Utah Tales: The Canyons review ’11: “… We’re Back Home”
(Part 4 of the 7 part series: Utahan Tales a 5/5 “Frolic in Utah”: ’11-12 ski season)
NOTE: The Canyons has merged with Park City. “One Park” is the official name for the 15-16 ski season. It is now the largest ski resort in the nation!
The ski area opened as Park City West in 1968, a sister resort to the nearby Park City Mountain Resort which opened five years earlier. It was renamed ParkWest in 1975 after a change in ownership, and the name was changed again in 1995 to Wolf Mountain (not to be confused with the small ski area currently known as Wolf Mountain near Ogden, Utah) for two seasons, then became The Canyons in 1997, after the acquisition by American Skiing Company. In 2007, American Skiing Company sold all of its assets to Talisker Corporation for the ’08 season.
IIn 2013, Vail Resorts secured a 50-year lease, with six 50-year renewal options.
The Canyons Resort is one of the largest resorts in the country covering nine mountain peaks with maximum elevation of 9,990 feet. There are 182 trails, five bowls, six natural halfpipes, and three terrain parks. Numerous upscale dining, shopping, and lodging options are offered.
I still “lump” it in the Salt Lake City region, but technically if is in Park City, UT. Actually, I first skied it when it was the nifty little area labeled “Park City West”. (But that’s “ancient history” and another story.)
So this is day four and the fourth resort in our 5/5 saga of Utahan Tales. Bob is whining. He is more interested in a day off, or sightseeing, or who knows what? Maybe just sleeping in. But, he sucks it up and commits. Jeff has to turn in an honest day of work, but decides to stretch the limits with another day in the mountains. Good choice, Jeff!
Yes, We’ve been here before. When The Canyons was Park City West, one of our good friends, a fellow patrolman at Bluemont way back in another century, Paul Wysnewski, relocated in Salt Lake City. I made a trip out here to visit Paul.
He was newly a patrolman at Park City West, a neighboring area to the larger, much more posh Park City. Actually I visited with him in the early fall when there was no snow, and was lucky enough to return in season right after a good dump on snow. Paul took me out and we romped all over the area with no crowds, just acres of untracked powder.
My memorable, moment started at the top of a nameless steep slope. Paul told me the untracked line was mine to enjoy and I didn’t debate the point. I plunged straight down the powder run savoring the rare, perhaps “first time ever” bottomless, untouched powder. FANTASTIC! I linked short turn after short tune tasting heaven I’m sure. But I found it annoying that Paul was shadowing me! I could her his deep breath as though he were just inches away. But wrapped in the moment. I was going to break my concentration to shoo him away or ask him to back off.
When I got to the end and leveled off to a stop. I looked around. No Paul was to be seen until I squinted to the top whence I began. There he was cheering me on and waving in the distance. With my limited experience back east, I was only aware of skiing the hard pack and ice. Every run I have ever made, I produced that rasping . scarping noise of metal edges working to grab an edge. I had never floated silently across bottomless powder, It was “silence”.
I had never experienced this joy before. The deep breathing I attributed to Paul was my our lungs gasping for oxygen while excited flying along on bottomless, light, fluffy dry, Wasatch Powder. And on this day, many years later, I was back home. I was skiing Park City West, renamed the Canyons, greatly expanded and now the largest ski resort in the United States.
What a shock to return to the Park City Area! My last visit years ago, I recall a broad level plain . open fields that lived the roadway as we approached the little mountain town of Park City that had recently been chosen as the home for the U.S. Ski Team.
What a difference. The entire road off from the exit off the interstate all the way to Park City was now developed- condominium upon condominium. We had to park in a distant lot and take a horizontal gondola to the base area just to buy a ticket and then get in the base area lift line. Why, I asked, had we not invested in a condo here back when perhaps we could have afforded it? Oh well, the story of my life!
It was a fine day of skiing. The parking lots may have been loaded, but the area is so large, the lines were reasonable. And I did actually find and did indeed ride that now “little”, old double chairlift that carried Paul and I up years earlier. Or maybe I just wanted to believe it, but it was a “deja vu” experience – be it real or imagined.
We were tired after days or skiing, so we motored back to Provo, stopping at a brand new Five Guys – again a unique visit – a first for me. The lines wrapped around the parking lots as others were interested in visiting this new fast-food in their neighborhood. Who ever thought of peanuts and bottomless French fries at a burgher place? Maybe I should invest in this franchise to make up for my lost opportunities in Park City.
Jeff made it even more exciting by misplacing the car keys. After looking everywhere and emptying all the trash bins (yuck!) we found them tucked away somewhere in the car. Darn! I was envisioning having to stay a few more days in Utah,
Well tomorrow is our last day of this skiing adventure, but Sundance, here we come!