Comfortably Snug

I have yet to meet a skier who didn’t have a boot-fitting horror story to share. In fact, on the Vacation that Changed Everything, my husband (who was several years away from becoming “ski dad”) had so much foot pain that he almost gave up on our first day out. Fortunately, we had a ski instructor who knew the drill—a good boot fitting (or re-fitting, in our case) can change the way you ski, for good. A name was passed, and the vacation was saved.

We’ve all got a story like this. We got a bad fit, or we have skied too many days (years?) in boots whose linings are packed out beyond repair. I’m guilty of the latter crime. My boots, custom and dialed-in as they were more than eight years ago—that’s right, just after the birth of my first son—had nothing left to give. This was probably true at least a full season ago, but I didn’t understand it until I tried on new boots. Mind you, I didn’t buy them right away, but as soon as I donned my “old faithfuls” for opening weekend, I knew. I was committing every possible boot-wearing crime—the most egregious of which was clamping down buckles until I felt secure, so that my feet, ankles and knees (and, thus, my hips) were whacked way out of alignment. This, I decided, would not do.

I was, it turned out, over my emotional attachment to my boots. They’d served me well. But my dear friend and ski guru Steven pointed out, “we can find new favorites if we just try something new.” The switch flipped. I was ready to find new ski-boot love.

And what do you need to find love? Well, you need a good matchmaker. Because that’s really what a boot fitter is—someone who is ready to help you find the right boot match for your foot. Deer Valley Resort has plenty of venues for matchmaking. Notably, none of them are known for speed-dating you into boots. This is for good reason. I’ve always been partial to the guys at Jans. You can argue the virtues of your favorite shop, and I’ll believe you. But, the truth is, all skiers have their “shop,” and Jans is mine. Still, it’s not necessarily important that you shop there—just learn from my experience and demand the same level of attention from “your” shop. Good? Good.

Now, “my” guy likes to think he flies a little under the radar. (We’ll call him Boot Fitting Guy to help preserve his anonymity.) People march into the store and demand his attention—and he’s excellent at keeping people in “queue,” without making them feel like they’re being kept waiting. He’s lauded by his colleagues as the go-to guy, and he’s quick to deflect the praise right back at them. I’m not going to try to referee, but suffice it to say, you can trust that even if he’s not directly fitting your boot, he’s involved in the fitting. I’ve seen it—the guys move seamlessly between clients, offering a supportive, “good idea,” or concurring on a fit diagnostic.  Bottom line: Look for a shop that welcomes collaboration, where there isn’t one “rock star,” to whom all others pale in comparison.

My fitting went something like this:

My feet were measured. Yes, one is larger than the other. This is common.

We singled out the boot that I had researched—I’d even had the chance to try it on before the season started—The Fischer Zephyr90. Several other boots came along for the ride.

Before we put the boots on, Boot Fitting Dude gave me a quick primer on my feet, and how there are three Zones (Video) we should be concerned with.

Zone One: The instep and the shin. The instep, in case you’re confused, is the TOP of the foot, right in the middle. The underside is called the arch.

Zone Two: Heel, Achilles, and Calf

Zone Three: Toes.

“Don’t jump around. If you do, I’ll make you buy me a Deer Valley Cookie.” Since I’d already shelled out for my kids to raid the candy counter at the front of the store (yes, I was brave enough to bring them shopping—after we’d spent the afternoon on the cross country tracks at White Pine Touring—no, I’m not above bribery to keep the peace), this got my attention.

We slid my left foot into the The Fischer Zephyr90, and my right into an Atomic model. The Fischer felt like a snug, comfy slipper. The Atomic felt decidedly more “tight,” and I could already feel my toes crowding. I started to mention this, and the Dude (with apologies to Jeff Bridges) piped up with, “I’m starting to taste that cookie.” So I shut up.

Checking Zones in my Boots (Video)

Zone 1: Fischer boot offered no extra pressure on the instep. Nice. Atomic boot gave me a little pressure on that instep.

Zone 2: Fischer boot’s collar wasn’t too tight around my calves, cradled my heel and supported my Achilles without any pinch. This last bit felt like a revelation. Atomic boot gave that little pinch.

