After spending the last four days in SLC, I have to say I am still amazed by the view of the mountains. Literally, everywhere you look you see some kind of mountain range. Apparently there are roads that go in between the peaks aptly named after each peak on the range. It’s really a beautiful sight and something I have never quite seen in my not-so-extensive travels.
I stayed inside the city limits, just south of downtown. The neighborhood architecture was confused as much as I was. There was some uber modern houses, surrounding by smaller, early 1900’s single family homes. There were random apartment complexes that sprouted in the middle of the neighborhood along with rows of houses-turned-businesses.
The most striking thing about the city, the thing I noticed most, was the width of the roads. The residential roads were wide enough for a lane of parking on each side and two cars to easily pass through. The main residential roads were two lanes in both directions with parking on each side and a middle left turn lane. Honestly, who needs a left turn lane to get into their driveway?
Rumor has it that the roads are wider in SLC because of the horse drawn carriages that the Mormons used for transport. Speaking of which, though I am not a person to discriminate, the Mormon population was non-existent here. There was no experience, sight, or otherwise that punched me in the face and said, ‘Look Mormons Live Here.’
As far as I am concerned you have the best of everything here. There is professional sports at all levels except football (from what I gathered, correct me if I’m wrong), the University of Utah, and the capital. There are some great ‘hip’ locations such as 9th & 9th which is basically an intersection at 900E and 900S where there are small boutiques, yoga studios, coffee shops and pubs. Mecca to the skinny jeans, beards, and prohibition haircuts.
Most everyone reads this has probably heard of Park City. Honestly, I was unaware of this popular gem until after I had booked my flight out here. We finally made the thirty minute trek through the mountains increasing our elevation from 4,400 to 6,800 feet above sea level. The car ride was perhaps the most scenic and quickest thirty minutes of my life. You are literally driving through the mountain range with peaks and valleys all around you.
Arriving in Park city you see ski hills, SUVs with roof racks packed, and a ton of modern development. We decided to explore and just drive up a bit until we found ourselves slowly (the Hyundai couldn’t keep up) climbing higher up the mountain. Thinking we were going to be lost from civilization forever, we turned around and made our way back into the city when it donned on me. The city reminded me of a mix of what you would see in the copper country of Michigan. I told Steve and Paul this and Steve stated I was correct in my findings as Park City was an old mine town.
The houses on Main Street are packed tightly together and the road itself does not hold more than two mid-size cars. The residences were built on a hill much like you see in Houghton, MI. We decided to make our way to the St. Regis hotel where you ride the Funicular (google it) up to the actual hotel. The ride in the Funicular takes you up the side of the mountain and drops you off conveniently at the upscale hotel restaurant and bar. Just what the Dr. ordered, three hockey players in an upscale hotel, on the side of the mountain in track pants and jackets. Ladies watch out!
After going outside and realizing one of the ski runs stops right at the bar and taking a ridiculously amazing 360 degree picture with the sun setting, we posted up at the bar for a drink. Given the hospitality displayed to me the entire week I found it my duty and honor to buy the boys a drink. When a whiskey old fashioned, a gin and soda and a bottle of beer costs you $48, the one drink limit is not just a statement, but a reality. The trip to Park City finished up at Maxwell’s with food, drinks and good conversation with an old hockey buddy who has been living in PC (Park City) for the last 10 years.
Aside from the hockey experience meeting and exceeding my expectations, the city itself was nothing short of what I expected. It presents itself with all the amenities of a larger city, but with a small city, community focused feeling. The other great thing about SLC is it feels like the people want to be in the city, not in the suburbs. They are rehabbing and developing many areas within the city which I think means huge potential for the area.
Not only is the city making progressive moves forward, but the hockey here is also going to get better. There is no doubt about that. Now the question I have to ask myself is this; do I want to be a part of it?