Diana Krall and the Utah Symphony

It’s no secret: I geek out at Deer Valley summer concerts. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new discovery, or an old favorite. If I’m outdoors, with people I adore, watching live music and enjoying a picnic basket prepared by the expert culinary team at Deer Valley, then I am a happy camper of the highest order. Couple that with bumping into dear friends our neighbor, Sue, our pal Nikole and making some new acquaintances (I’m looking at you, fun couple from Texas), and I’m good to go. However, if you give me a few extra hours in gorgeous weather, hanging out with my husband and listening to Diana Krall with the Utah Symphony? Well, I am pretty sure there is no better way to spend the evening.


Because Krall happens to be one of Jeffrey’s and my favorite artists, we wanted to arrive early to get good seats. Pro tip: You can buy “back-rest” style seats which sit flat on the ground, and still qualify for seating in the “blankets-only” section, which fills up more slowly than the “chairs” section. So even though we were not anywhere close to the front of the line-up at the gates before they opened, we scored a close-enough spot that we could hear and see well.

When I saw Krall perform years ago at Abravanel Hall, I felt like that experience ruined me for all others no way would another one of her concerts be as perfect. Well, simply put, I’m an idiot. This woman has proven for years that she will capitalize on any opportunity to top herself. The evening she played at Deer Valley was ample demonstration of this. The weather, too, seemed to rise to the occasion. Sure, it was hotter than usual that night, but it was also clear, gorgeous and, eventually, the kind of cool summer evening that reminds us of why we live in the mountains.


Krall, herself, remarked upon this several times, noting that Deer Valley is her favorite ski destination, that she always feels at home here. (This is a recurring theme for nearly every artist who visits the Snow Park Amphitheater stage whether for the first time or on a return visit. And, no, I don’t think it’s just stage-patter flattery.)

One of the reasons Krall is such a joy to watch is that she, herself, is a fan. More than once, in the course of her set, she simply stopped playing to watch her band members, or to take in the Symphony’s arrangement, under the direction of conductor Jerry Steichen. “I kind of get lost in the music and forget to play,” she admitted. “I’m just such a fan.” It’s an occupational hazard, likely, of surrounding yourself with other gifted musicians.

So, thanks, Diana Krall, for giving me even more reasons to love your music, and to geek out at my favorite venue. Hurry back, please.

2015 Kimball Arts Festival

Every local I know has a favorite way to enjoy the Kimball Arts Festival. Artists, like my pal Jenny Terry, thrill at the prospect of being invited to participate. Others have repeat gigs as festival volunteers, selling tickets at gates, staffing the kids’ activities, helping out the artists, and doing countless little tasks that most festival attendees never realize have to happen. And, of course, tons of locals turn out on the Friday night of the festival, when locals are offered free admission.

Photo courtesy of Kimball Art Center/Mark Maziarz.

Photo courtesy of Kimball Art Center/Mark Maziarz.

This year, as my family and I toured the festival, I realized that we, too, have our own Festival tradition the “Sunday morning stroll.”

We tend to arrive soon after the gates open on the final day of the festival. The sun isn’t quite high enough to beat down on the pavement, so it’s comfortable to walk around. We’ve likely enjoyed a late breakfast, so the kids aren’t clamoring for lunch the minute we arrive. And the crowd hasn’t hit its nadir yet, so we have the ability to chat with a few of the artists.

Main St_2 (1)

Photo courtesy of Kimball Art Center/Mark Maziarz.

Also, we never know who we’ll run into. This year I had some marching orders. A friend in Boulder, CO had sent me a message that she wanted me to stop by the booth of an artist friend whose work she has photographed. We stopped to say hello to Dolan Geiman and got lost in his booth for a while, admiring his unique brand of “upcycled” art: objects layered and textured with a variety of media, and creating the kind of art that engages you in different ways every time you look at it.

Later as we made our way through some fascinating photography booths, we ran into our neighbor, Christopher, and his cousin. “I’m looking around to see what other wood workers are up to,” he explained. A talented carpenter, Chris is always eager to explore new ideas and inspirations.


Photo courtesy of Kimball Art Center/Mark Maziarz.

Of course, we stopped to see Jenny, who was thrilled by the response she received from her work this year. “I am so happy to see friendly faces,” she said. “I love meeting new people, but seeing my friends at the booth is a treat.”