Zone 3: Ok, finally, I could talk toes. I flexed into position and found my toes sliding back from the tips of each boot. This is a good sign. The Atomic, in ski position, didn’t make as much contact with my toes as it did when I was standing straight. Still, I didn’t love the feel. Fischer, on the other hand? It worked. (Video)

Some things I learned as we continued on to the other boots: The collar of the boot should not be super-tight around the calves. Any time you clamp too tightly—either across the top of the foot or around the collar of the boot—you risk cutting off circulation, and thus making your feet too cold and cramp-prone.

Buckles should be “finger tight.” If you’re wrestling to close the buckle, it’s too tight. It will cut off circulation, and you will suffer through however many runs you manage before you hobble into the lodge for sweet relief.

And, the boot fit should be comfortably snug. My ski guru, Steven, and the Dude agreed that whether a person is buying boots or getting them from a rental shop, they need to be fully indoctrinated into the idea that the boot is “comfortably snug,” or it won’t function properly. Believe it or not, this means you can, technically, ski without closing the buckles on top of your foot.

Finally, the Dude told me something crucial. “Your boot will warm and soften as you ski,” he said. “It will feel looser. Resist the urge to tighten the buckle by moving the clasp over to the next notch. Instead, open the buckle and twist the micro-adjustment (the buckle will actually swivel on a stem) to the left.” As in, righty tighty, lefty loosey. Make one or two rotations, clip back into the same notch, and see if you’re more comfortable. Repeat as necessary.

Now, I’m completely stoked to try the boots.

I’ve been instructed to ski a couple of days in them before we start customizing them—I’ll need new footbeds, and we’ll see what other adjustments might be needed after I ski in them a couple of days.

January Learn To Ski & Snowboard Month

January Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month began in 2007 and has since grown to include 32 states and over 300 resorts. Deer Valley Resort is proud to participate in this great national program.

What is Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month?

“Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month in January encourages children and adults to learn by taking lessons from professional instructors. It also challenges current skiers and snowboarders to improve their skills through lessons.” (According to skiandsnowboardmonth.com)

What is Deer Valley offering in January for Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month?

Deer Valley is offering a Learn to Ski Lodging Package this year for out-of-town guests.

Whether you are new to skiing or perhaps have just taken some time away from the sport, what better time to visit Deer Valley Resort than during National Learn to Ski Month! Save 25% on lodging, adult ski rentals and two MAX 4 semi-private group lessons. Valid January 2 – 12, 2012, and January 17 – 31, 2012.

Deer Valley is also offering a Ski Utah Learn to Ski Program on January 28, 2012 for locals.  

Date: January 28, 2012
Program: Ski Utah Learn to Ski Program – Never-ever skiers and locals only (local is anyone with a current Utah driver’s license. Lesson Time:   9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Maximum: Limited to the first 55 registrants.
Participants: First-time skiers (never-ever skied before).
What is included: Ski lesson, lift ticket, ski rentals (helmet not included) and locker token.
Age: Participants must be 13 years or older. Cost: $39 for the package, per participant ($13 for a lift ticket, $13 for ski rental equipment and $13 for the lesson)
What to bring:  Appropriate ski attire (pants and a jacket), gloves, goggles/sunglasses and sunscreen.
Reservations: Must be made prior to January 26, 2012.  Reservations can be made by calling 888-754-8477 or 435-645-6648 and mention “Ski Utah Learn to Ski Program” One lesson per participant.

*Though January is known as Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month, Deer Valley is a ski only resort.

To celebrate Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month Deer Valley will be following a local, never-ever skier as she learns to ski this January.

Meet Katie Fredrickson

Katie is 21 years old and is studying History at the University of Utah. Born and raised in Utah, Katie is looking forward to finally learning how to ski.

“Living in Utah you are surrounded by people who ski, it’s easy to feel left out when all your friends leave you down in the valley on powder days.”

With the improvements Deer Valley has made to its Wide West beginner area the environment should be less intimidating for Katie.

“I’m stoked I don’t have to get on a chairlift right away. The conveyor lifts on the beginner hill seem a lot less scary. I think it will help me to focus on learning to ski and not freaking out about getting on and off the chair.”

