When it comes to romance, it’s hard to beat winter in the mountains.
Falling snowflakes, twinkling lights, roaring fires….
There’s a reason our most romantic holidays occur during the darkest months.
For skiers and snowboarders, a long romantic weekend in a ski town lets you combine a love of adventure with the love of your life.
Utah’s Ski Town
Park City is perfect for couples seeking a long weekend getaway.
Home to world-class Park City Resort, this mountain town is only 40 minutes from Salt Lake City International airport, meaning you can travel and ski on the same day.
Once a mining town, charming and beautiful Park City boomed in the 19th century, only to bust in the 20th.
In 1963, skiers found their way to this alpine valley.
Today, Park City is Utah’s winter-sports capitol and is home to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, and was a host site for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Day One: Arrival and Fireside Fun
While you can rush into town and head straight for a chairlift, you may want to set a slower pace for a romantic weekend.
After checking in, take some time to relax, organize your ski gear, and prepare for after-dark adventures.
While Park City has lodging of every possible variety, from slope-side condos to full-service hotels, local entrepreneur Caroline Graham recommends Washington School House, a 12-room boutique hotel in the heart of town.
For dinner on this first night, choose Fireside Dining at Deer Valley’s Empire Lodge.
Romantic by design, Fireside Dining features four courses of traditional European cuisine cooked and served around open stone fireplaces.
Build your appetite with a moonlight snowshoe tour before dinner.
Day Two: Skiing and Massage
You came to Utah to ski, so your first full day in Park City should be devoted to exploring one of the area’s resorts.
When you tire, revive with a massage.
Depending on where you stay, options include a Couples' Massage at the Waldorf Astoria Golden Door Spa or the Couples' Escape at the Sky Lodge’s Amatsu Spa.
With the plethora of shops, art museums and restaurants, there’s no shortage of things to look at and do.
Day Three: Adrenaline-Filled Fun
Dedicate today to outdoor adventure.
Allow plenty of time to ski, and fit in one of these signature Park City experiences as well.
For speed-packed thrills, Alyssa Erickson, a Salt Lake mother of three, suggests careening down the bobsled track at Utah Olympic Park, guaranteed to get your heart pounding.
Erickson also suggests the 2,111-foot zip line at Canyons Village, which she describes as “the coolest zip line in history.”
Following your flight, relive the adventure at nearby Lookout Cabin, where you can enjoy the sun-drenched deck and a midday meal of fondue and Prosecco.
Other adrenaline-charging options include a two-person (plus crew) champagne balloon flight above the dramatic Wasatch mountains and tubing at Gorgoza Park.
Comet Bobsled, Utah Olympic Park
I like to call the 54 seconds I spent bobsledding at Utah Olympic Park, “my Olympic moment.” Like many people, my childhood fantasies included winning a gold medal.
Never mind that I couldn’t throw a single, let alone a triple, salchow.
Never mind that my ski racing times were always middling.
I knew, just knew, that I could be an Olympian.
Needless to say, those aspirations came up a little short.
But thankfully, I’ve experienced the next best thing—and if you, too, have ever dreamt of being an Olympian, riding the Comet Bobsled in Park City will make your dreams come true (almost).
About 15 minutes from Main Street in Park City, the Comet is just one of the cool things to check out at the Olympic Park (read: If you’ve got any gravity-phobes in your group, they won’t be bored strolling the museums or catching some real live Olympic training while you hit the track.)
We signed up, sat through a short orientation, got our helmets, and effectively skipped years of dedicated, sacrificial training for our shot at Olympic glory.
After we met our professional driver, we settled into the sled with the other novices (each bobsled holds three passengers plus the driver; kids have to be over 16) and we were off down the mountain track.
The day we rode the Comet was clear and frigid, so the ice was super fast.
We plummeted down the course, nearly a mile long, reaching speeds of more than 80 mph; we finished just five seconds slower than an Olympic time.
As you might guess, the bar for participation at Utah Olympic Park is pretty low.
You don’t have to run down the ice, push the sled, or jump in on the fly in a Spandex speed suit.
Still, it’s the ride of a lifetime, a chance to mainline adrenaline knowing you’re safe in the hands of a professional, and one of the most legitimate ways to gain respect for the incredible pressures these athletes face.
Even at sub-Olympic speeds, the Comet ride pulls up to five Gs as you slide through broad, sweeping turns.
People with neck and back issues or other health problems should give it a pass, but for everyone else, take the orientation instructions seriously and prepare to find yourself bent low, staring at the floor as the sled whips through the curves.
Don’t fight the forces.
Instead, hang on, and enjoy every second of your Olympic moment.
Your last evening in Park City should be extra special and, without hesitation, locals recommend dinner at the Viking Yurt high atop Park City Resort.
Cuddle together under blankets as a snow cat pulls your sleigh 1,000 feet up the mountain to a memorable five-course meal.
The views are stunning; the yurt’s wood-burning stove keeps you cozy; and live piano music adds to the ambiance.