Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Park City

The final day of the trip had 4 of us escaping from the pack to see what else Utah had to offer.

This was our tank, a rather big beast but we'd be driving in comfort.

The inside was pretty impressive too, well at least for the 2 in the back. I was up front playing the part of navigator.

A short drive from Lagoon and we were soon seeing the large ski jumps of the states Olympic Park, which hosted the winter Olympics back in 2002.

The UK suck at the winter olympics but we did win a gold in curling and a bronze in skeleton.

That's the bobsleigh run, which looks pretty impressive but we were here to ride the Alpine Coaster.

Taking he chairlift to the top, nice views!

Err, we did realise this wasn't the Alpine Coaster park when we got close to the ride and saw toboggan track, but having paid we decided to ride it anyway. I am rubbish at these and my "friends" made certain I knew that when I finally made it to the bottom much later than them.

It was actually still quite fun with a nice long track winding itself down the mountain but there were no real heart in mouth moments.

And the award for the most pointless warning goes to...

This was quite neat, mini ski jumps into a swimming pool so you can practice your ski jump and your diving techniques simultaneously. I'm not aware of anyone who competes in both competitions though.

In an attempt to turn the park into an all-year attraction other attractions have been added since the games including death slides and this rope assault course.

Having done the toboggan we discussed splashing 60 dollars to ride the bobsleigh. In winter they run the real ice skate bobs, in summer it's these wheeled things called Comets. There were some spare slots, so we decided to take a risk and give it a go.

4 people ride each Comet, 1 driver and 3 paying passengers (oyster cards not accepted). We decided to split into 2 pairs: Lutz and Christof in one and Jeppe and me in the other. After much debate about the order of getting into the bob (I'd got it wrong thinking we boarded from the back, not the side) it was soon my turn.

People waiting to ride get to push the bobs. I think the staff have to do it if there's no-one else. The drivers get quite a lot of opportunities to practice getting a fast time. On our trip there were 2 drivers taking it in turn, as one was making their way down the track the other was being driven back up with the bob and passengers.

The ride itself was legitimately intense with sustained Gs and a fast blistering speed. The forces were so powerful that Jeppe fell back and pull himself back up. I was in the back so had the rear of the bob to catch me. It's scary (anything that has you signing a waiver automatically makes me brick it) but absolutely brilliant and I was so glad to have done it.

Here's some on-ride that I found on youtube. It doesn't really give the right impression of the forces, but you get a good idea of the speed. We made it down with the 4th best time of the day, which was a bit odd given we were a man down. Perhaps the Germans gave us the best push at the start.

This was such a fun ride and I was so glad I'd done it, and for those visiting Utah I highly recommend taking the time to drive out here.

From the Olympic City we then decided to go to the correct location for the Alpine Coaster, Park City, further to the east. Along the way we saw these large letters on the hill sides. I thought I'd be able to figure out the message on Google Earth but they're not on the imagery, so these must be fairly new.

Park City is a further 15 minutes or so east of the Olympic Park.

When we got there we bumped into Cal and Bill who'd also decided to leave Lagoon and check out the other parks.

The alpine coaster the most popular attraction here, and the only one in the state. Another park had just been refused permission for their's because it crossed a road, so they have the monopoly for now.

This one does have a bridge, I'm on my way up, the track above is for those on their way back down (that is actually Cal going overhead)

Like the Olympic park this place has death slides (or ziplines as they're called in the states). It's quite unique having your journey upwards broken by the occasional person flying overheard.

We'd heard that the Alpine was fairly average, but it was actually pretty decent with some great pops of air and a good layout back down the mountain. 

This death slide is made by Stan Checketts who used to run S&S. He's a local man so perhaps not a surprise to see some of these in the state.

Aside from the terrain rides there are a small selection of rides for younger kids.

Saying goodbye to Park City we made our way Lehi City via Deer Creek, which was beautifully scenic.

Trafalga Fun Center, formally Liberty Land Fun Center is a small complex with a single coaster that we'd heard was down for maintenance. But on the off-chance we dropped by regardless.

The crazy golf looked pretty decent. 

the coaster was still down. Expectations met there. We didn't spend too much time here with no reason other than the coaster to visit.

Back up to Salt Lake then and the Hollywood Connection was our next stop. This is a collection of rides within a cinema complex in the south west area of Salt Lake City.

The powered dragon coaster was hidden located within a wall of perspex (I guess to keep our screams contained) with an OK attempt at theming on the Hollywood logo.

The ride was just a tick ride really. Their carousel was pretty decent though.

I think Timothy needs a better stage name.

Some of our Scandinavian members had escaped Lagoon the day before and did some of the parks we were visiting. They made us aware of a small travelling fair that was set up a block away from Hollywood Connection.

and they had a coaster, what a cool find from Team Nordic! The coaster is the same ride as one of the kiddy rides at the fair, with the station pagoda theme not too dissimilar in shape to the rockets there. 

The fair was run by Fun Carnival, a local based showman. Records indicate that they have an a different coaster to the one here so perhaps they've picked up a new ride. They have quite a good selection of rides including the "is it a coaster or not" ring of fire.

A nice touch was that this showman provides seating to his fairs. I don't believe I've ever seen this before. A really nice touch! In fact this fair was really well run with friendly staff and their little park providing a really nice environment for families.

It was soon after this, when we'd visited all the parks that we soon realised that we'd missed something. In my research into North American Banksys I found two in Park City, and we'd not stopped to check it. Oops! It was also 90 minutes away and Lutz had to get the tank back to the rental place. He very kindly agreed to make the run, with us all then headed to the airport in a group.

This is Main Street Park City, which has a classic small town feeling to it. 

Behind one of their theatres there used to be a Banksy piece (rat with 3D glasses) on the right hand door. It was no longer there, the new door indicating that someone had taken it.

But around the corner next to a wonderful smoothie bar and cafe there was another piece that had been preserved beautifully. Clearly proud of the addition to their property the owners had framed it and were constantly checking that groups gathered around it, such as ours weren't damaging it. A beautiful piece too, and a great ending to a super day. Thanks Lutz for driving us back here!

So that was Utah, and first impressions were very positive indeed.

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