Ah, summer. Time to kick off your shoes, burrow deep down into a La-Z-Boy and channel surf to your heart's content. This is summertime at its finest?
Not if the folks launching Park City's summer season have anything to do with it.The snow is gone, yes, but Park City is anything but "closed." The city's Chamber of Commerce has enough things planned for the summer season to fill every lazy day and weekend families have until September. The following are a few of the lesser known activities available there and some already in full swing for the summer season.
-- Three organizations (Homestead Resort Horseback Riding, Wind in Your Hair Riding and Rocky Mountain Recreation of Utah) offer 1-4 hour horseback rides through the mountain trails and ranches, for as little as $20 for a 1-hour ride. Prices go up for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner rides (meals are included in the cost of the variable rides). Some even offer hayrides as well.
While Homestead and Rocky Mountain Recreation are slower-paced and geared toward those not familiar with riding horses, Wind in Your Hair is more briskly paced, thus the name. The trails are quite scenic; elk, deer and moose are seen on a consistent basis. All are very busy during the summer months and reservations are strongly recommended.
-- Park City Mountain Resort is offering lift-served mountain biking for the first time via the Payday chairlift. The resort boasts of more than 30 miles of trails across their 3,300 acres, which connects to Deer Valley Resort's trails, the Dea Suda bike trail and the Wasatch Crest Trail, making for even longer trails.
All 1998-1999 season pass holders are allowed free access to the lifts, otherwise the cost is $8 for a single lift ride and $15 to bike all day. Hours of operation are weekdays from noon to 6 p.m. and weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
-- For a little history and a good way to escape the sun for a couple of hours, try the Park City Silver Mine Adventure. Participants get to ride on a mine train located 1500 feet under the city through an actual silver mine.
Tours are held every hour from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and are on a first come, first served basis. Cost is $17.95 for adults and $12.50 for children. Children under 4 are not allowed to take the underground tour. Remember to wear sturdy shoes and dress warm: it's usually around 55 degrees in the mine.
-- A couple of companies would like to take you flying: hot air ballooning, that is. Weather permitting, Park City Balloon Adventures and ABC Hot Air Balloons offer you a bird's eye view of the mountains, for a price -- $90 for half an hour and $160 for a full hour. Balloon Adventures also includes a continental breakfast, a first flyer's certificate (as proof you braved such heights) and complimentary champagne.
Balloon rides are offered year-round and can carry up to 12 people at a time in their baskets. Reservations are required 3-5 days in advance.
-- Awaken the fisherman within. Though the rivers are high this time of year, they won't always be, and Local Waters Fly Fishing will be there to help you with your rods when they go down.
Local Waters offers guided flyfishing trips on various sections of the Weber, Middle and Lower Provo Rivers as well as Current Creek. Clients are met wherever they are staying in the Park City or surrounding areas.
If you don't have your own waders, boots or rods, don't worry -- you can rent all the equipment from them when you get there. Trips include a guide who assists in casting instruction; assistance with various stream configurations, information about steam and water hydrology and basic entomology.
Rates are $225 for up to two people for an all day trip and $160 for a half day. An additional person may be added for $85 for a day or $55 for half. Equipment rentals are under $20 and all flies are provided free with the tour. A 50 percent deposit is required to reserve your trip.
-- The Alpine Slide, a perennial favorite for all ages, returns for the season. Ride down two tracks on specially designed sleds as fast or slow as you like.
Hours are weekdays from noon to 9 p.m. and weekends/holidays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $7.50 for adults and $32.50 for a book of five. Children under age 6 ride for $2.75. The Alpine Slide opens mid-June and runs through mid-October.