Gold medals and gondolas tour gives peek at Olympic sites
A skier heads for a wet-but-soft landing in practicing the ski jump. / Photo by Heather Campbell
While a 6:45 a.m. departure time does not appeal to most, a guided tour, a gondola ride, and the chance to watch some Olympic jumpers sparked the interests of quite a few as the latest of the Travel Utah tours, "Gold Medals and Gondolas," sent this group out to the almost-famous, Olympic town, Park City.
History Professor Dallas Holmes provided a guided tour along the way, hoping to entertain the 50 or so travelers. Holmes pointed out some of Logan's most historic sites such as the LDS temple and tabernacle and the history behind their construction. Holmes said that the majority of the LDS temples are built facing the east. And according to the religion, they do this as they believe that Christ will come again, and when he does, they believe he will come from the east. Also something you might not have known. Have you ever looked really closely at the Logan temple? Did you notice that one of the towers is 5 feet higher than the other?
What about the Wellsville Mountains? According to Holmes they are unique in that they are among the steepest and most gradient in the world and reach and elevation of almost 9,000. Holmes kept the group entertained with facts and figures such as these throughout the trip.
In Park City, the group took a ride on the gondola and at the top a group hikers took them on a two-hour guided tour along the trails in the top of the mountains in the Canyons Resort. There, the group was able to observe nature in its purest form while the guides talked about the different animals living there, their habitat and also types of wildflower unique to the mountain range.
The best by far however, was the tour of the new 2002 Olympic Park. Again the group was treated to a guided tour that began with a look at the recently finished luge. The luge in which one can reach speeds of up to 90 mph, takes you through 15 different curves before you reach the bottom and is said to now be the fasted track in the world. A networking of pipes crawl around the bottom of the luge as the track uses a special kind of refrigeration process to keep ice on the track. This particular track will host all of the bobsled events and just in case you might want to try it like the pro's, the luge will open for the public. For about 30 bucks, you can ride it yourself on the 45mph rocket slide. Although construction this summer has put a hold on public riding for now, park officials say they hope to have it back up and running by October of this year.
Last but not least on this adventerous tour, the group made its way through the end of the park over to the ski jump summer training facility where they were able to watch the young athletes hard at work practicing their twists and turns before landing in a 750,000-gallon pool. While no one seemed to interested in trying it out themselves, they enjoyed the chance to watch the athletes performances from the deck above and everyone left the park, eager for 2002.
For those of you who missed it, perhaps you can catch next year's tour, and for those of you who find that a year is just too long to wait, check out this website for more informaion on visits to the Olympic Park.