The longest driving stretch we would have between the trip’s seven locations was from our campsite at Dead Horse State Park to Park City. The drive would take approximately four and a half hours, so we left the campsite just after 5am. At sunrise in Price, Utah we stopped for coffee at a place called The Coffee Shop. As our energy gradually depletes this week, any type of literal store naming is very much appreciated. Don’t make us think.
North of Price, we entered mountainous terrain, and we knew that we were entering Northern Utah. Once again, a new day, a new terrain and this one had snow. The views were breathtaking from the mountain passes that we were navigating. I thanked Keith Lopez with a Runner’s Choice. Keith is another Phi Delt friend who lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. He spends a lot of time on trails in the Colorado Front Range, so I thought he’d appreciate this.
We reached Park City just before 10am. I have to admit, after being in the National Parks for six days, entering a congested city was not the greatest feeling. We weren’t really used to sitting in traffic stops and commercialization around us. It was a weird feeling that I think hung with us throughout the day.
Park City – The glitzy and glamory neighbor of Salt Lake City. Just a short 25 minute drive east of Salt Lake City, Park City is known for its amazing skiing, the Sundance Film Festival, and resident Olympians who train at the Olympic Training Center. Park City is a booming city with a transient population that loves to play outside. At the Park City welcome sign, I thanked Andy Tomka, an Iowa State Fraternity brother of mine. Man, I just realized that Andy played a role in my first running trip through Chicago eight years ago. We took a frigid February run through Chicago. I need to bring the kids to the big city. Thanks Andy, miss your face!
Skiing is a lifestyle in Park City. There might not be another area of the country that has access to so many great resorts within a short drive. The “Epic Pass” and “Ikon Pass” are both big deals around here, paving your way to ski your heart out at the area’s resorts throughout the year. One of those resorts is Deer Valley which hugs Park City’s southeast side. I thanked Mike Hyatt for his ongoing support of my trips. I’m sure Mike has spent some time in Park City during his life. An avid traveler, I can only hope to keep up with the Hyatt’s travel list. I’m sure going to try though. Big game this weekend between our two teams – Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State! Go Clones.
Our plan was to drive up Guardsman Pass to reach a few other ski resorts, but unfortunately it was closed due to snow. The mountainous pass makes the drive from Park City to Solitude, Brighton, and Alta Resorts somewhat simple (if you’re not driving a minivan) when open. When closed, it’s more than hour to get there. We did make it towards the top of the pass before it was blocked off. We were greeted with really cold winds, snow, and views.
I thanked Ross Cain at our stop. Ross hosted me a few years back when the running trip went through Raleigh. He was an awesome host! Ross, we need to cross paths again sometime soon.
A little deflated that we couldn’t get through the pass, we had to do something that would cheer us up – eat. Wasatch Brew Pub was the spot. Over the course of the week, we’ve learned a lot about the many beer rules in Utah. I’d try to explain them, but I don’t want to wear out your attention span. I thanked Travis & Steph Griffith at Wasatch. Griff joined me last year in Arizona on the running trip, and we had an awesome time! He especially loved all of the opportunities to look over giant canyons.
One of the better lunches we had!
Wasatch is located on Main Street in Park City. You could spend hours walking up and down Main Street checking out all there is to offer. I thanked Nick Scalice and fought off the sun in the eyes at the same time – a common struggle during the week. Nick is a fellow Phi Delt and entrepreneur in Florida. I appreciate your ongoing support Nick!
Also on Main Street, we found a friendly bear that looked like he needed a friend to take a picture. I thanked Peyton Griffith, daughter of Travis and Steph. It’s been awesome to watch Peyton grow up under the tutelage of these two. They are AWESOME parents!
Since we weren’t able to visit a few of the resorts due to the pass being closed, I wanted to highlight some of the neat properties in Park City. I love seeing how different cities have different architectural vibes, and Park City screams fun mountain town, filled with beautiful properties. Thanks again Debbie!
