Park Silly Market Passed The “Kid Test”

On Sundays in the summer, I look forward to going to lower Main Street in Park City for the “Park Silly Market.” Everything is there for you to enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon.


There are booths with all kinds of unique items to peruse and purchase. Music fills the air and you can enjoy a burger and a beer or a Pad Thai bowl and juice in a giant pineapple.


This past Sunday was the first time I went to Park Silly with a kid, our silly 5 year old granddaughter. Enjoying the market through the eyes of a child was enchanting.


When the cowboy on stilts came by, she said, “How did he get so tall?” But when he invited her to help with a trick, she shyly ducked behind me.  Before I could explain his extremely long legs,  we were off to look at a bubble machine and puppets.

Her culinary choice for lunch was cheese pizza, though she was adventurous enough to try the piece of basil on top, it didn’t pass the “kid test” and was spit out into my hand.

What passed the “kid test?”

A lot!

The Jump House sponsored by Bobby Lawrence Karate was a big hit. They let a few kids in at a time so each one of the children could have a safe and fun experience. Our girl had three turns.


The Rock Climbing Wall “easy” side was still a challenge for her and she made it three quarters of the way to the top.


Note her “climbing gear” which included her new bracelet and a rose hair clip.


Motherlode Canyon Band was performing on the Main Stage.  We grabbed a chair and sat in the shade to watch and listen to the band.

A bubblegum snow cone was her choice for a treat. I guess it had the right mix of super sweet sugar and cold. Fortunately, no brain freeze was involved.


After all the jumping and climbing, she was worn out and needed a piggy back ride back up to catch the trolley to our car. She slept all the way home.


Park Silly Market is a fun afternoon for anyone but it’s especially a silly good time for kids.

For more information on Park Silly Market, click here.

For more information who is playing where and when in Park City, through Mountain Town Music, click here.

Deer Valley Grocery~Café Summer Menu

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

Anyone who has heard the slightest whisper about Deer Valley Resort has learned it is synonymous with quality. But quality doesn’t always mean pricey, precious or pretentious.

The folks at Deer Valley know their guests well, and when it comes to dining, they know that it isn’t always about sipping champagne and cracking crab legs. Even though that is always welcome in my book. It’s about simple, delicious food served by some of the most attentive staff you’ll find in the U.S. of A. The world even.

So of course food served in a grocery store would be held to the same standards. Really? A grocery store?

Simple. Fresh. Inventive. Deer Valley nails it every time at Park City’s best kept dining secret: Grocery~Café.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

The Deer Valley Grocery~Café was originally concepted as an easy stop for lodging guests or concert goers to pop in and gather prepared take-away meals and essentials like morning coffees while staying in the nearby condos and lodging. It has morphed into my go-to dining destination thanks to crave-worthy breakfast, lunch and now dinner eats.

While the food at Grocery~Café is amazing, the views are just as stunning.

Guests are welcome to sit indoors, or out on the large deck that overlooks ducks and standup paddleboarders coexisting in the large lake at the Deer Valley base. It’s my daughter’s favorite pastime as you’ll see in this post.

But take my advice, when the weather warrants, outside is where it’s at.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

I had the opportunity to sit down to a menu tasting at Deer Valley’s Grocery~Café to sample their summer dinner menu. This is a big perk of my job and I relish every bite of it.

Our dinner started with homemade beet hummus and a tequila and orange cocktail. Have you tried beet hummus? This one is made in house (naturally) and is a combination of garbanzo beans, roasted beets and tahini. A perfect starter, it’s served with Deer Valley’s famous flaxseed crackers and sugar snap peas. Those crackers…so addictive.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

Next, we sampled three newly refined items on the menu.

First, the Green Goddess Grilled Cheese with fresh mozzarella, cabot white cheddar, herb pesto and fresh arugula grilled on toasty housemade sourdough bread. I love a good grilled cheese and this one is tops as a perfect combo of cheese and flavor, still retaining it’s grilled cheese status rather than an overstuffed sandwich.

Next, the Garden Gazpacho. Heirloom tomatoes are blended with more veggies, spices and then topped with cilantro oil and sautéed shrimp. Slightly vinegar-ed bites of freshness come with each spoonful, and the garlic scape as an accents was an earthy touch.

