“The red button behind you is unfortunately not for drink service,” announces the champagne blonde with a Pomeranian stuffed in her backpack. We’ve just snuggled into a sled attached to snowcat and are making our way up to the Viking Yurt in Park City. Though we’re barrelling along at a fairly substantial clip at a seemingly precarious angle, there is no need hit the alarm – though naturally, we would very much appreciate drink service.
You won’t find yurts at every ski resort, but in Park City, Utah there seem to be an abundance of them. The Viking Yurt sits 1800 m (6,000 ft) up Park City Mountain, the largest ski resort in the United States. We’ve just spent a fantastic day exploring the ski terrain and after a quick change, it’s back to the mountain to party like medieval times.
Dinner at the Viking Yurt in Park City
Truth: arriving at the yurt feels like we’ve been transported back to another era. It’s pure magic with twinkling lights festooning the yurt exterior and a million stars peeping through the velvet night sky. Inside is just as charming with a wood burning fireplace and long tables filled with hungry skiers. The Nordic regions know how to make the most of winter, and this four-hour European dining experience is majorly memorable.
party errr dinner, gets kicked into gear the way I imagine most Viking feasts do: with Glogg! This glogg happens to be a non-alcoholic berry cider. But not for long! Our waitress recommends spiking it with Aquavit. Of course I do just that and I’m feeling oh-so merry in no time at all.
A bearded red headed Viking doppelgänger named Michael comes out and introduces the menu. We begin with a fantastic lobster bisque accented with long threads of saffron and chunks of salmon. Next, we’re instructed to stick our hand in a bag that gets passed along the table to grab fistfuls of warm garlic bread.
There’s salad, a sorbet palate cleanser and our main is braised short rib, cooked for seven hours before being set atop a bed of Jarlsburg mashed potatoes. It’s followed by a cheese course (I tried that fragrant Gjetost and didn’t hate it!) and dessert (still swooning over their cardamon ice cream).
At some point they break out the Viking hats and ULLR, a digestif named after the Norse god of snow. It’s hyper mentholated and tastes like Scope, but at least I’m assured I’ll have minty fresh breath after much Glogg and pungent cheese.
Reservations for the Viking Yurt must be made months in advance, as they pretty much sell out every night. Get on it!
The Après Lounge at Montage Deer Valley
There is an awesome bright orange tent at Deer Valley ski resort and it just happens to be in the Veuve Cliquot signature colours. Yes, my friends, there is a god and it has made a champagne yurt. This is the ultimate après spot at one of North America’s swankiest ski hills.
You’ll find the Après Lounge AKA Veuve Yurt next to the posh Montage Hotel and between Express and Ruby chairlifts at Deer Valley Resort. Interiors are super chic – just as you’d expect after being kitted out by lifestyle brand Gorsuch. There are little wood burning fireplaces, cozy nooks, chandeliers and zebra rugs.
Pop in for a glass of champers or perhaps some cognac from Hennessy. At $32 US for a glass of yellow label it isn’t cheap, but you’re paying for the ambiance and let me tell you, it is worth it. And there are gourmet nibbles, too! All the hors d’oeuvres (think caviar, charcuterie and white truffle popcorn) are designed to pair perfectly with the Champagnes featured.
The Après Lounge is open to the public every afternoon. Groups can rent it out for private functions and apparently a fair number of elopements take place here. I can see why.
Have you ever been in a yurt? What was your experience like?