We came for the event but stayed for the party. The cause is a good one. The staff and volunteers at the National Ability Center do amazing things for the participants. I have seen members of the Ability Ski Team on the runs at Deer Valley and heard the experiences of a volunteer first hand. My husband helps with the equestrian center handling the horses on a lead so participants can enjoy a trail ride. When I saw the promotion for the National Ability Center Barn Party Fundraiser event, I said, “Lets go!” A few of our friends said, “We’re in!” So we put on our western gear and headed to the barn. I know this sounds silly but the barn party was actually in the barn: It was held in the middle of the indoor horse arena. Think dirt. It was very rustic and super cool AND I am so glad I wore my cowboy boots instead of sandals.
After watching a beautiful equestrian demonstration from several of the young riders in the program and petting a couple of little donkeys at the petting zoo, we got a tour of the barn. Some brave people, young and old, took a ride on the mechanical bull. I chickened out and didn’t try it but did my part by enthusiastically cheering the folks that did.
My girlfriends and I also avoided the saloon, not because we don’t drink whiskey. We do but we figured whiskey would interfere with our next activity – line dancing. Line dancing takes a great deal of concentration to avoid injury to myself and the poor unsuspecting people dancing next to me.
As usual, Anderson and Company were the last to leave the party but not until we learned the Boot Scoot’n Boogie, Allan Jackson’s Good Times Line Dance and Cotton Eye Joe (thrown in for good measure.) The DJ/dance instructor kept asking us if we wanted to learn another dance. We kept saying yes until we couldn’t think straight and finally had to sit down.
The auction – both silent and live – raised a lot of money for a great cause to help our wounded warriors and people who otherwise may never have a chance to ski, snow shoe, shoot an arrow or ride a horse. The party – well – it was just plain fun. Next year I think I will try the mechanical bull riding!
This time of year is what the locals call “shoulder season.” The resorts are closed for skiing and the town quiets down quickly. Here is a suggestion for what to do while exploring Main Street during the 2013 spring shoulder season:
In my house, we speak three languages: English, Star Wars and Lego.
Lego, often, is the predominant language, with my kids’ brick creations often expressing their every Star Wars fantasy, or say, their love for their mom. To wit: I came home one day to find that Seth had re-purposed the helicopter skids from one set, and the light sabers from another, plus the pirate’s ponytail from a third, to accessorize a mini figure into “Mom.” Perhaps my obsession with skiing is noticeable to my kids?
(It is to everyone else, of course. Witness the sign I received as a 40th birthday gift from “Florida Keys Girl and Guy”, that reads simply: Eat. Sleep. Ski., that now hangs prominently in my home.)
Anyway, I knew we had a home run of a family activity when I saw that the Kimball Art Center (kimballartcenter.org) was hosting The Art of the Brick, an exhibition of the artist Nathan Sawaya’s sculptures that are made entirely out of our favorite molded bricks. We marveled at the skill with which he had created 3-D sculptures, optical illusions (“canvases” that looked, from afar, to be paintings, but turned out to be portraits rendered with the smooth sides of the bricks.)
Naturally, the exhibit includes a play area in the gallery lobby for visitors to attempt their own creations on-site. (With Seth unable to pass up a chance to build, Lance, Jeff and I took turns visiting Mark Maziarz’s fascinating “geolines” exhibit, in which he has manipulated his signature nature images into a new art form.) http://www.kimballartcenter.org/?exhibit=geolines-by-mark-maziarz
The Kimball is a great stop any week of the year, but if you have Lego fans in your life, get there before April 21, or log on to www.brickartist.com/exhibitions to see where the show is headed next.
Fact: You don’t have to stay until the fireworks (read: way past bedtime) to get an awesome World Cup experience. Here’s why: opening night was, in fact, a school night. So, we high-tailed it from afternoon karate lessons to Deer Valley to watch some practice runs, a few competition runs, and soak up the atmosphere, knowing that we’d need to leave as the competition heated up. Still, I figured my kids would have enough atmosphere to soak up and that the gamble would pay off. Hey, once in a while, Mom gets it right…
My kids were as excited to ride the chairlift in street boots, at dusk, as they were to see the freestyle skiers hit bumps, jumps and tricks. As we approached Burns chairlift, an unexpected treat greeted us—in the form of the IHC LifeFlight helicopter landing at the top of Wide West ski run. (The chopper remains parked there, at the ready, in case an athlete needs quick transport to a hospital.) “I want to touch the helicopter!” screamed Seth.
