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 been 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!

Learning to Ski at 65: First Day 2014 – 2015 Season

People are often surprised when I share that my husband Jay who is over 65 is learning to ski. When you think about it though, it makes perfect sense. Your mid-sixties is a great time to learn a new sport, like skiing!

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Sometimes going back to an old sport can be frustrating. When Jay was in high school he was a scratch golfer. Then he didn’t play for many years.  When he did rekindle his desire to play golf it didn’t go so well for him.

In his “mind’s eye” he saw himself as his younger self who hit the ball far, straight down the fairway or curved on demand.  He was an excellent chipper and read the greens fully expecting to make his putts.

Sometimes in real life, when you haven’t played a sport in a long time and you are 15 years older, you don’t live up to the mental picture from your youth. When Jay shot an 80, he became frustrated and disappointed.

He was completely supportive of me when all I did was hit the ball in the air 50 yards at a time.

“Great shot” he’d say (when it really wasn’t so great).

Once we were playing with my father who remarked, “That was a terrible shot [Nancy made]. Why did you say it was good?”

Jay said, “She got it up in the air.”  (Implying that I’d been essentially rolling the ball on the ground 20 yards at a time in previous shots.)

I was excited since I was making progress even though the ball was not even close to my target.  When Jay would hit a drive four times as far as me and then grumble under his breath, I couldn’t understand.  The shot sure looked fantastic to me!

Skiing is different.

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Since Jay had never strapped on a pair of skis until two years ago, he didn’t have a high performance mental picture in his head to live up to.  He had an appropriate expectation — gain some skills, build on them and have a ton of fun.  While the grandkids are young, learn to ski to be able to be on the slopes with them. Create memories that will last a lifetime.

To reinforce his skills and set him up for a successful ski season, he started the season with a Max 4 lesson. One thing Jay did learn from golf, was to take lessons early and often in order to improve quickly.

Here’s what he said about his Max 4 Ski Lesson at Deer Valley Resort.

“What I love about skiing is you can become relatively competent pretty quickly.”

“I can get good enough to enjoy myself and have fun – skiing is essentially sliding in the snow, right? Sliding down the hill is fun.”

“Skiing is an individual sport so no matter your level, you can have a great time.”

Jay’s instructor reinforced what he’d learned last year and focused on the fundamentals. She also gave him some skills to practice to improve his control.  He is excited, having fun and making progress. Who could ask for more?

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Jay’s instructor also reinforced the idea that Jay is exactly where he needs to be in his skiing skills development and he should enjoy every step of his skiing journey.

Which is a lot more than he can say for his golf game. For more information on Deer Valley’s Max 4 Ski Lessons – click here.

 

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!

Deer Valley Resort will Host the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup January 7 – 10, 2015

Deer Valley Resort will once again host a FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup event Wednesday, January 7, through Saturday, January 10, 2015.

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Please join Deer Valley Resort, the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team for an opening press conference on Wednesday, January 7, at 3:45 p.m. in the Bald Eagle room on the second level of Snow Park Lodge. Current members of the U.S. aerial and moguls teams will be on-site answering questions about their season and the week’s events at Deer Valley.

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All FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup competitions will be held at night under the lights at Deer Valley®. Men’s and women’s aerial events will be held on the White Owl ski run on Thursday, January 8. Men’s and women’s moguls event is scheduled on the Champion ski run on Friday, January 9 and Dual Moguls will take place Saturday, January 10. Finals for all disciplines will take place in the evening, with a fireworks display concluding each night. Each discipline will also be filmed and televised on NBC and NBC Sports Network airing on Sunday, January 11and Saturday, January 17, 2015.

Monday, January 5, 2015:
4 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Press Center is open on the second level of Snow Park Lodge

Tuesday, January 6, 2015: 
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Press Center is open

Wednesday, January 7, 2015
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Press Center is open
3:45 p.m. – Opening Press Conference with the U.S. Ski Team and the Bald Eagle room on the second level of Snow Park Lodge
7 p.m. – A free live concert featuring Chris Robinson Brotherhood will take place on lower Main Street in Park City. The celebration continues immediately after the concert with a spectacular fireworks display

