Park City’s Kimball Arts Festival July 31 – August 2 

When I was a child, one of the biggest events each summer in my small town was “Art in the Park.” It loomed large for me, my parents looked forward to it, there was always music in the gazebo at the park’s center, and the entire town seemed to turn out to stroll through booth after booth, where artists displayed their work.

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When Jeffrey and I first moved to Park City, our arrival coincided with the Park City Kimball Arts Festival. I was thrilled, especially when I discovered that it was an even bigger affair than that of my own hometown. The show takes over all of Historic Main Street, hosts artists from all over the world, while still including a lot of local artists. It’s a thrill for me to see which of my friends are in the show each year, in part because when I visit their booths, I can see others appreciate their work as much as I do.

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It’s no surprise to me that all of these years later, I greet the first weekend of August with eager anticipation, as the Park City Kimball Arts Festival (July 31 – August 2), rolls into town. Our children have attended the festival in baby carriers, strollers and backpacks, growing into walkers who stood in awe at the foot of giant, moving sculptures.

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Art has a multi-generational appeal and the Kimball takes a lot of pride in making sure there is something for the whole family. From including large format sculptures in a sort of “garden” on Heber Avenue, to the shaved ice vendors and a variety of food vendors with tastes for almost every palate (we’re partial to the kosher hot dogs at Java Cow), to creating interactive experiences for kids. In fact, there’s a hands-on center for on-the-spot art projects (design-a-hat, tie-dye shirts, clay molding), and a “treasure hunt” with clues that can be answered by visiting various artists’ and sponsors’ booths, that help foster an appreciation for the arts in kids. In fact, I give the treasure hunt credit for serving as a great ice-breaker for my kids to get used to talking to artists about their work.

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Often—by arrangement or by chance—some of our family visitors are in town for the art festival. Last year, one set of doting grandparents was in town, and both Lance and Seth undertook a photography project all their own. Then snapped photos of each other, of all of us, and asked each artist what inspired their work, and whether it was okay for them to photograph pieces that made an impression on them. More than once, the kids asked detailed questions about technique, and each artist took the time to answer in the kind of detail that only stoked the fire of curiosity. Of course, part of this project involved the camera on my phone, so I was able to see, nearly instantly, how they captured the spirit of the day.

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What I found was a creative and playful photo essay of our “Day at the Kimball.” It made me wonder what other families do to engage their kids at the festival and in the art world in general. It made me wonder how my kids will approach the festival this year. So, if you see us wandering through the booths, trailing our smartphone-photographer kids, stop us, say hi, and tell us about your favorite part of the Kimball Arts Festival this year. See you on Main Street!

Sunday Summer Concerts at Deer Valley Grocery~Café.

I’ve never met a Deer Valley employee who isn’t multi-talented. I’m now in the habit of asking, “What else do you do?” I’ve met ski instructors who are sound engineers, fine artists and real estate agents. Careful readers of this blog know at least one instructor who has been a candidate twice for the United States Congress.

Imagine my delight when I learned that among the many great acts planned for the Sunday Summer Concerts on the Deck at Deer Valley Grocery~Café is Stiff Hooch on June 28, 5 – 8 p.m. The classic country band boasts three Deer Valley Grocery~Café chefs, plus a Deer Valley ski instructor.

IMG_9928“We were so excited to be able to give Stiff Hooch the opportunity to play on our deck this summer for at least three shows. They’ll be featured around Labor Day,” says Janine Troilo, Deer Valley Grocery~Café manager. “Guests that come to see their shows will not only enjoy their music but the food that they, prepared as well.”

Not only will you hear some great jams, but you can enjoy dinner–try the band’s new menu favorite, an All-Natural Turkey Panini with Apricot Chutney and Deer Valley’s Meadowlark double cream brie.

See you on the deck!

