Feb 18 2011

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Sundance: Memories from a glitzy ski vacation

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By Elina Fuhrman

In Park City, it’s all about Sundance and snow.  This pristine enclave nestled in the valley between Mount Alta and the Wasatch National Forest is a skier’s paradise and a filmmaker’s dream-come-true. I should know: My daughter’s film “Salvation Boulevard” debuted there recently. While we spent plenty of time on the red carpet, we also used the opportunity to take a much-needed ski vacation.

Credit: All photos by Elina Fuhrman.

Peruse through my gallery and you’ll see what wooed me to Park City in the first place: bluebird skies and powder-soft snow. It’s like a snowy white canvas waiting to be painted. But don’t let that fool you into leaving your bikinis at home; heated pools stay open for a refreshing polar bear dip after a day on the slopes.

My first visit to Park City was in 2007 for the Sundance Film Festival, and we left feeling sorry that we didn’t spend any time snowboarding or skiing. During this visit, we budgeted enough playtime on the runs with my daughter’s work duties. The event premiered dozens of independent feature films including the latest from my daughter Isabelle:a dark comedy about the unraveling of a charismatic mega-church pastor, played by Pierce Brosnan. Jennifer Connelly and Greg Kinnear star as Isabelle’s loyal parishioner-parents.  With all the promoting of the film and media to do, we flew in a day early and hit the slopes right away.

We started with the manicured slopes in the most elegant and sophisticated Deer Valley Resort, just moments after we arrived. Deer Valley is Utah’s version of the upscale Aspen. Hiring a private instructor was a smart move, because within an hour my daughters were gliding downhill as if they’ve been doing it their entire lives.  We finished our first day at the Seafood Buffet, Deer Valley’s famous restaurant known for its great raw bar selections as well as sushi, grilled meats and sumptuous desserts.

With the sun shining the next morning, it was time for snowboarding at the Park City Mountain Resort.  It’s a large and lively resort, famous for being the training grounds for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Olympic team.  The gentle slopes were an ideal place for us to learn but it was not a bunny hill either. The variety of terrain gives novices like us a taste of great views and no crowds of experienced skiers whizzing their way to the bottom. We fell a lot, laughed a lot and recounted our fun morning over fish tacos lunch at the Legends Grill right at the bottom of the hills.

Our stay at the Waldorf Astoria in the Canyons, one of the new properties in Park City, a stunning luxury lodge surrounded by spectacular beauty of the Wasatch Mountains, was a real treat.  The unpretentious and rustic yet chic resort is one of the most posh places in the area, boasting sublime mountain views, exceptional customer service, plush beds and crackling fireplaces in its suites. We loved the free shuttle that took us everywhere we wanted to go, which meant we didn’t need to rent a car and struggle with parking during this busy time in Park City.

No sooner than the red carpet was rolled up, my daughters convinced me to go skiing again.  We took the hotel shuttle to Park City and within moments, we were on the slopes. I wobbled and bobbled on my skis until I decided I was better off taking more photos and then waiting for my girls to finish with a cup of hot tea by a warm fireplace.

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Elina Fuhrman is an intrepid traveler based in Los Angeles. She grew up in Russia but knew before she was 10  years old that she would spend her life exploring the world.  She is now a contributing editor to Travelgirl and JEZEBEL magazines. Her work has appeared on CNN, in The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Conde Nast Traveler, InStyle and other publications.  Fuhrman’s photos often accompany her stories. To see more, visit her website www.elinafuhrman.com.

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Posted on: February 18, 2011 | Tags: | Category: Holidays & EventsCategory: HotelsCategory: Ski Resorts

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