Top Ten Things To Do At The Sundance Film Festival
I’m heading to Park City, Utah again this year for the Sundance Film Festival. Here is my Top Ten list of things to do during the festival.
Above all else, Park City is an epic destination for skiers with three of the top Rocky Mountain ski resorts right at your doorstep. With over 9,000 skiable acres of perfect powder and hundreds of runs, the only thing missing will be the crowds. During Sundance, the majority of Park City’s visitors are attending screenings, panels and parties, leaving the slopes and lifts significantly less crowded than during a normal week in the height of the winter season.
2. Zoom Restaurant
This top-rated restaurant owned by the Sundance Kid himself, Robert Redford, occupies the lovingly restored old train station on Park City’s Main Street and serves a wide variety of hearty American cuisine using fresh, local ingredients. You know a restaurant is doing something right when diners rave about the Brussels Sprouts appetizer! The menu includes specialties like Pan Seared Salmon, Wood Grilled Filet, Buffalo Ribeye and Lamb Shank as well as other favorites, perfect for replacing some of the calories you burned on ski slopes.
3. High West Distillery
This distillery with a ski-in saloon is a true “must” experience in Park City. Using quality ingredients and distilling their spirits in small batches in a traditional copper still, High West Distillery produces a range of whiskeys with colorful names like Yippee Kai Yay and Rendezvous Rye that reflect the Old West and Park City’s mining heritage. The food and the atmosphere at High West Distillery are as beloved as their spirits. The fire pit in the front courtyard is the perfect place to enjoy a warm-up cocktail like Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Elixir which combines High West’s Double Rye, Applejack, Saint Elizabeth Allspice Dram, maple syrup and butter. Ski in for a cocktail, and you may end up staying for a dinner of frontier favorites like the chicken pot pie or bison burger. Ask your server about a whiskey pairing for your meal to enhance the experience.
4. Le Spa at Chateaux Deer Valley
Located in the Chateaux hotel in Deer Valley, a visit to Le Spa will keep you in top form for enjoying the mountains. If you’ve recently arrived from sea level, you’ll need to try the Altitude Adjustment Body Wrap, a 50 to 80-minute treatment consisting of a mineral-rich aromatherapy wrap with essential oils to combat the drying effects of the high altitude and leave you energized to take on the outdoor sports and the epic party scene that accompany the Sundance Film Festival.
5. Celebrity Spotting
Frequenting the film festival hot spots in the hope of spotting one or two of your favorite celebrities is as much a signature experience during the Sundance Festival as watching the films. Be on the lookout at the pop-up lounges hosted by festival sponsors and at the door of the hottest parties where, if you take a polite approach, you might even be able to talk your way in.
6. Snowmobile Excursions
There’s more terrain to experience around Park City than you can see on skis. For a backcountry experience, try a snowmobile excursion with Snowmobile Adventures at Thousand Peaks Ranch. Tours at Thousand Peaks take advantage of the ranch’s 60,000 acres with altitudes up to 1,000 feet. If you have the time, take the Sunset Tour to experience the beauty of the Rocky Mountain sunset. It gets cold after dark but halfway through the ride you’ll stop at backcountry cabin with a roaring fire to warm up for the return trip. Friendly, knowledgeable guides and brand new snow machines make this adventure a first-class experience.
7. Apres Ski
Park City’s J&G Grill is a perennial favorite for an after-ski cocktail, complete with views of the Deer Hollow ski run and sodas they make themselves. The signature cocktail here is the 7452 Bloody Mary, served at 7452 feet altitude and includes wasabi, celery espuma, cayenne pepper and a garnish of black lava salt. Another unique experience is a visit to the Powder Champagne Ice Lounge at the Park City Waldorf Astoria. Here, on the patio adjacent to the hotel’s Powder lounge, Champagne is served from a 14-foot bar carved from ice. A fur blanket will keep you warm as you sip Champagne under the stars.
The best shopping in Park City is along Main Street where 70 retail stores ranging from souvenir shops to unique boutiques and galleries can fill every need. From fashion apparel and jewelry to art, souvenirs, books, and, of course, outdoor gear, schedule some time to wander along Main Street to see what you’ll find. Visit Dolly’s Bookstore to stock up on reading material for your flight home or pick up some athletic wear and accessories from Roots, Canada’s famous apparel brand at their Main Street shop.
Have a cup of coffee and a made-to-order crepe at Java Cow, which doubles as an ice-cream parlor, on Main Street in Park City. Both the ice cream and coffee at Java Cow are visitor favorites but what sets this coffee house apart are the delicious pastries and made-to-order crepes that you can order to accompany your beverage.
10. See Some Movies!
While you’re in Park City for the Sundance Film Festival, you might as well see some movies, right? There are a variety of options available for film buffs to purchase an all-access pass and tickets for individual films are available at the festival office on Main Street. Without a pass, your best bet to see the film you’re interested in may be to attend one of the early morning showings while the majority of festival-goers are sleeping off a night of partying.