Shoulder Season in Park City

Some people call it shoulder season. Others call it mud season. Park City locals call it “we finally have our town back” season. And Wasatch Front locals call it “get great hotel and restaurant deals, and avoid the crowds” season.

Way back when I was a kid, I remember my family heading up to Park City in the fall. We’d check out the Autumn Aloft, and then head over to Main Street to walk around and absorb the sights and smells of fall in the mountains. Leaves changing colors and crisp air combined to make it a magical time.

Now, even though I’m a little bit older, fall in Park City holds the same special feeling. And best of all, the summer crowds have gone back to work and school, and the winter ski crowds haven’t yet arrived. It’s a chance for local restauranteurs to catch their breath, take some time off, and enjoy the city without having the accelerator pedal jammed all of the way to the floor.

For locals on the Wasatch Front, the shoulder seasons are a great opportunity to find hotels at a great discount (some priced 25-50% lower than their winter rates). Many restaurants also offer locals deals during this time in order to keep their tables full. Tupelo, for example, offers a five course tasting menu for a bargain price of $49. Optional wine pairing is an additional $25. You don’t see that kind of deal during the ski season.

On a recent weekend, we stayed a couple days at the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley. This hotel is ideally located at the base of the Silver Lake and Sterling Express lifts, providing easy access for those adventure seekers who aren’t too interested in riding bikes or hiking uphill. Not interested in taking a lift? No problem. There is easy access to dozens of public hiking/biking trails that will take you all over the mountains if you wish. One of my personal favorites is the Mid Mountain trail, which will take you all the way over to the Canyons resort if you are looking for a big adventure. Being on the trails in the fall with the leaves changing colors is really something special, and one of the reasons I love Utah so much.

Of course, one of the reasons it’s called the “mud season” is that you have to be prepared for all types of weather. It is Utah in the mountains, after all. Our hiking and biking plans were quickly derailed when the mountain received about eight inches of snow during our weekend stay. No problem–we fired up the in-room fireplace, headed off to the hot tub, took a dip in the pool, and relaxed in the room.

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Then off to Sunday brunch at the Glitretind we went, which was absolutely phenomenal. Fellow diners and our servers were so good to our little baby, and the buffet offers something for everyone. Seafood, salads, chicken, prime rib, crèpes, waffles, eggs benedict–you name it, and it was probably there. And their dessert table is ridiculous, and featured an aspen tree centerpiece made out of chocolate.

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For dinner, we hopped down off the mountain and headed into a small strip mall next to The Market at Park City. I was thrilled to discover that one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, Tarahumara, has opened a second location in Park City. The original Tarahumara in Midway is always packed, but I think that the Park City Tarahumara may still be a hidden gem, because it was not very busy. The carne asada, carnitas, and enchiladas were all excellent. And of course they have their famous salsa bar with what must be 30+ different delicious salsas.

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So if you’re crunched on time, budget, or just want a quick getaway, I’d suggest taking a look at a Park City/Deer Valley vacation. You can enjoy Main Street without the crowds, fill your belly with delicious food at a reasonable price, and perhaps upgrade your hotel accommodations from what you normally budget for. It’s a delicious and affordable getaway.

I was an invited guest of Stein Eriksen Lodge and the Glitretind restaurant. Opinions are my own.

Stein Eriksen Lodge’s Corporate Chef Zane Holmquist Awarded Chef of the Year

On Tuesday, May 16, 2017, the Utah Restaurant Association, in partnership with Devour Utah magazine, hosted their 2017 Utah Restaurant Industry Awards Gala naming Corporate Chef Zane Holmquist of Stein Eriksen Lodge as Chef of the Year.

The annual award ceremony has honored food service professionals for the last 30 years, and past winners are among the elite of restaurant professionals. Award recipients are nominated by their industry peers.

“What an honor it is to receive this award among such talented company in Utah’s restaurant industry,” said Holmquist. “My team and I are so passionate about the dining experience we’re able to provide our guests, and I am incredibly grateful to be part of the Stein Eriksen Lodge family who allows me to do what I love every day.”

Holmquist joined the Stein Eriksen Lodge team in 2000 and was promoted to Executive Chef in 2001 and Corporate Chef in 2016. In 2005, Holmquist was invited to showcase his work at the renowned James Beard House and was the recipient of the Governor’s Culinary Artisan Award. He has made appearances on NBC’s TODAY Show, Sirius Radio’s The Martha Stewart Show, ABC’s Good Things Utah, Park City TV and Park City’s KPCW radio program. Holmquist’s cuisine has been featured in publications such as SKI Magazine, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Sunset Magazine, Food Arts, Salt Lake Magazine and City Weekly.

Other Park City award winners included tupelo, High West Distillery, and Stein Eriksen Lodge’s Glitretind Restaurant who earned the prestigious “Taste Utah” award, recognizing their successful contributions in Utah business and their value as members of Utah’s restaurant community. All award recipients, including Holmquist, will be featured in the July issue of Utah Business magazine.

Beyond the state level, Glitretind Restaurant recently received national recognition for earning Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence, an award the restaurant has earned consistently since 2007. The award recognizes wine lists that “display excellent breadth across multiple winegrowing regions, typically offering 350 or more selections. These restaurants are destinations for serious wine lovers, showing a deep commitment to wine, both in the cellar and through their service team.” Click here for the Glitretind Restaurant listing.