Solitude Rundown Part Une

On October 2, 2014, Deer Valley Resort announced rather out of the blue that they were going to purchase Solitude Mountain Resort. A small, boutique resort with very limited development potential due to water and sewer availability and infrastructure. I’m scratching my head as to why exactly DV would move on this property when for 30 years they haven’t expanded beyond their own resort.

Guardman Pass to Solitude

The easiest answer is that they wanted to snatch it up before Vail Resorts picked up another resort, a more complicated answer is so DV can vie for Brighton and connect all three, a boring answer is that Solitude really needed a buyer and Deer Valley had the means to step in. Wild speculation aside, the short of it is that what Solitude really needs to grow is more retail and dining, more activities, more summer action, more infrastructure, and more marketing. And Deer Valley has the big guns to make that happen. I’m very interested to see what changes they implement in the coming years.

But boy, is it a beautiful resort.

Guardman Pass to Solitude

And the drive from Park City over Guardsman Pass in the fall is breathtaking.

Guardman Pass to Solitude

A 22 minute drive from the Sotheby’s office in Silver Lake took me an hour and a half because I had to pull over and take pictures every 500 feet.

Guardman Pass to Solitude

I mean really.

Guardman Pass to Solitude

Here are the pics from my drive. Hi, my name is Kristina, and I am a leafer. Solitude, an album on Flickr.

Another thing I’m speculating about is the future of this road from Empire Pass to Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s impassible in the wintertime, which means ski and board enthusiasts have to drive down to Salt Lake and back up the canyon. Mark my words, I bet we’ll see Deer Valley take over maintenance and plowing of that highway from the state soon to encourage quicker traffic to Solitude.

The thing about Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons is that they are blessed with incredible amounts of snow. Thank you Great Salt Lake, for dat lake effect. To put it in perspective, Deer Valley gets an average of 300 inches of snow a year. Solitude, Brighton and Snowbird each average 500 inches a year (Snowbird set a record of 783 in 2011, so sayeth Wikipedia).

Here we have a trail map, looking innocent enough.

Guardman Pass to Solitude

I am 5’6″. And I am standing so far below this trail map sign that I had to hold my phone at my thigh and point it straight up my nose in order to catch the tippy top of my head and the sign in this selfie. For the first time ever, I see the value in that selfie stick. I couldn’t even touch the bottom of the bottom log if I stood on that boulder and jumped.

Guardman Pass to Solitude

Mind you, the point of the trail map is for people to ski up to it and read it, which means the snow at that point of the base is usually, well, PRETTY DARNED DEEP.

Here we are at the lift.

Guardman Pass to Solitude

You all know how ski lifts work, right? You ski or board up to it, the chair comes around, and you sit down on it and are taken up the mountain. Here you see me standing at the chair. I’m even posturing here on tippy toes with my shoulder up high after that sheepish exposure at the trail map. And still. Very very far away from just sitting down on that chair, people.

Guardman Pass to Solitude

Solitude is worth considering now more than ever for real estate purchases. Always a sleeper favorite, studios begin (for now) in the $180s, and are big with Salt Lake residents looking to get out of the inversion for the weekends. Lots of product ready for remodels, and very interesting possibilities for potential. In Solitude Rundown Part Deux I’ll go over the different lodges at the base and what you can get for the money.

In the meantime, Snowbird’s SnowCam is worth making into a bookmark. Solitude, Snowbird, Alta and Brighton all have great snowcams, but the Snowbird one is famous for their giant logo’d snow measuring stick and show timelapses of the tremendous snowfall. Even right now, today, their 24-hour timelapse shows a significant amount of snowfall.

Number of squats since last ski season: 0. Welp.

Tavaci at Big Cottonwood Canyon

Exciting news about the Tavaci project up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Big Cottonwood Canyon is home to Solitude and Brighton ski resorts, and is just the prettiest drive in the fall. The scenic byway that takes you up the canyon and to the resorts in the summer connects to Guardsman Pass, which means you can drive from Park City to Big Cottonwood or back (only in the summer!). The Tavaci project is tucked into the base of the canyon, and has been planned as a gated community with 43 lots, 40+ acres of open space, and a very careful master plan to ensure that the homes built and yards kept all enhance, not detract from the canyon’s natural beauty. With more and more people looking to get out of the inversion in the Salt Lake Valley, gorgeous communities like this make a short commute completely worthwhile: 20 minutes from Tavaci to the Salt Lake International Airport, 30 minutes to Park City. Tavaci had seen some delays but is moving forward at full speed now, featuring Guy Dreier Designs. Guy Dreier is known for contemporary style using organic form, and is famous for his spectacular homes in Palm Springs, Boca Raton, Vail, Salt Lake, and La Jolla.

Click below for the full brochure. We’re not expecting these premium lots to last long, so if you have any questions, call or email me.

Tavaci at Big Cottonwood Canyon
Tavaci at Big Cottonwood Canyon

Christmas Dinner at Wahso

Christmas in a ski town is particularly fun. The snow is Christmas-card snow, cartoon snow, piled up on rooftops and perched on pine boughs and glowing from the lights strung underneath. The town is generally very busy, and the evenings are full of exciting meals and entertainment. My Christmas tradition means going out to dinner. This year, we went to Wahso on Main Street.
Wahso_Menu

Wahso, like many Main Street restaurants, is more on the fine dining side of the spectrum, though the dress code is “mountain casual.” Jeans and a mock turtleneck zip-top sweater are the norm but a suit jacket or heels aren’t at all inappropriate.

