Who Has a Gingerbread Doghouse?

What makes the holidays special to young and old alike?  Well, I have a theory – it’s the delight of the surprise.  When you open up an unexpected gift, your eyes open wide, a quick smile comes to your face and you lose your breath for a second.  The really cool thing about it is the gift giver experiences the same physical reaction as the gift receiver!

One winter when I was a young girl, my brother and I spoiled our Christmas. You see we searched until we found my parent’s special hiding place and we saw our unwrapped gifts!  At the time, it was a thrill to seek out and find something we weren’t supposed to see.  We kept it our little secret.  Then on Christmas morning when we opened the packages, the whole thing fell flat. Knowing what was inside took away the delight and it just wasn’t the same. My brother and I never spoke about it but we never tried to find presents again.

When I went to see the life sized gingerbread house adorning the lobby of the Montage Resort at Deer Valley, I expected it to be wonderful.  A 12 foot high gingerbread house was sure to be impressive!  I’d heard the resort’s award winning Executive Pastry Chef, Raymond Lammers and his team spent two months building it – so I knew it was going to be really special.

House

It is spectacular!  The house is tiled with over 11,000 gingerbread cookies (2,000 roof tiles, 8,000 small tiles and 1,000 white gingerbread tiles) and completed with:

1 ½ pounds of nutmeg

135 pounds of butter

165 pounds of sugar

170 pounds of molasses

85 pounds of corn syrup

540 eggs AND 110 pounds of special sugar were used for the 26 sugar candies and the 6 window panes.

But there is more!  The delight came when while I was looking up at the gingerbread house, a furry friend nudged me.  Jonas, the Bernese Mountain Dog Ambassador at the Montage was visiting his very own gingerbread doghouse.  Let me ask you this.  Who has a gingerbread doghouse?  Well, Jonas and his fellow ambassador, Monty both do. These 3 ft. wide and 4 ft. deep gingerbread doghouses sit on either side of the life sized gingerbread house.

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When I saw them, I had the same physical reaction as if I was opening that unexpected gift. Everyone around me had it too. I watched teenagers elbowing each other and saying, “Look at the doghouses!”  Jonas lapped it all up oblivious to the doghouse as he focused on making sure each one of the guests had a chance to pet him and give him a nice big hug.

Don’t spoil the surprise when you bring your family to visit the gingerbread house at Montage Resort – keep the gingerbread doghouses under wraps!  That way you can watch their reactions as their eyes go from the tall roof line of the gingerbread house, to the six foot tall candy canes on either side of the front door, and finally to the doghouses with the names “Jonas” and “Monty” written in icing on the top.

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FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Returns to Deer Valley



WC Crowd_1756The world’s best aerial and mogul skiers return to Utah this winter to compete in Deer Valley’s 2014 FIS Visa Freestyle International World Cup. Held January 8 – 11, 2014, the World Cup features two disciplines: moguls and aerials. This marks the 15th year of international and elite competitions hosted at Deer Valley, including the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, two World Championships and 12 World Cups making the resort an esteemed venue for the freestyle community.

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“We couldn’t be more excited to have the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup return to Deer Valley for another year,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager for Deer Valley Resort. “Champion and White Owl ski runs prove to be the perfect venue for these world-class skiers, as well as for the thousands of spectators that turn out for this favorite annual event.”

Expected to compete in the 2014 World Cup are two Deer Valley-sponsored athletes and ambassadors, Bryon and Brad Wilson. With longtime roots in Park City, this brotherly duo, both of whom are members of the US Freestyle Ski Team, have accomplished a lot in their short tenure as Ski Team athletes. Bryon won the bronze medal at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C. and Brad has climbed his way up the World Cup rankings. Together, the two are looking forward to furthering their success on the slopes of Deer Valley Resort.

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“It’s an honor to support the Wilson brothers on their path to World Cup and Olympic gold,” said Wheaton. “Bryon and Brad are extremely talented athletes and great ambassadors for freestyle skiing. It means a great deal that they have chosen to represent Deer Valley and consider us their home training mountain.”

The World Cup celebration will kick off with a free concert featuring Big Head Todd and the Monsters on lower Main Street in historic Park City on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, from 7 – 9 p.m., with a fireworks show immediately following.