We took Katie down to the rental shop to get fitted for skis and boots. It’s important to follow the steps when renting gear for your first time skier.

When you first enter the rental shop you want to make sure you fill out the proper form before anything.

The rental shop has several tools to help you determine your ability and type of skier.

There are lots of friendly customer service employees to help you out.

Boot fitting will be your first stop.

Followed by getting measured for the right ski…

Finally you will be fitted for the right length of pole

We asked Gary Wassmar, our rental shop manager for some tips on renting gear for first time skiers.

Tip #1: When trying on boots make sure you toes touch the end with straight legs. You know they fit properly when your foot slides back with your knees bent

Tip #2: For beginners, your ski length should come right below your chin

Tip #3: To choose the right size poles, your arm should be a 90-degree angle holding the pole under the basket

Katie has her first lesson Friday, January 6. Check back here to see how our first time skier does!

Upping the Ante on Bribes

By now, dear reader, you know that I am never on the mountain without a stash of bribery candy in my pockets. So I’m thrilled to report that Deer Valley has given me some new ammo in this department. Quincy’s–a kids’ self-service frozen yogurt bar, complete with exciting (and classic!) toppings like gummy bears and crushed Oreo cookies, is located in the Next Gen boutique across the hall from the lower level locker room and bag check.  

I had hinted to my kids of its existence on a recent ski day—and as soon as we finished our runs, my kids asked, “Did we earn some frozen yogurt?” They loved choosing their flavors and toppings—Don’t tell our orthodontist, but even Big Guy, who had acquired braces earlier in the week, partook of the sweets. He’s a chocoholic, so the fudge sauce suited him just fine. “Mom, don’t worry,” he assured me, as I broke the news to him that gummy and crunchy toppings were not on his menu. “Fudge sauce definitely counts as a topping in my book.” Yes, Dr. Maxfield, we brushed copiously upon our return home!

The yogurt café sits behind a knee wall within NextGen. Naturally, I took the opportunity to browse for items in my size—petite types get away with shopping in the kids’ store and, yes, in the kids’ sizes, too. I was impressed with the variety of style and price points. Meanwhile, our style-conscious Little Guy took the opportunity to peruse the merchandise from his yogurt-eating perch.

“Look!” he demanded. “Look. At. That. JACKET! It’s super-cool. I want it.”

Ski Dad and I had to admit, it was super-cool. Brown pleather bomber jacket with tons of Top Gun-style patches and a faux-fur lining. I could almost hear Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards shouting, “I feel the need, the need…for…SPEED!” Which could not be more appropriate for the type of “bombing” down the hill that Little Guy had displayed just half an hour earlier. Quickly, he lost interest in his yogurt and demanded that he be allowed to try it on.

As he put the jacket on, he assumed a “tough guy” stance and a grin as big as they get.

Needless to say, Hanukkah came a few days early.

Cross Training

One of my goals for my ski season this year is to stick to a solid cross-training schedule, in the hope that I can keep my leg muscles in good enough shape that I won’t run into the knee problems that cut my season short last year.

So, I’m accepting invitations from anyone who asks me to join them for a workout. One of the other “karate moms” at the Bobby Lawrence Karate Studio where my kids do their own “cross training,” invited me to a circuit training class at the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse at Newpark.

Who should be teaching the class, but Tina Dempsey, a Deer Valley employee who you’ll find at the ticket window in Snow Park a few days a week. And just my luck, she’s really good at what she does—from learning the names of her students, to making sure our form is correct, to, yes, completely exhausting every muscle in our bodies. She’s positive, upbeat and motivating—and I just had to ask how she likes her Deer Valley…

Favorite kind of DV Day: “Bluebird. Sun. Fresh Pow. And temps in the double digits, please.”

Favorite lunch: “Tuna Tartare at Royal Street Café.”

(It turns out, Tina worked at RSC as a bartender last year, so she likely mixed a few cocktails for me, like the St. Germain cocktail or the bluberry mojito. MMMM.)

Favorite cocktail at RSC: “Margarita. But I can’t drink it an keep skiing, so it’s really an après ski drink for me.”