Thursday, January 8, 2015
Noon to 10 p.m. – Press Center is open
2:45 to 3:20 p.m. – Ladies’ Aerial Qualifications on White Owl ski run
5 to 5:50 p.m. – Men’s Aerial Qualifications on White Owl ski run
7:45 to 8 p.m. – Aerial athlete showcase
8 to 9 p.m. – Ladies’ and Men’s Aerial Finals
9 p.m. – Awards and fireworks in the competition venue

Friday, January 9, 2015: 
11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. – Press Center is open
3 to 4 p.m. – Ladies’ Mogul Qualifications on Champion ski run
5 to 6:25 p.m. – Men’s Mogul Qualifications on Champion ski run
7 to 8 p.m. –Ladies’ and Men’s Mogul Finals
8 p.m. – Awards and fireworks in the competition venue

Saturday, January 10, 2015
Noon to 11 p.m. – Press Center is open
4:55 to 6:40 p.m. – Ladies’ and Mens’ Dual Mogul Prelim Rounds on Champion ski run
7 to 8:20 p.m. – Ladies’ and Men’s Dual Mogul Finals on Champion ski run
8:25 p.m. – Awards and fireworks in the competition venue

All events are free to the public.

This year, all events will be streamed live at usskiteam.com. To follow the event on social media, please search #DeerValleyWC.

Shabbat on the Slopes

One of my favorite winter traditions is the Friday afternoon Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath) service in Sunset Cabin, at Deer Valley Resort. Affectionately referred to by members of Temple Har Shalom in Park City as “Ski Schule.” The service is informal and fun, it feels a little bit like camp, and a lot like one of the coolest ways to practice religion I have ever encountered. That is saying something, I have prayed on top of Masada in Israel, and once, my family and I led a service on a cruise ship.

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By the way, I’m uniquely qualified to  assess “cool ways to practice religion,” because I spent one summer at a camp called USY on Wheels, which is a motor-coach tour of the United States. USY is a youth group for Jewish teens, and the purpose of the trip wasn’t just to show several busloads of children the amazing cities and national parks, small towns and stretches of highway that make up our country, but to allow us to experience the idea that you can practice Judaism anywhere. We held services at the Grand Canyon, in picnic areas in Yellowstone, in hotel conference rooms, at highway rest stops. (My husband and I met on this trip, in fact, but that’s another story, altogether.)

Ski Schule has become a tradition for my family. The service is led by members of Temple Har Shalom, often by a rabbi, but frequently by a layperson, in addition to the regular Friday night services in the synagogue, itself. Members and visitors alike, delight in the bragging rights to what may be North America’s only ski-in-ski-out Shabbat service. One recent Friday, I was asked to lead the service. I jumped at the chance, and so did Seth, whose half-day Friday schedule made it easy for him to come help me. So, loaded up with a (homemade-by-me) challah, some grape juice and the key to the cabin, in a backpack, we headed for the hill.

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Every bit of the experience thrilled Seth and me. Setting up was a hoot, Seth found all the “secret compartments” where supplies were stashed. Quickly we gathered supplies, and unloaded the contents of the backpack, then hung the Israeli flag on the pegs outside the door of the cabin.

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Welcoming guests was a blast. Everyone was excited to be there. On this day, it was all locals—which made sense, since the majority of holiday guests were en route or just checking in for the winter break. Helmets were removed, friendly faces revealed—happily, my friends Sue and Ethan, also enjoying a mother-son ski outing, were among them. “I wanted to surprise you,” she said with an impish grin—acknowledging that she had made a zillion excuses as to why she could not join me, just two days earlier. Another guest invited her Mahre Camp coach to join us—something I’m sure he didn’t expect when he clicked into his bindings that morning. A family of three arrived, parents rejoicing in their daughter’s half-day of school, so they could share some turns and the service, together.

Soon, we sang some opening songs and then got down to business. The service is a complete, but abbreviated version of the Reform Jewish “Welcoming the Sabbath” service, held in synagogues around the world on Friday nights. Seth actually stepped up to lead a prayer (making his Jewish mother, who also teaches Hebrew School—kvell) and then, in the tradition of seven year olds, everywhere, grew antsy. “I’m hungry!” He announced just loudly enough that a fellow worshipper heard, and responded by producing a mini Kit Kat from his pocket. (Yes, dear reader, it was the rare candy-free ski day, and I won’t make that mistake again, anytime soon.)

