words by Melissa Fields
Last weekend my family and I headed up to the Utah Olympic Park to check out the park’s new Zip Line Tour, a series of seven zipline spans suspended up to 160 feet above the ground, traveling from the park’s highest point—well above the start of the 120-meter ski jump—down to the lower loop area of the iconic 2002 Olympic bobsled track. High-octane, unbridled adventure best describes this unforgettable thrill-ride—one that every Utah family should add to their summertime staycation bucket list.
“Oh my GOSH!!!” Meredith screamed as we whizzed down the Zip Line Tour’s first cable. Neither one of us could stop giggling as we sailed through the air at 40-plus miles per hour over the hillsides and treetops, surrounded by views of Snyderville Basin and the Uinta Mountains in the distance. We laughed even harder as we plopped awkwardly onto each of the 13 steel platforms along the tour’s seven spans, caught each time by the tour’s super-friendly attendants. Even my typically stoic 16-year-old, Charlie, couldn’t wipe the perma-grin off his face. “It’s nice to see an Olympic venue being used like this rather than just sitting here,” he observed adeptly at one point during the tour.
That’s no joke. Since the 2002, the Utah Olympic Park has become one of Park City’s biggest summertime draws. The wind was howling and temps hovered around 60 degrees with an approaching cold front on the afternoon we arrived there to do the Zip Line Tour. But, from the park’s slick Welcome Center and well-kept trails to the rides and museums, the place bustled with visitors, as is the case each time we make a summertime visit there.
Utah Olympic Park activities that have become part of my family’s regular summertime itinerary include watching aerial skiers fly and twist up above and into the park’s Spence Eccles Olympic freestyle pool at the Flying Ace All-Star Freestyle Shows
(every Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.); Extreme Tubing
, plummeting over the park’s ski jumps in an inflated innertube; the Freestyle and Extreme zip lines; and strolling through the Alf Engen Ski Museum and the 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum. And, after our latest trip there last week, that list now includes the Zip Line Tour.
While you can purchase admission to each of the Utah Olympic Park’s attractions separately, the best way to do the park is to make a day of it and buy the Summer Gold Day Pass
. For just $75 for adults and $50 for kids age 6 to 12 (purchase in advance at utaholympiclegacy.org to get 10 percent off), Gold Day Pass holders get all-day access to Extreme Tubing, Extreme Zip, all three ropes courses, the Drop Tower, the new Airbag Jumps, the Mountain Challenge course, and scenic chairlift rides. Upgrade for just $25 more and you’ll get to do the Zip Line Tour, too.
For lunch, pack a cooler and picnic on the patios and grass outside the Welcome Center; have lunch, a coffee, or an ice cream cone at the one-site café; or make the quick drive down to Kimball Junction to choose from a variety fast-casual, fast-food and sit-down restaurants.
So, what are you waiting for? Make this the summer your family sends it at the Utah Olympic Park. There's a reason Ski Utah's "Adventure Mom
" put it on her Family Summer Bucket List
Zip Line Tour Basics
- Zip Line Tour-only tickets are $60 for both adults and children age 12 and up. The entire ride, from the short walk from the Welcome Center to the Nordic lift to when we disembarked the last cable span, took us about 90 minutes to complete.
- Closed-toe shoes are a requirement and not just because sandals and flip flops would surely fly off your feet while you’re zipping. Getting to the tour’s first platform requires a 5- to 10-minute hike uphill on a dirt trail from the top of the Nordic lift. You’ll also encounter lots of metal stairs and even a suspension bridge along the way.
- No backpacks or purses are allowed, so be sure to leave those in your car. I’d also recommend leaving your hat there, too, And as tempting as it may be to pull out your phone to take photos or video while zipping, if you drop it you’ll never see it again, at least in one piece.
- The rider weight requirement is 50 to 250 pounds and everyone is asked to step on a scale while getting outfitted with harnesses and helmets at the start of the tour. Gravity powers the Zip Line Tour and so all riders under 100 pounds (like my daughter, Meredith) must ride tandem with another rider to avoid getting stuck between platforms.
- Even if the temperature is 80 degrees in Park City, wear a sweatshirt or at least long-sleeves. The Zip Line Tour is very exposed and windy on even the calmest days and mountain weather can change quickly.
- The Utah Olympic Park is open Monday through Thursday and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through August 11, 2018. After Labor Day, September 3, adventure activities are offered Saturdays and Sundays only through October 21. For more details, visit utaholympiclegacy.org.