Favorite ski buddies: “My girlfriends during the week. My husband on the weekend.”

So, say hi to Tina at the ticket window—and, better yet, drop by her class!

 

 

Holiday Wine Tips

If you have been trying to pair wine to go with your holiday parties Clint Strohl, Deer Valley’s Resort Restaurant Operations Manager has some tips!

“Keep it Simple” The holidays are at times stressful, do not let a wine choice become stressful as well.

What you like to drink is just as important as what others say you should or should not be drinking with holiday meals. Do not worry about the perfect food match

Reason to not worry about the perfect food match:  Sweetness and complexity. Holiday meals often involve “Glazed” foods. Think glazed ham. This sweetness will not compliment any dry wine in fact quite the opposite. The sweetness will wash-out all the wine’s attributes. Holiday meals are made up of simple foods, but we tend to serve a lot simple foods together which introduces just too many flavors for any one wine to be complimentary to all foods.

My Holiday Utility Pair: Dry Riesling from Germany and California Pinot Noir. While not perfect this pair will do well enough to provide pleasant drinking with most holiday meals.

Happy Holidays!

 

First Turns

Ah, that first time!

I rolled out of bed earlier than usual for a Saturday, had a hearty breakfast with my wife, loaded our gear into the car, almost forgot to grab a pair of “very cool” ski boots (mine, that had stayed by accident inside our rather cold mud room,) got the rest of our equipment and drove to Deer Valley Resort for the first skiing day of the season.

Time does fly! This will be the 58th time I’m back on skis in my lifetime, not counting two full winter seasons in the southern hemisphere. This certainly dates me, but few will pay attention! At my age, I’m less in a hurry to “click them on” than I used to. It’s not that I lack the youthful enthusiasm of kids and teenagers, but like most people my age; I tend to become naturally apprehensive as time goes by. We might have some legitimate reasons for being more tentative, but most often than not, this early-season hesitancy is totally unwarranted.

Today happens to be my first ski day of the season and my wife offered to accompany me, as a way to lend me some moral support. It’s not that I have been off my skis for a long time either. My last day on the snow was less than five month ago, on July 4th to be precise, as I skied Snowbird on its late, late closing day. The hardest thing to do, perhaps, is to get into my good old (and cold) ski boots; will they recognize my feet? The two have led separate lives for a few months now and might not be like “peas in a pod” anymore? The fear wasn’t worth it. In spite of their temporary “cold nature,” the boots still hug my feet closely and yes, if those don’t feel the freedom that comes with flip-flops, they are held tightly, but quite comfortably. Walking in boots seems to be the only awkward issue there is…

Now, I click back into my bindings, skate towards the chairlift and board without thinking twice. As I ride up the hill, I observe the other skiers; all seem reasonably assured and appear to ski if they had not missed a beat since last season. Perhaps, they just want to psych me out and make me realize I have some serious catching up to do! I finally get to the top, point my tips down, my skis carve slightly to the left, I continue gliding a bit before getting into the main ski run, I feel my edge, let go, it’s there! I haven’t forgotten, I ski slowly and as seconds pass, gently let the speed be my guide and the momentum my engine. Turns follow and link one another, I let go of my tension. It’s all coming back now!

Early December, the sun is not quite as strong as it can get later on into the season, but I feel quite comfortable. All has been just perfect, until my wife asked me to check the vents on her ski helmet while we were riding up the chairlift. Hers were shut closed as they should have been in December. I asked her to reciprocate and tell me what the status of my helmet venting was. Not surprisingly, it was wide-open, letting the cold winter air in, in spite of my recent minimalist haircut. I must be close to brain-dead or in heat, because I didn’t feel anything. Once this major failing was discovered, my spouse asked me to raise my arms enough for her to discover that both vents, under each arm, were fully unzipped. My climate control settings obviously demonstrated adjustments made back last spring when temperatures were vastly different than today. What would I do without my better half?