As we concluded the service, I marveled at this amazing blend of communities—guests from all over the world will come to Sunset Cabin, all winter, to be among other worshippers. If you ask them, they will surely tell you the experience enhances, rather than interrupts, their ski day.

To me, Ski Schule (as well as the non-denominational Christian service, held in the same cabin on Sundays at 2 p.m.) is one of those experience that helps define the Deer Valley Difference. It provides a gathering spot for like-minded people to share an experience that is unique and gratifying, social and spiritual. Come to think of it, that’s how I often define a great day on the hill at Deer Valley. How about you?

Would you like more information about services at Sunset Cabin? Send me a Tweet   or @Deer_Valley.

2015 Ski Season Goal Setting

Athletes set goals. Not just high-level generic goals but specific, measurable, relevant goals with a quantifiable deadline. They may implement the “Kaizen” practice of continuous improvement; significant results can come from many small changes accumulated over time.

However, the problem is that my goals didn’t seem to fit in the traditional goal setting model and certainly not using the term “athlete.”  You see, this season I don’t particularly want to shave off any time. I am perfectly content to enjoy my nice easy turns on the beautifully groomed runs at Deer Valley Resort.

I simply love skiing at Deer Valley. Don’t get me wrong, I have set goals the past three seasons of my serious skiing career (I was a beginner in 2012.) Now if a run has a blue square next to it, I am on it!

This year, enjoyment is the only goal I can think of.  Well unless you count “skiing as often as I can.”  Anything wrong with that? I don’t think so.

Athletes set goals and I completely respect that, but I am wondering if this year I should simply set enjoyment and happiness as my ski goals?

Seems perfectly reasonable to me.  If I did set some happiness targets, these would be on my list:

  • Eat more Turkey Chili – not all at one sitting. “Eat Turkey Chili more often” would be how I should word it180 Deer Valley Turkey Chili
  • Sit on “The Beach” at Silver Lake Lodge while basking in the sun with a beverage in my hand more often
  • Enjoy each one of Deer Valley’s restaurants (not all in one day of course)3
  • Ski with a beginner
  • Ski with an 80+ year old
  • Try out new Rossignol skis at the Yurt at Empire Lodge
  • Enjoy S’mores at the Montage and pet Monty the Bernese Mountain dog
  • Invite more friends to ski with me
  • Wear my ski pants to Mass on Sunday mornings and then go directly to Snow Park Lodge
  • Put on my Ibex or Smartwool layers and ski when its 5 degrees outside so I can experience the frozen air sparkling like diamonds from the lift
  • Take more selfies and post them with #SkiTheDifference on social media2
  • Sign up for the Women’s Weekend with a friend who has similar ability
  • Ski backwards
  • Listen to more music during Aprés Ski on the upper deck at Snow Park Lodge
  • Stand on top of (and ski down) Little Baldy, Bald Eagle, Bald Mountain, Flagstaff, Lady Morgan, and Empire mountains all in one day
  • Ask a mountain host to map out a “suggested ski day” for me based on my ability4
  • Take the hosted ski tour with other intermediate skiers
  • And so on…

What do you think of my goals for the season?  Any additional happiness suggestions? What are your goals for the 2015 winter ski season? Let me know on Twitter @Nancy_MoneyDiva or @Deer_Valley.

If you are more serious about setting goals than I am, here is a resource for goal setting from the U.S. Olympic Training Center; Setting Smart Goals – resource  U.S. Olympic Training Tips for Athletes and Kankyo Kaizen Starter Kit – Simpleology

Deer Valley Resort Rings in Its Holiday Festivities

Holiday magic is happening at the resort recently awarded United States’ Best Ski Resort by the 2014 World Ski Awards. Deer Valley Resort’s holiday events have become beloved annual traditions for visiting guests, the entire Park City community and locals alike.

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To celebrate Christmas, Santa Claus will visit Deer Valley on Wednesday, December 24, 2014. The jolly old man will first jingle around the Snow Park Lodge area at the resort base from 9 to 11 a.m., and then from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Silver Lake Lodge (mid-mountain) area. Guests are invited to bring a camera and have their picture taken with St. Nick during his visit.