Finally, we ran into our friend, photographer Mark Maziarz, who, it could be argued, had the most fun job at the Kimball Arts Festival: he was on duty capturing the presentation of awards to the winners.


Photo courtesy of Kimball Art Center/Mark Maziarz.

How do you enjoy the Kimball Arts Festival? Is there a method to your walk-and-hunt, or does each year give you the chance to do things a little differently than the year before? Let me know in the comments!

7 Steps To Happiness With Lee Brice at Deer Valley Resort

FullSizeRender (20)

Lee Brice is not a philosopher. I know that. He is a singer songwriter who just won the 2015 AMC, Best Single award for his song, “I Don’t Dance”, and he just performed at Deer Valley as park of the St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights concert series.

Maybe he is an accidental philosopher because during his concert, he certainly shared some keys to leading a fulfilling life with the crowd. He didn’t read them off in a list, of course, but the audience picked them up none-the-less. I’ll share a few that I gleaned from the evening.

Here are 7 steps to happiness from Lee Brice:

Celebrate life (with a pre-party, a party and an after party)

I’ve been to a lot of concerts at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater at Deer Valley Resort in the 11 years I’ve been coming to Park City in the summers, but I’ve never seen so many people tailgating before a concert.

Actually, I don’t think I had ever seen anyone tailgating before.  

There were quite a few parties going on with music playing from truck speakers and friends socializing as I parked and walked up to the venue.

Enjoy the simple things

Sunshine on my face and moonshine on my lips.”  This line just makes me want to stop what I am doing, go outside and soak up some sun. I’m not so sure about moonshine on my lips personally because I have heard it’s pretty high in alcohol content. To each his own,  but maybe for me and my girlfriends, we’d replace that particular beverage with a pinot noir.  

The concept, however, rings true, “stop, sip, relax and enjoy your life.”

Savor what you really enjoy

Beer! There is no doubt in my mind that Lee Brice and the Little Canyon Band enjoy a beer from time to time. How can you tell?

IMG_0503 (1)

Share with others

This might look like speaker but think again. This is really a mini fridge filled with cold beer. Lee grabbed one for himself and another one to share with a thirsty fan in the front row.


There are highs and lows in life, don’t ignore the lows.

His hit song, “I Drive Your Truck” really hits home when we think of a loved one. How do we grieve when we miss someone close to us that has passed away? This song was inspired by a man whose son was a soldier who died in Afghanistan. 

Lee sang, “People have their way of coping and I’ve got mine. I drive your truck. I roll every window down and I burn it up.” What I took from those lyrics was, if you are going to miss someone, dig deep and let yourself really miss them.  

When I miss my Mom who passed away over 5 years ago, I love to wear her wedding ring. Slipping her ring on my finger, makes me feel like I am holding her hand somehow. When you think about it, if you are grieving, that means you really cared for someone. Caring is a good thing.

Honor those who serve.

Lee gave a shout out to our military (during the above song) and asked us to flick a lighter to honor those who served in the armed forces. Everyone quickly clicked on their zippo lighter apps or flashlights on their phones. Lee embraced an emotional veteran who’d approached the stage in a genuine show of appreciation for his service.


You get more back more than you give

Lee had met an enthusiastic young man at a meet-and-greet earlier that night and during the concert, he signed a guitar and gave it to him.  You can see the happiness on this kid’s face to the delight of everyone in the audience.


Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you say.

In the case of the Lee Brice concert, we all could certainly hear what he had to say, or rather, sing. The music was great, Deer Valley’s food was amazing, and the venue was stunning as always. There were also a few good messages that came loud and clear, too.

IMG_0524 IMG_0493

A pre-party, a party, an after-party and a few life lessons to boot, I think Lee Brice might just be a philosopher in disguise.

Previewing the Mid-Mountain Marathon

The annual Mid-Mountain Marathon is coming up this Saturday, September 12. I am a casual road runner. I normally don’t run on trails and have never participated in a race over 17 miles. This said, I was curious to know more about the event that ushers in fall in Park City, Utah. I sat down with Executive Director of the Mountain Trails Foundation, Charlie Sturgis, who filled me in on all the details of this long distance mountain race at 8,000 feet.


JF: How many years has the Mid-Mountain Marathon been going on?

Charlie Sturgis: We’re getting close to about two decades.

JF: How many competitors does the event able attract?