This time of year, all the lights at individual shops are lit, plus the town strings multi-colored lights from building to building the whole length of Main. MainStreet
For starters, we had the steamed pork belly buns and potstickers. The buns were chewy and soft, the pork belly irresistibly crispy, and the homemade pickle, well, can you ever go wrong with a pickle? The pot stickers were also fantastic, nicely shaped, perfectly cooked, and an interesting fusion-y sauce of soy and balsamic vinegar.

Wahso_Apps

For entrees, my husband opted for the New York with ginger fried rice. Wahso_Steak

I opted for the seared duck breast and duck confit. We both cleared our plates. Even my pomegranate teriyaki sauce, which is saying something because I’m usually not a fan of pomegranate seeds.
Wahso_Duck

For dessert, we had the coconut creme brulet, which was brulete-d and served in an actual half coconut shell. The tower you see is a beautiful macaroon and chocolate-dipped pokey sticks. We also sipped a whiskey and a sherry, because we are old-timey like that.
Wahso_Dessert

One bottle of wine and two spirits in us, we bid goodbye to our excellent server and walked out onto the cold, crisp air of Main Street in December. People were still out and active, the neighborhood still alive and vibrant.

Wahso_lights
And of course, the Main Street trolley was running (have I mentioned how fabulous our free city bus system is lately? It’s fabulous. Also free.) so we hopped on and rode it for a few blocks to get us closer to our home in the historic district of Old Town.

Halloween in Park City is a BIG DEAL

The whole town turns out for Halloween. When we say that, I can see how you might think we’re puffing just a little. I mean, it’s just Halloween, right? Like it’s just the 4th of July or just the start of the ski season? Never underestimate the Parkite ability to have a party for any reason at all. Thus, Halloween being a legit holiday and all, Halloween in Park City is a big event.  Adults, children, and dogs dress up in fabulous costumes and wander Main Street. The road is closed to cars, music is playing, each shop and restaurant is giving out candy. We call it a parade but frankly, parades have a direction.

I’m up on the deck of the Treasure Mountain Inn here, and as I look to the very top of Main Street there’s a good crowd. Aww look at the pair of angels and doctors. And the brew pub, naturally.

Upper Main Street

Continue reading “Halloween in Park City is a BIG DEAL”

Oktoberfest at Wasatch Brew Pub

Wasatch Oktoberfest

Last night we stumbled on Wasatch Brew Pub’s Oktoberfest celebration. No, really. We went in for a beer and a burger because a barley pop and some beef fat are rarely a bad decision and started noticing bearded men with music stands coming through the door. And lots of blue and white flags. And the specials were bratwurst or beer-breaded chicken. Oktoberfest! (Oktobeer Fest, actually.)

Wasatch Oktoberfest Celebration in Park City, Utah

Continue reading “Oktoberfest at Wasatch Brew Pub”

Park City Pizza Co: Park City Restaurant Review

Park City Pizza Co

Sundays are meant for takeout. I don’t know how else to say it. I’ve usually held an open house or taken a client on a property tour in the morning, and in the afternoon I like to stock up on groceries and finish errands and by Sunday night all I want is a cocktail and for food to magically come to me. This is how I ended up at Park City Pizza Co. I’d finished two trips to Home Depot, one trip to Smith’s at the Junction (and two stops along the way to take pictures of the gorgeous fall leaves), and it was already 7:30.

Firstly, they have an excellent online ordering system. Not as charming as going in and smelling all the smells while you wait but great when you’re standing in the grocery store with a cart full of dubious choices, starving, dying for a beer. You can order, they can cook, you can get checked out, loaded up, then pick up your dinner and bail.

Secondly, it’s in a particularly cute strip mall. (Stick with me on this.) The building is relatively newer, but something in the horizontal lines, the brown, and the font of the sign feels like the late 70s/early 80s. “Vintage Ski Town” design, which is a soft spot for most of us. Inside was very family-friendly, including a stack of board games in the corner. They also had an impressive beer selection (including beers from Moab Brewery), so fun for everybody!

Park City Pizza counter

The garlic cheese bread is the stuff of memories, just exactly what you’d remember garlic cheese bread from any late 80s pizza shop. Nice chewy bread, buttery garlic underneath a stringy layer of chewy mozzarella. Even the foil sleeve for takeout felt comfortable. Nostalgic even.

ParkCityPizza_3

The house salad was nice. I’m a fan of more fun stuff than lettuce but they had other salad options and I chose what I chose. Be warned though: if you don’t care for diced sweet red raw onion ask them to hold it. Also the salad is ample but if you opt for a creamy dressing like I did (normally I’m a vinegar gal but ranch or bleu cheese always tickles my fancy with pizza) it will be on the sparse side.

ParkCityPizza_4

Wanting to stick with something less adventurous than their delicious-sounding specialty pizzas I opted for Canadian bacon and black olives. I know most pizza porn shows you a browned cheese topping, pools of pepperoni grease and giant bubbles. And I know that this looks a little, well, anemic. But don’t be deceived by appearances! The crust was thick and chewy, crispy and brown on the bottom. There was a lot of sauce, and that’s a personal decision, but I love it when they smear it all over the crust and let it brown. My only complaint about the pizza is that it wasn’t as salty as I like, but let’s face it, my diet tends on the “fast track to gout” side of things, so it was probably just perfect.

ParkCityPizza_5

Quite inexpensive: all of the above came to $27. All in all? A very pleasant, comfortable, tasty experience.