Park City Lodging talks with owner Alejandra Lara
Park City is deservedly renowned for its many and varied events and activities. To the long list of more familiar options, Park City Horse Experience adds a unique and often profound experience. Owner Alejandra Lara shares her vision with us.
Park City Lodging: What is Park City Horse Experience?
Alejandra Lara: I’ve been working at National Ability Center for 11 years, conducting Equine Assisted Learning programs. The NAC serves individuals with cognitive, behavioral or physical disabilities. Most of the 5,000 participants I have worked with so far were military, and drawing on the success and enjoyment I witnessed, three years ago I decided to expand and create an opportunity for everyone to engage with horses. I started Park City Horse Experience at High Star Ranch in Kamas, a beautiful, natural location with both indoor and outdoor facilities for interacting with the horses.
PCL: Understanding that it isn’t a typical trail ride or a horse show, what happens during a horse experience?
AL: It’s a way of learning more about ourselves, in order to grow and maybe work through some challenging life situations. Horses mirror our internal state. They help us get aligned and congruent what we’re feeling in our bodies; they reflect that in how they relate to us.
For example, a person may come to one of our programs with the persona of “Things are great!” but really they’re feeling sad or angry. They come into the corral with the horse, and the horse reacts by not wanting to connect. Because of their prey nature, horses have developed survival skills, to be very attuned to their environment, including us. They change their breathing pattern to us. If we’re holding our breath, they think we’re anticipating the predator, and they mirror that. We breathe deep and the horse does, too. Our facilitators guide the connection, with awareness of the breath or body sensations, to recognize the internal state as it is. When that happens, the horse connects.
PCL: That’s really fascinating! What programs would you recommend for first time experience?
AL: Our Family Horse Adventure is great for families, for example moms and daughters or dads and sons, or everyone all together. It’s great for all ages and abilities, and the program would be exclusive for just your family. It’s two hours of fun activities where everyone learns to communicate and work together with the horses towards a goal. We can add riding to the experience, too.
Corporate groups also benefit from working with the horses to reach alignment as a team, to work through effective communication skills and in having a unique unparalleled team building experience. Park City Horse Experience can serve small and large groups from a couple of hours to multi day retreats.
The Horse Experience is great for an individual, a couple or a small group that doesn’t want to do a typical spa day, for example. It’s an open-hearted experience, life coaching, if you will. We learn about ourselves from the non-judgmental horse. It’s 90 minutes where you can come with a goal, or we can assess how you’re reacting to the horse and vice versa and customize the experience. Recently we had a client who came with a goal to overcome a fear of horses. Through the experience we discovered she was actually carrying fear from other events in her life. Working with the horse she was able to overcome not only her fear of horses, but also to release and get beyond other fears she was experiencing.
Remember and honor our country’s leaders, and have fun doing it with these seven ideas
This Presidents Day in Park City you can have M.A.G.A in your life – More Alpine Games and Activities. Remember and honor our country’s leaders, and have fun doing it with these seven ideas:
President Dwight David Eisenhower – “Ike” – served as the 34th president from 1953 to 1961. He was a five-star general and enjoyed skeet shooting, so much so that he installed a skeet shooting range at Camp David to practice his marksmanship. While we don’t know if he ever tried the sport of biathlon himself, we’re pretty certain he would enjoy the 2019 BMW Biathlon World Cup at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, and so would you. Held February 14 – 17, this exciting international event features over 180 athletes from 28 nations. Arguably the most popular winter sport in Europe, biathlon combines cross country skiing and shooting skills. Spectator crowds are typically animated, sometimes costumed, sometimes raucous. Soldier Hollow, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games Nordic venue, is rising to the occasion, hosting the Legacy Winter Fest – Free admission (and hot chocolate!) to enjoy activities such as tubing, live ice sculpting, a mechanical bull and a petting zoo, food trucks, beer garden, vendor and sponsor village and live music. Come on out and party like Ike!
Gerald R. Ford is the only person to have served as both vice president and president without being elected to either office. Known for his athleticism, having been a standout center, linebacker and long snapper for the University of Michigan, he was also an avid skier, spending a lot of time with his family in Vail, Colorado. We know he really would have appreciated the Ski Utah Interconnect Tour. Designed for expert to advanced skiers, the tour “is not designed for the timid”. Two professional guides go with every tour and groups are limited to 12 or fewer people, so you can be confident and safe as you experience Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, Solitude, Brighton, Alta, Snowbird and the backcountry terrain between these resorts. This tour covers an average of 25 miles, requires good physical condition and the ability to ski variable conditions.
Presidents have to eat, and everyone has their favorite foods. Park City offers a wide variety of options where you can “eat like a president”. While we can’t point you in the direction of restaurants serving Martin Van Buren’s favorite boar’s head, or James Garfield’s beloved squirrel soup, William McKinley just might be able to find his special hot lobster salad at Deer Valley’s Seafood Buffet. William Howard Taft reportedly favored steak, and more steak – he’d be a happy camper at Grub Steak. Bill Clinton and Harry Truman could split and share variations of their fave chicken enchiladas and fried chicken at Chimayo. George W. Bush also had a fondness for Mexican food, specifically huevos rancheros – if that sounds good to you, too, head on over to Squatters. Known for “carousing”, our seventh president, Andrew Jackson a.k.a. Old Hickory, would enjoy the spirits and the food at High West Distillery. Somebody get that man a drink!
