Zipping on Top of the World 2

Utah Olympic Park Has Adventure for the Whole Family


Perched high in the clouds, Kimball Junction spread out map-like and buzzing beneath us. We look out at the horizon and feel adventurous and able. It is simply gorgeous up here—the showy evergreens tucked against the Wasatch, the summer sky a robin egg’s blue and the clouds puffy perfection. “It’s a Toy Story sky,” my kids each remark, one after the other, as we wait turns to ride, to zip, to climb.

We are at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, pitting our braves against the ropes, and learning a bit about the area’s robust skiing history and the 2002 Olympics.

And it’s something wonderful. We are gleeful, not quite ourselves, taking in big gulps of mountain air and feeling cooler than we have all summer in the valley, even whilst attached to cables via harness and wearing super flattering helmets.

With several activities to choose from, including two museums showcasing interactive exhibits and past Olympic memorabilia, and the Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Show that features stunning aerial acrobatics courtesy of Olympians and National Team skiers and snowboarders, the Utah Olympic Park is a perfect summer field trip. It’s close enough to conquer in a day with little planning, but far enough away that I forget myself—forget the things I’m supposed to be doing at home, and I’m just there. With my family. Laughing and screaming.

Blame it on all the adrenaline-inducing activities. With an alpine slide, two zip lines (including the “Steepest in the World”), a drop zone, the Comet Bobsled ride, several adventure ropes courses for all abilities and a playground for the youngest set, it is indeed a place to lose yourself.

And find yourself, too.

Because, from a soaring platform, my teenager crossed the threshold’s edge and took one defiant leap toward the cloud-sculpted blue horizon; on a ropes course my son balanced handily—and without hands!—while traversing suspended bridges and web-like ropes; and on a roller coaster-like slide, my youngest daughter fought fear and learned to control a sled, then trust herself, and then zoom and fly, triumphant.

At the end of our day, my 9 year old grabbed my hand as we walked back to our car. She was pink-cheeked, hair swirling out of her French braid, her eyes alive with the feeling of having conquered that mountain, and she said to me, “I’ve always wondered what those big green things on the mountain were.” (She’s referring to the swooping Nordic Ski Jumps, covered in artificial turf.) “And now I know.”

Does she ever.