Midway, Utah – September 2022 – Driving School

To my surprise I had access to a free day of performance driving school included in the cost of the new car I purchased a few months ago, a Ford Edge ST. Apparently because they are considered ‘high performance SUVs (to me an oxymoron)’, Ford Performance sends out letters to all new owners inviting us to this training.

Since it was included in the cost of the car, and a good excuse to spend a week running around Utah, off we went. And the good news was Ford provided the cars for the day.

The instructors were all professional drivers, mostly those who run in the SCCA or IMSA type races. Our leader was referred to as Reverend Jim who preached the gospel of speed.

We left Park City for a 45 minute drive to the town of Midway. Each car had a walkie talkie where Reverend Jim gave us play by play of the drive, the features of the car and other amusing, if not always useful, comments.

Eventually we arrived at the Soldier Valley Olympic Facility. This facility hosted the cross country skiing, as well as the biathlon – a combination of cross country skiing and target shooting.

The first part of the day was learning how to manage your vehicle during a skid. To do this they have a car outfitted with specialized hydraulics that the instructor could at any moment force the car into a skid.

Next up was to show the amazing ability of the Ford Edge ST (and many of today’s cars) to apply the brakes if the car decides you are not paying attention and are going to run into something. This is done with a combination of Radar and the cameras in the car.

The training was to accelerate towards a ‘balloon car’ and once you get to the point of no return you let off on the accelerator, do not touch the brakes and steer directly ahead. The car will sense the balloon car just ahead and hammer on the brakes for you – a very weird sensation but some cool technology.

The Olympic cross country loop is paved, allowing for athletes to train year round using rollers on their ski’s. Because we had the facility to ourselves today we were permitted to drive the course – slowly.

We arrived back at the start/finish line where the target shooting facility was located.

Once there two of the U.S. Biathlon Olympic team members were there to give us an overview of the sport, some history and some instruction on the target shooting. I last shot a gun when Gerald Ford was president but with their instruction was able to hit the target, which turned out to be 7 times larger than the target the Olympians shoot at.

Our day continued with an auto-cross. This is basically a course set up in a parking lot with constant sharp turns. We used what Reverend Jim and the others had taught us for the day and saw how fast and hard we could get Ford’s cars through the course.

All in all it was a fun day, with Reverend Jim and the other instructors helping facilitate a learning experience.

Park City, Utah – September 2022 – Bobbing and Jumping

Our final posting for the visit to the Utah Olympic Park is highlighting a tour we took of the ‘sliding center’, the bobsled, skeleton, luge track and the ski jump runs.

Th bobsled track runs for about 8/10 of a mile and drops almost 350′ through 15 corners. The luge track runs down most of the same path with a slight difference at the top, resulting in 2 more corners.

The ski jumps are very impressive from the top. With some water sprayed on the run it is used year round.

At the bottom of the hill is a pool that is used for the freestyle folks to practice year round. With the museums and the tour the Utah Olympic Center is a great place to spend the afternoon. Sadly I missed by a few days of being able to take a ride in a bobsled – next time!

Park City, Utah – September 2022 – Utah Olympics Museum

Park City was one of the centers for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics. It remains a training facility, as well as a visitor center with a museum celebrating those Olympics.

In addition there is a section of the museum celebrating skiing in general, and the life of local legend Alf Engen.

The museum has numerous artifacts from the 2002 games, including art pieces from the opening ceremony as well as other memorabilia.

A collection of the snowboards, ski’s, jerseys and other items used in competition.

Park City, Utah – September 2022 – Scenic Drive Through Guardsman Pass

Park City is only a 35 minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City if you take the freeway. It is a much longer trip taking the road up over Guardsman Pass, but well worth every minute.

As with other high altitude drives on this trip, once you got up over 8000′ in elevation the trees were spectacular with their fall foliage.

Eventually you drop down into Park City.

Great Salt Lake Utah – September 2022 – A Unique Setting

The Great Salt Lake is, as the name suggests, a large body of salty water.

The lake is fed by 3 rivers, and a few streams. Because it has no outlet other than evaporation, the water collects over a million tons of minerals per year.