Finally, Grocery~Café’s signature Salmon Tacos, one of the most popular dishes on the menu and rightfully so. A generous portion of salmon tops corn tortillas. It’s then topped with a tangy grilled scallion citrus slaw and roasted poblano guacamole. A little crunch comes in thanks to a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds.

And this was just the beginning.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

You may have noticed a supremely stunning caprese salad at the beginning of this post. The table just about fell silent when this was presented. This salad has been served at Deer Valley Grocery~Café for a number of years but only recently was reimagined by Chef Kristine Thorslund in a stunningly new, minimalist presentation. When you have ingredients this gorgeous, why over do it? The salad is composed of local Copper Moose Farm heirloom tomatoes, sweet basil, marinated baby mozzarella, lemon mosto oil, aged balsamic pearls (I know! Molecular cooking is crazy and here’s how they do it) and blackberry tar.

Then my main course: Seared Salmon. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Okay, I finished the whole thing. How could I not?

A perfectly cooked filet of King salmon that flaked at each forkful rested on a bed of chilled sugar snap pea salad, micro greens and pickled onion and was topped with green goddess pesto, crispy quinoa and more delicate micro greens. The drizzle of olive oil left the dish feeling homemade rather than pretentious. Just my style of eating.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

A new menu item was the vegetarian Cauliflower and Quinoa Fritters and in short order was deemed a new favorite by all at the table. Ground cauliflower and quinoa are mixed with fresh herbs, Spanish red onion and lightly fried, the set on arugula and microgreens to be dressed with a lemon yogurt. If you’re watching what you eat, watch yourself easily consume this.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

Newly appointed Food and Beverage Director Jodie Rogers was center stage at the table, sharing behind the scene stories and the ingredient list of each dish for those of us wishing to know the secrets behind the dishes. Even so, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to remake these dishes at home.

But then, why would I when I can come here and not have to do the dishes?

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

A welcome surprise dessert was served in the form of popsicles. After enjoying a rather large tasting, the cool pops were more than welcome as a light finish to the night. However, don’t think they weren’t full of flavor too.

Strawberry and Black Pepper mingled in one set of pops while Coconut Lime and Pineapple were easily licked as the other. True to Deer Valley form, the pops were served on a tray of frozen fruit and flowers worthy of any Pinterest board.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

Chef Jodie Rogers, Chef Jodie Paris and Chef Kirstine Thorslund are busy creating a name for Grocery Café, and with food prepared and presented like this, it won’t be long before this spot isn’t much of a secret anymore.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

Deer Valley~Grocery Café

Menus: breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • Location: Snow Park Village – base area
  • Address: 1375 Deer Valley Drive South
  • Telephone Number: 435-615-2400
  • Dining Type: Café/Deli/Bakery
  • Business Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m., daily

Heidi Larsen is the creator of, the blog and online magazine featuring family friendly recipes and inspiring photography. She also photographs Deer Valley Resort’s food and fine dining when not enjoying quality time on the ski hill with her husband and 11 year old daughter. See more of what she’s crushing on at Facebook and Instagram.


Beating the Back-To-School Blues

Every year, it happens. I’m nicely settled in to the routines of summer, and boom, just like that, it’s August, and the Back-to-School Crunch begins. This year I’m staging a full-on protest.

My primary weapon in this protest is denial, coupled with a healthy dose of over-scheduling fun and entertaining things to do. Lucky for me, Deer Valley is here to aid and abet, offering a packed schedule of activities, extending well past the start of school (August 20 in Park City, for those of you keeping score at home). And lucky for you, I can offer you a curated list of the best antidotes to those back to school blues.

Eric Schramm Photography 2015

There are still two awesome Guided Historic Hikes left in the season, September 20 and October 18. You can meet up at the bottom of Sterling Express (wear sturdy shoes and bring your own snacks and water, but leave your favorite four-legged friend behind please) for a fun, informative lesson on area history with Michael O’Malley.

In August alone, there are 4 concerts on the schedule, including the Gypsy Kings performing as part of the Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert Series. And with acts like the Crescent Superband on the bill for the Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series (free every Wednesday), it’s hard not to find an excuse to get your boogie on.