Charlie Sturgis: We have between 350 and 360 participants. We try to cap it around 400. The reason why we limit the number of competitors is because passing on a single track can be a challenge. If we had over 400 racers the race would become too congested.

JF: Considering this, how is the start organized to give the fastest competitors a chance?

Charlie Sturgis: The start of the race is on the pavement, at the Silver Lake area of Deer Valley, which gives those who really need to be upfront a chance to get there from the get-go. All gets sorted out at the start.


JF: What level of competitors do you attract?

Charlie Sturgis: It is actually quite impressive. The men’s best times are generally just over 3 hours, something between 3:10 and 3:15 while the women’s finish right around 3:30 to 3:40. Because of the caliber of the field, the “rabbit” leading the race has to be a top notch rider.

JF: The “rabbit?”

Charlie Sturgis: Yes, we have someone on a mountain bike showing the way so the leading racers don’t have to worry about where the trail goes. You need a top-notch rider capable of staying clear of the first runner, a job not always easy to accomplish, especially in the uphill sections where the marathoners can catch up to that individual. All of the “rabbits” we have are always stunned by how fast the runners are.

JF: Where’s the finish line?

Charlie Sturgis: From 8,100 feet at Silver Lake, the course traverses Deer Valley Resort to Park City Village peaking out at 8,400 feet before descending to Canyons Village at 6,800 feet. This year’s finish will be off of the new Ambush-Holly trail at the Forum where the outdoor concerts take place, all of this adds up to the 26.2 miles course.


JF: Are competitors coming from all over or are they mostly locals?

Charlie Sturgis: Most of them are from Utah but we get a few from other places as well. Salomon is a sponsor for this race, so we encourage them to bring some of their racers. In years past, La Sportiva showed up with their racers. Even though this race is not on any special kind of circuit, competitors find it to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing to run.

JF: How difficult do competitors find this marathon compared to other venues?

Charlie Sturgis: Most first time competitors generally underrate the difficulty of the event. The Mid-Mountain trail was originally called the “8,000-foot trail” because it was built at around the 8,000 feet. The elevation variances of 400 feet often lead people to believe that it was not very hard. There are some significant ups and downs, including a 3,800 feet elevation gain. The terrain is very rugged in certain areas and athletes must be super mindful about where they land their feet.


JF: What advice would you give to first time participants?

Charlie Sturgis: For all of those lifestyle runners who want to get that competition off of their bucket list, the best advice is to take it easy. It’s okay to walk some sections, like the Iron Mountain area where the footing gets difficult. Catch a 20 minute break to make sure they have enough fuel left to complete the race.

JF: How many volunteers does the event have.

Charlie Sturgis: About 50 to 70 of them. If some of your readers are interested to help out, they can contact us through our website. We also try to seek out the help of the many nonprofits in town.

JF: What do the volunteers do?

Charlie Sturgis: Fifty of them staff the aid stations. We have at least 7 stations with 4 people at each. The race lasts most of the day. The course is actually closed for almost 8 hours to other users.

JF: Are emergency medical technicians on the course?

Charlie Sturgis: Yes, we have EMT’s throughout the course. The Park City Fire Department is represented too and we have Herb Lepley, a nurse practitioner from the Park City Clinic, on hand.

JF: What makes a high altitude trail marathon so unique?

Charlie Sturgis: I think it is the blend between its environment, its scenery and its simplicity. Not dealing with traffic and going from point-to-point makes it very special.

JF: Do you have any suggestions for the spectators?

Charlie Sturgis: The best areas to see the race are the start and the finish line. At either one of these spots you’ll generally find friends, family and spectators in large numbers. Anywhere in the middle of the course is very hard to find good viewing areas. So the start and finish areas are the places to be. Everyone is more than welcome to come and cheer on the participants.


See you on Saturday!

Another Great Tour of Utah

Even though I’m not a road cyclist, I love to watch a good road bike race. I always make a point of watching as much of the Tour de France as I can. Being from there and all.

dv-tou (1)

Park City hosts stages of a similar race, the annual Tour of Utah. I make certain that I don’t miss this race when it comes to town. Especially on the day when the race starts and ends on Park City’s Historic Main Street.

15 ToU Stage 7 Map 07-14-2015

Just like the Tour de France ends up parading the Parisian Champs-Élysées before coming to a close, the Tour of Utah does the same in Park City.


