You’ve made it! The final installment from our Labor Day adventures. And I think this post has the best part of the trip!
Other than the Park City Mountain Resort that we visited on Day Two, the only place we really wanted to see was the Olympic Park.
Though Salt Lake City was the official location of the Olympics That Romney Built, many of the events took place in Park City. It’s now mostly used as a training facility, but they have an awesome (free!) museum and activities you can do across its grounds, including a real ride on the bobsled track. If that didn’t come with a $75/person price tag for the less-than-a-minute ride, we probably would have tried it. $150 can buy you a lot at the outlet mall, mind you.
What we WERE willing to shell out the cash for was its Extreme Zipline.
You basically ride a chair lift (there’s that dreaded word again) up past the Olympic nordic ski jump and ride the zipline down to the base of the jump…on an already tall mountain. They boast it’s one of the steepest ziplines in the world. So, as soon as we got there we grabbed our tickets and headed up before reason and fear could set in.
This is the last picture of us before we climbed on the lift. I might have muttered “just in case” after I took it. You know…just in case.
Here are the ski jumps. If you see the platform at the very top, that’s where we were headed. As soon as we got on the lift, some other brave souls flew down the line screaming. Holy *&$# — that was going to be us.
Unfortunately, those damn chair lifts are so slow you have an E-T-E-R-N-I-T-Y to dwell on the fact that this probably isn’t the wisest thing you’ve ever done. You know, suspend in a seat and fly down a mountain and all.
The higher and higher you go, the lighter and lighter your head gets. I don’t know if this is due to the altitude or adrenaline, but it wasn’t a great feeling.
This is still mid-ride! You are so unbelievably high.
In case you ever wondered what’s under all that snow on the ski jumps, now you know.
When you get to the top there’s a bathroom. I’m not even kidding. It’s the smartest place I’ve even seen a series of stalls because as soon as you get off that chair lift and realize what you’re about to do you’re either about to throw up or have a case of the Nervous Stomach. Better to deal with it there than when you’re flying down. (I imagine.)
Then, you walk to the platform.
That guy in the blue was there with his parents (!), wife, and two daughters. Well, please, if 70-year-olds could do this, I’d be fine right? Right before their blue doors opened they made some joke about their wills and then I felt queasy all over again.
This sign of stats didn’t help either.
As the line moved closer, you began to see the drastic drop you were about to encounter.
I kid you not, just looking at the pictures again sends my heart racing. And since you didn’t see the beauty that is the gopro head-mount, here you go.
Now there was nothing else to do but do it. A few pointers I should mention before you watch the video:
1. The most terrifying seconds of my life were hanging in that seat, staring at the blue door, waiting for it to open. You are suspended above the platform with your knees against the wall like it’s a freakin’ horse race. (I watch Joe get ready so you have a better idea of what happens.)
2. At the beginning of the video, I step on the platform to get in the seat and you briefly get a glance of how high I am. Just don’t miss it. You should feel your stomach turn.
3. You really need to turn down the speakers. There’s no profanity, again–small miracles, people, but there’s loud screaming.
4. Joe loses his hat on the ride. Fear not, it was from Columbia so afterwards we hit up the outlets across the street and found him a $10 replacement. Better that than the gopro.
Are you still with me? I think you can pinpoint exactly where in the ride I went from “ohmygod!” to “oh my GOD!.” It’s subtle, but it’s there. And, yes, I definitely waved to the people we met on that platform. When you think you might die, the bonds you forge in those last minutes are somewhat precious. (And I think they were jealous they had forgotten their own gopro.)
Afterwards, when the feeling in our legs was back, we walked back up to visit the museum and got to watch some of ski jump training, which takes place in a huge pool. You can even take a few lessons and try it yourself, which looked pretty fun.
Here are some of the pros we watched:
This is a better view, but it’s sideways. Sorry. #itssundaynightandimtired
The Olympic Museum is really well done. You immediately walk in to a long hallway that chronicles the evolution of ski style.
I especially connected to this lavender number. It reminded me of my own ski style in the 80s. You remember, I’m sure.
I also fell hard and fast for this one, speaking of the 80s.
It ends with the uniforms our US Olympians wore in Sochi, along with a few medals won.
Overhead are weird animals that you encounter face-to-face on the second level. They were used in the Opening Ceremony.
Wouldn’t be much of an Olympic Museum without the actual torch, amIright?
And it wouldn’t be a vacation with me if I wasn’t forcing my husband to take pictures like this. Thanks, baby.
They also had a cool way of explaining why Utah Snow is so great.
We also got to see how the medals were made…
…and feel exactly how heavy a curling stone is. Spoiler Alert: heavy. (Have I ever shared my hatred for that sport? It’s a blog post of its own.)
One last photo op. There were all different kinds of winter sport vehicles in the lobby you could climb into. (Again, thanks, Joe.)
By then it was hat-replacing time, so we ran back over to the outlets. While we were there, my leg kept feeling SUPER itchy through my jeans. As soon as we got back in the car, I pulled up my pant leg and my entire calf was swollen and bright red with darker red splotches.
I should mention that all summer I’ve been fighting a yet-to-be-identified rash (a point I’ve managed to keep blog-free until now), so this new rash was actually over the old rash. It’s complicated.
To keep it simple: it required a trip to urgent care and the acquiring of three huge tubes of steroid cream and orders to stay indoors. Thus ended our Park City outdoor adventures. That afternoon we had planned to go around the actual city (and its famous main street) for some pictures, but that was okay. It gives us something new to do when we go back again. Thankfully, we came prepared with DVDs and magazines, and the forced downtime allowed us to do a lot of this:
It was a wonderful long weekend and I’m glad my rash held off until we had done everything we really wanted to do. Family vacations are the best.
And while we were pretty sad to pack it up and head back north, this girl seemed the saddest.
As for the rash…I’m contemplating writing a post about it since I just found out what it is…but for now know that things are good and the steroids worked their magic.