Eric Schramm Photography 2015

But it’s the month of September that gets the credit for helping locals and visitors beat the Back-to-School Blues. A Labor Day weekend outing to Deer Valley can include watching mountain bikers race by Silver Lake Lodge as they participate in the Park City Point to Point Race, heading toward the Mid-Mountain Trail between 9 – 10 a.m. Combine this with a hike and scenic lift ride, followed by a great lunch at the Royal Street Café, and you’ve had a fun, jam packed morning.

Plus on September 6, Aloe Blacc performs as part of the Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert Series.

September 12 is another jam-packed day at Deer Valley. For starters, the Mid-Mountain Marathon departs from Silver Lake Village, with runners doing a couple of laps before they head out onto the trail. In the afternoon you can join The Christian Center of Park City’s 4th Annual Hike For Hunger. The Snow Park area will be transformed into a family entertainment area, with a bounce house and a climbing wall. “This year we are incorporating rides on the Silver Lake Express chairlift,” says Cindy Skelton, Senior Events Coordinator, “and there are trails that are appropriate for every level of hiker, some for families with small kids, and some for those looking for a bigger challenge.” Registration fees even include a meal prepared by Deer Valley chefs.

If by mid-September you’re already wishing you could run away from it all, you’re in luck at least for one day as the Discrete Peak Race Series hosts its final run of the season at Deer Valley Resort. Okay, so maybe it’s not so much running away, as it is running up but by the time you race from Snow Park Lodge to the top of Bald Mountain, you probably won’t remember why you were so stressed out in the first place.

See? I told you I could fix those Back-to-School Blues. What’s your favorite late summer pleasure at Deer Valley? Tell me all about it in the comments.

Behind the Scenes: Royal Street Café Summer Photo Shoot

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort, Park City UT

You look at this photo and you see a pretty girl and a handsome guy sipping away on a sunny day. And that’s all you should see.

For me, I see all of the behind the scenes work that goes into producing a photo like this one. Hours of coordination, contemplation and creativity to create a single moment in time. And when it works, and all comes together, it’s magic.

I have years and years of experience producing and art directing photo shoots, more than I’d actually care to admit given I’m just shy of my 29ᵀᴴ birthday for the umpteenth time. I’ve concepted the ideas behind the the shoots, hired photographers and stylists, scouted locations, rented studios, homes, and motorhomes, scouted models and made it all happen while staying within budget. It is probably one of the most exhaustive parts of my job because the brain goes into overload to be sure each detail is attended to for a successful outcome.

But that was then, and this is now.

These days I’ve transitioned from directing the photo shoots to being the one behind the camera making “the magic happen.” For the past three years I’ve been photographing each of Deer Valley’s restaurants, chefs and anything else I’m lucky enough to point my lens toward for use on their website, advertising and yep, even these blog posts.

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

As in every successful mission, it takes a village. For these shoots it always starts with Deer Valley’s tip top marketing team including Emily, Lara and Ryan who work out all of the details of where, when and what will be photographed. Next, the talented chefs at Deer Valley make my job that much easier, creating subjects that are always colorful, seasonal, drool-worthy, and that hardly ever talk—or bite—back.

This summer there are several photo shoots on our to-do list. We kicked the first off at Royal Street Café where we gathered 20 or so real-life friends of Deer Valley, spending the afternoon taking photos. Kudos to all of our real life models who were total pros and beyond patient as I made my way around the patio doing what I do which usually means making people do the same motion over and over until we get it just right.

Patience. It’s a virtue.

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

Here’a a sampling of me sneaking into the kiddos lunch, that turned into…

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

This photo of this sweet blondie with a cheesy grin. Literally. A grilled cheese grin.

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

This time around we were fortunate to have Deer Valley’s creative agency represented by Struck’s creative director Scott Sorenson who shared his creative vision. It was great having another creative alongside me to make decisions, create the perfect sprinkle of crumbs and decide when the shot was just right.

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

Scott also makes a mean clean-up guy when the beer gets spilled. I have a feeling it wasn’t his first time.

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

I may have snuck a fry. Or two. It’s all in the name of food styling.

A Few More Faves to Savor

Editing photos is one of the hardest parts of my job, but just like going through my wardrobe in my closet, you have to make hard choices and edit, edit, edit. Following are just the smallest sampling of a few favorites from the edits of the day’s 1,700+ photos that will be shared on the website and in upcoming advertising soon.

