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‘Park It’ In Park City, Utah

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By Earl Heath


From the four corners of this nation it is hard to envision a place with more beauty and serenity than Park City, Utah. Its narrow streets and pine tree background can put you in a world of your own before you even know it. Former Brigham Young University Head football coach LaVelle Edwards, called it ‘God's Country' and ‘there's no doubt about it'.

Park City is some 25 miles from Salt Lake City which is known for hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics. When you visit downtown Main Street there is plenty of shops for clothing, antiques and nostalgic items. From every corner of the city there are mountains and trees for as far as you can see. The good thing about Park City is that there are no traffic jams especially if you come from a big city such as LA, Chicago or San Francisco, you can appreciate a slow cruise down Main Street where you can ‘park it' in Park City. You can walk and shop or window shop, you can dine in casual atmospheres or you can just gaze at the green mountains that engulf this city.

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Royal Street Cafe in Deer Valley Resort
A five minute car ride to Deer Valley will give you an extraordinary boost. Here's where you will enter a multitude of experiences that will relax you, entertain you and provide you with the great escape. Deer Valley Resort is celebrating its 25th anniversary. There is summer fun and winter fun.

Ski Magazine calls Deer Valley as the number one Ski Resort in North America. But for summer fun there is a multitude of activities to do which include hiking and biking. In July of 2006, Etta James hit the Amphitheatre and dazzled the crowd.  Horn player Kenny G also rocked the house as part of a summer series of concerts. Down on Main Street, LL Cool J packed Harry O's for a few hours of fun and left the crowd wanting more.

If you are on the go Susan and Erin (Deer Valley Communications) can direct you to a Deer Valley Gourmet Picnic Basket at reasonable price that will enhance your activity of choice. Baskets include house smoked salmon, double cream French Brie, roast quail, or chilled petit filet of beef.

If you prefer, you can sit and enjoy the spectacular beauty and food at the Royal Street Café which offers a scenic outdoor deck and fantastic menu that fills you up and keeps you healthy. In Park City everyone is healthy and slim and trim. The employees come from various points of America like Shad (Alabama) and Allison (Pennsylvania). There is definitely someone from your part of the country working there. The Café offers a variety of grilled items such as turkey, garden or Angus beef burgers. There is a great shrimp and lobster margarita layered with papaya salsa and fresh guacamole, creative salads, tuna tacos and turkey chili that is an absolute must taste.

A great historic and recreational activity is provided by Park City Balloon Adventures. Its owner Miles Ivers is a true advocate for those who want to enjoy this special activity. He trained in Napa Valley and worked under someone else. His personality took him to Park City One day his mom asked if he thought he could make any money. When he said yes, she asked what it would take and he said money. So his parents and in-laws pitched in $60,000 to get things started. He used 40 and set aside 20,000 for a buffer and has not had touched it. "I was careful on how I spent it," said Ivers. He started his own company after working with others who appeared to be only interested in the money side and not as concerned about safety. The balloons are inspected twice annually. "We make sure that the integrity of the system is still safe to fly," said Ivers.

ImageAfter some flights many comment on their experience on Park City Balloon Adventures.

"It was wonderful! Awesome!" said Barbara Steinhover of Northern, VA. "I want to do it again."

On a Math Leadership Conference Andre and Iris Vickers from Virginia Beach said, "The balloon ride was smooth and very comfortable. We could actually take pictures of the hillside. It was an unbelievable experience."

"It was amazing!" said Iris Vickers. "Just to see all the water that we saw was amazing. The landing was gorgeous. Everyone who comes to Utah needs to do the balloon ride."

Ivers makes sure that he has a sound crew that includes 20 year veteran Tom Rathke. "Everyday is different," said Rathke of why he enjoys being a balloon pilot. "If your flying an airplane and you take off at Heber Airport you have to land back at Heber Airport. With balloons we take off from somewhere and land wherever. No two flights are ever the same."

Rathke gives a great explanation of why the crew is sound. He can also give a great history lesson of balloon flight in its infant years. In the 1780s technology was at a minimum when it came to flight. Man had mastered the take off however; once the wood was depleted there was no way to control the landing. There were several crash landings and many farms, villages, and homes burnt as the embers from the fire blew out along the route. To somewhat pacify the villagers and farmers affected from the fires, the balloon crew had cases of champagne which they shared until no one seemed to care anymore. So at the conclusion of your balloon ride you will receive champagne (non-alcoholic is also available) as Miles and Park City Balloon Adventures continue with the tradition of celebration. For more of the history you can visit www.PCBalloonAdventures.com.

When planning a trip, you can ‘park it' in Park City by catching a short flight on Southwest Airlines into Salt Lake City. Southwest Airlines will get you there without a speeding ticket, no roadside stops for breaks, and you don't have to pack a cooler since they are one of the few who still offer a free snack and on flight beverage. The flight crew will do their best to insure you have a pleasant flight and you won't have to fight any traffic at 30,000 feet. So, why drive when you can fly?

SWA is celebrating its 35th year this year and 16 of the original employees are still on the payroll. One such employee, Colleen Barrett who started on day one, credits the longevity to ‘pride, love and a passion for the Southwest Culture and Family'. Barrett is President and Corporate Secretary. When asked about a favorite Customer Service experience - "Watching my Fellow Employees work their hearts, souls, and guts out during what seemed like insurmountable odds and still managing to have our Customers walk away with a smile because they knew we cared about them," said Barrett.

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