183 Deer Valley Grocery Cafe Summer Deck Dining

Cool off at the Park City Ice Arena

I love winter! I love winter so much that one of my favorite summer activities involves frigid temps and cold weather gear. No, I am not kidding. You see, I’m a sucker for a great summer excursion to the Park City Ice Arena. Here’s why you should be too:

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The great indoors can be awesome

There’s something to be said for an activity that is not the least bit weather-dependent. Rain or shine, the climate controlled indoor ice sheet at the Park City Ice Arena is at the ready. You just have to be able to access a pair of long pants, some gloves, a sweatshirt and you’re good to go. No skates? No problem—rentals are available for hockey and figure skates in youth to adult sizes. The arena even offers loaner helmets (and gloves, for that matter).

Skip the sunscreen

The indoor arena is chilled to perfection year-round, and in the dog days of summer, when you’ve had about all the outdoor fun you can take, there’s something refreshing about an oasis of cold. As a mom, I’m a sucker for the fact that it makes me look like the fun mom, it’s the rare activity that doesn’t turn me into the official sunscreen nag of summer. It also allows me to indulge in one of my favorite activities, embarrassing my kids by goofing off and ice dancing to the groovy pop tunes on the audio system.

Camps

Need I say more? Both the Skating Academy and the Hockey Academy offer a variety of introductory and advanced classes and camps in figure skating and hockey skills.

Photo Credit:  Park City Ice Arena Facebook Page.

Photo Credit: Park City Ice Arena Facebook page.

Become a triathlete of your own making

Sure, you can go the traditional route, bike, swim and run. But why not challenge your family to come up with their own agenda for a DIY triathlon? Some options include: standup paddleboarding at the Deer Valley ponds, lunch at the Deer Valley Grocery~Café (if you’re anything like me, dining is a sport!), mountain biking, hiking, or swimming.  Some of my favorite summer days with my kids have found us biking in the morning, skating at midday and taking an evening dip in the pool, followed by a great dinner out. What’s not to love?

Chicks on Sticks 2015

Okay, I’m just going to go ahead and say it—whoever came up with the phrase “No Friends on a Powder Day,” never met my friends. I don’t want to brag, but I have hands down, the best friends, because they all agree that the best way to enjoy powder is with each other. Last year, our annual Chicks on Sticks outing occurred on an epic powder day, and it’s safe to say that the powder would have been less enjoyable without each other’s company.

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As it turns out, you don’t need tons and tons of powder to have an epic day—as long as you have great company. I met up with Miriam, Stacey, Mir and Kellie in Snow Park Lodge at Deer Valley Resort. We lingered, just a bit over coffee, and then suited up. Stacey had been out most recently, and told us where the best skiing was. So, off we went to find it.

Let me say this, too. I had made sure to advertise the day as a mellow one—“Guys, remember, it’s all about lunch,” I wrote in one email. “So I don’t want to hear, ‘my knee hurts, so I can’t come,’ or ‘I can’t keep up with you!’”

Well, on the one hand, I meant every word of it. On the other hand—our definition of “mellow day,” may, in fact, contradict the term, “mellow.”

I could not wait to to try out my new boots. Mir was the first to notice: “Hey, you’re in the perfect position,” she said, as we skied down Star Gazer. “You’re skiing great.”

With my ego duly stoked, I set about ripping up the mountain.

In truth, our group skied quite companionably, and pressure-free, at our own paces. I think this is the secret to a good, social skiing day—coming down the mountain safely, comfortably, and at your own pace. The fact that I was trying to rip up the mountain, was, in fact, my own internal pressure meter pushed up to “high.” By the next day, this would prove to be a boneheaded strategy, but while I was skiing, I couldn’t have had more fun.

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The only thing better than the skiing that day was the chairlift rides. We mixed it up, and talked about everything from business to writing, kids and spouses, skiing and travel. And while some years we plan an elaborate sit-down lunch, this year, we decided that we felt like keeping it casual. We ate at the Snow Park Restaurant, where the awesome conversation continued.

