centered, you head back out on your snowshoes—and the experience is fun for everyone from beginners to experts.
Or how about hot-water yoga? Homestead Resort in Midway (888.327.7220; homesteadresort.com), just 20 minutes from Park City, is the home of a 55-foot-tall, beehive-shaped limestone crater filled with 90-degree water. As you drift on huge paddleboards, yogini Julia Geisler leads you though an hourlong workout that soothes the tightest of muscles. It’ll make your yoga mat seem dull by comparison.
In Park City, the Top Gun hotshots are the guys that groom the ski runs. When you see the snow cats’ twinkling lights on the mountaintops at night, you can’t help but wonder what it would be like to commandeer one of those massive machines. Wonder no more. Canyons (888.226.9667; canyonsresort.com) offers a two-hour “ride-along” tour or a full eight-hour “get out there and really do it” experience. One of the resort’s expert operators takes you under his wing while grooming 4,000 acres of snow. If you have the gumption to do the full shift, you go through the same training Canyons provides new operators. Depending on how you do, you may actually get to drive the beast!
Fly-fishing has a Zen quality all its own. Although it’s fun in the summer, the solitude of an icy, snow-lined river in winter turns the sport into an even more mystical, meditative experience. Let the professional guides at Trout Bum II (435.658.1166, troutbum2.com) or Jans Fly Shop (435.649.4949, jans.com) fully outfit you for the day. (They’ll even take you to where the fish are biting.)
Trek to Romance
Enjoy snowshoeing at dusk with your sweetie in magnificent Empire Canyon. With the vast valley stretching out below, you’ll feel like you have the world at your feet. White Pine Touring (435.649.6249; whitepinetouring.com) offers a one-hour snowshoe getaway every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evening, departing from Deer Valley’s Empire Canyon Lodge. If the mood strikes, dine afterward at Deer Valley’s famous Fireside Dining. And for starry-eyed lovers, All Seasons Adventures (435.649.9619; allseasonsadventures.com) offers a Stargazers Tour snowshoe excursion. This two- to three-hour adventure includes a guide, star charts, and more tiny, dazzling lights than you can imagine.
Need for Speed
If your family seeks thrills, a snowmobile tour might be just the ticket. There’s something about a sleek, 600-cc machine purring over snowy terrain that gives a whole new meaning to outdoor recreation. Deer Valley Snowmobile Tours (435.645.7669; deervalley.com) takes you just 10 minutes from Park City’s Historic Main Street to Garff Ranch: 7,000 acres of jaw-dropping mountain panoramas. There, you’re guided through untouched wilderness, and you’ll stop for lunch in silent, snow-filled meadows.
Picture you and your family, a group of friends, or your officemates on a scavenger hunt around Park City’s mountains using GPS technology, or performing beacon searches to find teammates buried in snow. These experiences build collaboration, trust, and communication as well as being fun. Though created with corporate team building in mind, as long as you have an eight-person minimum, you can customize this adventure for any private group through All Seasons Adventures (435.649.9619; allseasonsadventures.com).