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

Royal Street Summer Deer Valley Resort , Park City UT

And now, it’s time to get back to going through the rest of those 1,700 photos. Cheers!

Royal Street Café, get more info here.

  • Location: Silver Lake Village – mid-mountain
  • Address: 7600 Royal Street
  • Telephone Number: 435-645-6724
  • Dining Type: Casual Dining
  • Business Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., daily

Heidi Larsen is the creator of, the blog and online magazine featuring family friendly recipes and inspiring photography. She also photographs Deer Valley Resort’s food and fine dining when not enjoying quality time on the ski hill with her husband and 11 year old daughter. See more of what she’s crushing on at Facebook and Instagram.


What Could Be Better than a Picnic With Smokey Robinson?


Who doesn’t love a picnic? I love to picnic so much that I made my New Year’s Resolution for 2015 to have 32 picnics throughout the year. This is true.

FullSizeRender (18)

When you think about it though, to enjoy a whole lot of picnics is not really a resolution, it’s a goal.  Either way, I set it for this year.

Setting goals like this helps to stretch my imagination and make special memories in daily life. Park City is such a beautiful place, I figure, why just take a hike? Why not bring a picnic to savor the experience?

But there are more to picnics than food. Picnics are:

  • an outdoor activity
  • a chance to relax and linger
  • a time to be with friends and family
  • a time to enjoy a beautiful setting

When I saw that Smokey Robinson was coming to Deer Valley to sing with the Utah Symphony, I thought, “Picnic with Smokey Robinson, I am in for that!”

At the age of 75, Smokey still has it “going on.” He was stylin’ with a green satin jacket and matching leather pants, and he sang with his signature sweet, sweet voice as he shared the music of Motown.

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The picnic? That was so easy. Deer Valley prepared it for us so all I had to do was pick it up at the concert. One call ahead and I ordered not one but two baskets; salmon and filet mignon.


We ended up with a group of six people and there was plenty of food for all since the baskets have such generous portions. I just brought extra plates!

The gourmet picnic baskets came with antipasto, brie and baguettes, grapes, two salmon entrees and (since we ordered two double baskets), two filet mignon entrees with horseradish sauce. We also added a bottle of red wine.


And there was more. They each contained two servings of lemon cake and brownies (on a stick – so easy to devour). My friend Michelle brought some individual cheesecakes for dessert too for everyone to share so we had no limit on choices.

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Smokey Robinson and the musicians from the Utah Symphony entertained us with our favorite songs including:

  • You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me
  • Stand by Me
  • Tears of a Clown

He even sang my husband’s favorite song, Fly Me to the Moon (Smokey style).

This was a picnic I won’t forget anytime soon.

For more information on the Deer Valley Concerts at Snow Park, click here.

To order a gourmet picnic basket or bag, click here.

Summer is all about trails! 

I started hiking and biking in early May this year, and to keep my excitement high through the rest of the summer, I recently chatted with Charlie Sturgis, Executive Director of the Mountain Trails Foundation. This organization is involved with everything trail related around Park City. Charlie told story of his Foundation, its current projects and its future goals.

JF: How did you get involved with outdoors sports and activities?

Charlie Sturgis: I’ve always been an outdoorsman, I grew up in Chicago but was always involved with hunting, fishing and skiing. I remember visiting Snowbird in 1974. That’s when I fell in love with the Wasatch Mountains and declared then and there: “This is really cool!” That is how I made Utah my home. I finished my college education at the University of Utah and went to work for Mountaineer Sports and then Wasatch Touring in Salt Lake City. I had a ball! I skied, rock climbed, ice climbed, mountain biked and kayaked wherever and whenever I could.


JF: What brought you up to Park City?

Charlie Sturgis: Contrary to what many people believe, I didn’t actually start White Pine Touring. I came in when it had just begun in a teepee near the old Park West. The original owners asked me to manage the business for them and they eventually sold it to me. The timing was perfect and that’s when I added biking to winter sports, and we became a year round outdoor shop. My wife and I made Park City our home in 1985.

JF: How did you get involved with the Mountain Trail Foundation?

Charlie Sturgis: Jan Wilking and I started establishing the Mountain Trails Foundation, a non-profit organization, to promote trail development around Park City. In 1993 we hired Troy Duffin, our first executive director. Mountain Trail Foundation has been around for 22 years already! I eventually sold White Pine Touring, stayed on for a few more years, and as the Mountain Trail Foundation executive position opened up in 2009, I seized the opportunity.