Sadly, I had to cut out early to take care of a sick kiddo at home. I had planned to go home and then return to the mountain to pick up my healthy child at ski school, but my friends offered, generously, to ski until pickup time and bring him home for me. See? Told you, I have the best friends.

#SkiTheDifference with Bari Nan Cohen

#SkiTheDifference is, quite possibly, my favorite hashtag because it represents everything I love about the Deer Valley Resort experience. To me, it means that it’s possible to feel, simultaneously, the satisfaction of a weary body, shredded by incredible terrain, and the unmitigated joy of having been pampered, throughout the day. As I wrote here recently, it can be a spiritual experience to #SkiTheDifference.

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For me, the “Difference” is in the details—many of which come into play before you’ve clicked into your bindings. I love the fact that ski valets meet me when I open my car door and offer to help with my family’s gear. I’m thrilled by the dedicated parking for the Children’s Center, because it’s one less hassle in the experiment of skiing with young children. And, trust me, each time is an experiment in patience, resilience and fun.

When you head for the parking lots there’s never any guesswork about where and how to park—friendly attendants wave you into open spaces and keep the lots from getting unruly. This year the additions of small structures over the staircases that lead from lots 2 and 3 to lot 1 ensure that the stairs don’t accumulate a lot of ice and snow. Another shift is the boarding area for the parking lot shuttles in the turnaround under the plaza. It’s was moved a few feet and benches that were up against the building are now arranged in a comfortable waiting area. When I discovered this change I thought, “I didn’t realize the waiting area was ‘broken,’ but someone saw a better way.”

The on-mountain experience has the same attention to detail. The Mountain Hosts who will tell you the skinny on the best terrain they skied that day and lift operators who brush off the seats of the chairs before you board. There is delicious food in every lodge, with friendly people there to make sure there’s a clean table at the ready. Thoughtful touches like hand lotion dispensers in the bathrooms, complimentary glove dryers in the lodges, and ski check corral near every lodge. Suddenly a ski day (itself, a treat) is elevated to a resort experience.

These are experiences available to every skier on the hill, from beginner to expert. For those of us lucky enough to live here, #SkitheDifference mean our kids know their way around the entire mountain. They know that they can ask, nicely, for help boarding a chairlift. #SkitheDifference means my family can ride a lift together and then divide and conquer: two of us can take an easy run and two of us can ski the bumps, and then we all meet up at the bottom to compare notes. It means that there is always something to please every palate in the restaurants (even if it drives me nuts that there are so many choices, and my kids default to pasta, almost every time).

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This is the mountain my family calls home.” The chefs at Snow Park kept me well-fed throughout the winter I was pregnant with my second child while my husband and our firstborn tore up Wide West ski run. When the boys were tiny it took an army of ski valets to help me schlep the stroller, the ski gear, the kids and the other “stuff” kids require into the lodge. I never asked for help, it was always handled before I realized that I needed it. When I ask my kids about their favorite restaurants, The Seafood Buffet tops the list. We’ve celebrated birthdays and anniversaries at Mariposa, entertained friends at Fireside Dining, toasted visitors at Royal Street Cafế , and destroyed chili fries at Silver Lake Restaurant. We’ve even shared breakfast with Olympic champions at Silver Lake Lodge, more than once, simply by happenstance. “When did they get so big?” is a familiar refrain in the shops and restaurants around the resort. #SkiTheDifference is a community. And that, for us, has made all the difference.


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Skiing is a state of…style

I’ve taken the idea that skiing is a state-of-mind to a new level this year. Some in my family would argue that this isn’t entirely a good thing. But I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to dress when you’re off the slopes, is in clothing that tells the world, “I am a skier. I love to ski. I even wear clothes with skiers on them!” Bear with me.

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Recently, my good friend Shari had sent me a photo of a cute sweater she found in the Talbot’s outlet. Neither of us are regular shoppers in that store, and yet, their sweater selections caught our attention. She popped into the store one afternoon and hit the jackpot: a sweater with a pattern that depicts a skier carving turns (stylishly, of course) down a tree-lined slope.