Soon, we were loading onto the chairlift, bringing him ever-closer to having his wish granted. On the ride up, he was filled with questions: “How will we get all the way to the race course? What kind of food will we eat for dinner? Do you think the pilot will let me fly the helicopter?” I like how he asked two no-brainers before sliding in the “request impossible.”
No sooner had we run “like the wind” off the chairlift, the kids were racing over to check out the chopper—and to stage a gag shot that they wanted me to capture. (“Mom, does it look like we’re holding the helicopter in our hands, Mom?”) Soon enough, we were hiking up to the venue, with big brother, officially an expert VIP attendee after last year’s outing, authoritatively explaining the ins-and-outs to little brother.
The VIP tent didn’t disappoint—an inventive Mexican feast awaited us, and we dove in. The kids were mesmerized by the fact that they were rubbing elbows with athletes from all over the world (and by the unlimited supply of hot chocolate). Seth improvised a bean burrito from the Fajita station, Lance enjoyed the Fajita chicken, and Jeff got smart and hit the dessert table post-haste, so that the kids (ok, so that WE) could dig into the chocolate bread pudding with nary a delay.
Outside, I realized I was in trouble when Seth stood in slack-jawed awe, staring up at the moguls course. “I want to do that,” he said as one of the athletes landed an Iron Cross. Just as quickly, he identified the helicopter pilots, and went up to introduce himself. “I want to fly your chopper!” he announced. The pilots offered a friendly chuckle, and redirected the conversation to athletes competing. “Do you ski like that?” they asked. “Not yet,” was my little guy’s swift, decisive reply.
Soon, they were settling in to watch the skiers—on a sofa of their own making. “Mom, this is just like the one we saw on your birthday last year!” Seth announced. Lance, ever the innovator, was quick to create “cup holders” for their hot chocolate cups. Nice. They drank hot cocoa and screamed loud approvals for all of the athletes. They even complied when we said it was time to leave.
Then, we discovered the “bonus round.” The “walk” down from the bottom of Solid Muldoon to Snow Park Lodge became something of a boot-ski run.
VIDEO The kids thought they were getting away with something by skiing down to the bottom on their boot soles—and I knew they’d be extra-tired by the time we got home.
We’re counting the minutes until the 2014 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup in January!
We are hooked. Saturday night my husband, Jay and I stood with the crowd at the base of the run for the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Dual Mogul finals at Deer Valley Resort. After watching athlete after athlete “eat it” speeding down the course in attempt to grab a coveted top 16 semi-finals spot, we had great respect for the difficulty of the course and how steep the competition.
The finals were insanely crazy - what a rush! These athletes flipped in the air doing the “truck driver”, “iron cross”, “heli 360″, or elegant front flip aerial moves. Then after landing, they immediately hit three – four foot tall moguls while racing a world class athlete skiing beside them. The competition was fast and furious.
We watched Brad Wilson advance past #1 ranked Mikael Kingsbury ending the Canadian’s 19 event podium streak as the crowd went nuts. We saw U.S. athlete Patrick Deneen lose the gold by a nose to Canadian Alex Bilodeau by five hundredths of a second! Hannah Kearney has a few more raving fans after watching her absolutely kill it and win gold.
After the awards ceremony, the party kept going!
Even the volunteer clean- up crews had smiles on the faces as they picked up signs and took down the pedestrian walkways to ready the run for skiing the next day.
Our evening took an unexpected but delightful turn when we met semi-finalist freestyle skier Dylan Walczyk on the bus to the Main Street station. He was fresh from a bronze medal at Lake Placid. He mentioned he was headed to an Olympic test event Sochi, Russia in two weeks.
While this was our first moguls competition, it will certainly not be our last.
The 2013 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup events just finished up at Deer Valley Resort and it reminded me of the good old days.
Frankly, I’m happy not to be in the position of these athletes- in front of a home crowd and wanting to perform to your best. Don’t get me wrong, I know they want to get their personal best of the season, but there is something about competing at home that puts some added pressure on the whole performance. I’m sure they love competing at home, but they would be lying if they say it’s easy. It’s easy that you might get to sleep in your own bed, eat your favorite food and see friends and family that you’ve missed because you’ve been traveling- but that’s why there is an extra bit of heat.
