The Closest Mountain Resort Isn’t What You Think


love living in LA. It really can’t be beat. But recently I’ve been catching myself daydreaming—looking out the window and wishing I were someplace else. Not living someplace else, just spending some time away from it all.

If you’ve read anything I’ve written then you know I have a true, unmistakable love for the outdoors. I love connecting with nature. Being outside is therapeutic for my soul. And, every year Jason and I take the kids up to the mountains for what I lovingly call family outdoor therapy.

For years I’ve chosen Park City, UT as the preferred family outdoor therapy location. And this year was no different. It really does have everything we’re looking for in a destination location—connection with nature, low crowds, friendly people, film and art and frankly it’s much less expensive than Aspen or Vail—or even Tahoe.

So when I’m daydreaming about being someplace else, I’m often dreaming of Park City.

And that got me thinking, why do we travel two states away just for vacation? I mean, California is the most geographically diverse state in the union! Why not escape to our beloved Snow Summit or nearby Snow Valley? Or, why not take the drive from LA to Tahoe and experience everything I love about the Bay Area on the way?

So I this week I hopped online and started planning a quick weekend getaway to Snow Summit. It’s an amazing place AND it’s close by! I thought it would be perfect for a weekend getaway. Jason and I could hop in the car and drive up after work on Friday, spend an amazing weekend and be back in town ready for work Monday morning.

But as I started looking into it, I discovered something that completely shocked me.

Snow Summit is a “quick” drive across the 210—only 115 miles away from my home in Santa Monica. So it should only take us an hour and a half to get there. Right?


Because if Jason and I each leave work on Friday at 5pm we’ll both run into rush hour traffic. And, because we’re in the center of it all, it’s not going to be pretty. We’d both arrive home around 6:45pm. After grabbing our bags we’d hop right back into the tail-end of rush hour traffic and start on our way.

That’s where things go really wrong.

As you know, the weekend traffic out of SoCal is just the worst. Everyone’s escaping to Vegas. On top of that there’s the desert-bound RV drivers and even worse, weekend shipping is in full swing so all those semi-trucks are hauling loads to destinations across the West in order to get products on store shelves for Monday restocking.

So it can take over 5 hours to cross LA, reach the canyon and ascend up to the highlands away from the coast!

Pulling into Snow Summit after midnight doesn’t sound like a good start to a relaxing weekend to me.

Then, on Sunday we’d have to fight the return-to-SoCal crowd—another super bad idea. Of course we’d want to spend the morning at Snow Summit and return home in the afternoon/evening. That would put us at home at 10pm after three hours of driving! 

So after 8 hours of driving, Jason and I would have just Saturday and Sunday morning to enjoy our weekend away. 

And this is why we never do it.

But this is what really threw me for a loop.

If Jason and I go to Park City for the weekend it’s a totally different story. We can leave our offices (or meet downtown) and head directly for LAX. Within 20 minutes we’re going through security. And, if we time it right, we can be wheels-up in about an hour.

The flight from LAX to Salt Lake City is only 83 minutes and the drive from the Salt Lake airport to Park City is only 35 minutes. So in less than two and a half hours of travel we can be checked into our hotel in Park City and enjoying the weekend!

Amazingly enough, Park City is so much less expensive than Big Bear that we’ll save enough from our hotel stays to cover the cost of airfare!

So my next weekend getaway is going to be in Park City. And, while there, Jason and I will be looking into owning at The Ascent. As owners we’ll be able to stay any time and while we’re not there, Hilton will do the property management (including renting it out!) for us.

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