Monday, March 17, 2008

Utah Days 2 & 3 skiing at Park City and Snowbird

Tuesday we were at Park City; Wednesday at Snowbasin, (where we stayed at the handsome Lakeside Villages), so by Thursday, we must be a Snowbird. What a treat!! If you have never in your life stayed in the Cliff Lodge, you owe it to yourself to have at least one night there. The sheer, spectacular mountains can be seen from all the windows. The sunsets and sunrises are magnificent! The d├ęcor of beautiful hotel is enhanced by displays of oriental carpets, antique Chinese robes, screens, and sculptures, and beautiful artwork and other fine items sold in the stores. There is a heated rooftop pool and hot tub, as well as a spa and health club. It is great to enjoy the pool, especially as the snow falls in your face, and the moon rises over the mountains. Our special thanks to Public Relations Director Laura Schaffer for her generous contribution to this part of her trip. Her parents are journalists in Washington so she understands what reporters like! We enjoyed dinner at the Lodge Bistro, breakfast buffet at the Aerie, and Clif energy bars on the snow!

On Thursday, we took the Peruvian Express High Speed Chair to the top of Snowbird at 10,518 feet. Then we skied down Chips Run, a 2.5 mile blue trail but steep and challenging for us. As the natives say, “Snowbird is an intense mountain.” A new option is to buy a combined Snowbird-Alta lift ticket (only $10 extra) and take the new tunnel from the top of the Peruvian quad chair. The surface people mover is 600 feet long and 15 feet high. You can take the tunnel through to the panoramic Mineral Basin, take the Mt Baldy lift go through the gates to Alta, ski back through Alta at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon and return to Snowbird on the free shuttle bus. This new option can be especially helpful to intermediate skiers, and reduce traffic on the aerial tram and other chairs. We hope to return and check out the tunnel and more of the areas – there is so much territory, and so very much to cover! We were extremely pleased we had a great deal of time to spend with the Snowbird Adaptive skiers – the major part of our visit.

The Adaptive sports center is run with compassion, skill, care, and dedication by Peter Mandler, the Executive Director, Laura Cantin, the Assistant Director, and numerous instructors and volunteers. They have all earned their places in Heaven! While we were there, two young children with cerebral palsy were being brought down the mountain on sit skis. It took a team of 3 or 4 people to help them ride the lift and whiz down, but how much the children loved it! There is no additional charge for this – as in most adaptive programs, the funds come from donations and fund raising events. Later in the day, a doctor with a spinal cord injury also had a chance to celebrate his second anniversary on a monoski. Several of us had the chance to sit in his monoski; it is not at all easy and requires great upper body strength and coordination just to get in and out of it.