You want to show everyone your best. Sometimes I think athletes might forget (take it from experience), to just focus on the performance and not the outcome. I know how it feels when you want to podium and instead get fourth at home or a top 10 finish. It can be disappointing, but everyone is still proud to see the US athletes compete!
So great job everyone!
Besides watching the next generation of athletes perform, I have another hat. I’m also a finish line Mom. I’m finally in my Mom’s seat- a seat where she watched so many races for her four children. She never skied so that’s why she was always at the finish line, doing the “come to momma.” Do I get nervous watching my own children, the same as competitors on the World Cup? I would be lying if I said, “no”. It is a bit of a thrill, and I get a few butterflies at this point (my boys are only eight and 11), but, mostly because I want them to have fun. I remember so many times calling my Mom in tears. I just don’t want them to have to experience that, but I’m sure it’s inevitable!
Whether it’s my own children or my friend’s child, it hurts to see disappointment. Hopefully, I can fill my Mom’s shoes and show that results aren’t everything. Yes, they help and are fun, but in the BIG picture there is always something you can gain by just giving your best. Something you don’t realize or understand until you’re out of the “competition world”.
Heidi’s son, Stefan, competing
I also try and make a point when I am at my son’s races to be low key. I missed my son Stefan’s first race this season. Many people said to me, “Oh you must be so bummed!” Not really, because I know there will be plenty more! But, I know when I am there it’s a bit like the World Cup athletes competing at home. Mom always brings a bit of extra pressure not from my expectations, but other people assuming I’m watching with a fine comb. Although… I did reserve this coming Saturday to watch Stefan race!
Unfortunately for Lucas we won’t know if he gets to race at all this season until February 14 when his cast comes off. But, he will get on skis before the end of the season. That day will bring a smile to him and me. I bet I will have “Mom’s hat” on saying, “go slower”, “take it easy”, “let’s not make too many runs”, but I have a feeling Lucas will take off dancing on his skis!
Congrats to all of the World Cup competitors, volunteers and Deer Valley for putting on a showcase event!
Since moving to Park City, I suddenly find that I am extremely popular with my out-of-town friends. This could be due to my outgoing personality or wonderful hospitality but it’s doubtful. The real reason for the sudden surge in attention is my location—Park City, my home, is the host city of the Sundance Film Festival. I don’t take this personally instead I simply roll with it and enjoy having so many visitors. My husband and I are never lonely.
First dibs for the opening weekend of Sundance went to my LA girlfriends. I think I enjoyed showing them around town even more than they enjoyed their first Sundance Film Festival and first time setting foot in the State of Utah. Experiencing Sundance thorough their eyes made my own experience so much more fun especially since we started off our experience riding the city buses to Main Street and the High West Distillery for whiskey tasting.
Here are some highlights of my LA girls Sundance experience:
Seeing ice fisherman on drive to Sundance Resort –Our official Sundance experience started on Friday. With some local’s tickets in our hands, we drove through Heber City and over to the Sundance Resort to view our first film. This gave the girls a chance to see Utah’s beauty but also to observe a sport they don’t have in Southern California – ice fishing. The girls who had totally stressed over what clothes to bring since it was 10 degrees at night were shocked to see people voluntarily sitting on a frozen lake on a folding chair fishing.
First film –loved it. We saw a film titled, “The Machine That Makes Things Disappear.” The film was about hopes and dreams of young people in Georgia (not the state but the country). The film was fascinating and haunting so we talked about it over a wonderful lunch at Sundance for hours afterwards and all agreed we’d like to see it again. They loved it!
Second film – not so much. We won’t name names but our second film was a head scratcher for all of us. We all were wondering how it passed the jury to be entered into the film festival. Part of being a film buff at Sundance is to expect the unexpected and enjoy the experience regardless if the film suits your particular taste.
Main Street. We hit all the sponsor venues we could: the HP technology and the lounge for drinks and music. The L’orel make-up bar and Adobe card making station. We were very impressed with the music cafe and became instant fans of an incredible singer, Kat Edmonson and chatted it up with her afterwards. The LA girls spotted Josh Radnor also listening so we talked with him for a minute and he was kind enough to snap some photos with my friends. We met the adorable Stella Artois girls handing out special glasses and gifts.
Riding the special event buses – the event buses are part of the Sundance experience because you definitely don’t want to try to park anywhere near Main St. So those — well most– who ride the bus are in a great mood and super friendly. We met all kinds of people in-between venues including film festival groupies from all over the world and a screen writer and his entourage from my girlfriend’s backyard in LA.