The water has a far higher salinity than the oceans. In addition there seems to be an ever-present strong smell.

Because of the shallowness of the lake, it’s overall coverage can, and has, changed dramatically over the years, leaving the boat docks high and dry – sad for the boat owners, but interesting photography opportunities.

The views across the grasses towards the now much smaller lake provide excellent contrasts.

Since the late 1800s there has always been a large event center along the lake known as the Saltair. While the first one was an impressive, massive structure, it was eventually destroyed in a fire. Today’s building is the third on this location. It too is suffering from the receding lake levels, leaving it far from the shore.

Salt Lake City – September 2022 – Toyota Land Cruiser Museum

In an industrial area of Salt Lake City is an old warehouse stuffed full of Toyota Land Cruisers from over the years.

The original ones were based on a Willy’s Jeep, and by 1942 were in production. By the 1950s this vehicle had become known as the Land Cruiser.

The Land Cruiser is popular throughout the world, but has especially strong sales in Australia.

The Land Cruiser has been used for special purposes and expeditions throughout it’s history.

While the museum has a large collection, from a photography perspective it is difficult as they are all jammed in together, with barriers preventing from going between them for closer looks.

This, coupled with a fairly high entrance fee, made this a less than desirable stop for me.

Salt Lake City – September 2022 – A Library Architectural Gem

The current Salt Lake City Main Library was designed by architect Moshe Safdie, and was completed in 2003.

The numerous curves are striking from the exterior.

The building is even more impressive on the inside, with the 4 story atrium intended to invoke the classic arcades of the past (such as the Cleveland Arcade)

The dramatic stairway takes patrons between the levels.

The building was designed to provide as much natural light as possible, along with quieter spaces on the upper levels.

The massive hanging sculpture is entitled ‘Pysche’. It consists of 1500 small sculptures of books and butterflies that form a large human head. Some of the butterfly wings will flutter.

A model of the building is proudly displayed on the main level. When in Salt Lake City a visit to the library is well worth the time.

Salt Lake City – September 2022 – Random Views

Some random views of an evening in downtown Salt Lake City.

Trolley Square was once a trolley barn for the original streetcars of the city. For 50 years it has been a trendy shopping district (and somewhere with a patio restaurant open for lunch!). The water tower is a highlight of the skyline.

Another in a long line of stupid arena names in the pursuit of a few more dollars – the Vivint Arena. The streetcars however, are a great (re)addition to the city.

While we are going on strange names – the Utah Jazz. The franchise was founded in New Orleans in 1974, playing just 5 seasons there before relocating to Salt Lake City, but keeping the Jazz name, apparently because they switched cities so close to the start of the season they never had time to get new uniforms and advertising completed.

A few murals…

Our hotel for the night had a nice view of downtown for both sunset…

And sunrise….

Salt Lake City – September 2022 – Utah State Capitol

The Utah State Capitol sits on the aptly named Capitol Hill above downtown Salt Lake City. Completed in 1916 it’s style is similar to most of the state capitol buildings in the U.S.

As always this posting is not meant to document all the features of the building, rather to reflect on some of the more photogenic views.

The lions guarding the side of the building were originally made out of concrete, but were replaced during a 4 year overall capitol restoration project ending in 2008. They are now made out of Italian marble, and were completed by Nick Fairplay.

This glass window features the ubiquitous Utah beehive. The beehive symbolizes the belief that the community works together as a whole to improve life for all.

One of the two grand marble staircases. Each staircase has a massive mural depicting the mormon settlement of Utah.

The rotunda ceiling. When the building was first completed the rotunda remained unfinished for 20 years until the cyclorama was completed in 1934.

The artwork around the rotunda was completed at the same time.

This bust is of the native Ute hunter and fur trader Unca Sam.

Nearby is a bust of Ute leader John Duncan.

Noted Utah inventor Philo T Farnsworth is also featured on the 4th floor gallery. Among his many discoveries Farnsworth is credited with inventing the first complete television.

Also from the 4th floor many of the details visible.