Flights: Redeemed 8,987 Southwest Rapid Rewards points (zero points for my flight using the Companion Pass) and $22.40 in government taxes and fees.
Lodging: We stayed at The Lodge at Stillwater, a few miles outside of Park City. We had a very nice one-bedroom, two-bath condo with a fireplace, full kitchen, and access to a free parking garage, outdoor hot tubs and fitness center. This was booked through my timeshare package, which I haven’t wrote too extensively about because it still hurts to talk about how ripped off I was, but this was actually a really good redemption. Since the timeshare is paid off at this point, it only cost us $309 to book this room for an entire week. To have a room this size during Sundance for that price was pretty incredible!
Rental Car: I redeemed two free days from the National One, Two Free Promotion, which saved us $125, but still had to pay $284.17 out of pocket. I paid with the Sapphire Preferred to earn 2x points and also receive the benefit of primary insurance coverage. I am typically all about National thanks to the Executive Aisle, but was a little annoyed that the SLC Airport didn’t have a true executive aisle, and could only offer me very small SUVs since it was a “ski town,” so he said. I’m guessing that had something to do with the film festival as well.
Skiing: We used our Epic Local Pass to ski one day at Park City Mountain Resort, and one day at Canyons. Park City hasn’t gotten much snow yet, so skiing was a little rough, especially at Canyons. Our day at PCMR was sunny and gorgeous and we found a run we loved so much we did it over and over (Georgeanna!)
Snowmobiling: This was on our bucket list so jumped at the opportunity for a free two-hour tour. We had to sit through a 90-min. sales pitch at the Sunrise Lodge by Hilton Grand Vacations Club, but it surprisingly wasn’t too painful and we received $175 in American Express gift cards, which we could use for a special offer at Red Pine Adventures for snowmobiling. The cost with tax was $159 for one snowmobile, but they gave us each our own for the same price. We had a great time, and it was actually a lot harder than we thought it would be!
Meals: One of the best things about having a condo with a full kitchen is the ability to grocery shop and cook your own food. We had breakfast on our own everyday, typically packed sandwiches for lunch, and did a combination of cooking and eating out for dinner. We met up with one of my besties for a great dinner at Ghidotti’s, an Italian restaurant which is not on Main Street but was very crowded even when we ate pretty late on a Saturday night. Food was great, service not so much.
Sundance Film Festival: Though we primarily went to ski, we conveniently timed our trip around the film festival so we could hopefully take in a few screenings and experience the atmosphere. Luckily we ran into a high school friend who is in the film industry who was a HUGE hookup in getting us tickets that we wouldn’t otherwise have access to, so we didn’t have to mess around with the whole waitlist deal.
I aw Strangerland, with Nicole Kidman, which was, well, strange, but decent. And we got to attend the screening of Animals, which is a project my friend Pat had done the sound on. It was two episodes of a indie TV show, created by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano, produced by Mark Duplass. It was hilarious and the Q&A after the show with those three guys was even funnier.
Even without tickets the film festival can be a lot of fun. Main Street is a really cool area and a lot of the storefronts are taken over by companies who transform the spaces into private event venues and some lounges open to the public. There’s free stuff everywhere you turn! Here were some of our favorites:
Merrell TrailScape: Free craft beer bottles, wine, or whiskey drinks. Phone charging stations, plenty of seating, and free The big draw here was a 4-D virtual outdoor adventure experience, but we didn’t get a chance to participate.
Buzzfeed Basecamp: During Friday and Saturday afternoons/early evening the first weekend, live music, trivia, food samples, a photo booth, giveaways, and free wine, beer and winter cocktails.
HP Lounge: Live music throughout the day and fairly cheap drinks at the cash bar.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Lounge: I was disappointed this wasn’t cooler. We went during a chef demo but they were out of samples already when we came in and the chef had zero personality. They were giving away cool water bottles, and apparently had a party for cardholders on Thursday evening. Cardholders did have access to a special ticket line, and there was a dining concierge available.
Acura Live: Free coffee from Intelligentsia all day, and free Stella from 3-5 p.m. with live music.
Airbnb House: Free coffee all day, free goody bags, and lots of interactive, artsy experiences.
Most of the photos in this post taken by Chelsea Kruse. Thanks, Chels!