We now have some new friends and some great experiences from the Sundance Film Festival. The girls have already put in a “reservation” to stay with us next year.
Its official, the 2012-13 winter season has started with a bang! First, the Celebrity Skifest events, which were followed by the big three-day snowstorm that dropped enough snow to ski the Daly Chutes in Empire.
Most recently, I participated in the NASTAR pacesetting trials at Snowmass. I go to the national pacesetting trials in order to get a handicap for Deer Valley’s NASTAR racing course. By doing this I can give handicaps to the race crew and I set the pace time every Saturday so it’s as if you’re racing against AJ Kitt who is the NASTAR National Pacesetter.
The NASTAR national pacesetting trials consist of three days of ski races, seeing old athlete friends and ski racing fans. Of course there is a lot of skiing involved while we are at Snowmass, but there is also time to catch up and recap old time stories.
Bobkie at NASTAR
This picture is me with AJ Kitt, Bobkie (Aka Bob Roll, the Tour de France color commentator and long-time professional bike racer!), my friend Ivan and his son Nicholas. If you think I look as if I never skied before but that’s because I’m having too much fun and not thinking about skiing, my form or even my crooked goggles!
NASTAR Pacestting crew
But of course, the best part of the pacesetting trials are the ski races and trying to set your best time. Each year, I am reminded that NASTAR is a huge part of skiing culture. It was great to see Ivan’s 10-year-old son skiing so well and enjoying watching everyone else. I can only image he was hoping that someday maybe he’ll be the fastest.
If you’ve never experienced NASTAR, come to race Deer Valley’s race arena at Silver Lake or to any NASTAR course at participating ski areas. A full list and more info can be found at NASTAR.com.
You’ll get hooked and want to come to the finals with us in the spring! Race fast and most importantly have fun. Ski racing and the NASTAR program has blessed me with the best friendships and memories!
Navajo weavers aren’t attempting to weave the perfect rug. In fact, they actually weave an imperfection into each one they make — on purpose. From what I understand, this way the design does not compete with the perfection of nature. They also believe perfection, if it were able to be attained, would stunt creativity. The beautifully woven rugs, saddle blankets and yei rugs (prayer rugs used for ceremonial purposes) all had an imperfection – a single line that went from the center of the rug to the edge. It was also explained this is a “spirit line” that allows the weavers spirit to escape the rug.
I learned all this and more at the Navajo rug sale at Snow Park Lodge at Deer Valley this past weekend during a weaving demonstration. The Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program, a non-profit organization, sponsors the rug show to create a market for the Elder’s arts and crafts and what makes this show so unusual is 100% of the proceeds go directly to them – the weavers.
It seems to me this way of approaching weaving and life -with expectations that it wont be perfect -is a healthy way. Instead of striving for perfection, eschewing that goal altogether and striving for creativity, improvement, or enjoyment is much more rewarding. Not expecting to ever be perfect opens up a whole range of possibilities. One would be more open to advice and feedback, to learning and trying new things.
I walked away from the Navajo rug show with a greater appreciation of the Navajo culture and the people. I thought it was very special that the Elders attended not only to demonstrate their craft but to explain the symbols. Some of the rugs have specific patterns handed down for generations and the Elders shared the unique qualities with the new rug owners, even pointing out the spirit lines – the imperfections.
Now if you see a typo in one of my blogs, you’ll just have to wonder if that little flaw is there on purpose.
To learn more about the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program and support the Navajos of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico with humanitarian aid and to support their crafts go to www.anelder.org.
We tend not to be sport fans and seldom attend spectator events, as we prefer to act it all out by staying very active. If there’s an exception to that behavior however, it would be Halloween, when we generally prefer to be watching, while giving away candies, instead of mingling in the street with the rest of the revelers.
Naturally, when our children were very small, we used to go out with them and participate around our neighborhood, with everyone, but this is a very long time ago! In fact, from the moment our own children became old enough to go on their own, we played that all-important role of standing by the house to warmly welcome and actively engage all the “Tricks or Treaters” that rang our door bell.
That’s right, we’ve done it for almost each one of the 28 years we’ve been in Park City and just regret that, over the years, we haven’t bothered to keep a count of our colorful visitors – we only begun that practice in 2006 and a pictorial account of the many spooky visitors we had the privilege to treat.
