~ History of The Viking Yurt EST 1999 ~
The Viking Yurt staff and Vail Ski Resort are a combination of warm Norwegian hospitality, the rugged individualism of the Rocky Mountain West and the magical experience of a Park City Mountain Resort in the evening. Pair all those with creative, gourmet cuisine, and you have an unforgettable dining experience.
The owners, Joy and Geir Vik, met at a University of Utah college party. Joy obtained her degree in Business, Finance. Geir was born and raised in Gol, Norway, son of a lead hydropower engineer in Norway. (also known as a “dam” builder in these parts) Geir came to the University of Utah to obtain his masters in electrical engineering. He played and skied as hard as he studied, and soon met the local Utah woman who would melt his Nordic heart.
Joy Merritt Vik grew up in Salt Lake City, a local season ski pass holder at Park City Mountain Resort since the age of five. Her physician father worked as an on mountain ski doctor on the weekends at PCMR, allowing his children tremendous access to both inbound and out-of-bound terrain on Utah’s famous slopes. The Norwegian athlete and student couldn’t help but admire this local girl’s ability to keep up with him on the downhill.
Joy and Geir were the first wedding at The Summit House deck at Park City Ski Resort. Joy wore a one peice white ski suit, angora white headband and white ski boots. Geir wore a white handknit "Marius" (a pattern created by Stein Erickson's mother and named after his brother Marius) that Geir's mother knit. After college they moved to Norway, where Geir started an engineering consulting business and Joy learned to love the Norwegian land, its people and the language. Her job in business finance with Texaco Oil afforded her travel throughout Europe and back to the USA. After four years abroad, they both missed the bluebird sky of Utah, the light, powder snow and sun drenched days so decided to move back to Park City. The Vik’s decided to combine their love of throwing a great party, with business. The idea of a yurt started with a suggestion at a backyard picnic. Friends pitched in to build the deck and erect the structure. Geir loved his new outdoor office instead of spending his time on airplanes. His technical background and "can do" attitude made it fun to build the yurt, rig it with solar panels, repair the snowmobiles and the snowcat. Joy set up and runs The Viking Yurt from the business and marketing side, decorating, creates the recipes herself and hires the staff. She continues to manage the business on a daily basis as Geir moved on to another business in 2001 and in 2014 joined the yurt team again full time. Finding the perfect chef and servers is a challenge for Joy. The chef must produce incredible food but also be willing to endure carrying the food up to the yurt all by snowmobile. The servers must be competent to drive snowmobiles through a blizzard in the dark to fine wine service.
This combination of talent, hard work, and hospitality, has culminated in the success of the Viking Yurt. In spite of the challenges in hosting, creating and preparing a pre-fixe dinner at 8700 feet, the Viking Yurt is equal to any fine dining establishment in Utah. Each night can bring unique issues that are unpredictable due to the yurt's location. This is so much more than a memorable meal. It’s an amazing sleigh ride with incredible views, up the mountain slopes, wrapped in a blanket. It’s glimpsing the yurt, golden and lit from within, through the forest. It’s coming inside and warming your hands with heated Norwegian glogg in pewter cups. The party atmosphere takes over as guests mingle around the cozy wood stove, intrigued as to how a baby grand piano made it up the mountain. From the composed cheese course served on plates fashioned from local aspen, to the sorbet palate cleanser served in rocks Joy brought from Norway, the Viking Yurt takes dining, to a whole new altitude.
Geir: Norwegian for “head of a spear”
Vik: Norwegian for “inlet”. The word Viking comes from “vik” as the Vikings made camp at the farthest tip of the fjord inlets to afford better protection from attack.
Joy: a feeling of happiness that comes from a sense of well-being and good fortune