“That’s it!” I announced, I proudly showed the text message to my family. “I need the skier sweater.”

My style-minded spouse and oldest child looked at me, incredulously. But young Seth aligned himself with me and Shari. “You NEED that, Mom! It’s awesome. And you and Shari will MATCH.” He said with all the urgency only a seven-year-old can muster (which is to say, quite a bit). The other two looked on, quizzically, as we high-fived.

Fortunately, the doubting duo know to humor the person who makes sure that the ski bags are packed every night. [Which is how, on a recent afternoon, while Seth was at a play-date, they came to walk into Talbot’s with me, wearing their best game-faces.] To our delight, a dear friend’s mom was working in the store—and she produced not just the sweater, but also a turtleneck with a pattern of little skiers all over it. “Oh, and what about the skier scarf?” she asked, proffering one from a nearby rack. Sold, sold and sold. I grinned from ear-to-ear, as my middle-schooler shook his head in anticipation of the sheer embarrassment of being seen with me, dressed in theme clothes. (Silently, I reminded myself that if I’m not embarrassing my kid, I’m doing something very, very wrong.) My husband pointed out that I had owned a similar turtleneck, back when we first met, over 25 years ago. It occurred to me that he may not have meant this in a good way. Still, nothing could dampen my glee.

Once home I admired my loot and took a great deal of joy in photographing the apparel. I sent the photos to Shari, “I will take your skier sweater, and raise you a skier turtleneck and a skier scarf. I WIN!” She immediately wrote back that she’d be returning to the store to complete her own set. This emboldened me to send boastful text messages, photos included, to a few friends who have, like Jeffrey, known me since the last time I thought that these items were at the height of fashion. I would be lying if I told you that the responses were not filled to the brim with celebrations of my awesome style.

I will be modeling this look all over town. I have paired the scarf with basic black leggings and turtleneck, and the sweater with a pair of motorcycle-style jeans in a light blue that perfectly matches the shade of the sky on the sweater. Clearly, it’s not a “technical” piece, but what fashionistas (like, ahem, myself) would call “a statement piece.” So, I’m now on the hunt for retro-styled ski clothes—you know, Fair-Isle knits, and maybe a more technical version of the cute, printed ski-turtlenecks of my childhood. I draw the line at the neon-colored one-piece ski suit—for now.

What is your skiing state of style? Tweet me  or @Deer_Valley.

What else to do with your kids around Deer Valley

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Hard as it may be to believe, my family does not spend every spare minute of every day during winter skiing. Sometimes it’s too cold (yes, I admitted that double-digit below-zero weather is enough to send even the hardiest of die-hards indoors), sometimes your legs are literally skied out, and sometimes, well, you need to eat.

Herewith, some of our family’s favorite alternative activities.

Please, sir, I want Smore

St. Regis

This ski-in, ski-out hotels at Deer Valley offer s’mores, nightly, from 7-9 p.m. at their outdoor fire pits. The St. Regis offers an extra layer of fun—as in, funicular. If we didn’t know about the S’mores (or, you know, the decadent mussels available at J&G Grill (or at the bar), the ride alone would be reason enough to take a break from skiing. 

Fun Fine Dining

Seafood Buffet

This is the kind of fine dining that works really well for families. During ski season, the Snow Park Lodge restaurant is converted into the Seafood Buffet. Don’t let the “buffet” moniker fool you. This is an experience in indulgence. It’s also a great way to introduce kids to a variety of different foods, textures and seasonings. They can try a little bit of a lot of things, and then go back for more of their favorites. Plus, there’s always a crowd-pleasing Mac-n-Cheese on the menu, just in case. The fact that getting up from the table is encouraged is enough to make it kid-friendly, all on its own. Add to that the extensive dessert display, and you’ve got a winning evening.

