DAY One – There’s a goldfish waiting in my Salt Lake City Hotel Room, on the table in a glass bowl. I drop my ski boots on the floor right next to it. What should I name it?
Snowy, I think. After all, I’m here to ski and the Kimpton Hotel Monaco claims to be a downtown “base camp” complete with a lift ticket per person per day included in the room rate to any of the four resorts in the Cottonwood Canyons within 45 minutes of Salt Lake City –Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude. The hotel is celebrating a $5 million renovation to the landmark building, in the historic Continental Bank building. I love the wine and snacks before dinner, the big jars of penny candy in the lobby and of course the golf fish. The lobby lounge certainly is conducive to making new friends or at the very least, comparing notes from your day on the slopes. (Did you find a powder stash? Good place for lunch?)
And if you are too tired to go elsewhere for dinner, you don’t have to give up fine dining. The hotel is home to Bambara Restaurant that has been named Salt Lake City’s Best Restaurant. Executive Chef Nathan Powers has won a local following for his pan-roasted and grilled meats. The chef’s signature dish is steak frites but I loved the Utah trout.
All the times I’ve been to Utah to ski—there are 14 ski areas to choose from—I’ve never stayed in Salt Lake City, but I could turn into a convert. You can get discounted gear and lift tickets at www.skinsee.com downtown and get discounted lift tickets at the Salt Lake City Costco.
There are 11 resorts less than an hour from the Salt Lake City International Airport and Utah’s average annual snowfall is 500 inches.
For one thing there’s the chance to visit the fantastic outlet from the Sundance Catalog, one of my faves, where I scored a $148 sweater for $35 and earrings for my daughters that were half price. There’s also a Patagonia outlet. And don’t miss the terrific Golden Braid bookstore (bring home Good Night Utah to your favorite baby or toddler. )
There is also the brand new Natural History Museum of Utah in the foothills above Salt Lake City (what amazing mountain views) that invites visitors to connect with the natural world in new ways. If you have a smartphone, you can sign on trails.nhmu.org and start exploring, whether you are interested in climate change, the effect of the Salt Lake on snow fall, the Native American tribes who long have made Utah home or dinosaurs. Check out the dino footprint that is as large as a toddler and the paleontology lab where you can see scientists repairing the fossils.
It is rare we learn to find so many fossils from so many points of time in one place.
There are nine different galleries on five floors and we work our way down, looking through magnifying glasses at cells, trying to construct and earthquake resistant structure, turtle shells and the eggs. Have you ever seen an owl or a hawk egg? Hear the stories of the native peoples who live here.
Their art work is displayed beautifully—intricately designed baskets, jewelry, beaded moccasins, carriers for infants.
There are all kinds of species too—butterflies are really cool! Did you know that the 1.7million living species that scientist have recorded may just be a small portion of what’s really out there? Wow! If you have kids with you, make sure to stop in the kids’ discovery area and take time to go outside—there’s great hiking right here!
We have to mention the design of the building—it is beautiful as well as sustainable, melding with the mountains.
It’s supposed to snow some more tonight. I hope so.