Park City’s High Life 

click to enlarge High West Distillery & Saloon - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • High West Distillery & Saloon
Every ski season in Utah brings something new, but the winter of 2010 is particularly noteworthy in Park City. The mountain resort town will be home to something that hasn’t been in Utah since 1870, and two well-known luxury hotel brand names will make their first appearance in Utah.

The High West Distillery and Saloon, (703 Park Ave., 435-649-8300, highwest.com) Utah’s first working and, perhaps more notably, legal distillery since 1870, will be producing three different ryes, two different vodkas and a “bourye”—a combination of bourbon and rye. Even before officially opening, High West’s Rendezvous Rye was named one of the top 10 new whiskies for 2008 by Malt Advocate Magazine.

High West also claims to be the world’s first ski-in gastro-distillery, since it is located just off the slopes at the Town lift and will be offering a full lunch and dinner restaurant menu featuring sauces based on, you guessed it, whiskey. There will also be a general store where patrons can purchase the locally distilled spirits.

“It combines positive economic development with alcohol. What else represents Park City better?” Park City Mayor Dana Williams joked at the distillery opening.

High West is located on Park Street in two adjoining historic buildings, the Ellsworth J. Beggs House and the National Garage, that have been renovated, while leaving 80 percent of the original structures intact. The whole process began five years ago for owners David and Jane Perkins, when David quit his job in pursuit of a dream he says can only be explained by passion. “I’m all about sharing my passion for one of the most unappreciated products on the planet—whiskey,” he says. “We’re darn proud of the whiskey we’re making.”

While 2010 marks the first ski season where you can get locally produced spirits, it also marks the first time Park City visitors can enjoy the luxury and service of two well-known hotel brand names, the Waldorf Astoria and St. Regis, which have both opened resort properties in the Park City area. A third highly respected brand, Montage, is scheduled to open in December of 2010, creating a luxury trend and lifting Park City’s image as a resort destination.

“All of a sudden we’ve got three coming in at once,” says Cindy Lawrence, PR director for Dakota Mountain Lodge. “It’s a friendly competition. We’re glad that they (St. Regis and Montage) are here, too.”

Dakota Mountain Lodge (2100 Frostwood Drive, 435-647-5500, DakotaMountainLodge.com), part of the Waldorf-Astoria collection, opened over the summer in The Canyons area, with a lift outside its front door. It has a lobby reminiscent of the classic Waldorf-Astoria in New York City to go along with 175 upscale guest rooms.

Waldorf is not the only notable name on the property, since the in-house restaurant is Spruce, a well-known San Francisco eatery, and the in-house spa is one of just six locations of the famed Golden Door Spa, generally considered the first luxury destination spa in America.

Whether one wants to stay at Dakota Mountain or not, it will also be an attractive place to stop by, since day passes can be purchased that offer parking, lift access and spa access. Even Spruce can be approached affordably: Just stop in at the lounge to have a peach martini and the Spruce beignets, a fantastic version of the New Orleans treat.

While Dakota Mountain will offer a taste of the Waldorf in New York City, St. Regis Deer Crest at Deer Valley (2300 Deer Valley Drive East, 435-940-5700, StRegis.com/DeerCrest) which opened earlier this season, will also have touches of the New York landmark it is named after, such as English-trained butlers that greet guests at the door to escort them to their rooms.

St. Regis will also have plenty to offer for those who are merely in the area, including a 3,000 square foot, outdoor terrace opening on to “Ski Beach” an apr%uFFFDs ski hangout right off a Deer Valley run.

Despite all that is new about the property, Deer Crest will still carry on some traditions.

“There are certain rituals that will continue to take place,” says Mark Fischer of Blakeslee, an advertising firm working with St. Regis. “There is a library off the grand lobby. Every afternoon there will be tea at 4 p.m. and they will saber a bottle of Champagne at 5 p.m. Those are traditions that occur at every St. Regis.”

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