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Its all about the Climb

The Mine, Bouldering Gym

A recent addition to the Park City sports scene, the Mine is an all-ages experience, with rock-climbing wall routes for all abilities. My kids are particularly fond of the “TreadClimbler,” a human-powered vertical treadmill with rock routes galore, on—yes—a never-ending loop. More than just a bouldering gym, the Mine offers yoga, as well. And, if you present your day pass from a local ski area, during the month of February, you can receive a 50% discount for a Mine Bouldering Gym day pass, so you can relax and recharge with some climbing and yoga.

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Skating Fun!

Park City Ice Arena

Even with it’s schedule full of practice sessions for local figure skating, speed skating, hockey and curling clubs, the Park City Ice Arena carves out at least one—if not two—public skate sessions daily. The rink offers skate rentals and loaner helmets, so all you have to do is arrive with layers to keep you cozy (word to the wise, dressing kids in ski pants means they will slide when they fall, making it less traumatic) and a pair of gloves, and you’re good to go.

Look out below!!

Sledding

You can tote a sled to the ice arena for a dual-activity afternoon. Recently, we did this with my cousins, and it was a huge hit. The hill outside the Park City Ice Arena slides steep and fast, so you’ll want to don a helmet before you bomb down the hill. Tiny shredders may enjoy the shorter and slightly gentler slope outside the Park City Library.

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Kick and Glide!

Nordic Skiing

Sometimes the best way to be hospitable is to get out of the way. In that spirit, my family opts, often, to make room for visiting skiers at the resorts during the busiest weeks, by hitting the nordic trails instead of the alpine hills. There are many, many miles of groomed trails, which you can use free of charge thanks to Basin Recreation and the Mountain Trails Foundation. But if you need rental gear and skiing in one handy location, nordic athletes have two options: White Pine Touring on Park Avenue (in the Hotel Park City), or The Jeremy Ranch Nordic Center on the Jeremy Ranch Golf and Country Club’s golf course. Both locations offer rentals, lessons and trails for every ability level—in both skate skiing and classic configurations.

These are just a few of the awesome options available in town. I’d love to hear about your favorites in the comments!

 

Ski Mom Survival Guide

Each phase of my children’s lives brings me a different perspective on what are the essential survival skills for a skiing mom. When the kids were tiny it was the simple fact of remembering that sometimes a “ski day” meant a total of 30 minutes on snow, and then hour after hour of building Lego creations in the lodge, with frequent breaks for cookies.
As they’ve gotten older my “survival skills” have expanded to include having the boys manage their own gear and allowing them to lead me toward more technical terrain. The “mom” in me doesn’t want to believe that they can handle it. The “skier” in me could not be more proud.

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I think a successful family ski experience boils down to keeping a balance between the supremely efficient and the supremely silly. Here, in no particular order, are my tips: .

 

  1. CREATE HABITS: Knowing that you have to lay out gear the night before so that kids can dress themselves (to the best of their developmental ability) is a great habit to get into. Insisting that they wear all their gear in the car including boots, is another habit. This way you simply have to run down the mental checklist as you eyeball them when they exit the car: Helmet, goggles, neck gaiter, jacket, pants, boots. When you leave the mountain, run through a similar checklist, then again when you exit the car at home. Make sure all the gear is removed from bags, and laid out to dry, when you get home.
  2. BOOK LESSONS: Ski School is often the saving grace of the family ski vacation. I live here and it has been the saving grace of entire seasons of skiing. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, instructors know how to coach people so that the equipment is doing the lion’s share of the work. People who haven’t had lessons don’t always know what their equipment is capable of doing and the ensuing overcompensating can result in very sore legs. Second, it gives your family the chance to “wow” each other with skills you developed while apart. Third, you acquire only the best skiing skills out of the gate and if you haven’t skied in a while, a good instructor will help break you of some old habits.
  1. GOOF OFF: Alternate challenging terrain with something less challenging. If your kids are starting to explore intermediate terrain, it’s still important to ski the easier stuff. I have found that my kids get as much of a mental boost out of being the masters of Wide West ski run as they do when they lay claim to bragging rights on Square Deal ski run. Also, some wise instructors have told me that when you catch your “french fries” skier suddenly relying on the “pizza” wedge, it’s time to dial back the difficulty until they find the “fries” again. Plus, some of the obstacles on easier terrain can do wonders to help improve overall skill levels.
  1. USE YOUR PHONE’S CAMERA: You can create a combo-platter of trail-memory backup and scrapbook-ready photos if you snap photos of your family standing under the trail markers at the beginning of a run. At the end of the day, you can look through the photos and make a note of trails you want to ski again. Share your photos on social media with the resorts hashtag to connect with other ski families and to learn local secrets. We use #SkiTheDifference at Deer Valley Resort.
  1. CARRY CANDY: If I have said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times. A stash of candy in your pocket can go a long way toward keeping kids’ energy and excitement levels high. Recently when skiing with my extended family, my cousin Erica quipped that she’d just enjoyed a “grape smelling” run, as Lance skied in front of her while enjoying a grape-flavored candy.