Some presidents are very artistic – drawing, writing poetry, painting. President Jimmy Carter, a painter, established the Carter Center at Emory University, which regularly hosts auctions to benefit the foundation advancing human rights. One of Mr. Carter’s paintings brought in $250,000. We’re certain he would enjoy the film Leaning into the Wind – Andy Goldsworthy showing at Park City Film Series. Creating community through film, Park City Film Series is “art house cinema”, screening thought-provoking and engaging films that you might not find at your local Cineplex. Leaning into the Wind profiles artist Andy Goldsworthy’s distinctive life and medium.
Theodore Roosevelt was well known for his appreciation for animals, and his vast collection of pets including lizards, ponies, dogs, rabbits, an owl and a one-legged rooster. Surely he’d be fascinated with the Nature’s Ninjas exhibit at Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter. The exhibit includes live animal shows with some of nature’s most misunderstood animals including geckos, porcupines and others known for their wild defensive adaptations. The exhibit runs from February 1 – April 28, 2019.
Speaking of animals, it’s a well-known fact that Ronald Reagan really loved horses and enjoyed spending time on his ranch in California. Those who knew him well disclosed that he always rode English until he (or his campaign manager…) decided that his image needed to be more “rugged cowboy”, so he switched to western. Regardless, his famous quote, “I’ve often said there’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse” leads us to believe he’d really love Park City Horse Experience. Park City Horse Experience guides you through partnering with a horse to explore self-awareness and gain new perspectives on life.
Presidents don’t really shop, since they have other people to do their shopping for them. Did you know the White House operates like a luxury hotel in this regard? They get the bills sent to them at the end of each month for their food and incidental expenses, like clothing. But if they did shop like the rest of us, chances are they’d really love Tanger Outlets at Park City. While winter isn’t nearly over, the shops at Tanger Outlets will be clearing the racks for spring and summer merchandise, so you can take advantage of fantastic sales.
Utah might be an unexpected place to find one of the best craft distilleries in the country, but High West Distillery, located in the heart of downtown Park City, has made its mark nationwide with its exceptional array of high-quality spirits. During your stay,
enjoy this throwback to Old West times by taking one of the High West Distillery tours and then grabbing a delicious meal at their on-site saloon and restaurant.
Utah was home to an abundance of distilleries in the 1800s, many of them owned by Mormons including Brigham Young, but by 1870, all of them had closed their doors, leaving the Beehive State without a legal distillery for over a century.
That all changed in 2007 when distiller David Perkins opened High West in Park City, with the goal of creating the perfect Rocky Mountain whiskey. Hundreds of people visit its location in the historic Beggs House and National Garage on Park Avenue every year to take the High West Distillery tours and get a taste of Park City’s signature spirits.
Go behind the scenes at Utah’s only legal distillery with one of the High West Distillery tours. The tours, which are offered at 12:00, 1:15 and 2:30 daily, give visitors a chance to see how High West’s small batch spirits are made, including a look at their 250 gallon copper still and a sample of some of their offerings.
Space on the High West Distillery tours is extremely limited, and reservations are highly recommended. For availability, call 435-649-8300.
High West offers more than a dozen of its famous whiskeys, each one with a slightly different flavor. Ranging from their Rendezvous Rye blend to their Campfire Whiskey – possibly the world’s only blend of Scotch, bourbon and rye whiskeys – there is something to fit every palate. For those with a preference for lighter spirits, High West also offers its 7000’ Vodka, named for the exact elevation of the bar in their saloon.
There’s more than just spirits at High West Distillery as the attached saloon and restaurant provide a tasty Western inspired gastropub experience. Try their cottage pie, made with bison, or their three bean and bourbon chili. You waiter will be happy to suggest a perfect whiskey pairing for your meal.
As you prepare for your trip to Park City and make plans to go on one of the High West Distillery tours, use Park City Lodging to find a convenient place to stay. We offer properties in downtown Park City, within walking distance of the High West Distillery tours, as well as at all three resorts. Let us help you plan a great vacation!
Want to explore the winter wonderland surrounding Park City without having to buy a lift ticket? Consider renting a fatbike – an exciting outdoor activity that is rapidly growing in popularity.
Fatbikes are bicycles with oversized tires, allowing them to travel easily over snowy trails, and have even been ridden all the way to the South Pole!
We’re far from Antarctica, but Park City also boasts a vast network of trails, many of which are open to fatbike riding in the winter. Hop on a fatbike and see a side of Park City that many visitors never do.
Fatbikes are available for rental from a number of locations in Park City, including Jans and All Seasons Adventures. To be sure that your fatbike will be ready for you, make a reservation in advance.
Jans: (800) 745-1020
All Seasons: (435) 649-9619
Park City has miles of free trails perfect for fatbike riding. Jans recommends starting on the Rail Trail, a groomed trail that connects with the Round Valley Nordic Area. From there you can connect to Round Valley and explore the area. If you’re more adventurous, you can check out the ungroomed Glenwild trail network, riding in the paths left behind by hikers and snowshoers.
For more information on where to take your fatbike, check with the rental shops or consult the Mountain Trails Foundation winter trail map.
One of the best ways to get acquainted with a fatbike is on a guided tour. All Seasons Adventures is offering guided tours this winter that are perfect for active bikers and casual vacationers alike. Give All Seasons a call to make your tour reservation and learn how to get the most out of your fatbike under their expert tutelage.
Park City Lodging is a corporate member and official destination partner of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). As an IMBA member, we are proud to promote Park City as one of the best mountain biking destinations in the world. Come get a taste of our trails on a fatbike in the winter and return in the summer to check out all that the mountains have to offer to cyclists!
As you plan your fatbike adventure in Park City, use Park City Lodging to find a convenient place to stay. We have properties all over the Park City area, including at all three resorts and on downtown Main Street.
Photo credit: Anthony DeLorenzo
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