A recent dinner began like this: gossamer-thin duck prosciutto draped over caramelized onions and cherries on crostini. Next came a mini Taleggio cheese sandwich drifting in roasted tomato soup. Then there was a fennel pollen-crusted scallop atop a crab-risotto cake. An arugula salad with strawberry slices suspended in a white balsamic gelée arrived next. The main course featured duck confit with braised red cabbage and puréed maple parsnips. To end the meal, we each received chocolate pôts de crème with espresso whipped cream.
Sound like fine-dining in opulent surroundings? Guess again. How about at 8,500 feet, in a yurt?
Traditionally, a yurt is a circular tentlike dwelling in Central Asia, which is usually covered with felt and hides. These days, yurts can be found all over the U.S. The yurt at Solitude Resort, used exclusively for dining for the past 20 years, is a permanent structure that is covered in durable canvas. To reach the yurt, we met 20 other diners at a scheduled time and place. Some of us strapped on showshoes or skis, others decided to brave the hard snow pack with the boots we came in for the 20-minute uphill hike.
Nestled within a snowy clearing, the yurt was inviting and warm -- almost too warm. The heat from the professional oven at the yurt's center and the body heat of diners made me glad I'd worn layers, as advised.
Limited soft drinks, coffee, tea and cocoa are available, but we took advantage of the no-corkage fee policy and brought our own libations to accompany the fine meal.
Dinner, and nearly three hours, flew by. Before I knew it we were on the trail back to the resort. Luckily this time, the hike was all down hill.
Prices do not include tax and gratuity.
The Viking Yurt » Located at The Canyons Resort in Park City. The yurt, complete with piano music, candlelight and a five-course meal, seats 40 people. Corkage is $15 per bottle. Cost is $110 to $175 per person, depending on the time of year. Call 435-615-9878 or visit http://thevikingyurt.com" Target="_BLANK">thevikingyurt.com.
The Yurt at Solitude » Located at Solitude Resort up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Cost is $100 per person for a five-course meal. No corkage fee. Call 801-536-5709 or visit http://www.skisolitude.com/dining" Target="_BLANK">http://www.skisolitude.com/dining.