My wife and I went very early in the afternoon on Sunday, August 9, to visit the various vendors that were on the upper section of Main Street and to secure a good vantage point. We marveled at the Scott Sports tent where some bikes were lighter than air.


Upper Main Street was filled with vendors. We picked up some swag and admired artists writing encouraging slogans, designing all kind of symbols and painting American flags on the asphalt welcoming the competitors.


I’m not good at keeping tabs on who wins each stage and don’t know much about the teams engaged in the competition. This gives me more of a reason to cheer for each of the racers as they pass by the intersection of Heber Avenue and lower Main Street, just yards from the finish line!


These athletes seemed fueled by endless momentum gathered from reaching the top of the last peak (Empire Pass) and barreling down the rest of the course at 75 mph.


Large TV screens kept the spectators in touch with the race. The crowds began roaring a full minute before every single cyclist would make his entry onto Main Street after completing what is said to be the most grueling American cycling stage race.

dv-tou-gThe weather held steady, with some welcome big clouds making the temperature perfect. We promised that we would return next year, as the Tour of Utah will be back on Main Street, Park City, next August 7, 2016. Make sure to mark your calendar!


Remembering 2015 Summer Camps in Park City

Every year, I promise myself I’m not going to over schedule my kids’ summer. And every year the options for great camps in Park City expands to include even more fun options than ever before. I manage to fail miserably at finding them a few, measly unscheduled hours. So much fun is to be had in our great town’s amazing camp offerings, that if you’re  not careful, your kids can breeze through summer without a single chore or mind bending math problem. Sadly, for my kids, their mother is careful by nature.

So in that spirit this summer my family experimented with a mixture of camps and Camp Mom. Camp Mom weeks may include tennis, pool time, bike rides and something I call “skill building.” Select skill building seminars cover topics, including, “Mechanical Devices: The Vacuum Is Your Friend” and “Arts and Crafts: Laundry Origami.” I’ll report back on this special curriculum.

Luckily for my kids, their parents take fun, enriching experiences very seriously. We  alternated “Camp Mom,” with several fun, engaging camps. We’ve had some excellent summer experiences, beginning with my kids’ earliest summers, at Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp.

I thought I’d give you a glimpse into some of the other offerings that my boys (Seth is 8 and Lance is 12) savored this summer:



The Park City Municipal Golf Course offered three week-long camps, half-days Mondays through Thursdays, where students learn golf etiquette, rules and basic skills. Thursday is game day and parents who drive the carts get to see, first hand, what their kids learned in four days’ time. I view driving as a chore. But driving a golf cart and “caddying” for these “pros”? A total treat. Just eavesdropping on their discussion of the rules, requests for Mulligans, and desire to coach each other into hitting straight (or, shall we say, attempting to coach each other into hitting straight), was all the entertainment I needed.


The Bobby Lawrence Karate Studio offered several no-experience-necessary camps for children ages 3-12. Each week is a different theme, with a Survivor week, a Ninja Warrior Week and a Spy Kids week. For beginners, it is a fun intro to martial arts. For current students, it can be an opportunity to fit a month’s worth of lessons into a few days, and become eligible to move up a belt rank. (Brown belt with green stripe: CHECK!)


My kids can’t get enough of these STEM Camps (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Offering everything from programming to grade-level math (and beyond), Lego Robotics to Chess, this Redstone-based learning center is staffed by young, energized counselors with a passion for STEM.

YOUTHEATRE at Egyptian Theatre Company

By the time my kids got to this camp in early July, I kept thinking how much fun it is to be a child in this town. Gangs of excited, creative children descend on Miner’s Hospital for a variety of camps—my older son chose Filmmaking camp and his little brother chose Puppetry. Lance’s film class wrote, directed and produced a “Ninja Western” mashup that was out-of-this-world funny and creative. Seth and his camp pals made puppets and then acted out “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” with Seth starring as … you guessed it, the Headless Horseman. The talented staff kept the kids on-task while encouraging creativity and expression. The weekly camps culminated in a showcase performance/screening of the week’s work. Lance loved the film camp so much, he is spent another week there in August.

theater dudes


The Park City MARC’s weekly tennis camps were offered in two, three and five-day packages, with drop-ins on a space-available basis. My kids have attended this camp for several years, and finish each session stronger than when they started.


Snyderville Basin Recreation District ran a series a fantastically fun summer day camps, with Summer Blast as the centerpiece. With daily swimming at the Ecker Hill pool, tons of sports, games and arts-and-crafts, it’s a guaranteed day (or week) of fun.



