Our annual pilgrimage to Park City during the ski season has been a Koh family tradition since 1994. Without fail, we have visited every season for the past 20 years for the skiing. For most, it sounds normal, but for me Park City is half a world away, 9000 miles between destinations, three connecting flights and over 24 hour travel from door to door. I am from Singapore, a country in South East Asia located 85 miles from the equator, known for being one of the biggest financial capitals of the world and its year round tropical climate, and high humidity; definitely no mountains and most definitely no snow. But, once we arrive at in Park City, jet lag doesn't matter; you just want to get your skis on and head up the chairlift.
Before I was born my parents travelled around the United States and Europe chasing the snow. They ventured through the Rockies and the Swiss Alps in search of the ideal place for the perfect family ski destination. They found Park City. When we first arrived in 1994, Park City had a rustic, quaint feel to it, compared to the incredible developments after the Olympics. The state with the “Greatest Snow on Earth” was where we were destined to be. We were one of the first owners of the timeshare at the bottom of Main Street – the Marriott Summit Watch, which enabled us to have “ski-in, ski-out” access (across the bridge) and everything Main Street had to offer. We attend Sunday mass at St Mary’s Church at the top of Park Avenue. The walk up Main Street at 7:30 in the morning is not only refreshing, but also a great start to the day.
The day I took the photo that was posted on Instagram, we were walking up the steep stairs at the top of Main Street towards Park Avenue after a night of heavy snowfall. I like to call it, a “sure fire way to wake you up and work your thighs pre skiing."
When the Sundance Film Festival comes to town, you can barely find a spare patch of sidewalk to walk on, so taking a walk up Main Street just as the sun is rising, without a single soul in sight is truly rare. It isn’t hard to make photos look beautiful in such a picturesque surrounding; you just need to find the right subject matter. My favorite places for photos are when I’m riding the Town Lift! Next time make sure you turn around and admire the town from above.
As far as having a memorable dining experience, you can’t go past High West Distillery for accessibility (taking a lunch break from skiing at the bottom of Town Lift) and a great variety of amazing dishes. Stepping inside the saloon offers a throwback to the days of the Old West. A tour of the distillery is a must! It was truly a treat to see how whiskey was made, and I credit it for being the place that initiated my introduction to whiskey. Although I’m partial to white wine, the whiskey was smooth and quickly warmed me up!
I love paying a visit to Dolly’s Bookstore to visit the cats roaming around the bookstore and finding a good read whilst taking in the whiff of chocolate coming from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory next door.
Since Banksy made his mark on Park City, the streets have been adorned with colorful vibrant works ofart, some of which I noticed during Sundance. When the Banksy pieces were first discovered on Main Street, I rushed out in the morning to find them and photograph them. You never know with street art; they might be painted over the next day! As far as I know, the rat in 3D glasses and the monkey on the electric box (at the corner of Heber Ave and Main St) are no longer there.
Attending university in Australia gave me the opportunity to spend a good part of the winter skiing in Park City since it is summer vacation in the Southern Hemisphere! Having season passes at both Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley offer diverse experiences, but both mountains have so much to offer in terms of trails and bowls and at Deer Valley the incredible food at Snow Park Lodge, best skier's lunch ever! On powder days, I find myself darting out and lining up along with all the other powder hounds at the Town Lift to get the first chair and first tracks!
Many people back home ask why I go skiing, why I choose mountains, and why I travel over 9,000 miles and 24 hours just to ski. It’s simple in my eyes; Park City has a certain charm, a welcoming environment, the most picturesque setting you can lay your eyes on and world class skiing. Growing up in a big city, you learn to kick back, appreciate the beauty and vast panoramic mountain range, looking as far as the eye can see.