JF: What was your vision at the start?

Charlie Sturgis: My vision was to make this nonprofit organization work and run more like a business that would become financially sustainable. At first this wasn’t the case, but today memberships represent 40% of our income, 20% to 25% comes from corporate sponsorship, another 20% to 25% is the product of races and events we organize, and the balance comes from special grants. This allow us to make decisions because we have money in the bank.


JF: Did you find inspiration at other resorts?

Charlie Sturgis: Not really. From the get-go, things have really worked out well for us. Our growth has been organic, and when success came, we decided to share our best practices; IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) is the “mothership” of an organization like ours, but we really stand as the good example out there. We’re in assuming a leadership position in the outdoors community and remain willing and ready to share our expertise and mentor other organizations.

JF: Who was your audience then, and what is it today?

Charlie Sturgis: Based on surveys, we seem to have as many hikers as we have mountain bikers. We support and advocate for non-motorized recreation. Our audience is everyone from grandparents to their grandkids, hardcore athletes and casual weekend recreationists.

JF: Non-motorized? Then tell me, how do electric bikes fit in the picture?

Charlie Sturgis: The dust has yet to settle on the use of e-mountain bikes. At this point, I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts: Besides some legal issues related to the way conservation easements are written, the electric assisted bike offers an opportunity to someone who wouldn’t normally be getting out, to enjoy the outdoors. It provides an option to easily leave one’s car home. These two goals can easily be accomplished. If today, someone on an e-bike is straying on a trail by mistake, the overall good outweighs the occasional incursion.


JF: Over time, has your work evolved or is it still the same?

Charlie Sturgis: My job has become more administrative, something I’m not too crazy about, and more regional, in the sense that our influence reaches beyond Park City which is a very good thing.

JF: What are the opportunities for your Foundation in the greater Park City area?

Charlie Sturgis: We’re working on plans to connect all seven adjoining ski areas by trails, so bikers and hikers can go from town to town and use all lifts in between. I’d like to see the Great Western Trail be completed, but at the same time would like to see a more organic growth to our programs, so we don’t get carried away by doing too many things, too fast, and lose control over the users’ experience.

JF: Is the local business community supporting what you do?

Charlie Sturgis: Yes, they are supportive and they would be foolish not too!

JF: How do you see Deer Valley’s Mid Mountain extension fitting into the overall picture?

Charlie Sturgis: Anytime someone is willing to let us build a trail across their land, as it is the case with the Bald Eagle Homeowners Association, we should jump on the chance! Steve Graff, Deer Valley’s Ski Patrol/Mountain Bike Manager, wanted us to get involved with the build. Deer Valley’s Mid Mountain extension is going to provide an easier way down the mountain for the typical family, a gentler trail should make it a lot easier for mom, dad and the kids to get down in confidence. No matter what the size of trail infrastructure a resort can offer, it is important to think of easier access and egress points.


JF: How can readers of this blog help Mountain Trail Foundation?

Charlie Sturgis: All non-profit organizations often go unnoticed and the Mountain Trail Foundation is no exception. Any contribution, no matter how small, is always meaningful and in the long run, contributes to the non-motorized cause!


Kicking Off Summer – White Water Rafting With All Seasons Adventures

Summer may be a season but it’s also an attitude.

Grabbing lunch is suddenly transformed to more than a meal but an experience with al fresco dining or an impromptu picnic. Forget sitting inside or at your kitchen counter – you want to be outside enjoying the sun and the fresh air.

Summer changes our outlook to where we want to get outdoors, try new things, and make every hour of sunshine count.

The question is, how do we kick off summer in the best way possible? Is it an ice cream cone?  A day at the pool?  Perhaps an outdoor concert with a picnic and your best friends?


My husband Jay and I decided to kick off our summer with a white water rafting trip with All Season’s Adventures.

What better way to enjoy a summer day than hot sun, cold water and an experienced river guide named KaiLin?


We drove about 45 minutes from Park City on Highway 89 to the Weber River where All Seasons Adventures puts in their rafts. (Transportation is available for Deer Valley guests, of course.)


