Admit it: Your inner speed demon has always been just a tad curious about the skeleton, the lightning-fast Olympic sport in which sled racers barrel headfirst down an ice track at speeds up to 80 miles per hour.
Thanks to a slew of winter sports programs offered in Park City, Utah, you can now find out. With the 2010 Winter Olympics right around the corner, it’s a perfect time to indulge your inner Olympian: At the popular ski town, athletes of all skill levels can try their hand (or, rather, sled or skiis) on the skeleton, bobsled, Nordic jumping or the luge. Various classes and instructional activities, many taught by former Olympic coaches, start at $50 for a skeleton ride (following professional instruction, of course).
Need further incentive to strap on a helmet and head for the snow? January is National Learn a Snowsport Month, and many resorts in the Park City area – and throughout Utah – are offering killer deals on accommodations and lift passes. Some of the discounts extend through February and beyond, and some are good only for Utah residents, but check out www.skiutah.com for plenty of gems.
One word of warning, though: Friday, Jan. 22, is the first weekend of the Sundance Film Festival, which transforms Park City into a swarm of Hollywood starlets and rubbernecking tourists. Locals know the best way to avoid the crowds and paparazzi is to take to the slopes, which are blissfully empty.