In the fall of 1999, I decided I was going to be a mountain biker. I bought a used set of wheels and followed a coworker up Spiro, a trail he thought would be worthy of an inaugural ride—back then, not the heavily trafficked downhill MTB freeway of today, so it wasn’t as crazy as it sounds.
I was dominated by the uphill, fumbling with my gears, and Fred Flintstone-ing corners every time a root or rock bucked me off my ride. My lungs had to step it up, and so did my legs. After a celebratory moment to take in the golden aspen leaves at the trail’s summit, we started down, whooping and hollering through red- and rusty-hued scrub oaks and maples, until ... as I rounded my first sharp, descending switchback, I made the rookie mistake of squeezing both brakes hard at once and promptly flipped over my handlebars—tail over teakettle. Graceless tumble into the bushes aside, it was invigorating. And I was smitten. Not by the guy—by the biking.
Though rolling through aspen-flanked backcountry is extraordinary (see our ultimate biking guide to Park City’s trail and road rides, “Crank It Up,” p. 71), in retrospect, it really wasn’t just the ride that took hold. Park City has unique ways of capturing the heart, whether it’s the singletrack, the arts, the community—ahem, the beer (see Darby Doyle’s all-out celebration and guide to the local hops and barley scene, “Suds of Summer,” p. 83). While this ever-changing mountain town brews up a great deal of potential adventure and a chockablock calendar of happenings, it also retains a remarkable sense of get-away-from-it-all vastness.
You can get a little lost here. In a good way. After all, 400 miles of interwoven trails means a lot of potential forks in the path. On the flip side, we also live in a place where remarkable people find their way: Parkites like rising soccer star Sebastian “Bofo” Saucedo (see “Summit Stories,” p. 65), veteran and longtime steward of Midway’s Memorial Hill Terry Edwards (see “Local Lore,” p. 51), or open-space advocate Cheryl Fox (see “Land Crusader,” p. 111). And, there are newcomers getting in on what was once a locals’ secret season, bringing edgy trends (see Covet, p. 61) into our midst.
Discovering the new and treasuring the old is what we do in Park City. And perhaps your inaugural attempt at whatever this mountain town throws at you will snag a piece of your soul, just as the biking (and hiking) has mine. These days, I descend Spiro confidently—often with husband in tow as we scurry back to the kids after our favorite summer date night, a spectacular Mid Mountain ride. My young family has also developed routine, little-leg-friendly rides: Round Valley, RTS, McLeod Creek. And then there are times we choose to abandon the familiar terrain and disappear into the glorious maze of trails.
Thankfully, here, the tried-and-true is always balanced with new forks to take.
Editor, Park City Magazine