~Allison and her traveling family at Mount Rushmore~
One the great things about attending the Travel Bloggers Exchange is meeting e-maginary friends and getting to know them as actual people. I really enjoyed getting to know Allison from Tips For Family Trips. She is the queen of National Parks and has the best tips for getting around her home state of Utah.
Ten Ways to Recreate the Utah Olympic Spirit by Allison at Tips for Family Trips
I was a volunteer during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was fortunate to be assigned to the figure skating venue and I was standing just a few rows from Peggy Fleming when Sarah Hughes gave her gold-medal performance. I will cherish my Olympic memories forever. Ten years later, you don't need to have competed, volunteered, or even remembered the 2002 Winter Olympics to catch the Olympic spirit in Salt Lake City. Here are the top ten ways you can still experience the Olympics here. It's the stuff bucket lists are made of.
1. See the Olympic Torch The torch is perhaps the most iconic image of each Olympic Games. The 2002 Olympic torch is located on the University of Utah campus overlooking downtown Salt Lake City. It has been lit during each Olympic games ever since. The stadium behind the torch was the venue for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Olympic Village is now student housing at the University of Utah.
2. Ski like a champion You may not be able to ski as fast as Bode Miller, but you can try your ski tips on the same Downhill course he skiied to win the gold at Snowbasin. Located near Ogden, 35 miles north of Salt Lake City, Snowbasin offers world-class skiing, snowboarding and tubing in the winter and hiking, biking, tours and live music in the summer. 3. Skate the "Fastest Ice on Earth" Located a few miles west of Salt Lake City, the Utah Olympic Oval bills itself as the "Fastest Ice on Earth". It is still a training facility for speed skaters, but you can enjoy public skating or take a skating lesson year-round. Experienced speed skaters can register for a drop-in session.
4. Snowboard at Park City Mountain Resort This resort hosted the snowboarding and giant slalom events. Park City has long been one of Utah's top winter AND summer resorts for family fun. Beyond skiing and snowboarding, winter activities include an alpine coaster, zip line, tubing hill, snowmobiling and sleigh rides. In the summer, visitors to Park City can escape the heat and enjoy hiking, mountain biking, alpine slides, the alpine coaster, zip lines, chair-lift rides, the Adventure Zone play area, all less than an hour's drive from downtown Salt Lake City. The rest of the list is located at the Utah Olympic Park near Park City, Utah:
5. Visit the museums The Alf Engen Ski Museum and and Eccles Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum are housed in the same building and admission is free. Interesting for kids and adults, these museums have lots of interactive exhibits and fun photo ops. 6. Take a tour We took the one-hour guided van tour and it was better than I expected. Our guide was not only an employee, but the father of an aspiring athlete as well, and it was fascinating to get the inside scoop on both the 2002 Winter Olympics and how the facilities are used today. If the guided tour is not for you, there is also a free self-guided tour of the facilities. There are lots of ski hills in the world, but how often do you get a close-up look at bobsled tracks and ski jumps? 7. See an aerial show Each Saturday during the summer, Olympians and national team athletes perform choreographed aerial stunts, soaring up to 60 feet in the air and landing in the splash pool below. Tickets are required for this 30-minute show and are available for purchase in the museum. If you can't make the show, there is often free entertainment to be found at the Freestyle pool. Athletes use it to practice their skills and the Olympic Park offers Freestyle clinics for visitors, which are fun to watch. That brings us to...
8. Be the aerial show Like what you see? Want to give it a try? Sign-up for one of the 2-hour Summer Freestyle Jump Intro Clinics. Open to adults and children, these clinics provide the coaching and equipment you need to learn some impressive new tricks you can take to the ski slopes next winter.
9. Ride a zipline over the ski jump tracks It doesn't seem that high until you stand at the top of the K120 nordic ski jump and look down. Jump off of the same platform the Olympians did and reach speeds up to 50 mph on the Extreme - the steepest zipline in the world. You'll get an idea of what it feels like to be an Olympic ski jumper. The shorter Freestyle zipline is also available for younger children (50-100 lb) and anyone, like me, who wants a tamer ride. 10. Ride a bobsled This might be the coolest thing on this list. Ride with a professional down the entire length of the Olympic bobsled track. It'll take you through 15 turns and 4 G's of force in less than a mile. The ride is available summer and winter, but is significantly less expensive in the summer. If you think sledding face first down an icy track sounds fun, Skeleton rides are also available in the winter. The theme of the 2002 Winter Olympics was "Light the Fire Within." Experience Salt Lake City's Olympic legacy and ignite your own Olympic spirit.
Allison Laypath is a family travel writer at tipsforfamilytrips.com, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She and her husband took their first child on a two-week road trip at four-weeks-old and they have been traveling as a family ever since. Allison loves all types of travel, but especially road trips, national parks and travel within her home state of Utah.