On that first ski day of the season, the weather was beautiful, albeit a bit cool and we managed to do an impressive number of laps on of the many chairlifts that were opened to the public. I still remembered how to “turn’ em,” even though my first descents were a bit tentative, but now I’ convinced that I can begin another ski season with reasonable confidenc

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

Jodie Rogers, Deer Valley Executive Chef shared the recipe for Deer Valley’s

Hot (Haute) Chocolate, with an adult beverage twist.

Hot Haute Chocolate

Yields: 50 Ounces, 2 oz. servings.

-10 oz. Dried Milk Powder, Grind in Cuisinart before measuring

-1 lb. Vanilla sugar (To make vanilla sugar grind seeds of 2 vanilla beans with 32 ounces of sugar in Cuisinart)

- ¾ Teaspoon Salt

- ¾ Teaspoon Cinnamon

- 3 pinches of cayenne

- ¼ Teaspoon Espresso Powder (optional)

- Peppermint Schnapps add to taste

[Note: 8 ounces of mix to 2 cups of boiling water. Individual serving is 2 ounces to ½ cup water, use less water if a richer flavor is preferred.

1)      Make Vanilla Sugar. Keep as mise en place.

2)      Combine all ingredients, whisk to combine well

3)      Add espresso powder if desired

4)      Add Peppermint Schnapps to taste

5)      Serve with whipped cream and a candy cane

You can also stop by Deer Valley Grocery ~Café to try a Hot Haute Chocolate.

 

If you are also looking for food for your Christmas, let the Elves do the cooking!

Deer Valley is offering a Christmas take-away menu this year. All orders must be received by Thursday, December 22nd and may be picked up December 24th after noon or Sunday, December 25th by 6:30 p.m.  435-615-2400

Items available on the menu:

WILD MUSHROOM SAUCE ~ wild mushrooms, shallots, red wine, beef stock (32 oz, serves 4-6) ~ $12.00

LEMON THYME SAUCE ~ turkey gravy, fresh thyme, lemon (32 oz, serves 4-6) ~ $12.00

**CRANBERRY CHUTNEY ~ cranberries, mango chutney  (16oz) ~ $10.75 ~ GF

*DEER VALLEY ROASTED GARLIC MASHERS ~ new red potatoes, roasted garlic (serves 4) ~ $12.00 ~ GF

**STEAMED GREEN BEANS ~ sautéed shiitake mushrooms, garlic enhanced olive oil, toasted almond and red chard garnish (serves 4) ~ $12.00 ~ GF

*ROASTED ACORN SQUASH ~ Jack Daniels brown sugar butter, (serves 4) ~ $12.00 (GF by request)

*HOMEMADE STRUAN BREAD, WILD RICE STUFFING granny smith apples, dried cranberries, wild mushrooms, shallots, fresh sage (serves 4) ~ $9.50 add chicken and apple sausage ~ $12.00

*Vegetarian  **Vegan  GF=gluten free

Opening Weekend

Most people took advantage of the bluebird (and frigid) day on Dec 3 to celebrate opening weekend at Deer Valley. My family waited for the storm.

My chat with a friend at Celebrity Ski Fest the day before, about skiing with kids on warm, sunny days is best, was ringing in my ears. So, too, was a chat with Ski Uncle, on the phone an hour earlier. “I like that you take them out in all kinds of weather—it makes them tough!”

Really, they’re both right. For the very littlest skiers, sunny, warm days are best. It takes the sting out of standing around/falling around on the snow if the sun is shining. However, on a colder day, you, the parent, don’t overheat as easily from all of the bending, lifting and overall schlepping activity that comes along for the ride. Also, if you’re sticking to the bunny hill, visibility isn’t an issue on a stormy day—and without fair-weather skiers on the hill, it’s simply less crowded. Which leads me to the best payoff of all…More fresh snow for those of us willing to “brave it.”

Sure, I wasn’t getting a lot of buy in from my Little Guy as we started layering up at home. But I made a strategically ostentatious stop in the pantry during gear-up. “What’s that??” My kids asked, as I extracted the Ziploc bag of leftover Halloween candy (really!) from the shelf. “Prizes! For the Rothchild Olympics! Who’s gonna win the race on Wide West?!” Suddenly, my too-jaded-for-the-bunny-hill Big Guy was clamoring, and my reluctant Little Guy (who, I suspected, couldn’t remember how much he loved flying down the hill the previous two years) was Ready To Ski.

