Winter Olympic warm-up

This winter, try your skills on the slopes, courses, runs, and rinks that Salt Lake City will reserve for Olympic athletes in 2002

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Deer Valley Resort. Snowboarding is banned, but carefully groomed slopes and beginner and intermediate runs over 65 percent of the area offer easy skiing. Olympic slalom races will be held on the Know You Don't trail, freestyle aerials on White Owl, and the moguls event on Champion. 2250 Deer Valley Dr. S, Park City; (800) 424-3337, (435) 649-1000, or www.deervalley.com.

Ice rinks. Skating opportunities at Olympic venues are limited. But you can practice your triple axels in downtown Salt Lake City outdoor rinks at the Gallivan Center Ice Rink (239 S. Main St.; 801/596-2874 or www.gallivanevents.com), the Peaks Ice Arena in Provo, which will host Olympic Ice Hockey (100 N. Seven Peaks Blvd.; 801/377-8777 or www.peaksarena.com), or Park City Mountain Resort in Park City (see below).

Ice Sheet. Learn how to curl in this enclosed rink on Thursdays between 11 and 3; $6.25 gets you onto the ice and outfitted with a broom and slider. 4390 Harrison Blvd., Ogden; (801) 778-6300.

Park City Mountain Resort. The picturesque old mine buildings along the resort's ski trails will get plenty of TV time next winter. The giant slalom racecourse on CB's Run is usually closed to the public so racers can practice; ski Willy's, Erika's Gold, and PayDay--runs used for past World Cup races. Also open: Eagle Super Pipe which will handle half-pipe snowboard events. 1310 Lowell Ave., Park City; (800) 222-7275, (435) 649-8111, or www.parkcitymountain.com.

Snowbasin Ski Resort. This is where the Olympics' glamour events--the Men's and Women's Downhill, as well as the Super-G--will be held. Anyone can ride the Olympic Tram to the start to take in the view, but only advanced skiers and snowboarders should attack the Men's Downhill course from the very top. Strong intermediates can jump on the run near the top of the John Paul Express or just watch the pros from other runs lacing 3,200 acres of skiable terrain. A new access road opened at the start of the season. 3925 E. Snowbasin Rd., Huntsville; (801) 620-1000 or www.snowbasin.com.

Utah Olympic Park. This slick new center for bobsled, luge, skeleton, and nordic jumping events has a day lodge, a deli, and even a pool for summer aerials training. Reserve well ahead for a seat in a four-man bobsled ($175) or a solo run in an Ice Rocket ($40). Park admission from $5 per car. 3000 Bear Hollow Dr., Park City; (435) 658-4200 or www.saltlake2002.com.

SALT LAKE CITY
With several new and expanded hotels and 11 ski resorts within an hour's drive of downtown, Utah's capital is a great base for an Olympic preview--or for a trip to the Games next year. Area code is 801 unless noted.

Dijon Bistro. New downtown bistro with a provençal menu, a cheese board, and a 90 percent French wine list. Closed Sun. 54 West 200 South; 359-0150.

Grand America Hotel. When this 775-room tower opens in March, it will offer sprawling suites furnished with French furniture and colorful tapestries, as well as simpler rooms. From $245. 555 S. Main St.; (800) 621-4505 or www.grandamerica.com.

Hotel Monaco. Opened in mid-1999 in the historic Continental Bank Building, the hotel's 225 trendy, French-style rooms are favored by visiting pro basketball players. From $99. 15 West 200 South; 595-0000, (877) 294-9710, or www.monaco-saltlakecity.com.

La Europa Royale. A small intimate inn hidden on the southern edge of Salt Lake City with seven rooms and suites. Guests are pampered with two-person whirlpool baths, gas fireplaces, and heated ski lockers. From $129. 1135 E. Vine St.; 263-7999, (800) 523-8767, or www.laeuropa.com.

Lugano. Refined northern Italian menu with boldly flavored pastas, wood-fired mussels in saffron broth, fresh seafood, and grilled meats. 3364 South 2300 East; 412-9994.

Red Rock Brewing Company. This local hot spot shines with award-winning brews, pub grub, and wood-oven pizzas. 254 South 200 West; 521-7446.

 

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