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  1. AVAIL YOURSELF OF THE BASKET CHECK, LOCKERS and SKI CHECK. If you’re skiing consecutive days use the complimentary ski storage at Deer Valley. If you know your family will have “boot fatigue” by day’s end, stow your snow boots in the lockers or basket check in the bottom of Snow Park Lodge. Basket check is great if you know you’re going to be spending part of the day in the lodge entertaining yourself (book) or a young family member (small bag of toys).
  1. CONSIDER SEASONAL RENTALS. Some local shops have amazing seasonal rental programs for kids. We have used the one at Utah Ski and Golf for Lance. Many of these programs charge a flat fee for multiple seasons. Seth is in the Surefoot and Jans programs for boots and skis. At Surefoot, we receive credit toward the next size up, at Jans, we trade in skis and bindings for a 30% discount. Buying adjustable poles for both boys has saved us a bundle too.
  1. SHARE OFTEN. We all have different preferences for lunch. Lance eats a giant bowl of chicken noodle soup, every day. Seth is my pasta friend. I’m partial to the baked potatoes with various toppings. Jeff’s a fan of the daily specials at Snow Park Lodge. We’re all fans of the french fries, so we usually just get one plate to share between us. This is a strategic move that leaves plenty of room for dessert even if that’s just a shared cookie.195 Deer Valley Bakery
  1. CREATE GAMES ON THE LIFTS: Have your kids count the number of orange helmets they see. Winner gets an extra piece of candy. Everyone in the family can point out skiers who are demonstrating good form, or form we’d rather not emulate. This exercise can help everyone visualize their ideal turn.
  1. FOLLOW YOUR KIDS: If they have attended even one day of ski school, their instructor let them in on “secret” trails or even special ways to attack not-so-secret trails. From exploring the “whoop-dee-dos” on the side of the trail, to taking a detour through Bucky’s Backyard, your kids will delight in leading the way and more than likely, the upper hand in confidence on the terrain.
  1. LEAVE THEM WANTING MORE: This is another thing that bears repeating. Cut the day a little short, maybe two runs fewer than you think the group can handle. You get bonus points if you receive a ton of protest from your newly-addicted skiers. Remember, when you’re six, “a long time ago” is when you were four. So, no matter how much fun they had before 2:30 pm, if the day sours at 2:45, that may be all they remember. Giving them the opportunity to hunger for more days is a guaranteed way to ensure they’ll be ready for more the next time you ski.
  1. AVAIL YOURSELF OF APRÉS. Whatever your poison, cookies and cocoa or cookies and creme de cacao, remember that you deserve a reward for shepherding your family through another ski day. I’m a fan of EBS Lounge in Snow Park Lodge, there’s usually live music on weekend and holiday afternoons. 

Gearing up!

“Do the boots fit? Have they outgrown their skis? Will their goggles cover their foreheads, or have they outgrown those too? What about mittens? We never seem to have enough mittens.”