Once we were booting up in Snow Park, we had a few other challenges to overcome. Ski Dad, for instance, had left his asthma inhaler at home—and miserably resigned himself to the role of Spectator in Chief. My heart broke a little—he looked crestfallen. Then, Little Guy recoiled (loudly, with dramatic screams) from the unfamiliar pain of putting on awkward, tight ski boots. Yes, I should have let him play with them at home. But I got lazy.

My friend Edo, one of Deer Valley’s experienced ski instructors, stopped by the table to offer some words of encouragement, and then whispered to me, “Usually we try four times and then we stop trying.” It turns out, the stopping is the key to success.

“Ok, you can just hang with Daddy, then,” I said, cheerfully. “More prizes for Lance!”

“No, I can put on my boots! I’m ready to ski.” Or eat candy. But who’s counting. It worked. And we were on the hill.

Not without incident. “I am terrible at skiing!!!” Wailed little guy, as he took off at the top of Wide West and promptly fell down. I definitely spend a minute or two cursing myself that we hadn’t taken the conveyor lifts for a warm-up spin. Everyone was just so excited about the chairlift ride, that I got carried away. “I am soooo bad at this!” He complained, as he fell again and again.

A few reminders about using “Superman” arms when skiing forward, and “Airplane” arms to make the turn, and he was off to conquer the race course. By run’s end, he was begging for more. He’d also made a friend in the lodge, and had a blast calling out to little Jack from the chairlift. “Go, Jack, Go!” shouted my boys.

Big Guy, of course, was a little bored on the bunny hill, but managed to be a good sport about the fact that we needed to keep it simple that day. Little Guy had skied so hard by lunch that a meltdown was nearly guaranteed if we left him with Dad in the lodge to go ski on the big hill. Not. Worth. It.

I followed my favorite “quit while I’m ahead” ski-parenting strategy , and home we went.  On the way home, candy prizes were distributed, and compliments were passed out.

“I liked your focus and determination on the hill, Seth!”

“Mom,” he said. “Falling is good learning!”

“Lance, your first run this year was better than your last run last year—because you grew, you’re stonger,” I said.

“Plus, mom, I rode my bike a lot and I think karate is helping me, too,” said Big Guy. “I’ve got much better balance.”

 

 

Celebrity Ski Fest

Whoever wins the actual ski race during Celebrity Ski Fest is, of course, the title holder. And it’s pretty easy to argue that the real winner of the day is the Waterkeepers Alliance, which works to protect waterways across the country.

But I decided there were a few award-winners that may have been overlooked.

Cutest Hat Wearers:


Meet Hannah, 1

Her sister Elise, age 3

These Los Angeles natives were enjoying lunch in the VIP tent in extremely cute (and warm looking) winter hats. Hannah’s Paul Frank Monkey, and Sophie’s Oscar the Grouch brought a smile to everyone who met the girls—including my friends Josh, Debbie and me.

But a cute hat is only as cute as the child wearing it—and these girls are title holders.

“Hannah’s not skiing,” said her mom, Maureen. “She hasn’t quite mastered walking.” Which, of course, struck my ear as a total non-sequitor. Don’t you teach your kids to walk by skiing? I’m kidding, Maureen! No one recommends rushing the process.

Favorite Long-Lost College Friend

Neal, whom I love to torture with the fact of how awesome my life in Utah is—we reconnected at SkiFest last year (he’s a TV executive in New York…his life ain’t too shabby, for the record).

Favorite fly-by skier.

Neal introduced me to a NY friend, Scott, who owns a second home in Deer Valley, and who uses business trips to LA as a vehicle for more skiing. He rattled off his  typical one-nighter ski trip schedule thusly: “I land here after my meetings and I’m at No Name Saloon by 9pm, on the first chair at 9am, and back at the airport at 7pm to fly home.”  Way to be dedicated to the Pow!