After greeting our guide, securing our life jackets, and listening to a safety lesson, we were ready to head out on the river. Our trip was about 2 1/2 hours of rafting down the Weber River. Since this is a Class II whitewater river, we were engaged and active paddlers with just the right amount of excitement on the river!


The Weber river trip kept our interest because there are three distinct parts of the trip. During the farmland portion, we returned the gaze of a few horses as we viewed working farms as well as some vintage farm equipment from our vantage point on the river.


After passing a more industrial section, we were treated to the gorgeous red rock mountain views that Utah is famous for. We passed rock arches and rock formations called “Devil’s Slide.”


We had the chance to get a little wet as we hit a few rapids.


We had to duck under a low bridge.


Our guide had us spinning through waterfalls and navigating a “rock garden” in our raft. With her seven years experience on the water, she had no problem anticipating the flow of water around bends, over rocks and under trees.

With some directions like, “Pull two” or “backwards one” she skillfully had us negotiating our river journey with ease.


You can see by the smiles on our faces that we had a great time.

It’s now official: it’s summertime!

For more information on whitewater rafting with with All Season’s Adventures, click here.


Solitude Mountain Resort; not so far!

Since Deer Valley Resort announced it would be acquiring Solitude Mountain Resort, I have always thought of Solitude as far away in a remote canyon. When thinking about the commute, people often think of the winter route that consists of driving down Parley’s Canyon and then accessing the resort from Big Cottonwood Canyon, which is about 43 miles away and takes just under one hour to reach from Deer Valley Resort.


Contrast this with getting there “as the crow flies,” about a 6 miles journey and you suddenly realize that there must be a better way to get to Solitude Mountain Resort. Not so long ago, State Route 224 went from asphalt to dirt road as soon as you reached Empire Pass and remained that way all the way to Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Since I never drive a sturdy 4×4, I’ve always preferred going to Solitude the long way, via Interstate 80 and the Salt Lake Valley, during an annual fall trip through Guardsman Pass to marvel at the bright foliage that treats motorists all the way to Solitude Mountain Resort.

In recent years SR 224 underwent some major improvements and is now easily passable with all passenger cars. On a beautiful June day we decided to adventure from Deer Valley to Solitude and find out for ourselves how close the resorts really are, via the scenic, mountain road.


Our journey began at the Deer Valley Grocery~Café where we had an early lunch on the patio overlooking the pond that has become the meeting place for the local Standup Paddleboarders. We didn’t go on the water, we just watched while enjoying a scrumptious lunch.


It’s a wonderful site for having a meal outside the hustle and bustle of Historic Main Street in Park City. The atmosphere is both quiet and relaxing. My wife had the Grilled Three Cheese and I had the Albacore Tuna Melt. When we were done munching our Chocolate Chip Cookie and sipping our coffee, we were on our way to Solitude Mountain Resort.

dvr-solitude4 dvr-solitude5

We went up Marsac Ave., AKA the Mine Road, and drove all the way to Empire Pass. We made a quick stop at about 9,000 to snap a few pictures, catch a glance of Mt. Timpanogos and get our fill of the vistas before continuing on to Guardsman Pass.

dvr-solitude6 dvr-solitude7

Guardsman’s lookout is at about 9,700 feet. We were astounded by the numbers of cars stationed up there this early in the season. We could barely find a parking spot. Sightseers, mountain bikers and hikers love to stop there and use this promontory as a trailhead of choice. From there, the vistas are impressive as they span all the way to the High Uintas, Deer Valley Resort, Heber City and plunge into Big Cottonwood Canyon.


The drive down canyon is now on a beautifully paved road, complete with markings and as smooth as can be. The views are awesome as the valley opens up and we soon come in sight of the Solitude Mountain Resort ski runs. Because of the canyon’s high elevation snow remains in many spots, even early summer.


Very soon, we reached the entrance to Solitude Mountain Resort where we conveniently parked our car. A larger parking area is also available a few hundred yards down the road. The village’s altitude is about 8,000 feet. It’s quite charming and reminiscent of the Alps, with its specific architecture and clock tower. Not counting our multiple stops, we drove the 13 miles between the two resorts in about half an hour; so much for the remoteness factor!


We stopped for an ice-cream at the Stone Haus Pizzeria and Creamery that had just opened up for the season (you’ll also find pizzas and sandwiches there). There’s also the Honeycomb Grill that is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays serving lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. There are many good reasons to visit this new addition to the Deer Valley family of resorts!