YMCA CAMP ROGER, which operated eight five-day sessions (you can link two together, if you choose), is located just about a half hour from Park City, about 15 miles up Mirror Lake Highway, outside of Kamas, UT. Lance had such a great time there last summer that Seth wanted in on the fun. So, for five nights, they get a vacation from “Mom’s Special Summer Curriculum,” in exchange for archery, hiking, campfire cooking, and mountain biking. Not to mention, the opportunity to eat spaghetti without benefit of utensils. With a skilled staff hailing from several continents, the kids are exposed to lots of different cultures and ideas, and the chance to make some new friends.

And…a couple we still have on our to-do list for next year.

FUNDamentals Camp at Utah Olympic Park

Before he was ten years old, my son Lance learned how to ski jump into the very same training pool used by Olympic athletes from all over the world. He also got to try out “street luge,” mixed in with gymnastics, tennis, swimming and golf. His younger brother is on deck to try it next year, and it’s quite possibly the most comprehensive sports-skills camp I have ever seen. The camp’s curriculum is focused on fostering a well-rounded appreciation of all sports rather than specializing in one specific sport. Plus, each day includes team-building activities and arts and crafts. And if you do as much recreational reading about “hyperspecialized” kid athletes, the existence of camps like this is the perfect fit.


The Park City Sailing Club has Learn-to-Sail Camps all summer long on the Jordanelle Reservoir. Sailing skills are taught from beginner through advanced, with mini-regattas throughout the summer. The club also hosts open sailing evening potlucks all summer long.


Basin Recreation’s super-popular water-fun camp is actually a week full of field trips to water parks and attractions all over the greater Salt Lake City area.

Deer Valley Grocery~Café Summer Menu

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT foodiecrush.com

Anyone who has heard the slightest whisper about Deer Valley Resort has learned it is synonymous with quality. But quality doesn’t always mean pricey, precious or pretentious.

The folks at Deer Valley know their guests well, and when it comes to dining, they know that it isn’t always about sipping champagne and cracking crab legs. Even though that is always welcome in my book. It’s about simple, delicious food served by some of the most attentive staff you’ll find in the U.S. of A. The world even.

So of course food served in a grocery store would be held to the same standards. Really? A grocery store?

Simple. Fresh. Inventive. Deer Valley nails it every time at Park City’s best kept dining secret: Grocery~Café.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT foodiecrush.com

The Deer Valley Grocery~Café was originally concepted as an easy stop for lodging guests or concert goers to pop in and gather prepared take-away meals and essentials like morning coffees while staying in the nearby condos and lodging. It has morphed into my go-to dining destination thanks to crave-worthy breakfast, lunch and now dinner eats.

While the food at Grocery~Café is amazing, the views are just as stunning.

Guests are welcome to sit indoors, or out on the large deck that overlooks ducks and standup paddleboarders coexisting in the large lake at the Deer Valley base. It’s my daughter’s favorite pastime as you’ll see in this post.

But take my advice, when the weather warrants, outside is where it’s at.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT foodiecrush.com

I had the opportunity to sit down to a menu tasting at Deer Valley’s Grocery~Café to sample their summer dinner menu. This is a big perk of my job and I relish every bite of it.

Our dinner started with homemade beet hummus and a tequila and orange cocktail. Have you tried beet hummus? This one is made in house (naturally) and is a combination of garbanzo beans, roasted beets and tahini. A perfect starter, it’s served with Deer Valley’s famous flaxseed crackers and sugar snap peas. Those crackers…so addictive.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT foodiecrush.com

Next, we sampled three newly refined items on the menu.

First, the Green Goddess Grilled Cheese with fresh mozzarella, cabot white cheddar, herb pesto and fresh arugula grilled on toasty housemade sourdough bread. I love a good grilled cheese and this one is tops as a perfect combo of cheese and flavor, still retaining it’s grilled cheese status rather than an overstuffed sandwich.

Next, the Garden Gazpacho. Heirloom tomatoes are blended with more veggies, spices and then topped with cilantro oil and sautéed shrimp. Slightly vinegar-ed bites of freshness come with each spoonful, and the garlic scape as an accents was an earthy touch.

Finally, Grocery~Café’s signature Salmon Tacos, one of the most popular dishes on the menu and rightfully so. A generous portion of salmon tops corn tortillas. It’s then topped with a tangy grilled scallion citrus slaw and roasted poblano guacamole. A little crunch comes in thanks to a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds.