_MG_8727All competitions will be held at night under the lights at Deer Valley. Men’s and women’s mogul events are scheduled on the Champion ski run on Thursday, January 9, and Saturday, January 11. Men’s and women’s aerial events will be held on the White Owl ski run on Friday, January 10. Finals for all disciplines will take place in the evening, with a fireworks display concluding each night. Each discipline will also be filmed and televised on NBC and NBC Sports Network airing Saturday, January 25, 2014.

 

All events during the 2014 World Cup are spectator-friendly and free to the public. A complete schedule of events can be found on the Deer Valley Website here.

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Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all of the Deer Valley social media platforms. Use the hashtag #DeerValleyWC to share your videos, pictures and comments with other fans. Get excited about this years event by checking out the recap from last year here.

 

 

Learning to Ski at 65: Day One Season Two

There is a reason the words “older” and “wiser” often go together. Not all of us gain wisdom as we age but I have to say my husband, Jay did. He is very wise when it comes to learning to ski. This is his second ski season after turning 65 and the first day of the season, he did something very smart and signed up for a ski lesson.

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Last season was essentially, his first time on skis and he ended up really enjoying skiing green runs with confidence.  With eight months off between seasons, he decided to start this year with a lesson from a Deer Valley ski instructor. What he didn’t want to do was make the classic skier mistake, have a family member (like me) or a friend convince him to go down a run he has no business on.  Who needs to be frustrated?

It’s not like friends and family don’t mean well. It’s just that we forget what it’s like to be a beginner. I block it from my conscious memory! Seriously, when you look at a relatively narrow run with a few steep spots, it seems fine to you since you know how to do a parallel turn.  That same run looks very different to someone without the skills to do it. It’s like taking me to a chute. As an intermediate, I don’t have the skills of an advanced skier so runs looks impossible to me while may look fun to you.

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Friends and family aren’t good teachers either. There is a big difference between doing and teaching. Ski instructors, just like classroom teachers, are people who are passionate about helping other people learn. It’s not for everyone. I remember teaching my oldest son to read when he was five years old. It was excruciating for me read the phonetic spelling. I spent many a night sounding out every word like:

ka — ah– ttt  –  Cat

It took an hour to read a paragraph. Thank goodness his younger brother was listening and I never had to do those remedial phonics lessons with him. I’d never have made it as a first grade teacher.

Most of us would never make it as ski instructors either, but instructors like Mark Schindler have a passion for teaching. With a refresher course on the basics: turning, how to control your speed, shifting your weight and getting on and off the lift, they practiced all morning.  Jay felt completely comfortable.

Learning to ski Photo 3 Mark ended the lesson with some words of wisdom:

Go at your own pace.
Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you don’t feel comfortable doing.
Have a good experience.
Most of all have fun.

Fun, he had. The next day, Jay went all over the mountain with his friend, Harry. They started with five runs on Ontario, and then ventured to a green run Jay had never tried – Bandana. They did a couple of runs and ended with Success — taking the whole run and not the easier Rosebud cut off at the end.  Jay had a fantastic start to his season since he made a very wise decision to take a Max-4 lesson at Deer Valley his first morning out.

For more information on ski lessons at Deer Valley, click here.

Holiday Happenings

The holiday season is about spending time with family. Deer Valley Resort’s holiday events have become beloved annual traditions for visiting guests, the Park City community and locals alike. Are you new to Park City? Come create lasting memories with our fun, free and family friendly activities throughout the holiday season.

Join us to celebrate Christmas with Santa Claus on Tuesday, December 24, 2013. The jolly old man will jingle around the Snow Park Lodge area at the resort base from 9 to 11 a.m., and then from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Silver Lake Lodge (mid-mountain) area. Guests are invited to bring a camera and have their picture taken with St. Nick during his visit.

Christmas Day

Come be amazed at Deer Valley’s annual Torchlight Parade Monday, December 30, 2013, at dusk (approximately 6 p.m.). Deer Valley’s renowned ski school will dazzle guests with torches, synchronized skiing and all sorts of “illuminating” moves. While you will want to see it in person to truly appreciate the performance, you can watch last years Torchlight Parade here.

