Our City + State

The Weekenders | Sundance Resort

4/7/2017 | Sarah McNamara
Big Bear Photo Co.

As fall starts to peek her cheeky face ’round summer’s corner, we thought it the perfect opportunity to bring you along for another rendition of the Weekenders. You all know the drill–we pack up our ride with the needed gear and head to some exciting new location within a few hundred miles to proclaim its glory. The list is long of places to see and things to do, but we’ve been to a handful of amazing spots on the Utah/neighboring state maps, and there’s always more to see. We peddle homes all over this goodly state, and the Provo/Orem area is no exception, so we decided this time to head south just one hour and find a spot that exemplifies that “on the cusp of a new season” feeling. Sundance Mountain Resort was calling our name. And when the mountains call, you run.

Think rustic elegance, tucked into picturesque, untouched mountains.  

To some, the word Sundance simply brings to mind the now massive, world-reknown film fest held in Park City each January. This is where locals and out-of-staters, alike, head to see amazing independent and international films, be seen in a new pair of furry Sorel’s, and stalk celebs. But that’s not the Sundance we’re talking about here, and hopefully, this installment of The Weekenders will help you make a new association with the word. This place has been the playground of one Mr. Robert Redford for over 50 years. It was the 60s, and as Bob cruised Provo Canyon, he decided to take a short cut. He stumbled upon and fell in love with the primitive land now known as Sundance, then purchased two acres of land for the bargain price of $500 (sound investment). He built a cabin for his family, and ultimately decided that the natural beauty of the land would require preservation. Enter Sundance Mountain Resort. Think wooded paths alongside babbling brooks, leisurely lift rides with ceaseless views, and quiet nights punctuated by the sound of crickets and a million stars. 

This is Sundance, and--trust us--the place tells a damn good story.

Sundance, UT, 1 hour: Sundance is tucked into Provo Canyon on the backside of lofty Mt Timpanogos. Hop on I-15 and head south to Orem, where you’ll take exit 272 (US-52/800 N) toward US-189. This will run you squarely onto Provo Canyon Rd/Hwy 189, which you’ll follow for a few miles, until you spot a narrow passageway (UT-92) to the north–take it. Winding and narrow, this road follows a mountain stream that will lead you straight to the pot of gold. Take a deep breath, turn up Alexi Murdoch, and slow your speed…this is the nature you’ve been hearing about, guys. As you approach the entrance to the resort, the canyon walls will open up to a stellar view of ‘Timp (as we locals like to call her). You’re here. And you’re about to fall in love.

Check In: Sundance Mountain Resort, 8841 N. Alpine Loop Road, Sundance, Utah — The cabins here are spread amongst the property and packed with charm. As they’re tucked up the hill a bit, each cabin is accessible via walking paths, so be ready for a brisk (but lovely) jaunt from the base to your mountain oasis. Should you be out after dark–say having a drink and taking in some live music at the Owl Bar–you need not worry about getting home. The path is well lit, and each room key has a mini flashlight, just in case. Along with the standard amenities you might expect in a modern cabin (electricity and plumbing), you’ll find that these are fit for a weekend of extreme comfort. Proper down pillows and comforters, as well as fireplaces, for those chilly canyon nights. Maybe a cup of hot cider. A few local and sustainable touches, like drinking glasses crafted from recycled glass at the art studio (mentioned below) and handmade soaps from Sundance Farms. Our favorite part, though, is the private balconies, surrounded by quaking aspens. Directions: wake up and enjoy coffee and crisp, mountain air in equal parts.

Eat Out: Foundry Grill; Tree Room, Sundance Mountain Resort — If food was a concern in the least, let us ease your worries. There are a few options on which to feast at Sundance, and each is as enjoyable as the last. The Tree Room is a stately restaurant that eloquently serves up five-course meals in the presence of a 65 ft.-tall pine tree that stands prominently in the center of the dining room. But for those who’ve yet to brush up on fine dining etiquette, The Foundry Grill offers a more relaxed atmosphere and a stellar menu. ‘Foundry’ implies a touch more simplicity, which rings true here, but the service is still five-star. Seasonal menu changes ensure that the freshest ingredients are kept handy, and it’s attached to the aforementioned Owl Bar, where tasty cocktails are whipped up and a small, seasonal menu offered while you enjoy live, local gigs (on Fridays and Saturday evenings…we were there for a rad Hardy Brothers performance). Wake up on a cool, Sunday morning and skip back down to the Foundry for an all-you-can-eat brunch. Tasty dessert table…check. Nature-adjacent patio…check.

Spend Pesos: General Store; Art Studio, Sundance Mountain Resort — We love a good general store, and Sundance has an adorable one where you can find artisanal popcorn, a fishing-themed thermos (we bought that), tote bags, and the like. But Mr. Redford’s vision for Sundance was to create a place where creativity and nature would meld together, so an art studio seems more than apropro. This is where you can get giddy with exploration and learning and making and such. There are several workshop options to get your creative juices flowing: pottery with Tim Rencher, painting with Anne Farley, woodworking with Joe Pearson, ceramics with Brian Jensen…you can even get into silversmithing, should the mood strike. Classes are $95/for a two hour ‘sesh (advance reservations are needed), and the studio also features jewelry, paintings, and glassware by local artists. Don’t feel like buying “things”? Just be sure to check the list of events during your stay. Sundance has Summer Theater, food/wine events, yoga, and a proper spa for all your rejuvenation needs. Sigh. Nature and nurture.

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