You can tell that Park City’s main features are the ski mountains. If you’re in town, you can look around you and see a ski run somewhere. Park City Mountain is right downtown, and offers easy access to local skiers. I thanked Fraternity brother Ryan Boatman for his donation. I always look forward to Ryan’s social posts about his kids. Straight comedy, every time, because I know that life and understand the ridiculousness of raising kids 100%.
The 2002 Olympics were held in Salt Lake and the surrounding area. The infrastructure that comes with the Olympics is fascinating, and Salt Lake pulled off an amazing event. Utah Olympic Park is a major landmark in the area, but you can also see the Olympic footprint everywhere you go in Park City and Salt Lake. As you enter the Olympic Park, this fun structure greets you. I thanked Marc & Jennifer Mores. Marc was my first boss out of college and a fellow Iowa State Phi Delt. Their daughter Ashley was our flower girl, and we recently had dinner with them in Ames during her official college visit to Iowa State. It’s crazy to think she’ll be in college soon. We sure hope she picks Iowa State.
Throughout the Olympic Park you see structures that were built for many of the very crazy sports associated with the Olympics. Being next to ski jumping structures makes you realize how risk averse you actually are. Athletes continue to train here, and I’m sure they are anxious for the snow to begin to fall. I thanked the adorable Ruth Carlson, young daughter of Brad and Mindy Carlson. I was thrilled when I learned that Brad & Mindy were having a daughter, and I look forward to Ruthie snaps each day from Mindy,
There’s one person I always think of when I hear Olympics, my buddy Joe Wechsler. Joe has a few screws loose, and decided one day that he wanted to be an Olympian. He spent time in Lake Placid, New York training for the skeleton. Not crazy at all. But in all seriousness, I’ve always been inspired for Joe’s ambition to do awesome things. I’m sure his influence had something to do with the beginning of these running trips. We’re hoping to see the Wechslers this May as Tillie and I will be traveling to a wedding near Charleston.
I found a skeleton sled and had to do a double thank you for Joe & Sarah.
Zim getting into the bobsled spirit. Unfortunately the bobsled tracks were closed for the season. When open, you can give a run a shot.
We were hoping that our hike for the day would be at Iron Mountain. When we found the trailhead, located in a neighborhood, we instantly noticed that the neighbors clearly do everything they can to keep people off the trail. Really annoying. So, we decided to use a local dog park trail at Olympic Park for our run for the day. It was a fun decision since we made a number of dog friends along the way. One savage schnauzer had his eye on Zim, and gave him a few nips to the ankles. I thanked Randy & Lori Good, my uncle and aunt. My dad has two brothers who continue to farm their parents land, and they are so generous to let our kids ride the combines. Randy & Lori are two of the biggest Cyclone fans I know, and I run into them very often at Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum.
Park City came with a major luxury – A place to sleep that didn’t rest on four wheels or is held up by poles. Bret’s friend Rob graciously hosted us in Park City. How cool is this house? Inside is immaculate and the place will soon become a rental as Rob moves to Dallas for a new job. I always love meeting friends of friends. The daily van life picture was definitely upgraded. I thanked Tiffany Conrad. Tiff and I go way back to elementary school, and I absolutely love that she works for Catch Des Moines, attracting visitors to our awesome state.
We also made a new friend at Rob’s, his amazing pup Torchy! The absolute best dog.
Torch made me feel right at home, instantly jumping into my lap when I sat down. Seriously, an incredible dog.
We ended the night at High West Distillery, a very popular spot in town that is known for its spirits. I received an email from Scott Mietchen earlier in the week recommending the place, and Bret’s friends ironically enough planned dinner here. Scott let me know that his grandmother grew up in the building that now houses High West. So cool.
High West has a great vibe! We met two more of Bret’s friends, Ken and Kate who are both awesome with really fun jobs. Ken works at Saucony and Kate for Backcountry. Once again, it was fun to meet Bret’s friends from his time in Minneapolis. A great crowd!
Our day in Park City was very long, filled with a few disappointments, but ended with wonderful company and hospitality.
Onward to Salt Lake City.