Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top 5 calorie burners in Park City

Tradition brings me to Park City, Utah, every holiday season. While it's great to have a guaranteed ski trip in the books, this season's trip proved that it's not always ideal to ski in December. And much to my husband's dismay, that you don't always have to ski when you're there. Sure the 2011-2012 season start might be a fluke, but it got me thinking about other activities to do in this mining town when the skiing's just not cutting it. Or even when the skiing is awesome, yet you don't want to take to the snow that's outside your window (like when the Sundance Film Festival encroaches on Park City every late January).

A recent snowfall proved that winter has once and for all arrived in this mountain--think four feet of snow in four days--just in time for the celebs attending Sundance, but also with plenty of time to salvage the ski season. Or save winter, depending on how you look at it. Ready to hit the snow and burn calories in the process? Here are five ways you can do it in Park City:

1.     Ski. This would be the obvious activity to pursue when you’re in Park City, with three resorts—Park City Mountain Resort, The Canyons and Deer Valley—at your fingertips. And if their terrain isn’t enough to feed your fancy (not sure how that’s possible with more than four feet of snow falling across Utah from Jan. 18-22, but you never know), you can hit up four more mountains in Big (Brighton and Solitude) and Little (Alta and Snowbird) Cottonwood canyons or Snowbasin near Ogden. Rumor has it that there’s more happening in town than on the mountain when it’s Sundance time, but there might be a fair number of locals claiming the powder flu to keep you company.
2.     Snowshoe. Sometimes you just need a break from the downhill action. One way to do that: strap on a pair of snowshoes and head out for a hike on one of the trails of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Your quads will love the workout and you’ll find yourself stronger on skis as a result.
3.     Nordic ski. Not all alpine skiers are successful Nordic skiers (me included), but that doesn’t mean you can’t try. Cross-country skiing is touted as one of the best cardiovascular workouts available—even when you fall and lose your balance because you’re not used to the skinny skis. And you don’t have to travel far: White Pine Touring operates a more than 20 km cross-country ski center in the heart of Park City.
4.     Snowtubing. Sometimes relaxing after skiing all day doesn’t entail sitting still and kicking your boots off. Sometimes it’s more about fun with friends that doesn’t involve apr├Ęs at the bar, like tubing at Gorgoza Park. You’ll fly down your choice of runs, from short and sweet to long and lumpy, screaming the entire way.
View from the top of the bobsled run at Utah Olympic Park
5.     Visit the Utah Olympic Park. Have you ever had dreams of being an Olympian? You can give it a go at the Utah Olympic Park, which was home to the bobsled, luge and skeleton competitions when the Games came to Salt Lake in 2002. Sign up for a program at the park and you could learn how at Driving School--or fly down the bobsled track on the Comet. Thrills and chills at their finest, plus some elevated stress levels that might make you too nervous to eat, before not after.

Thought you'd have to chain yourself to hit the treadmill when there's more than a foot of fresh snow outside? Think again. These activities rival the calorie burn, but they're far more fun. Do you have a favorite?

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