By Tim Greenwood
The trip to Park City, Utah, was the second Club trip to this resort, which I took to mean everything just have been just right the first time. We weren't disappointed. Even Sharpy (Paul Sharp) actually made it. The flights were reasonable, the only problem being the connection in Atlanta, and it did take 22 hours door to door. Immigration went reasonably smoothly, although Tony was slapped on the back of his hand for trying to bring half-eaten sandwiches through.
Park City is the venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics. This means most of the resorts are hosting different aspects of the games. The principal ski areas are: Deer Valley ($5m chalets and very posh), Park City, the original and largest resort and The Canyons, which is a bit of a building site. The Canyons is where the Olympic village is going to be. The other resorts nearby are Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Sundance (mountain and resort owned by Robert Redford) and Powder Mountain, all of which are marginally cheaper to ski. Ski passes are extortionate at between $40 and $60 per day. However, we (actually Sharpy) did an amazing deal by buying a 10 day pass for $375 which was well worth it.
Park City is an old silver mining town and has many mines which have been recently closed down as it's no longer possible to mine silver economically in Park City. The area has a recent (i.e. non Red Indian) history going back 250 years to when the Mormons arrived in Salt Lake City (1/2 hour down the road). Many famous outlaws hung around these parts. Names like the Sundance Kid, Butch Cassidy, Kid Curry and Billy the Kid all actually existed and lived in the surrounding hills.
Many of us took a trip to the Mormon Tabernacle, Temple and Church. It is free to be shown round, but you are encouraged to join the rank and file afterwards. In order not to be impolite, we gave them Nigel's name as an interested party back in the UK. Look out for the women in black Nige! They've got your number.
Many of you will believe that America is cheap. Not entirely so in Park City. Steaks in reasonable restaurants cost $15 - $20, but you have to add on 10% tax and 15% tip to get out without upsetting the waiters. You will find buffalo and elk on the menu. Sharpy revelled in the opportunity to gorge himself every night moving from one wonderful food experience to another. It wasn't long before his reputation preceded him and the waiters were betting their huge tips on whether Sharpy could actually eat two melons in a boat as well as the extra large prime rib. They lost, and Sharpy was close to paying extra baggage on the flight home. The hotel accommodation turned out to be excellent and again I think this was largely down to the Ski Club negotiations (probably Sharpy yet again) getting a substantial discount off the normal room rate of $250 per night. (for info: ~$1.5:£1) I believe we paid $150 between two per night.
Martin, Val & Tony spent a day at Robert Redford's mountain, Sundance. Apparently, it is very picturesque and has the Owl Bar, which is where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid used to drink regularly. It has been imported into one of the hostelries at the resort. Brian found the dry air hard to breathe. Janet looked after him admirably. They also want you to know that the Asics trainers are half price over there. (£100 in the UK!!).
David Shephard and I went to Powder Mountain with the Ski Club of GB guide. This was an experience as it is renowned for its extreme powder. Americans call Utah the place with the "greatest snow on earth" because it is in America. No, actually, it's because of the 3200 sq mile Salt Lake next door and the very dry air. This makes for a lovely fluffy powder type of snow that allows you to glide gracefully over its surface. (Unless of course you are Powder KEG Koenen)
On our way back Ray and Elaine left a day early to go to a wedding in Atlanta. Talk about perfect planning.
All in all, we had an excellent time, and once again thanks to Paul Sharp who was aptly presented with a silver money clip by Brian Winstanley as a thank you from all who went.