Park City on the Fly

by Sonja Stark on April 4, 2014

Susie English confronts her fear of fish and mugs for the camera

Susie English confronts her fear of fish and mugs for the camera

Park City is celebrating 50 years of being, among many things, the “Best Town Ever” as declared by Outside Magazine. Parkites have access to three world-class ski resorts, a 12,000-foot Wasatch range for hiking, biking and climbing and fly-fishing for blue-ribbon brown trout in the high mountain streams.

With only a few days to enjoy fresh-air utopia, I partitioned my time between the slopes and the pristine streams of the Provo River.

Yesterday, I was introduced to a professional husband-wife team who operate a guide service called “On the Fly.” They escorted us to their favorite part of the Provo headwaters – currently undergoing river restoration to bring back the fish habitat.

After a crash course in fly-fishing, the do’s and don’t are many, we dropped lines (actually, it’s called repetitive casting) in a swift-moving bend in the river, no more than a foot deep and 30 feet wide. The morning sun warmed our faces while our waterproof leg gaiters kept us dry.

This sport requires patience, something I sorely lack. It didn’t take long before I abandoned my hook to document the beginners luck that the rest of my friends were enjoying. Susie, the gal who boldly declared she has a fear of fish, caught not one but two brown trout. Marty nabbed a trophy size a few minutes later. And, after fishing the drift for hours, Cathie pulled in a set of numb feet.

A video of the adventure will be posted soon!

Fishing the Provo River

Fishing the Provo River

Marty Basch

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From Glades to Golfing in SLC

by Sonja Stark on April 3, 2014

DSC_9307Is there such a thing as skiing in the A.M. and playing golf in the P.M.? There is if you live in Salt Lake City.

Only here can you pole plant for a few hours in the Wasatch Mountains followed by, if your legs permit, nine rounds (or 18) of golf. With characteristically light dry powder, ski runs in Utah are a powderhounds’ dream come true.

Then, after 45 minutes driving through Big Cottonwood Canyon, you can swap your boards for balls on a green fairway. It’s uncanny how natural this feels. I suggest doing so at Solitude Ski Resort and wrapping up at one of the newest golf courses in SLC: Old Mill.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

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Send in the clowns to ski

by Sonja Stark on April 2, 2014

On April Fool's day, clown costumes have been a tradition since the mid-1970s.

On April Fool’s day, clown costumes have been a tradition since the mid-1970s.

I hope you’re not afraid of clowns. If you are, stay clear of April Fools Day at Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR).

The favorite annual tradition is cause to prank, joke and jester in clown costumes while skiing and boarding spring powder. The mischief-makers scatter about on popular runs turning heads and drawing smiles from little snow bunnies. In the 70s and 80s, the troupe were far more troublesome, wreaking so much havoc on the mountain that town officials banned the activity.

Today I only caught sight of a few nostalgic stragglers at the base of the Payday lift.

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Keeping the Olympic dream alive in Park City, Utah

by Sonja Stark on April 1, 2014

Entering the top of Ski Jump at the Winter Olympic Park in Park City, Utah

Entering the top of Ski Jump at the Winter Olympic Park in Park City, Utah

Didn’t qualify to compete in Sochi this year? Still want to feel like an Olympian?

Long after hosting the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Park City is just as busy; training athletes for their next competition and entertaining everyday thrill seekers who want to experience 5 G’s of punishing pressure on their poor bodies.

For a scant $200, I was ready to sign away the health risks and rip down the Olympic Park bobsled course called The Winter Comet on Monday. But, alas, as of March 29, the ride closed for the season.

By only 2 days, I missed my fleeting dream of rocketing down a twisty labyrinth of icy track at 75 mph inside an aerodynamic shell driven by an Olympic star. Sigh.

Of course, Ski Jumping legend Alf Engen would consider my ambition child’s play compared to what he accomplished. At the Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center, I learned about his world record-setting career and the history of skiing admiring a display of Hall of Fame biographies, a film and a vast collection of trophies.

The Museum recently added a ride that takes you on a virtual extreme parachute skiing adventure. Wind, snow add to the overall experience while you’re strapped to a chair lift for a couple minutes.

For $5, it was clearly not The Comet ride I was longing for…

Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah

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“Snowasis” skiing in Park City, Utah

by Sonja Stark on March 30, 2014

Spring Skiing Girls in UtahMost people have already mothballed their ski boots in a closet or jammed their skis into storage. But tonight I packed up my goggles, ski pants and long underwear for 5 days worth of spring skiing in glitzy Park City, Utah.

Come along this week as I document the 389-acre Olympic Park venue, home to six Nordic Ski Jumps and a 1,335-meter sliding track. The Park was built for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games but still serves as a training center for athletes from around the country.

Will I get a chance to ski? Provided I’m wearing several point-of-view GoPro cameras mounted to boards, helmets and waistlines. My footage will extend off the trail too – hotdogging straight into the High West Distillery and Saloon for an award-winning whiskey alongside Western-inspired victuals (food for hungry humans).

If skiing isn’t your thing, stick around because I’ll be writing about guided fly fishing for monster trout, golfing at Old Mill and a 2.7 mile hike up a canyon for a spectacular aerial view of Salt Lake City.

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Cabin fever strikes? Go skiing

by Sonja Stark on March 27, 2014

Cat Wants Out It may be Spring but our cat wants nothing to do with going outside just yet. She longs for the day she can prowl for moles, voles and mice without getting her paws wet. If kitty could don a pair of ski boots she wouldn’t mind so much.

Even with the annual X2 pass dangling from my ski pants, teasing me of savings, I only had the chance to ski twice this year. That changes on Monday when I fly out to Utah for GoNomad on a press trip in Park City.

To get my quads in shape again, I skied Stratton last Friday. The next day I read that a Mass. youth died after crashing into a sign near 91 Trail. The 91 is an easy run – no glades, super wide trail and beautiful conditions. It was the 16 year olds first time on snowboarding.

As sad as it is, hopefully, it doesn’t tarnish the thought of Spring skiing when the weather does improve. More than just a resort, the Stratton Foundation has been raised monies local Vermont in-need programs for youth by selling the current gondolas to make way for the comfy new rides next season and a benefit “24-Hour” ski event last week. Live music, fireworks, lighted ski runs and sunrise on the mountain was enjoyed by 70 teams that attended.

Straton Mountain 1

Stratton Montain 2

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