By Gwen Ashley Walters
Stand Still at Sundance
Breathtakingly beautiful is the only way to describe Robert Redford's Sundance, just a scant hour drive southeast from Salt Lake City. Nestled below the craggy rock of Mount Timpanogos, the village-like Sundance moves at a slower pace than other mountain resorts I've visited. There is an unmistakable balance between nature and humans within the confines of this 6,000-acre wilderness, thanks to Redford's vision and the thoughtful caretakers of this precious habitat. Sundance is a year-round resort that attracts affluent skiers in the winter, nature lovers in the summer and avid film fans all year long. Oh, and foodies come, too, for the impressive alpine cuisine.
Lodging consists of the Pine and River Run cottages, tucked between the white barked Aspens and old-growth pines, encircled by a crystal-clear stream. Inside, the homey rooms are dressed in Native American fabrics and patterns, with warm wood furniture and comfortable beds draped with richly colored Indian blankets. Carefully manicured and inconspicuously lit trails lead down the hill from the cabins to the cluster of buildings comprising the Sundance Village. Wood-planked porches beckon guests to sit a spell before heading inside to the two restaurants, the authentically western Owl Bar, or the old-fashioned Sundance General Store (the inspiration for the Sundance catalog).
Mountain-inspired dishes flow from the casual Foundry Grill, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Its rustic wooden floor, heavy furniture and open kitchen are perfect complements to the hearty ranch fare, like Smoked Trout Hash, Mountain Flapjacks and Eggs Ranchero. Dinner entrees also showcase the Grill's American Western cooking with Applewood Grilled Ribeye Steak, Pan Roasted Pink Trout and Macaroni and Cheddar Cheese with Country Ham. Nothing tops off an Oven Roasted Salmon with Spinach and Wild Rice quite like a serving of Warm Chocolate Cake, a lightened version of the popular molten (lava) cake. In the summer, ask to sit on the adjacent patio to breathe in the clean, crisp mountain air.
For an intimate, candlelit dinner, reserve a table in the enchanting Tree Room, cloaked in authentic Native American art and artifacts from Redford's personal collection and featuring seasonal mountain cuisine. You might start with Citrus Marinated Salmon or Pistachio Encrusted Goat Cheese. Main courses run the gamut from a Pancetta Wrapped Brook Trout to Roasted Free Range Rabbit to Seared Sea Scallops and the traditional Sundance Pepper Steak (a favorite among returning guests). The ambience and food mingle together to create a magical evening.
While the pace is slower in the Tree Room, encouraging lingering conversations over coffee and dessert, I actually prefer the more casual style and comfort food in the Foundry Grill. You'll never feel rushed in either dining room, just as you won't feel rushed to leave the rocking chair on the porch, or the cozy confines of your cottage, or, for that matter, the resort at all. Unfortunately, time doesn't really stand still at Sundance. It just feels like it.
RR 3 Box A-1
Sundance, UT 84604
Accommodations: 95 rooms and 12 mountain homes.
Activities: Winter: Downhill and cross-country skiing; snowshoeing; Artisan Center with classes and exhibits; state-of-the-art screening room with library of films. Summer: Hiking, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, outdoor theater, arts and craft classes, kids' camp.
Rates: $205-$535 per night, including lodging only. Rates will increase during upcoming Olympics (January 2—March 30 to $316-$686)
Copyright © 2001, Gwen Ashley Walters. All rights reserved.
Gwen Ashley Walters is cookbook author, cooking teacher, food writer and Certified Culinary Professional with a degree in Culinary Arts. Gwen's travel guide/cookbooks, The Great Ranch Cookbook, (1998) and The Cool Mountain Cookbook, (2001) were published by Pen & Fork Communications.
This page created November 2001