These are the conversations that preoccupy my family’s fall weekends. We dig through ski bags. We try on helmets. And as being the beneficiaries of some pretty sweet hand-me-down jackets and pants, we have the kids try on the pieces that seem closest to their sizes.

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This year Lance is 11 which means that on his next birthday he will officially complete the annual rental contract at Utah Ski and Golf, he started at age three. Since enrolling he has upgraded to the front-entry boots. He has gone up to a ski length that is closer-than-ever to my own ski length. (Just as his bike is but one size smaller than mine.) We’ll be taking Seth to Surefoot and Jans to see where he falls on the trade-in scale—certainly he’s up at least a size in boots at least a size in skis. I thought recently, “there is nothing quite so humbling as marking the passage of time in outgrown ski gear.”

I am also humbled by the leaps in maturity, too. Lance turned the “boot corner” this year. The minute he slipped his feet into his new boots, he announced, “These feel great!” No drama, no discussion about how they “should feel.” He’s a skier. They felt right. He knew.

Lance turned another corner. When the tech asked about his ski level, we didn’t hedge. Our instincts and experience told us that he is, officially, a great skier. He attacked terrain with a different confidence last season, and he had the look—the one that says, “I can’t wait to attack it again.”

Share with me how you are gearing up your family for this season on Twitter   or @Deer_Valley. See you on the slopes!

World Cup like a Local

One of the great things about being at Deer Valley during World Cup Week is that you get to observe preparation for the venue from the ground up, watch the athletes train, and gain a real appreciation for all the work that goes into putting on this incredible event. When youre a Park City local, and a Deer Valley skier, you often test positive for a chronic condition: Olympic Fever. People in other towns around the globe are immune to this.

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They dont wait in line at Snow Park Lodge behind the once-and-future Olympic Freestyle champions. They dont support athletescareers by hiring themas babysitters, as baristasand cheering for them at every turn. For most of the world Olympic,isnt a word that pops into every conversationfor us, its just the air we breathe.

In our world its absolutely normal to hear USSA chief, Tom Kelly, urge locals in an interview on KPCW to go up to Deer Valley, spend the day skiing, stay for dinner and watch the competition.Its a normal-this-weekafter-school activity to zip up to Deer Valley to watch the training and the competition as the weeks events heat up. Thursday of World Cup week finds me rushing the kids through the after school routine, hustling them into layers, sticking adhesive sole-warmers to their feet, and loading them into the car, all so that we can get to the competition site as quickly as possible. Of course my kids are just as excited as I am to visit the VIP tent, mingle with the athletes, and practice their butt-sliding skills at the base of the course as they get to watch the competitors’ incredible athletic feats.

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The fact that our town plays host to the FIS World Cup Freestyle Championships each January means that on this weekend the entire social scene in town revolves around the competition. Are you going to the concert on Main Street, Wednesday?is an oft-overheard query as friends greet each other in line at Starbucks, at school pick-up, or at the gym. Weeks before the competitions I start getting calls from friends—“Are we going? Which night?

And then, gloriously, it is time for date night. Friday, when my kids are tired from the action the night before and relieved to be able to chill out in front of a movie, the grownups head to the hill. The previous weekend may have found us at the Symphony, or the Eccles Center, a movie theater, or a nice meal at Mariposa. But this week our culture is skiing and our wardrobe is warm and functional versus styled and fashionable. Our music is dispensed via giant amps on scaffolding and the polite applause is replaced with hollering, cheering and, yes, cowbells.

The best part is that you dont have to be an actual local to enjoy the experience like a local. The sense of community and pride, as the crowd applauds the grace of every well-landed trick, absorbs the shock of every fall, admires the grace of every athlete, is palpable and thrilling. Whether youre a local or a guest in town, bundle up, come on out and make some noise. And when you see me there, flag me down and tell me what youre loving most about the experience. Or just tell me below, in the comments. See you on the hill!