Archive for the 'Salt Lake City' category

Day 4 – Back to Brighton!

| March 16, 2010 7:01 pm

It was a day of snow boarding and fun for the Flanders & Simpson crew.    There were thrills and spills but for the most part, these peeps are quick learners!

So here’s a collage of the days events.

There is a very important lesson learned today though.  Our lodge has been covered with about 6000 pounds of ice from heavy snow.  As the temperature has risen here, the ice has begun to melt.   Take a look at these two photos:

Now check out what happened two days after this photo was taken.

About two thousand pounds of ice came crashing down on that very spot someone was standing on just a couple of days ago.

The day was finished with some nice snowman building!

Day 3 – Gorgoza Park & Olympic Park

| March 15, 2010 8:05 pm

The day started out with an intense snowball fight which quickly escalated into using shovels of snow to drench opponents.

After a snowball truce, we headed over to a quick lunch at Mickey D’s before we headed over Gorgoza Park to do some snow tubing.    Unfortunately, only video is available from this visit and I don’t have time to upload video clips at the moment as I am running low on disk space!

After spending a couple of hours tubing, we headed over to a local grocery store to pick up some steaks for dinner tomorrow night.    After the grocery store we made a quick stop over at Olympic park where the 2002 winter Olympics were held and took in the magnificent views.

Check out the gold medal winners below:

And check out this Olympic torch runner

And of course the great views:

After the park, it was time to head back to the cabin and cook dinner and savor the memories with a nice glass of wine.

Day 2 – Brighton Skiing & Snowboarding

| March 14, 2010 7:41 pm

We got a bit of a late start with the time change but the time difference from central time zone made up the difference.   We headed over to the Brighton Ski Resort and got situated with an array of skiis, snowboards and other gear.   The Flanders opted to go snow boarding while Marge decided to go skilling while Bart & Lisa hit the snow boarding slopes.   All took training classes while I sat back to document the experience with video and photography and to get in a few good laughs.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words so here are a few hundred thousand words in the following brief video clip.

After a long day of skiing and the brief but notable injury, we headed over the the lodge to hang out and enjoy the fireplace and jacuzzi.

Back To Salt Lake City!

| March 13, 2010 8:25 pm

It has been a long while since we’ve updated the website and that has been primarily due to the harsh economic conditions and lack of travel but with the economy improving we decided to head back to Salt Lake City for a quick vacation.  As an added bonus, we have the “Flanders” joining us on our vacation to Salt Lake City.

We arrived late yesterday and there was not much to report as the trip was without incident except for our flight being overbooked and nearly losing 50% of our travel party but in the end it all worked out.   This morning we hit the sites of Salt Lake City.

The first stop was the Temple Square where the famous Mormon Temple sits in all its splendor surrounded by the ever friendly staff of the church.

As the temperature continued to drop, we sought the shelter of the warm indoors so took a tour of the visitor’s center but not before we snapped another shot of the Flanders’ outside the main temple.

And this interesting shot of the bronze reflected in flesh.

After the Temple visit, we headed over to the State Capitol to give the Flanders a look see at Utah’s State Capitol.

The kids had fun and took this great shot in front of the big bell.

After visiting the State Capitol, we headed over to lunch at Chili’s.   There wasn’t much to report on that front since the food is universally the same across the country.   We then headed over to Target to pick up some supplies for our stay at the cabin.   Here’s where the real fun started.

As we approached the cabin, heavy snow began to make the roads slick and the van we are in did not have enough traction to drive safely.  We got to the cabin but we couldn’t drive into the drive way.  We were literally 15 feet from the driveway but the wheels kept spinning.  Some good Samaritans helped us push the vehicle back out into the main highway.

The ladies tried hard to clear the snow for the van to drive in but it just didn’t happen!  After unloading, the kids had fun exploring the national park near the cabin.

The fun didn’t last too long though because we were running low on fire wood so the whole gang went on a trek to a nearby store in search of some firewood.

Unfortunately, we came back empty-handed as the store was closed!

It was a cool 20 degrees as we came back empty-handed.  Check out the icicles hanging off the roof!

Review – Grand America Salt Lake City

| December 26, 2008 6:28 pm

During our stay at Salt Lake City, we spent our entire stay at the Grand America and I have to admit that this has been one of the best hotels we’ve stayed in during our travels all over the world. I like to compare our stay in three key areas: amenities & proximity to activities, personnel & service, and facility (room).

The Grand America scored high on all three of my key criteria. First, the hotel has very good spa facilities that include a large indoor heated pool, outdoor pool and heated jacuzzi. The spa facilities had excellent private lockers, showers, hot sauna and wet sauna. The best part was that the hotel spa was open late till 10 p.m. and massages could be scheduled as late as 8:00 p.m. This is a huge plus if you’ve spent the day skiing and want to finish the day with a massage. The hotel was extremely clean and well maintained and the grand entrance with a giant sized vase filled with roses emits a pleasant scent throughout the main lobby of the hotel.


