Published on nileguide.com
Dear Utah: You had me at first glance. As soon as I peered out the airplane window at 30,000 feet, your snow-capped mountains welcomed me, as if saying where have you been and why have you been skiing the East Coast your whole life? (Okay, truth be told, that’s really what a local said to me the next day, but isn’t it more romantic for the mountain to narrate? Anyway, Mr. Ski Man jokingly said it’s as if I’ve never really been skiing, since I’ve never hit the slopes out west before.)Â Could it be true? Is the snow out there really that much better? They do market it as “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” after all.
As I got closer and closer to the Wasatch Mountains, I only continued to fall more deeply in love with my surroundings. First stop in downtown Salt Lake wasÂ Hotel Monaco, a Kimpton Hotel. The theme is funky, in a very good way. Think leopard-print robes, jewel tones galore and lots of vertical-striped walls. Speaking of funky, the cityâ€™s liquor laws fall into that same category. In downtown Salt Lake itâ€™s illegal to have two bars on the same street, making it tough to develop a night scene. And, until recently, if you wanted to grab a beer, you needed a membership for that particular bar or restaurant.
With that said, I still canâ€™t help but adore this city. That night we drove up to the Mill Creek Canyon, perfect for back country skiing in winter and well suited for mountain biking come summer. Up the curvy road, beyond the elusive moose, and past the glittery snow, we found Log Haven. Although I ate here on my first night in town, I recommend you save it for your last day because you really should be heading straight for the slopes. There are four resorts that offer free skiing the first day you arrive. So take an early flight into Salt Lake and head to Deer Valley, The Canyons Resort or Park City Mountain Resort. Flash your boarding pass and voila! youâ€™ve got a same-day lift ticket. Essentially, you could get in a good six hours for zippo dinero.
Okay, back to Log Haven. Iâ€™m a big fan of sampling local cuisine. So in the spirit of native nibbles, I opted for the bison. And then I stole some elk off my neighborâ€™s plate. As you can see, Iâ€™m also in support of overeating when on holiday. This restaurant is cozy, romantic, and the staff is super knowledgeable. For apps, I suggest the crab cakes, skirt steak, Utah trout tempura or grilled calamari. For dessert, try the green tea pannacotta, the amano chocolate mousse or the creme brulee. You won’t be disappointed. Unless, of course, your only goal is to see a moose.
For more pre-ski fun, check out www.skiutah.com.