The parade descends down Big Stick ski run on Bald Eagle Mountain and is best viewed from behind Snow Park Lodge, where complimentary hot cider and cookies will be served. Get here early to make sure you have a good view and plenty of refreshments.

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The holiday season is also about good food. Deer Valley has 11 restaurants open during the holidays with options perfect for either an intimate dining experience or large-group fun. See the Deer Valley website for full descriptions of cuisine and restaurant hours.

Do you spend the holidays on the slopes? We would love to hear about your family holiday traditions in the comments below.  Also be sure to share your holiday photos with us on our social media platforms with the hashtag #SkiTheDifference.

Happy holidays from Deer Valley Resort!   .

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Movember at Deer Valley

You normally don’t see a lot of facial hair on the men that work at Deer Valley, but November was a different story. “Movember” as it has became known, encouraged staff members to grow their best mustache to bring awareness to men’s health issues.

You may be asking yourself how growing a mustache going to bring awareness to men’s health issues. When someone grows a new mustache people take notice. This creates a conversation, which in turn generates awareness on the health issues men face.  Awareness then prompts people to take action. This is the goal!

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According to Movember.com on average, men die five years younger than women. The suicide rate is four times higher for men than women and 24% of men are less likely to go to the doctor compared to women.

All of this being said, Deer Valley was excited to get on board with the Movember movement. Team Captain, Bryan Almond recruited the team and created profiles for everyone on Movember.com. Each week in November team members would come into the HR office and take a progress picture. These pictures would then be added to their Movember profile and shared on social media. Friends and family could make donations to the cause on the Movember website.

All together the Deer Valley team raised $1,125 for men’s health research!

The following team members are recognized for their outstanding commitment to the team.
Most Unique Mustache: Greg Bellmyer
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Largest Mustache: Warren Gordon
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Best Looking Mustache: Terry Beckman  
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 Raising the most money for the team; $450! : Steve Harty

Steve2And last but not least, a special recognition to our lady-Movemberites! Wyn Rigg and Christie Delbridge were a great support to the team.

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Thanks again to everyone who participated in the Deer Valley 2013 Movember. We look forward to recruiting more staff members next year and raising more money! To get excited about next year check out this inspirational Movember video.

Honorable Mention Mustaches

Ed                                              Richard
ed2.jog         Richard3

Brian                                         Cody
Cody3 brian3

 

 

Deer Valley Winter Menu Tasting 2013-2014

Eat all the food.

That’s my motto: Eat all the food. So, when I was invited to this year’s Deer Valley Winter Menu Tasting, I realized it was the perfect antidote to my late-autumn blues—in which my impatience for winter rears its head. I had, that morning, said to a friend, “I’m trying to overcome my grumpiness about the beautiful weather.” Because, as we locals know, the mid-Novemeber weather is a tease—a few inches of white stuff, followed by fifty degree sunny days. Gloriously sunny. It’s enough to knock the wind out of a desperate-to-ski person’s sails. Or something.

So, dining a la Deer Valley, and mentally planning my evenings out for the winter, banished all grumpiness. Which may or may not have been followed by some freshies in the next three days. I dare not take credit.

Regardless, there were so many exciting developments revealed at the menu tasting, I couldn’t help but feel excited and hopeful about the coming season.

Perhaps the best news, at least to a woman who enjoys a “cheese course” nearly every evening—even if that translates, roughly, to breaking off a bite or two of aged Gouda pulled from my stash in the fridge and warmed from a rest at room temperature for a few minutes—is this: Deer Valley now makes artisan cheese. Yes, there is a cheese making operation at 8100 feet, in Silver Lake Lodge, utilizing dairy from the Heber Valley.

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You can enjoy this cheese at every restaurant at Deer Valley, but perhaps the best news is that you can purchase it to enjoy at home (or in your vacation lodging, or on the plane ride home, or in the taxi on the way to the airport), at the Deer Valley Grocery Café.

