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Beyond the Frontlines: the Smith family

PARK CITY, Utah — Peter and Victoria Smith were born travelers, and their two daughters didn’t have much choice either genetically or situationally but to become avid travelers too. Peter’s family moved to England where he attended school for two years, which sparked his interest in world travel. Victoria’s dad was with the State Department and lived in Lebanon for six years, also finding travel as a consequential interest.

Hiking on Scottish Mainland.

Since 2014, the retirees from Michigan have wintered in Park City. Peter still works for Deer Valley Resort as a mountain host, after previously teaching skiing for about seven seasons. Victoria also worked in Deer Valley’s lift ops and skier guest services for five years before retiring during COVID; she has also worked at the Alf Engen Ski Museum and Mangelsen Gallery.

“We’re kind of a Deer Valley family,” said Peter. Their daughter, Whitney, has lived in the area for about 12 years and works with DV’s ski patrol. Whitney’s sister, Lauren, came to Park City via Portland, Oregon, about two years ago.

Lauren, Whitney, and Victoria stand beneath the Plitvice Waterfalls, Croatia.

Although their winters are booked up, they leave the rest of the year to travel or spend time in Michigan on Lake Huron— but they’re not just sitting at a resort drinking piña coladas.

“Our family, the four of us, we have tried every year to do a trip someplace we haven’t been before, where we can get out into the outdoors and do something active together,” Victoria said. “Where we can pick up some new history and some new experiences and lovely scenery along the way.”

Their recent trips have included a three-month cycling tour of Europe, beginning in Scandinavia and traveling 1,500 miles through England, France, and Germany. They camped most of the way. But, they are human after all and are known to get a hotel here and there.

“[These are] the kinds of vacations that we’ve taken ever since we were married, now approaching 50 years ago,” Peter said.

As seasoned travelers and cyclists, they travel with their bikes and camping gear. Oftentimes, they don’t leave the same way they came so renting equipment isn’t a viable option.

Camping along cliffs of Dunnet Head, Scotland.

The Smiths llama trekked into the Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Range, Wyoming. The whole family was on this “wilderness trip of a lifetime.”

Most recently, in 2022, Peter and Victoria completed a 6-week camping tour of Scotland, which included the Hebridean Way on the Outer Hebrides Islands, Shetland Islands, Isle of Skye, Orkney Islands, Scottish NC 500, and Aberdeen.

“We’ve just found that camping has given us so much flexibility, and so many, honestly, great experiences in remote places, that there’s no hotel nearby that compares for us,” Victoria said.

Cirque of the Towers, Wind River Range.

They have also been to South America, Africa, and a litany of European countries. In the future, they look forward to visiting Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia.

“We’ve been retired for some time and I still see this being a part of our life on into the future,” Peter said. “We’re in our late 60s, early 70s and it’s still doable; you can still get out there and have a great time camping and seeing a lot of the world.”

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