 

While at Ski Fest, I had the chance to chat with actor Scott Wolf (he and I have met a number of times, usually in the context of his work as a Hollywood actor, and my work as an entertainment journalist), but we never talk shop for long. Our bond is over the fact that we’re Park City locals—and parents.

On this day, though, Scott told me how lucky he felt to be able to participate in a fun event for a great cause in his backyard. “Everyone else here had to fly in from all over to be here,” he said. “But I didn’t drive more than 10 minutes.” Still, as he spoke to me about why he supports Waterkeepers, I got the distinct impression he would have traveled to be here, both for the fun of the competition and to support the work of Waterkeepers Alliance, which was founded by Robert Kennedy, Jr. to TK.

I ran into a bit of a buzz saw in Dylan [Bruno] on race day, but being out here to support Waterkeepers is something I’m always proud to be a part of,” he said. “And I have a son, so the importance of our water and our air and our food is completely heightened for me.”—I got the distinct impression that he certainly would have traveled to be here.

Quickly, the chatter turned to whether his young son will ski this season.

“He’s just now 2 ½, and he’s already so strong, that he’s already hucking front flips off our couch! I think he’ll love it ,,” said the proud papa. “His legs are super-strong, he’s got these stocky little legs like his dad, so yeah, he’ll get on this year, but I’ll just follow our friends’ advice and do warm days and short bouts.”

I shared the virtue of the SunKid conveyor lifts on Wide West, of course—and my secret weapon: Swedish fish. “My kid will, like, speak Portugese for a Swedish fish,” said Scott. “So skiing should be easy!”

We’ll check back with you, Scott!

Celebrities, NASTAR and Holiday Fun

Well our season started almost a week ago. It’s probably a good time to recap opening weekend and of course the skiing. It was a great time racing in the Celebrity Skifest and for a great foundation, The Waterkeeper Alliance.  It started Friday night with opening reception at Empire Canyon Lodge where I loaded up on raclette cheese, at Fireside Dining, and caught up with the competitors.

Saturday morning came and it was time to race. I must say I had a great team and it was proven by us winning the 20th annual event. We won beautiful Bulova watches and great necklaces. It was definitely the year to win. One of the highlights was meeting and sharing the “captain” spot with Terrell Owens. He didn’t ski but coached and cheered us on from the finish. We tried to ski as fast as he runs!

I had to race against Tommy Moe the first round. The announcer introduced us as ambassadors of skiing at our designated resorts. At that moment I reflected what it means to be Ambassador of Skiing at Deer Valley. It is an honor to be part of the #1 ski area in North America for the fifth time in a row! I feel so lucky that I can work for a resort that has continued to strive to be the best. I’m proud to work with all the employees and staff and most importantly show our guests what we are all about and the great skiing we have.

Saturday evening, following the race, we celebrated at the Montage Deer Valley with dinner and a live auction. I think it was a great success! We wrapped up Sunday with a Pro-Am event. Similar style as Saturday races but a little more laid back and no title on the line.

My next fun adventure is next week when the NASTAR season begins. What this means is I travel to the western pacesetting trials to get a handicap for the year. I set the pace at Deer Valley on Saturdays and then handicap the PCMR staff for their race arena. It’s always fun because the pacesetter is AJ Kitt whom I grew up with. He is still fast but maybe this will be the year I can beat him. Just saying? I’ll let you know.

As I return from the pacesetting trials it will soon be Christmas. My sons are counting down the days till Santa arrives. Lucas wants a phone, Eskimo hat and a Go-Pro. Stefan wants a Star Wars Lego (big one), Star Wars movies and a Go-Pro. We’ll see what Santa can do. We have in the past years skied Deer Valley when Santa makes his visit on Christmas Eve (Santa visits Deer Valley each year on Christmas Eve. You can find more information on Deer Valley Events Calendar) . The boys make sure and tell him one last time their wish list. Then when we are done with Christmas morning we gear up to ski a few runs. Maybe this year the boys will make ski movie of their day skiing before we settle into dinner and say thanks.

The skiing is great. Come ski the slopes, we are opening more terrain each day. The cold temperatures are allowing the awesome snow makers to cover the slopes with our signature snow! See you on the mountain and wishing everyone a great holiday season.