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My Hometown: Olympic Freeskier Joss Christensen on Park City, Utah

Sure it's expensive, but Park City boasts friendly residents, easy access to great skiing, and plenty of culture.

(Rocky Maloney)

Sure it's expensive, but Park City boasts friendly residents, easy access to great skiing, and plenty of culture.

Park City graced the cover of our September 2013 issue when readers voted it the Best Town in America. U.S. Freeskiing Slopestyle gold medalist Joss Christensen, leader of the first American sweep in skiing history at the Olympics, agrees. Here, he talks about life in the “perfect ski town.”

Christensen rides Park City.

Why you love Park City?
It is big enough to have everything I need but small enough to have room to get away. I am 30 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport, which is huge for me because I travel all throughout the year. I love the mountains, and Park City allows me to play in the mountains no matter the season. 

What is one thing most people don't know about Utah?
Our state bird is the California Seagull. I find that pretty interesting—and funny.

Best time of year to visit?
I would say anytime in the spring. You can either experience really warm and sunny days for skiing or hiking and biking, or you can be skiing fresh snow. Just depends on the weather. In my opinion, all options are good!

Favorite place to get outside?
I really like to go right behind my house up in Summit Park. There are a few trailheads just a short distance from my place, so I can go jump on my bike or walk up to the trails in only a few minutes. It’s really beautiful up top.

Best restaurant?
Davansa's! First off, you can practically ski to it, but the pizza and sandwiches are really tasty and affordable. It is quick and fun.

Must-see attraction?
I spend most of my time at Park City Mountain Resort. Between the awesome skiing in the winter and the hiking and mountain biking in the summer, the views and terrain are amazing. 

Best place to stay?
My house. I constantly have friends from almost everywhere staying at my house. So come stop by Joss's Wonderful B&B! Come ski or bike with me and my friends; you'll see why I will probably never leave!

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Need to Know

Getting there: Park City is 40 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport.

Population: 7,558

Filed To: Athletes / Park City / Ski Gear
Nicolas Henderson/Creative Commons )

San Marcos, Texas

Billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, the Texas Water Safari, held each June, is a four-day, 260-mile jaunt from the headwaters of the San Marcos River northeast of San Antonio to the small shrimping town of Seadrift on the Gulf Coast. There’s no prize money—just bragging rights for the winner. Any boat without a motor is allowed, and you’ll have to carry your own equipment and overnight gear. Food and water are provided at aid stations along the way. Entry fees start at $175 and increase as race day approaches.

The Ring

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(Courtesy Quatro Hubbard)

Strasburg, Virginia

The Ring is a 71-mile trail running race in early September along the entire length of Virginia’s rough and rocky Massanutten Trail loop. To qualify, you need to have run a 50- or 100-mile race before the event and win a spot through the lottery system. Entry is free. Complete the run and you’ll become part of the tight-knit Fellowship of the Ring and be eligible for the Reverse Ring, which entails running the trail backwards in the middle of winter.

Plaza2Peak

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(David Silver)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Each spring, competitors gather in Santa Fe’s historic plaza with a simple goal: be the first to reach 12,308-foot Deception Peak, 17 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain away. Competitors run or bike the first 15 miles to the local ski area before transitioning to their waiting ski-touring setups for the final push to the top. Time stops only when they’ve skied back down to the tailgate in the resort’s parking lot, which is funded by the modest entry fee of around $25. To add to the sufferfest, some participants sign up for the Expedition category, in which they strap their skis, skins, boots, and poles to their bikes for the long ride up. Start dates vary depending on snow conditions, but look for the event page to be posted on Facebook in late March or early April.

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