From there, you have the option of driving down Big Cottonwood Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley, another scenic descent, or returning on the picturesque route over Guardsman’s Pass. This high-road is an alternative itinerary to consider when you drop or pick up someone at the airport, shop the Salt Lake stores or simply want to make your trip down to Salt Lake a lot more interesting!

We choose to return from where we came and enjoyed yet another series of very distinct viewpoints all the way back to Park City. We can’t wait to do it again!

Anchors Away with Park City SUP (Standup Paddleboarding)

Deer Valley Park City SUP Paddle Board

“But we have our swimsuits in the carrrrrr! Please mom, please…??”

It seemed like it wasn’t just our table the cries were coming from. The same plea could be heard up and down the table-lined deck at Deer Valley Grocery~Cafě as all of the young-uns pled with their parental units for a dip in the Deer Valley lakes.

It was Sunday and we were all hungry after staying up too late and having too much fun at Saturday night’s Deer Valley summer concert series. We had planned on making a weekend of it, a little get away from the heat of downtown Salt Lake, and stayed the night at Powder Run, just a short walk from the concert and a quick jaunt to breakfast the next morning at Grocery~Cafě. In all honesty, my weekend pretty much centered around our having Sunday breakfast at Grocery~Cafě, because I mean, have you seen the menu?

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe

As always, sitting on the shaded deck by the lake eating scrumptious breakfast food was just what the doctor ordered.

Chilaquiles, lox and bagels (Ahhh! the Everything Bagel, is, well, everything!) and 2-egg breakfast panini sandwiches were all welcomed with hot coffee and the warmth of the Sunday sun and just the right gift of a breeze.

And that’s when the requests began. “But dad, we’re done. I need to get wet. (Me too!) We can go down and paddle board while you guys eat breakfast!”

There were several families out on the lake and a few daredevils practicing yoga stances on their heads while balancing on their boards in the water. It was all too enticing to even think of saying no.

It was Sunday, a nothing-on-the-agenda-day. Let’s cap off the weekend with a little impromptu adventure.

Deer Valley Park City SUP Paddle Board

Deer Valley Park City SUP Paddle Board

The girls were measured by the fine instructor at Park City SUP (Standup Paddleboarding) who gave them the ins and outs of the equipment (all top-notch, naturally) and rules of the water.

After the quick lesson they hopped on their Pau Hana board and were on their way for an hour of uninterrupted parental relaxation, gabbing and sipping coffee in the deck chairs on the grassy beach.

Deer Valley Park City SUP Paddle Board

Deer Valley Park City SUP Paddle Board

Deer Valley Park City SUP Paddle Board

Deer Valley Park City SUP Paddle Board

While most of the other paddlers were concentrating on staying on TOP of the board, these girls (of course) had to do it their way, launching themselves off, and then back onto their board as only the young and agile can do. And probably those yoga paddle boarders, too.

I have to say, it was the perfect Sunday.

I’d love to know for my next weekend staycation planning, what’s your idea of a perfect Deer Valley Sunday?

Deer Valley Park City SUP Paddle Board

Summer rentals available daily from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Deer Valley Pebble Beach location. (adjacent to the Deer Valley Grocery~Cafè deck)

1375 Deer Valley Drive SOUTH
Park City UT, 84060

$20 per hour rental fee, includes board, paddle and PFD* (personal floatation device).

For more information, visit Park City SUP.

Heidi Larsen is the creator of, the blog and online magazine featuring family friendly recipes and inspiring photography. She also photographs Deer Valley Resort’s food and fine dining when not enjoying quality time on the ski hill with her husband and 11 year old daughter. See more of what she’s crushing on at Facebook and Instagram.

Early July Activities in Park City

Summer is now upon us with its bounty of fun events and activities. During the long holiday weekend, you’ll be able to hike, ride, even race your mountain bike, golf and fly fish. The rest of the time, you’ll be wondering which outdoor concert to attend, considering strolling the Park Silly Sunday Market, stocking up on vital supplies at the Farmers Market or taking in a concert at Deer Valley Resort. There is so much to do in Park City this time of year. You can even take a trip to the Olympic Park and go for a bobsled ride or experience the zip line! You’ll also be given the opportunity see a show at the Egyptian Theater and test your taste buds at the Fox School of Wine, and culminate the week by watching the popular Fourth of July Parade on Main St. Park City!


