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I’m about to glide across a deep, pine-covered gorge along a 640-metre zipline that slopes at a 10-percent grade, and my heart is pounding. As I step onto the knoll to take my turn, I look admiringly at former Olympic skier Kaylin Richardson, an ambassador for Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah, who has stopped at the zip’s halfway point to take pictures.

It’s no secret that Park City is famed for its winter ski conditions – connoisseurs even refer to its smooth and dry snow as “champagne powder” – but I’m here to learn why summertime in the mountains is just as fun.

Back at the Waldorf Astoria Park City, the resort’s flagship hotel – think rustic lodge with chandeliers – I prefer to enjoy the scenery curled up by one of the outdoor firepits, armed with a velvety latte from the property’s on-site coffee shop, Crave Café.

Waldorf Astoria Park CityWaldorf Astoria Park City

I’ve missed the bustle of January, when the hotel teems with celebrities in town for the Sundance Film Festival, but as I look out at the scenic Wasatch Mountains, I’m glad I get to experience a quieter side of the resort. Later I head to the village lawn at Canyons, where, during the summer months, the Sundance Institute screens recent festival selections under the stars.

After a decadent dinner of pasties, smoked trout with quail egg and a grass-fed rib-eye at the Farm, one of the resort’s best restaurants, it takes all my willpower not to fall asleep during the movie. The Farm sources most of its ingredients on its seasonal menu from within a 320-kilometre radius, and while our sparkling wine from New Mexico’s Gruet Winery doesn’t quite fit the bill, it’s expertly chosen by sommelier and Director of Wine & Spirits for the Talisker Restaurant Collection Sean Marron to complement the delicate asparagus soup that begins our meal. I may not be a celebrity, but I’m certainly being spoiled like one.

Farm at Park CityFarm (Photo: Dave Newkirk)

The next day, staying true to my intent to get acquainted with Utah’s great outdoors, I set out on a mountain biking expedition. Wheeling through rugged terrain, I quickly learn, has little to do with my usual urban cycling commute. Canyons has several downhill trails and a skills park, where beginners like me can learn the basics, but as I pedal toward my first obstacle, trying to heed the staff’s expert instructions, I soon find myself on all fours. Maybe ziplining isn’t so bad, I think to myself. After a few more unsuccessful tries, I retire my helmet, knee and elbow pads to bask in the sunlight on the patio of the Red Pine Lodge

Canyons' bike trailCanyons' bike trail

That night, I head into town for dinner at Talisker on Main. Housed in a former butcher’s shop, the restaurant took home a jury prize at the 2012 American Institute of Architects Restaurant Design Awards. With its black-and-white checked floor, vintage tin ceilings and open kitchen separated from the dining room by a marble-topped counter, the decor is as intimate as the menu is bold. Our six-course tasting menu includes lobster with citrus confit, lingonberries and greens from the restaurant’s rooftop garden; a frozen strawberry and apricot “brochette” propped over a glass of steaming liquid nitrogen and mint lime; and American Wagyu beef cheeks that are so tender, I gobble up every last bite.

My last stop of the evening is the No Name Saloon, a memorabilia-packed fixture – an old motorcycle hangs from the ceiling – on the Main Street party scene. I bow my head sheepishly when I cross one of my mountain biking instructors from that afternoon, but not for long. Park City may be famous for outdoor recreation, but during the off-season, anything goes.



Getting There

Air Canada, in collaboration with Star Alliance member airline United, offers service to Salt Lake City, Utah.

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