The hotel is located very close to many key locations including the Gateway (outdoor shopping mall), the theatre (about four blocks), downtown Salt Lake city, the State Capitol and other venues nearby. The ski resorts (Brighton, Snowbird, et al) are located about 30 to 45 minutes from the hotel and Gorgoza park is about 25 minutes from the Hotel. The airport drive is about 20 minutes (no traffic) from the hotel.

The personnel were very pleasant and went out of their way repeatedly to ensure we were having a great time. As we ingressed or egressed from the facility we frequently had the staff ask us if we needed directions to our destination. On one egress we asked for directions to the ski resort we were heading to and the concierge asked what we had planned for the evening and asked to get some tickets to see the Nutcracker at the nearby theatre. Since we hadn’t planned on anything for that particular evening, we took her up on her offer and she secured some tickets for us while we went skiing.

Our hotel room was rather immaculate and kept that way despite the mess we made each evening after our excursions. Fresh bath robes, towels, and other toiletries were provided daily topped off with premium chocolates left on our pillows each evening after turn down service. The bathroom included a separate room for the commode that included an accessible phone and a separate shower and over sized tub along with two separate sinks inside and outside the main bathroom area. The bathroom was rather elegant with large mirrored double doors.

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There were a couple of minor misses that did disappoint us but not enough to deter a return to the hotel. The first was the fact that the room did not have/offer flip/flops to travel to/from the pool & spa. We’re not accustomed to having bath robes offered but not include foot wear which we thought odd. The spa did have flip/flops available at the spa desk so it may be that they prefer to have tighter control of the footwear for some odd reason. The real problem however is that the large bathrooms in the hotel have marble floors which become rather slippery without any footwear.

The second miss was the service at the restaurant. We scheduled a “breakfast with Santa” for the kids and there seemed to be some confusion as to which waiter was supposed to service our table. We had to ask for coffee three times before someone finally brought it. The real big miss hear is the first waitress we asked for the coffee said she would get it but informed us that “it wasn’t her table” but would relay the message along. When you’re paying $100 for a breakfast with Santa it should be EVERYONE’s job to make sure the guests are getting what they need and shouldn’t begin to waive ownership of requests.

Aside from those two minor inconveniences, we felt the hotel was excellent in service, amenity, and facility and we’d gladly return there on our next trip to Salt Lake City.

Cost: Rates vary depending on season but we paid, on average, about $300 per night. There is a $10 daily fee to use the spa facilities which we used every day. There is also a $20 valet parking fee but you may opt to park your own car. The spa massages range from $115 to $165 and women’s facial/pedicure package cost around $200 depending on services selected.

Final Summary: Highly Recommended!

Salt Lake City – Day 5

| December 22, 2008 5:03 pm

We started the day early with ambitious plans to return to Brighton for a second round of snowboarding. The drive started off smooth and clear but as we ascended the mountain, heavy snow and ice began accumulating on the road up. We got about 95% of the way up to Brighton when our car (and others in front of us) lost traction and began spinning out. At that point, our car had no traction and the wheels just spun as we tried to move forward. The car also slid sideways every now and then so we opted to u-turn and head back down the mountain. The main problem was that heavy snow KEPT falling and we were concerned that we would end up stranded up there if the snow kept falling. Unfortunately, we did not have a 4×4 drive vehicle nor were we sure if our car rental had snow chains to extricate ourselves should the worse happen. Luckily we made it down the road without incident.

We opted to drive to Lehi and visit the Dinosaur park so we drove down there and were encumbered by heavy snow on the roads there as well. We were determined to get there so we drove about 20 mph and made it to the facility. The parking lot had about 6″ of snow and finding a parking space was a bit of a chore because of poor navigation and slippery conditions.




After spending a few hours with the fossils we headed back to Salt Lake City and spent the remainder of our time there. We started packing for our trip back home tomorrow and headed to the Spa again. Marge signed up for a facial and pedicure, the kids at the heated jacuzzi and I headed out for an 80 minute massage to finish the week here in Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City – Day 4

| December 21, 2008 6:55 pm

We slept in this morning so we started the day late but after a late start we headed over to Gorgoza Park to go snow tubing. Everyone had a blast! I’ll let the pictures tell the story….



After snow tubing, the kids opted to go snowmobiling…..



After the winter activities, we intended to head over to the Dinosaur park in Lehi but the entire “Thanksgiving Point” center was CLOSED on Sunday! Can you believe that the place was closed on Sunday!

Instead and since we were in the area, we opted to head over to Uinta National Forest and drove through the scenic forest and mountain scape.