If you love a concerts then Park City is the place to be this week. The first St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert Series show of the summer featuring Toad the Wet Sprocket, Smash Mouth and Tonic kicks off on Tuesday, June 30 at 7 p.m. at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater at Deer Valley Resort.

You can also check out the free weekly concert presented by Mountain Town Music on Wednesday, July 1 featuring Robyn Cage at 6 p.m. If you miss that concert, make sure to catch another free performance by Rose’s Pawn Shop at Newpark Town Center on Thursday, July 2, at 6 p.m.


There’s another St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert Friday, July 3, at 7 p.m., featuring Funky Meter, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Lucia Micarelli.

On Saturday July 4, at 7:30 p.m. the Deer Valley Music Festival opens up with the Utah Symphony featuring Patriotic Pops with Bravo Broadway. You don’t want to miss that. 

The Independence Day Celebration, on Friday, July 4, in Park City has grown by leaps and bounds over the years to become the main public event of the summer! The festivities start early at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at City Park. Then at 8 a.m. there’s the Park City Ski Team 5k Fun Run. The rest of the day is peppered with all kinds of activities like rugby games, live music, BBQs, a beer garden at the north end of City Park and of course at 11 a.m., the famous Fourth of July Parade in Park City with over 70 floats including, one from Deer Valley Resort. Get there early to pick your spot on Main Street or Park Avenue because it will fill up fast. The day will end with fireworks set to go off over at Park City Mountain Resort at dusk!


The Fourth of July events aren’t limited to Park City. In nearby Oakley, there will be the 80th Annual Oakley’s Fourth of July Celebration & Rodeo that blends a patriotic event with classic, western entertainment.

You won’t need to get up early the next day. Explore the Park Silly Sunday Market, right on Main Street on Sunday, July 5. It runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.! Walk over, catch a bus or ride your bike because parking spaces can be hard to find. The Park Silly Sunday Market is a family friendly open-air festival and market where you can unwind and find something for everyone; a cornucopia of vendors, artisans, kids’ activities, gourmet food, music, performers and even fresh vegetables!


If you like a great American classic theater, remember that you can see West Side Story at the Egyptian Theater from July 3 through July 24, 2015. Widely regarded as one of the best scores ever written, West Side Story takes the world’s greatest love story to the streets of New York City, right here in Park City.

If you are a wine connoisseur or want to become one, there’s the Fox School of Wine‘s Weekend Wine Series that kicks off on July 4 and continues through September 5. The class runs from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Silver Baron Lodge, near Snow Park at Deer Valley Resort and is designed to give beginner to experienced wine lovers a glimpse into little known stories and factoids that make the world of wine so interesting.

Even though we’re in full summer, there is some exciting freestyle skiing to watch every Saturday (11 a.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) at the Utah Olympic Park from July 5 to early September. “The Flying Ace All-Star Aerial Show,” is a must do for any summer list!


For nature lovers there is a Wetland Pond Walk on Tuesday, July 7, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Swaner EcoCenter, near Kimball Junction. You can take a short wetland walk out to the frog ponds where the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is reintroducing the Columbia Spotted Frog!

There is also a dance performance “You Are Now Here” by NOW-ID at the Kimball Art Center off Main Street, Park City, on Friday, July 10, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. This international and interdisciplinary contemporary dance performance will take place in the Kimball Art Center’s window display on Heber Avenue, it can be viewed from either inside the gallery, or via the sidewalk and street.

For those of you into serious sport, there’s the Echo Triathlon, on Saturday, July 11. This triathlon has become one of Utah’s largest events and traditionally sells out early. Combine the competition with warm July temperatures, a scenic ride in Utah’s unique Echo Canyon, a run on the Historic Rail Trail, and you have the perfect event for both seasoned athletes and beginners.

dvr-july4th6 (2)

The Park City Food and Wine Classic begins on July 8 and last through July 12. The festival offers a variety of experiences on the mountain, in restaurants, classrooms, and around town, which can increase your knowledge, and enjoyment of food and wine Park City has to offer.

What fun activities are you planning to attend this July in Park City? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @Deer_Valley.