Belgian-born cheese maker Corrine Cornet-Coniglio knows her stuff. She walked me through tasting all four cheeses: Blue Belle, Moon Shadow, Meadow Lark, and The Provence Kid. Each one delighted my palate in a different, cheese-obsessed way. (Yes, I’m planning to devote another post entirely to Corrine and the cheeses.) For now, I’ll tell you that the Blue Belle is a ripened blue cow’s milk cheese, Moon Shadow is an ash-ripened goat cheese with a white rind and a firm texture that made me wonder why other cheese makers bother, Meadowlark is a double-cream soft-ripened cow’s milk cheese and The Provence Kid is a marinated goat cheese with Herbes de Provence. I was lucky enough to take a couple of these cheeses home, and served them the following night to guests. My friends conferred near-rock-star status on me, just for having introduced them to the cheese.

Dinner brought still more fun surprises, many of which were inspired by Chef Jodie Rogers and Clark Norris’ trip to Iowa over the summer, for a farmer’s appreciation dinner. Here’s a restaurant-by-restaurant guide to the new menu items:

Lemon-Black Garlic Bluenose Bass, The Seafood Buffet 

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Prepared in an oolong tea and wild mushroom broth, and served with fresh basil chiffonade, this dish boasts a sustainable New Zealand blue-nose bass. It’s light, but satisfying, and the flavors are complex and rich, without being overpowering.

Porchetta – Royal Street Café

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Chefs Clark Norris and Chris Gibson prepare this Niman Ranch Pork Belly in an immersion circulator at 145 degrees for a whole day. Then, they pair it with creamy Brussels sprouts (who knew?) and whole grain mustard. It’s so rich, they decided it needed to be served only in appetizer portions, but I could make a meal out of it, with a salad, easily. 

Pancetta Wrapped Monkfish- Mariposa     

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This dish was a favorite on the specials menu last winter—and it was so popular, that Chef Norris and Chef Tim Gibson decided to make it a staple of the regular menu this season. With its mustard pickle burre blanc, pan-roasted frisee and chevre mashed Yukon gold potatoes, it’s a superstar of a dish. Chef Norris even shared his secret to pan-roasting the frisee—he sears an entire head of the greens in a cast-iron skillet, then places a second skillet on top of the greens, themselves, creating a crispiness through the entire bunch. 

Rose-Hip Glazed Niman Ranch Pork Tenderloin—Fireside Dining

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Chef Shane Symes uses rose hips foraged from the mountain to create the glaze. Accompanied by parsnips, which are boiled in 2% milk, strained, then pureed with the retained liquid in a smoothie blender. The parsnips almost take center stage—they’re that good. 

Buckwheat Crepe and Deer Valley Brie Roulade—Mariposa        

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You’d think this is so rich that you need to share it. But, to my mind, it’s so rich, I need to keep it all to myself. You have my permission to do the same. Pastry Chef Stephen Harty pairs it with champagne huckleberry sorbet, lacquered walnuts and huckleberry crunch. Seriously, you will need to swat away your dining partners’ wandering forks.

 

Salted Carmel Panna Cotta—Seafood Buffet

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Snow Park Pastry Chef Debbie Swenerton said she was “inspired by Cracker Jack,” when she created this dessert. The milk chocolate cremoso, caramel corn cream with a cone of cashew caramel corn is going to be a runaway hit with certain members of my family, when we visit the Buffet this winter. The ski lodge version of the ballpark snack is, forgive my expression, a grand slam home run.

 

 















 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Sunday before opening day was the second best day of the ski season. Because the BEST day of the ski season was this past Saturday—Opening Day at Deer Valley.

So, to celebrate, we headed off to the Deer Valley Grocery~Café for breakfast. Seth, our newly-minted reader, asked us what our table card meant, after he read the word. “What’s Daisy?”

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I answered the way any self-respecting Deer Valley skier would: “It’s a ski run!”

Then, I added, for good measure: “It’s also the name of Grandma Joyce’s dog.”

Jeff jumped in with some basic, if slightly overlooked, information for Seth to add to his vocabulary quiver: “It’s also a flower.”

“Right,” I said, quickly, remembering my command of the English language. “I guess you know you’re a skier when your words are defined by ski runs, rather than their original meaning.”

Thus educated, we headed to Snow Park Lodge, where we found tons of man-made snow waiting to be groomed into skiable corduroy. We paused, briefly, to admire the piles of white stuff, then continued on our mission—up the stairs at the ticket office to pick up our Season Passes for Deer Valley’s 2013-2014 season.