After our visit to Lehi and surrounding area, we drove back to Salt Lake City and headed for the hotel. While I took the kids to the indoor pool and jacuzzi, Marge headed for the spa to get a massage.

Salt Lake City – Day 3

| December 20, 2008 9:23 pm

What a busy day! We started the morning with “Breakfast with Santa” at the hotel. Santa came down and sat with us and after breakfast we took a few photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The kids loved it!


After breakfast, we drove over to the Utah State Capitol building and did a quick tour of the building. It is a fascinating building built on marble and granite. The dome has spectacular oil paintings adorning the inner dome.


Pictured above is the Utah State Capitol building and below is the partial inner dome.


After the State Capitol visit, we headed over to the Gateway shopping center where our first stop was the Clarke Planetarium. The kids had fun learning about the solar system and how much we would all weigh if we were standing on a neutron star. The kids got to touch a 4.5 billion year old rock and take photos of Bart and Lisa on Mars and the Moon.


We did a little shopping at the gift shops and headed for lunch over at AppleBees since that seemed to be the most agreeable place for everyone. The day was fairly cold with snow flurries starting and stopping randomly but the outdoor shopping mall has an amazing gas powered fireplace where people can stop by and warm up in between shopping.


After our shopping trip, we decided to go for a drive and opted to head over to Antelope Island State Park which is essentially a small island inside the Salt Lake. We managed to get spectacular photos and views of the mountain range and did manage to spot a few buffalo on the island. We drove the island and headed out before the sunset. It is the Park’s policy to close the bridge from the mainland to the island after sunset.



After our long day, we stopped for a quick dinner at McDonalds (for the kids) and then headed back to the hotel. We spent the evening in the heated indoor pool and jacuzzi before we turned in for bed.

Salt Lake City – Day Two

| December 19, 2008 10:25 pm

We woke up this morning fairly rested as the time difference gives us about an hour of extra sleep. We started the day with a hearty breakfast at the hotel. The buffet was somewhat pricey at $15 per person and $7 for kids but we were satiated and off to Brighton for a day of snowboarding.

The drive there was fairly smooth and it took about 45 minutes to get there from our hotel. Upon arriving at Brighton, we were warmly greeted by the many friendly people Salt Lake City has to offer. We booked double lessons, one for the morning and one for the afternoon, and proceeded to get our rental gear. The cost for everything was about $410 for lessons, boots and snowboard.


The kids learned rather quickly but us adults struggled quite a bit as each fall reverberated throughout our entire bodies. The change in altitude, cold weather and general lack of fitness quickly manifested itself in a relentless fatigue.


After spending the better part of the day there, we drove back around 4 p.m. but the heavy snow made the driving treacherous. Most cars were driving 10 to 20 mph all the way back from Brighton to Salt Lake City. There were numerous vehicular accidents throughout the roads when we turned on the tube to catch up on the news and weather so we considered ourselves lucky. I must confess, I did lose control of the car at least four times but quickly regained traction and control after occasionally hitting a snow bank at the edge of the road.

Because it took 2 hours to get back from Brighton, we opted for room service as we had tickets for the Nutcracker show here in Capitol Theatre which started at 7 p.m. The concierge at the hotel secured tickets for us while we were out snowboarding and the tickets had already been charged to our room.

After wolfing down the most overpriced room service we’ve had in a while ($80), we walked over to the theater to what the show. The theater is about four blocks from our hotel so we walked during a light snowfall all the way there! Unfortunately, there was some confusion about the tickets we purchased and we almost went in late to the show but a direct call to the concierge’s cell phone (she provided her cell phone) quickly resolved the matter.

We had an absolutely great time at the Nutcracker. The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves and we had a great time watching the show.


Salt Lake City – Day One

| December 18, 2008 9:48 pm

We flew in to Salt Lake City today on a quick winter vacation.   Our flight was packed but uneventful.   The trip from the airport to our hotel was fairly easy and upon arrival we were greeted by a warm staff and warm cookies by reception.   We’re staying in one of the city’s premier hotels and I’ll write a full review upon completion of our trip.

Because we spent part of the day traveling, we didn’t get much sunlight to visit too many sites.   We did stop at Temple Square and toured the famous church campus.    I was pretty amazed at the opulence of the structures and amazed at some of the oil painting sized about 8′ x 6′ all throughout the visitors center.  The campus did have amazing Christmas lights throughout the facility.   Of interesting note, the tabernacle has a demonstration where a pin is dropped into a bowl and the sound can be heard throughout the facility.  It’s pretty amazing!


We took as many photos as light permitted then headed back to our hotel where we ate dinner then headed to the indoor heated pool and spa inside the hotel.   The kids had a great time.  From snowball fights to kicking the “ice” puck all around the sidewalks as we walked around.