And this was just the beginning.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT foodiecrush.com

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT foodiecrush.com

You may have noticed a supremely stunning caprese salad at the beginning of this post. The table just about fell silent when this was presented. This salad has been served at Deer Valley Grocery~Café for a number of years but only recently was reimagined by Chef Kristine Thorslund in a stunningly new, minimalist presentation. When you have ingredients this gorgeous, why over do it? The salad is composed of local Copper Moose Farm heirloom tomatoes, sweet basil, marinated baby mozzarella, lemon mosto oil, aged balsamic pearls (I know! Molecular cooking is crazy and here’s how they do it) and blackberry tar.

Then my main course: Seared Salmon. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Okay, I finished the whole thing. How could I not?

A perfectly cooked filet of King salmon that flaked at each forkful rested on a bed of chilled sugar snap pea salad, micro greens and pickled onion and was topped with green goddess pesto, crispy quinoa and more delicate micro greens. The drizzle of olive oil left the dish feeling homemade rather than pretentious. Just my style of eating.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT foodiecrush.com

A new menu item was the vegetarian Cauliflower and Quinoa Fritters and in short order was deemed a new favorite by all at the table. Ground cauliflower and quinoa are mixed with fresh herbs, Spanish red onion and lightly fried, the set on arugula and microgreens to be dressed with a lemon yogurt. If you’re watching what you eat, watch yourself easily consume this.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT foodiecrush.com

Newly appointed Food and Beverage Director Jodie Rogers was center stage at the table, sharing behind the scene stories and the ingredient list of each dish for those of us wishing to know the secrets behind the dishes. Even so, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to remake these dishes at home.

But then, why would I when I can come here and not have to do the dishes?

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT foodiecrush.com

A welcome surprise dessert was served in the form of popsicles. After enjoying a rather large tasting, the cool pops were more than welcome as a light finish to the night. However, don’t think they weren’t full of flavor too.

Strawberry and Black Pepper mingled in one set of pops while Coconut Lime and Pineapple were easily licked as the other. True to Deer Valley form, the pops were served on a tray of frozen fruit and flowers worthy of any Pinterest board.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT foodiecrush.com

Chef Jodie Rogers, Chef Jodie Paris and Chef Kirstine Thorslund are busy creating a name for Grocery Café, and with food prepared and presented like this, it won’t be long before this spot isn’t much of a secret anymore.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT foodiecrush.com

Deer Valley~Grocery Café

Menus: breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • Location: Snow Park Village – base area
  • Address: 1375 Deer Valley Drive South
  • Telephone Number: 435-615-2400
  • Dining Type: Café/Deli/Bakery
  • Business Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m., daily

Heidi Larsen is the creator of foodiecrush.com, the blog and online magazine featuring family friendly recipes and inspiring photography. She also photographs Deer Valley Resort’s food and fine dining when not enjoying quality time on the ski hill with her husband and 11 year old daughter. See more of what she’s crushing on at Facebook and Instagram.


Beating the Back-To-School Blues

Every year, it happens. I’m nicely settled in to the routines of summer, and boom, just like that, it’s August, and the Back-to-School Crunch begins. This year I’m staging a full-on protest.

My primary weapon in this protest is denial, coupled with a healthy dose of over-scheduling fun and entertaining things to do. Lucky for me, Deer Valley is here to aid and abet, offering a packed schedule of activities, extending well past the start of school (August 20 in Park City, for those of you keeping score at home). And lucky for you, I can offer you a curated list of the best antidotes to those back to school blues.

Eric Schramm Photography 2015

There are still two awesome Guided Historic Hikes left in the season, September 20 and October 18. You can meet up at the bottom of Sterling Express (wear sturdy shoes and bring your own snacks and water, but leave your favorite four-legged friend behind please) for a fun, informative lesson on area history with Michael O’Malley.

In August alone, there are 4 concerts on the schedule, including the Gypsy Kings performing as part of the Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert Series. And with acts like the Crescent Superband on the bill for the Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series (free every Wednesday), it’s hard not to find an excuse to get your boogie on.