I keep all of our old passes, as a tangible “growth chart,” where I can see my boys get bigger (and, of course, track the evolution of my hair style, or whatever).

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This year will be the one we recall, years from now, as the day we took season pass photos while Seth was nursing a black eye, acquired in a crazy loft-bed accident on Thanksgiving Day.  (He’s fine—and we have taught him to say, “You should see the other guy,” every time someone comments on it.)

We were all, of course, in excited moods, as we got our pass photos taken.

And then, when I thought it couldn’t get any better, this text came in:

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Yes, I am that nerd, who registers for text updates on the weather. Just seeing it was enough to make me jump for joy. See you on the slopes!

 

The ever Evolving Face of Rental Equipment.

ToddDainesThis interview with Todd Daines, Rental Manager at Deer Valley Resort, sheds a new light on the new array of options made available to skiers and families who are considering renting their equipment.

 

 

 

JF: How long have you been renting ski equipment, Todd, and how have you seen this activity evolve over the years?

Todd Daines: I’ve been here for 31 years in Deer Valley. I’ve seen quantum changes in terms of ski shapes, lengths, composite materials and of course performance! Predictably, at the same time, I’ve seen our rental activity grow exponentially with the resort and as our rental equipment has gotten better and better!

JF: As you are gearing up for a new ski season, are you renewing your fleet of rental equipment?

Todd Daines: New is the name of the game with us, as we change our equipment every year. We have five categories of skis that we renew either yearly or bi-yearly. As a full-line Rossignol shop, we focus on their Premier products which are the high-end Rossignol skis and boots, with something for everyone, from Junior to Adult!

JF: So, what’s new this winter?

Todd Daines: Skis continue to improve in terms of shapes and construction materials. The new ski that will probably be the most popular this year, the one that’s also the most versatile, is the Rossignol Soul 7, we have those in our Premier line.

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JF: Let’s say, that I’m a skier who loves groomed runs, what ski do you have for me?

Todd Daines: I’d get you on the Rossignol Pursuit. It’s a wonderful ski for making large, arcing turns!

JF: The buzz today seems to be all about “rocker skis;” what do you have in this category?

Todd Daines: The rocker technology is build into almost all of the skis that we offer, here at Deer Valley. Some are more extreme than others in terms of the shape they take while some are more qualified for different type of skiing; for instance, we have rocker skis more geared towards groomed runs, other for tree skiing and of course, powder snow.

JF: Do you offer gender-specific skis?

Todd Daines: We certainly do. We offer both women and men specific skis. When women skiers come in and want to try a lighter ski or something more suited to their style, we have it for them.

JF: What are the options for kids and juniors?

Todd Daines: We see kids coming to us at the age of two and a half, three years old, and we get these new skiers on ski length starting at 67 cm and into boots starting at size 7 that are just perfect for them. We have a full line of brand new Rossignol skis, boots and bindings that covers all needs from toddlers to teens, all the way to 140 or 150 cm skis.

JF: What happens if, during my stay, I needed to change gear, from say hard-pack skis to powder boards; is there a way I could switch?

Todd Daines: Most definitely, we have two locations on the mountain, you can just sneak into one of our shops and swap your skis for something that works better for you or the snow conditions at that time. There’s no additional charge to the customer, there may only be a short waiting time, but since we have all your information on file, you’ll be on your way before you know it!

JF: Besides skis, boots and poles, what else do you rent?

Todd Daines: We also rent helmets, of course, and those are designed to fit the smallest child the the full size adult!

JF: If I’ve never rented ski equipment with Deer Valley Resort before, what are my options?

Todd Daines: You can call in or register on line, give us or fill up the information and submit it to us. Depending on how early you make your reservation, you’ll be sent a bar-coded ticket, which contains all your information. Just bring it into one of our rental locations, you can bypass all the lines, go straight to your gear and you’ll be out of the door. If you didn’t have time to get your bar-coded information, you come in, we print out a small ticket, you receive your skis and boots and you’re done.

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 Deer Valley Rental Shop Website 

JF: How long does the process take?

