PressCamp finished on Thursday but I've had little time in front of a computer (I'll post a ton of PressCamp stories later in the week and then more in the print mag too). In Deer Valley, you don't want to be chained to a desk: it's incredibly easy to do 'outdoorsy' things in and around town, including mountain biking.
Deer Valley is a ski and bike resort in the Wasatch Range, located about 40 minutes east of the international airport at Salt Lake City. Down the hill from the plush resort is Park City, a former mining town with a Main Street lined with Victorian wooden houses that would have once been miners' cabins but which now retail for upwards of a millon dollars apiece.
The Sundance Film Festival is staged in Park City each February. It's an upscale town, with dining to match. Close to town is the Mid-Mountain Trail, a 20-mile MTB trail that starts in Deer Valley, stays at about 8000 feet and is twisty, turny, swoopy and all the other sweet singletrack adjectives you can think of.
Park City has 400 miles of mountain bike trails. That's worth repeating: 400 miles. Even for a ski town which wants to suck up to mountain bikers, that's a freakin' lot. And the length and quality of the trails is the reason Park City is the one and only gold-level 'ride center' in IMBA's rankings.
How did Park City bag such an accolade? "It all stems from a commitment to master planning," said IMBA regional director Ryan Schutz. "The sheer miles of trails are fantastic, but what's really important is that they function as a cohesive network, with signage and trail connections that create a model riding area."
And this easy access to world-class trails is one of the reasons Lifeboat Events chose Deer Valley to host PressCamp, the third Deer Valley staging of the four year old event. The other reason, of course, is close proximity to a major airport.
The outdoor-paradise-on-your-doorstep and the closeness to SLC are also why pro MTB rider Eric Porter chooses to live in the region. He and his family - wife and two small children - upped sticks and moved to Midway, a small town the other side of the mountain from Deer Valley in order, so says his Twitter profile, to "live the dream".
Some of the PressCamp attendees got the chance to witness this mountain lifestyle at close quarters. Exhibitor Camelbak arranged for five journalists to ride trails with Porter one afternoon and then attend a pump track party and BBQ in the evening. With the help of friends, including SRAM's Doug Dalton, who lives next door, Porter has built a pump track in his backyard. It's a big backyard, and with killer views. His four year old son, Milo, goes to sleep at night urging his dad to do more cycling the next day: "bikes, berms, bikes, berms," he pines. (Or should that be aspens?)
On the drive over the Guardman's Pass, Porter told me: "We researched where to live. It had to have mountains. It had to have great mountain bike trails - and skiing - and, as I travel a lot, it had to be close to an international airport. Park City has it all, so we moved here."
Pix by Carlton Reid and Billy Michels