Eric Schramm Photography 2015

But it’s the month of September that gets the credit for helping locals and visitors beat the Back-to-School Blues. A Labor Day weekend outing to Deer Valley can include watching mountain bikers race by Silver Lake Lodge as they participate in the Park City Point to Point Race, heading toward the Mid-Mountain Trail between 9 – 10 a.m. Combine this with a hike and scenic lift ride, followed by a great lunch at the Royal Street Café, and you’ve had a fun, jam packed morning.

Plus on September 6, Aloe Blacc performs as part of the Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert Series.

September 12 is another jam-packed day at Deer Valley. For starters, the Mid-Mountain Marathon departs from Silver Lake Village, with runners doing a couple of laps before they head out onto the trail. In the afternoon you can join The Christian Center of Park City’s 4th Annual Hike For Hunger. The Snow Park area will be transformed into a family entertainment area, with a bounce house and a climbing wall. “This year we are incorporating rides on the Silver Lake Express chairlift,” says Cindy Skelton, Senior Events Coordinator, “and there are trails that are appropriate for every level of hiker, some for families with small kids, and some for those looking for a bigger challenge.” Registration fees even include a meal prepared by Deer Valley chefs.

If by mid-September you’re already wishing you could run away from it all, you’re in luck at least for one day as the Discrete Peak Race Series hosts its final run of the season at Deer Valley Resort. Okay, so maybe it’s not so much running away, as it is running up but by the time you race from Snow Park Lodge to the top of Bald Mountain, you probably won’t remember why you were so stressed out in the first place.

See? I told you I could fix those Back-to-School Blues. What’s your favorite late summer pleasure at Deer Valley? Tell me all about it in the comments.

What Could Be Better than a Picnic With Smokey Robinson?


Who doesn’t love a picnic? I love to picnic so much that I made my New Year’s Resolution for 2015 to have 32 picnics throughout the year. This is true.

FullSizeRender (18)

When you think about it though, to enjoy a whole lot of picnics is not really a resolution, it’s a goal.  Either way, I set it for this year.

Setting goals like this helps to stretch my imagination and make special memories in daily life. Park City is such a beautiful place, I figure, why just take a hike? Why not bring a picnic to savor the experience?

But there are more to picnics than food. Picnics are:

  • an outdoor activity
  • a chance to relax and linger
  • a time to be with friends and family
  • a time to enjoy a beautiful setting

When I saw that Smokey Robinson was coming to Deer Valley to sing with the Utah Symphony, I thought, “Picnic with Smokey Robinson, I am in for that!”

At the age of 75, Smokey still has it “going on.” He was stylin’ with a green satin jacket and matching leather pants, and he sang with his signature sweet, sweet voice as he shared the music of Motown.

IMG_9666 (1)

The picnic? That was so easy. Deer Valley prepared it for us so all I had to do was pick it up at the concert. One call ahead and I ordered not one but two baskets; salmon and filet mignon.


We ended up with a group of six people and there was plenty of food for all since the baskets have such generous portions. I just brought extra plates!

The gourmet picnic baskets came with antipasto, brie and baguettes, grapes, two salmon entrees and (since we ordered two double baskets), two filet mignon entrees with horseradish sauce. We also added a bottle of red wine.


And there was more. They each contained two servings of lemon cake and brownies (on a stick – so easy to devour). My friend Michelle brought some individual cheesecakes for dessert too for everyone to share so we had no limit on choices.

IMG_9657 (1)

Smokey Robinson and the musicians from the Utah Symphony entertained us with our favorite songs including:

  • You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me
  • Stand by Me
  • Tears of a Clown

He even sang my husband’s favorite song, Fly Me to the Moon (Smokey style).

This was a picnic I won’t forget anytime soon.

For more information on the Deer Valley Concerts at Snow Park, click here.

To order a gourmet picnic basket or bag, click here.

My Day at the Outdoor Retailer Show

A friend of ours was attending the Outdoor Retailer (OR) Show in Salt Lake City, a 45 minute drive from our house. He asked if he could stay with us while he was in town, since he had flown in from Boulder, CO, and was spending all day meeting potential clients and collecting cards. I had heard of the OR Show, but I had no idea how big it was and my curiosity fueled my fire.

“I should write a blog about it for Deer Valley,” I thought to myself. “I could show all the new ski and snow gear!” Great idea, right?  Hmmm, maybe not.


I arrived at the show and asked where the ski and snow toys were (rookie mistake) “No, this is the Summer OR Show…the Winter OR show is in February.” I couldn’t play it off…the cat was out of the bag.