Todd Daines: Since we have such a large fleet of equipment and so many fitting stations, the rental process can be as short as 5 minutes if you have your ticket ready. It might take you up to 15 to 20 minutes if you rent a new pair of boots and want them to fit you perfectly. If you’ve rented before with us, that time can be much shorter because we have your information on file. We also have what we call a “Grab and Ski”, where you can call in, give us all your information and agree to the size of the gear you want. Since it’s all preset, you just come in, okay your rental paperwork and you’re off the door. You only need to take one single step into the rental shop, you bypass all the lines and your skis are ready to go!

JF: So why should I rent skis from you instead of bringing my own equipment?

Todd Daines: It’s such an easy process! When you rent with us, you don’t have to worry about carrying your equipment ever. You can walk up to the shop in your tennis shoes, grab your gear, leave your shoes in the locker and slide on the snow. So once you’re here, you don’t have to leave the resort, you don’t have to call a room delivery service to come bring the gear to you in a van. We’ll take care of it all, right here!

JF: What do I do with my equipment at the end of the day?

Todd Daines: After you’re done with your ski day, you can leave your skis in the coral; likewise, you can leave the boots with us in our boot check. Then, you can then either go to your car, walk to your hotel or take the bus back to your condo. Today, with the breadth of inventory we offer and the kind of high performance equipment we have available, you can experience with us the latest technology in skis and boots and never have the need to purchase anything!

 

 

 

 

 

Heidi Voelker’s First Run of the Season.


Congratulations to our friendly neighbors celebrating their 50th year ski season, Park City Mountain Resort. Opening day was a great success and snow conditions were great. The excitement of locals and kids could be felt in the lift lines and all over the mountain! It was a wonderful way to start the season and ring in their 50th year. Bravo.

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You would think the night before opening day in my house would be a bit like hanging your stockings up on the mantle waiting for St. Nick. Not so much this year. There were no ski boots, ski pants or gloves by the door. Partially my fault for not getting them out of the winter storage, but of course I thought I could quickly do it the next morning in no time.  I’ve only been doing this 40 plus years. I assumed I could whip it together.

What I didn’t anticipate was that I had to whip it together for four people with the kid’s continuous negativity. The morning routine was all but routine. It started first thing in the morning with sighs of,

“Are we skiing today?”

“I don’t want white goggles.”

“I‘m not wearing my new warm-ups, they are too big.”

“I don’t like my new coat.”

“We need hand warmers.”

By this point my blood pressure was maxed out. I needed to get to the slopes. I instructed everyone into the car as nicely as I could, especially after I loaded four sets of skis and poles to the car.

We arrived to Park City Mountain Resort and took our first chairlift ride of the season. I pushed off, buckled my boots and made my first run. There’s something to be said once you let go and get the adrenaline going. I went back to my zen spot. For the rest of the day my blood pressure went back to normal, and I was able to enjoy watching everyone ski. I didn’t care if someone’s coat was too small or the color of goggles.

I did take time to remind the group that they were still behind me skiing. It was just my way of saying, “the morning departure wasn’t as I planned, but I’m still Mom and nothing has changed with skis on my feet.”

Now it is time to look forward to Deer Valley’s opening on Saturday, December 7th. My lesson has been learned. I will be more organized on Saturday. I have no choice, but to get everyone out of the door on time because it’s the Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest. I have to try and defend year after year racing the guys (Phil and Steve Mahre and Tommy Moe).

Also on Saturday, Stefan has tryouts for DEVO. Tim and Lucas will be at a lacrosse tournament with his 212 Park City team. We will need to rest up the night before, as I get to host Nicole Miller. Yes, the one and only Nicole Miller, my favorite designer. She and I might be able to exchange tips on skiing and fashion. How did this come about? My mom always told me ”if you can read and ask questions you can do anything”. My friend owns a store in Salt Lake City named JOLI and carries Nicole Miller. I knew Nicole was coming to the event so I simply asked her to come early to meet JOLI clientele and Nicole Miller agreed. I guess my mom was right.

Again, congratulations to Park City Mountain Resort. Thanks for making our first day of the season first–rate.

Now with only one day until Deer Valley opens, what are you doing to get ready for the ski season? Let me know your tips and tricks for getting ready for ski season in the comments below. Let’s hope for big snow, many ski days, and lots of smiling faces. I’ll see you on the slopes.