Another highlight of Deer Valley’s holiday season is the annual Torchlight Parade. The parade takes place Tuesday, December 30, 2014, at dusk (approximately 6 p.m.). The resort’s renowned ski school will dazzle guests with torches, synchronized skiing and incredible “illuminating” moves. The parade descends down Big Stick ski run on Bald Eagle Mountain and is best viewed from the plaza area of Snow Park Lodge, where complimentary hot cider and cookies will be served from 5:45- 6 p.m. New this year, the Snow Park Restaurant will remain open during the event and offer a full menu.

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Deer Valley Resort has guests covered when it comes to gift ideas for everyone on the list, which can be conveniently purchased at resort retail stores or ordered online. From the youngest to the oldest on the list, guests will find merchandise for any age and style at Deer Valley Signatures, Deer Valley Etc., Shades of Deer Valley, and NextGen DV offering skiing apparel and accessories for the next generation of Deer Valley skiers: toddlers to teens. For those who savor Deer Valley’s award-winning cuisine, perfect gift ideas include food items, such as the resort’s famed Turkey Chili Mix, Jumbo Cookie mix or housemade mustards and marinades. The top-selling resort cookbook Chocolate Snowball: and Other Fabulous Pastries From Deer Valley Bakery (now in its second printing in paperback) is a must-have for the bakers on the list. Also available are gift items such as fleece vests, stylish Deer Valley coffee mugs, plush toys, ornaments, jewelry, wine glasses and top quality sunglasses, goggles, clothing and accessories.

Guests may shop at Signatures in person at three locations: 625 Main Street, Park City (open daily 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. year-round); Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Village (open daily 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during ski season); and Deer Valley’s Snow Park Lodge (open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during ski season). Signatures items can be ordered online at deervalley.com or via phone at (800) 833-2002. Deer Valley Etc., Shades of Deer Valley and NextGen DV are all open daily during ski season in Snow Park Lodge.

The Deer Valley Gift Card is also a fabulous and flexible holiday gift idea. The Gift Card can be used at any of Deer Valley’s operations for lift tickets, Ski School, restaurants, Signatures Stores, Shades of Deer Valley, NextGen DV, child care or ski rentals. Cards can be purchased for any amount, and are reduced by the amount of each purchase until all money has been used. Cards may be used while at Deer Valley Resort, or for phone orders for Signatures merchandise. Gift cards can be purchased online at deervalley.com or in person at Deer Valley Signatures.

As the holiday season is all about entertaining, Deer Valley has 12 restaurants open during the holidays with options perfect for either an intimate dining experience or large-group fun. See the resort website for full descriptions of cuisine and restaurant hours. Happy Holidays from Deer Valley Resort! For more information or a complete schedule of holiday events and festivities, please log on to deervalley.com.

Deer Valley Resort Named United States’ Best Ski Resort

For the second year running, Deer Valley Resort has been awarded United States’ Best Ski Resort by the World Ski Awards. Following a year-long voting process from leading ski tourism professionals worldwide, as well hundreds of thousands of ski consumers from 127 countries, Deer Valley Resort won the distinction among a short list of USA finalists during the 2014 World Ski Awards the weekend of November 21-23, 2014, in Kitzbühel, Austria.

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The World Ski Awards serves to celebrate and reward excellence in ski tourism and focuses on the leading 20 nations who are shaping the future of the ski industry. Deer Valley Resort’s win comes after a record number of more than a million votes were cast across the globe for the competing resorts. Votes were cast by leading ski tourism professionals worldwide—senior executives, travel buyers, tour operators, agents and media—as well as thousands of luxury travel consumers via worldskiawards.com and World Ski Awards’ Facebook page.

Deer Valley Resort had been invited to attend the 2014 Ski Oscar’s formal announcement and presentation taking place in the legendary winter sports destinations of Kitzbühel, Austria—the home of skiing and home of the World Ski Awards.

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“Deer Valley Resort has a time-honored commitment to excellence,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort. “This accolade further cements our determination to be a worldwide industry leader. We are thrilled to have earned the distinction for two consecutive years.”

The World Ski Awards is part of World Travel Awards, serving as “the Oscars of the travel industry” for the past 21 years.

About World Ski Awards

Launched in 2012 as the sister event to the World Travel Awards, World Ski Awards is the first ever global initiative to celebrate and reward excellence in the ski hospitality industry. World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Today, the WTA brand is recognized globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire. The World Travel Award’s annual program is renowned as the most prestigious and comprehensive in the travel and tourism industry.