All of registration knew I had no clue what I was doing and away I went with a smile.


First stop, the most comfortable neck pillows in the world. Well, that is what I felt they should be named in the moment but Cocoon works too. They are furry and compact and if I hadn’t felt the need to regain some sort of pride, I would have walked around the rest of the day with this sucker cuddling my neck region. See that little pouch I am holding? That’s how small they are when deflated!


I turned around from Cocoon and was looking straight at my husband’s pants. Not the actual pair, but his favorite pant company, Kühl. Erik, in true ski racer form, has a little extra muscle in the trunk and these pants give him the much needed freedom to move. He loves them.


All this OR’ing made me quite hungry so I stopped by the Cliff Bar booth for some before, during, after and on-the-go fueling.


GSI OUTDOORS Coffee Maker. This could be my favorite gadget. I love coffee. But I really love coffee when I am camping. I don’t know why it tastes better. Maybe it’s the effort it takes to get a perfect cup that makes me appreciate it more. This gadget is sweet, cute and looks like it could pull off a mean cup of joe! Mama like!


Remember Croakies®? I don’t have to think back that far, as I was in search of them for our whitewater rafting trip last summer. I found them, and I was flooded with memories from my youth. Who didn’t have croakies attached to their fake Vuarnet’s®? Okay, maybe it was just a Northern California thing. But, these belts caught my eye. The colors they are coming up with for men’s socks and belts is blowing my mind. I love it. And guess who makes these babies? That’s right, Croakies®!


Nothing in life is complete without Zombies. Honestly, I don’t know what company these ladies are representing or what they are selling but I love me some Zombies.


Naturally, I was feeling tense after hanging out with Zombies and I felt I needed a 10 minute break to loosen up. No wonder it was so difficult to get in to this place! Lot’s of hidden treasures.


Innova was there with some really cool water toys. They basically featured a blow-up version of almost every water vessel except for a speedboat. Now you are not limited by the size of your car. You can fit a large tandem kayak in your Mini-Cooper®! This absolutely amazed me.


I had to show you standup paddleboards; they make me happy and they were everywhere. I love everything about these boards and I am loving their beautiful colors. I plan on trying this fun looking sport at Deer Valley very soon.


I voted Life is good® as best booth; so homey and cute. And, frankly, I think we can’t spread their positive messages enough. Life is good!


Okay, wait…my favorite, for obvious and biased reasons, was……Speedo®.

They just happened to win “Gear of the Show” with these awesomely elegant flippers. I put my “flippers” into the awarding-winning flippers and it was quite a scene.


And speaking of flippers, thank you Feetures!® for upping the sock game! My feet are thrilled with your vibrant and exciting take on the under-footwear.


I stopped by the ChicoBag® booth and asked the obvious question “Are you guys based in Chico, CA?” Instant family. They are based in Chico, which is very close to where I was born and raised. We had a moment and then I took a moment to understand their message. See all those plastic bags, people? The average person uses that many in a year, that’s 500! YIKES! Let’s change our ways!


Cutest dog at the show. (wonder how he got through registration? Just saying.)


This product stopped me in my tracks. Yup, those are iPad’s in a fish tank. Loksak’s® are the coolest zip-lock bags for your smart stuff. Phones, tablets, etc. They have got you covered up to a depth of 100 feet. And it still senses your fingertips through the plastic. Lots of technology goes into making these better than the bags you have in your kitchen.


Kayak’s were king at this show and they came in every size and color. My kids are obsessed with kayaking, and I understand why. They are small enough to handle and big enough to be great, thus the perfect vessel. This is the Wilderness Systems® booth.


I am sensing a serious shift in wheel size for everyday outdoor gear. People want to pull and lug their stuff onto and through any terrain. Anything from off-road to deep sand, it looks like Wheeleez® has you covered.


This was by far, my favorite activity at the show. This fella was on the back wall. And, by this point, I was lost so I had no idea where the back wall was located. But it was awesome. I hit so many levitating balls that I created a gallery. I finally caught myself having too much fun and gave up the bat. The ball hangs out at the end of a strong stream of air. This HitZone® was really fun and it costs $350.


These cute backpacks are from Hook & Tackle®. Guess what the kids will be taking back to school this year?


I survived and I loved it. My husband scored some new shoes out of the day and his feet have never been happier with his new Cushe® shoes. I can’t wait to go back for the 2015 show, August 5 – 8!