1 - Into the Air: Freestyle Skiing
There's something about being at a former Olympic venue that makes me want to don performance fabrics and start to push my limits. (With the admiring crowds humming the tune from Chariots of Fire
in unison, as slow, grudging clapping builds into a thunderous applause.) This is mere fantasy , as my lack of coordination at most activities is near legendary, or at least, known by people who know me.
But should you have the desire to transform your surely-more coordinated self into something of a athlete, or just learn a new activity, the summer season in Park City, Utah
, site of the 2002 Winter Games, is a great place to make it happen.
It's a little strange to watch a person in skis shoot up into the air, execute mind-boggling flips and tricks and then land in a swimming pool, but that's the set-up at the Utah Olympic Park
. And because anyone who's belly-flopped knows that landing in water can hurt, the pool is set up with special air jets that break up the surface tension and make for a softer landing. First, make sure you take in the Flying Aces Aerial show
to see how the pros do it. Then, you can sign up to learn to perform these tricks yourself. There are organized camps for kids, but adult lessons can also be arranged.
You can also take a tour of the Nordic ski jump venue -- this is the tallest of its kind in the world -- and peer down from the top and just imagine yourself careening down that thing on skis. You can get some of the sensation by taking a zipline
down the K120 ski jump hill. This is billed as the steepest zipline in the world, and you reach speeds of up to 50 m.p.h., which filled me with adrenaline for at least a couple of hours.2- Through the Woods: Mountain Biking Deer Valley
has 55 miles of mountain biking trails, ranked from "easier" to "expert only", which you access via a chair lift ride. But even the "easier" trails are challenging, so the best bet here is to sign up for a private lesson or a clinic.
Another option for the
intellectual types is to ride the same chair lift and go for a three-hour guided history hike
, which focuses on the mining history of the area. When Park City first became a ski destination, skiers were brought to the top of the slope via an underground mining trolley, and often came out covered with soot.
3- Under the Water: Scuba Diving
It's true, one doesn't often think of the mountains as a great place to learn to scuba dive. But the Homestead Resort has the Homestead Crater
, a limestone rock hollowed out by melting snow and filled by water bubbling up from below. The water is warm -- 90 to 96 degrees -- and it's 55 feet deep, making Midway, Utah, the only warm-water diving destination in the continental United States.
None of these activities lighting your torch? Check out the gallery for a few more ideas.