Summer Day At Sundance
On a recent July trip to Utah I set a day aside to visit Sundance Resort. I had heard summer at Sundance offered a chance to experience a pristine mountain setting open to public in the midst of very subtle but very effective preservation of the natural beauty and environment. Sundance is all of this, and more.
The Sundance Preserve and the Sundance Experience
In 1969 Robert Redford bought the existing small - 1 chair, 1 rope tow - ski area operating here on the slopes beneath 12,000' Mount Timpanogos. Redford's vision for his ski resort ran counter to the trend of ski resort developers to build out the environs as much as possible to bring in as much development as the boundaries could hold.
Where developers of the day saw money in stacks of condos Redford wanted to preserve the land as nature was and is, and to that end he bought the land surrounding the area intended for skiing. This gave him control over the limits of development and kept at bay those who saw huge profits in the draw of his name alone.
Redford's dream flourished and the Sundance experience evolves to this day in the Sundance Preserve tradition of protecting nature and promoting the enjoyment of nature. Now, the Sundance Experience involves not only promoting efforts of the arts that but promoting a conscious awareness of our responsibilities as stewards of the planet and inspiring a new activism to this end.
Experiencing Sundance Resort
As you turn into Scenic Route 92 and drive the 2 miles to Sundance, your first impression is the road and just natural surroundings may seem stark on the road to a world famous ski resort but again, it's Sundance.
So upon arriving, if you want to mountain bike or hike you're immediately in the center of your venture. Rent a bike, bring your own, or as I did just buy a ticket and ride the chairlift to Ray's Summit.
The leisurely chairlift ride affords for great views on the way up but at the top is the real show and photo ops. Well into July there is still a lot of snow nestled at the top of Mount Timpanogos. Off in the distance you can make out Stewart Falls and a basic zoom lens brings it in for a nice picture.
Hiking Around and/or Down
You can get up closer to Stewart Falls on a two hour beginner/intermediate trail through a forest and meadows to the falls.
The more adventurous can take the challenge of the Arrowhead Summit Trail. This hike takes you up to Arrowhead Summit with views of Wasatch, Utah Valley, and Heber Valley.
The shorter Manden Loop takes you out and around and back to Ray's summit where to can ride the chairlift back down.
I took the Black Forest Loop which is a great hike for beginners as through forests and meadows on the way down and past the Sundance summer theater to the base.
The General Store and Deli
The General Store carries an assortment of organic clothing and crafts made from recycled products which support local artists as well as artists from around the nation. If you are familiar with the Sundance Catalog you know the quality and selection available at the store, so leave time to browse.
After hiking or biking around you won't want to miss a leisurely lunch at the Deli adjacent to the store. There is a fine selection of filling sandwiches, wraps, hot and cold drinks you'll enjoy while relaxing on the porch.
If you want to really make a day of it, do a take out from the Deli menu and lunch up on the mountain.
Enjoy the Day
Whether you hike or bike, or just relax and take in the mountain air you'll enjoy the day at Sundance. The staff is friendly and eager to answer questions and you will feel, as I did, that you are a part of the Sundance community - if only for a day and even without skis.