Trend report: straight from Sundance

A highlight reel of the healthier moments from this year's festival in Park City, Utah.

In seven years attending the Sundance Film Festival, I’ve never once found a viable local fitness option. I’ve snuck into a depressing windowless gym with two machines in the parking garage of the Marriott to “steal” my exercise, and that didn’t feel entirely pure. Some of my lodging options sported equipment that was state of the art in the jazzercise era. That wasn’t quite right either. Because you can’t pack an Equinox in your luggage to Salt Lake, finding fitness at the fest in Park City has been tough.

And yet lurking amongst the hot chocolate, football watching parties, swag suites, cocktail chalets, and beer gardens, there are glimmers of the latest and greatest in health and wellness. Here are seven refreshing trends I spotted on the opening days of the festival this year.

the absence of sports drinks

In previous years, there have been mountains of sugary sports drinks at the hospitality suites. This time, the neon colored sports drinks were absent, with two alternatives taking their place: Electrolyte replacement waters and cold pressed juices. Both were everywhere.

electrolyte replacement water

SOS water kept popping up on invite-only dinner party tables. At the famed Chefdance dinner parties on Main Street, Aqua Hydrate towered over the plates. When I got bored with my dinner neighbor in the assigned seating, I read the label and found out I was chasing my mushrooms with “performance grade electrolytes.”

gluten-free pop-ups

For 51 other weeks of the year, “501 on Main” is known for its organic risotto. This week? They didn’t even have a sign. Udi’s Gluten Free took over their prime space by day and invited VIPs and their entourages to come in and order off an all gluten-free menu.

mountain sports

With less freezing weather than previous years, people weren’t just dressing up in hats and gloves to try on their winter costumes for a weekend in Utah. There was actual skiing and snowboarding. Oakley brought some of their pros to give lessons to first timers in their “Learn to Ride” program. Here, pro snowboarder Dingo gave model Chanel Iman pointers on how to stay upright.

green juice

Cold pressed juice was a festival fad. Happy marketing types were slinging complimentary bottles of Suja (2-3 pounds of produce in each one, $7-$9 back home when they weren’t giving it out for free inside Park City Live, a concert venue.) By night in the same space, when Steve Aoki, Kaskade, and 2Chainz performed, a different type of juice was more in demand.

not just green juice—green bottles

Festival organizers set up water stations throughout the venues for easy refills. With a blizzard of suites slinging free drinks and the Park City altitude of 6,889 feet, we needed more water than normal, even if it was the boring non-electrolyte replacement type. A local Park City news outlet ran a photo with a young girl holding a sign that says, “How do you hydrate?”


This year, finally, fitness came to the fest. In addition to the nightclub “pop-ups” that are imported from New York and L.A., SoulCycle made a popup chalet for the opening weekend. The sign in sheet was great sweat equity—additional networking while meeting your bike neighbors.