This year, for the very first time, I ventured into Main Street, Park City late afternoon to shoot a video about the incredible celebration in Historic Old Town. The street, closed to traffic, was literally mobbed with kids, parents and dogs all dressed up in wonderful costumes. An impressive sight that I must revisit next year!
Going back to our neighborhood, and starting just after dusk, it’s not uncommon to see up to 80 dressed-up visitors coming in 20 or more groups, most of them being young kids, sometime toddlers with the parents staying in the background. Teenagers are fewer and tend to show up later in the evening.
Attendance varies with the day of the week Halloween happens to fall on, sometime economic events and to a greater extent, weather; can have a huge influence upon the numbers of people we see. Last year, we didn’t stay at home as we went to the Salt Lake Valley to spend the festive evening with our four-year old grandson.
While some neighbors conspicuously make sure they’re not home for the occasion, we always make a point of welcoming all “Trick or Treaters.” Over the years, the treats we offered have run the gamut. For instance, while I was active in the ski industry, bright-colored Velcro ski ties would be part of the offering along with an assortment of candies. One year we proposed a choice of treats between processed Cliff Bar and all-natural banana so we could attend to everyone’s dietary concerns.
I also always make the extra effort of sporting my trademark French béret as a genuine gesture that I, too, am fully immersed into the costumed side of the celebration. Some outfits are sometime pretty creative and can catch us by surprise, although most of them are comfortably warm to address our cold late October evenings.
All goblins, spiders and other insects that come to our door are mostly very polite and have never smashed our token pumpkin. Halloween is a festivity that we plan for in advance, and take quite seriously. Like many other holidays, we find that most of the fun is in the anticipation and preparation of the event. That’s right; we never leave anything to chance or to the last minute.
Recently, my wife read somewhere that it’s not a great idea to purchase Halloween candies in advance. I asked her if the candies held for too long might eventually lose their taste, become rancid or just pass their expiration date for optimum freshness. She told me that it was simply that people who see a sizable supply of sugar treats lying around their house for an extended period of time can’t generally resist the temptation.
It never occurred to me, but I should have thought of that, as I am a typical offender who can’t help but help myself when I stand less than 10 feet away from our candy basket that is strategically placed next to my office. I shrug off any suggestion that I have an addiction by countering that sampling the supplies it’s a good way to make sure that the stuff we give away is delicious and also to gradually acclimate to the inevitable candy overdose I receive at this time of the year. I don’t usually get spooked by too much sugar, at least not around Halloween!
So while we “open shop” with great anticipation on Halloween night and welcome our first visitors while daylight still lingers, we also go to bed fairly early and never stay “open” till midnight. Generally, by 9:30 pm, as the visitors become scarcer, we turn-off the lights, set aside the left-over goodies and call it an evening. This way, the rest of the night is left for the ghosts and other Tommyknockers to freely roam wherever they please!
Actually, there wasn’t any wind the night Kansas played with the Utah Symphony. There was, however, perfect, custom-ordered Park City weather. Yes, it had rained off-and-on all day, but the late afternoon cloud-cover, with just a hint of sun peeking through, provided lovely light (and very low UV index) for the first half of the evening.
Taking in the sunset while some classic ‘70s and ‘80s tunes rolled over the hills felt like the icing on the cake of luck. (Just wait, “Cake of Luck” is going to sweep the interwebs. You’re welcome.)
Add to that a Deer Valley gourmet picnic basket, and it was, in fact, a turn-key, perfect date night. (I’ll leave out the part where Jeff had an unfortunate mishap with our crummy beach chairs—now crummy beach chair garbage—that left his fingers pinched.)
I had the odd discovery that Kansas formed its band the year I was born—and I wasn’t entirely sure how I was supposed to feel about that. Does that make me old? Them? Frankly, I didn’t want to think that hard. I did, of course, feel grateful for the well-researched Program the Utah Symphony publishes. I’ve always enjoyed the band’s hits—and wasn’t so familiar with the rest of their catalog. But, in truth, it didn’t matter. They played their hearts out for us—and the Symphony’s “warm up” set list was delightful, playful and, yes, gorgeously performed. (Indeed, Star Trek was involved. And, no, I did not wish to be beamed anywhere.)
You know how dedicated skiers are fond of saying, “There’s no such thing as a bad day on the mountain?” I think that should be extended to evenings, too. Yes, I’ve sat through a rainy night at the Symphony in the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater—but I’ve never once regretted it. Did I mention the perfect weather? And, I felt just guilty enough that I saved the beautiful desserts to take home for the boys.