2014 Ski Season Review

The season is officially over. Each year seems to go by faster and faster and this year was no different. Maybe it’s my age or just trying to manage family, work, ski races, sports and the boys’ schoolwork, but it’s safe to say there is not much down time. However, I was able to check off two bucket list items this season. First, I was able to go heli-skiing this January with some close friends. It was a lot of fun and lived up to my expectations.

Heli

Unfortunately, I was not skiing closing weekend at Deer Valley Resort because I was happily checking off another bucket list item of mine. I was in Augusta, Georgia, at the Masters Tournament. No, not the skiing masters. You wouldn’t believe how many people thought “skiing” until I clarified that it was in Augusta, Georgia. I remember watching the Masters with my mom on television. She never picked up a club but loved the game. I started golfing a few years ago and have been hooked ever since. My golf game is nowhere near my skiing ability though. If you’re a golfer this is a bucket list item for sure. My mom loved Fred Couples. I knew she was with me last weekend as I stood inches from him teeing off and putting. This was a gift to her. Thank you to the Sports Alliance for this great raffle package that I won. My golf season will start this Friday at the Park City Mountain Resort golf event as a guest and supportive friend to our great neighbors.

Thinking back on a wonderful ski season, the Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest comes to mind. This year the boys won. I like to think they requested the faster course again but my age maybe catching up to me. I had some great powder days with guests at Deer Valley Resort this season. This was my 18th season at the Resort and it still makes me proud to say I work at Deer Valley. Every morning I get to work with amazing mountain hosts, lift attendants, ski patrol and ski instructors, all of whom have a smile and warm hello for guests. You definitely get the feeling we are all on the slopes looking out for each other!

Next ski season can’t come soon enough. Thanks again to everyone who played a part in making this season such a great success. I’m excited for spring and summer and the adventures that come with warmer weather. Golf, concerts at Deer Valley, paddle boarding and mountain biking should make for a great summer in Park City.

See you on the trails!

Olympic Wrap Up

I have come out of my Olympic cloud and routine of staying up way too late and waking up early for two weeks. What else are you supposed to do during the Olympics? Although I even stick to this schedule during the summer Olympics, the alpine events are still my favorite to watch.

At the beginning of the games I was watching a women’s speed skating event when a German woman false-started. She got another try and did it again. Just like that she was out of the competition. I wanted to scream. I could feel the heartache she was going through. I wanted to reach through the TV and tell her it was okay. Millions of people are still proud of her, but at that moment no words can comfort you. I remember my Olympic moment where I was a favorite in my event and then in a second, it was gone. My mom came up to me and all she said was, “what a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” Thanks mom!

We didn’t get to see any of the women’s ski jumping events. It saddens me because no matter the result, Americans want to see Americans compete. Especially if it’s history making .(It was the debut of the event in the Olympics.)

I must admit, I am relieved that the games finished and seemed to go off without a hitch. Okay well, maybe the opening ceremony’s lighting of the rings didn’t go as planned. But, if that was the worst thing that happened, these games were a success. I’ve been asked about the snow conditions and weather for some of the events. Do I think the playing field was fair? Do I think it was a tough venue to hold the skiing? Did “unknowns” get lucky? First of all, you’re not an “unknown” if you’re in the Olympics. Next I would say, everyone had the same conditions. Also, it’s an outdoor sport; fog and sun can come in and out at any race at any time. This is why as an athlete, sometimes World Cup overall titles are a bit more meaningful. Olympics are great but it’s one day and ANYTHING can happen.

With that said, did Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin get lucky? No, they are simply the best. They can deal with any condition; it’s what skiers train for. Bode, Ted, and Mikaela  are amazing. Julia Mancuso and Andrew Weibrecht had great performances. It’s an incredible feat to perform under pressure on a world stage and make it happen; congratulations to every athlete and their performances!

I always love the Olympic fever that comes with the games. I watch with anxious anticipation. The best part is watching them with my boys. You can start to see them thinking, “Can I do that some day?” or “I want to be like him/her.” I bet it is like this in most households. This is were the dreams begin.

As the Olympic anticipation was beginning with the personal stories and commercials, my most proud moment was a story about Mikaela Shiffrin. Even though I didn’t reach the highest goal that I started dreaming about as a kid, watching the Olympics and becoming an “Olympic medal winner”, I was flattered to see the acronym on Mikaela’s helmet A.B.F.T.T.B. (Always Be Faster Than The Boys). I still try to live by this and I’m happy I made a difference!

See you on the slopes!

Ski Team Reunion

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During the 2014 Deer Valley FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup the U.S. Ski Team had a fundraiser called “IceMen.” In short, generous people donate to the U.S. Ski Team and in return get to ski with past members of the team.  

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I always enjoy skiing and learning from these former U.S. Ski team members. Their resumes include a two-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time silver medalist, bronze medalist, and an overall World Cup title holder. I’m always in amazement when I ski with them. I have such respect for this group of skiers.   

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It was our first powder day and the group wanted good skiing, so we headed to X-Files. I didn’t realize that one of our champion leaders didn’t like to hike until it was too late. But it was worth it, he enjoyed the skiing and it was great to see him laugh harder than anyone has ever seen. The guest witnessed all of us joking around with each other all day. One mentioned that it was cool to see how close the U.S. ski family really was. I feel lucky to be part of the Deer Valley family and be able to show the friends I have made it from ski racing to representing my home resort. 

See you on the slopes. 

 

 

Heidi Voelker’s First Run of the Season.


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

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

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

“Are we skiing today?”

“I don’t want white goggles.”

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

“I don’t like my new coat.”

“We need hand warmers.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Love a Parade!

EOD_july_paradeI think there is something special about the Fourth of July that sends out a different vibe then all other holidays.

Maybe it’s due to celebrating our country and our freedom.

I love the seemingly all day fly-overs of military planes and fighter jets. In high school I used to dream about becoming a fighter pilot. I bet you would never have guessed that! I wonder how I got diverted from that dream…? Unfortunately there were no fly-overs this year, much to my disappointment.

As I was watching the parade (waiting to see the Deer Valley float) a friend of mine said, “I love this holiday more than any other.” That statement got me thinking. Why is the Fourth of July better than Christmas or Thanksgiving? Then I realized that this is the only holiday that an entire town (and then some) come to the same place and gather to celebrate one day together (all day in the case of Park City)!

There is always a parade that makes its way down Main Street and Park Ave and each year has a different theme. This year’s theme was “Once Upon A 4th.” In recent years, Deer Valley floats have taken home the winning honors and this year was no exception!

While the Deer Valley team was preparing for this year’s parade, I went up to see the construction of the float. I thought it was coming together nicely and took some time to joke with our maintenance guys that I was sure this was exactly what they wanted to be doing. Not only do they fix everything that makes the resort operate they also help fabricate those winning floats.

Maintenance guys
To bring the theme to life, the float incorporated fairy tales such as Cinderella with the large clock, fairies and an enchanted forest. You may not be able to read the signs on the float, but they read Fire Swamp and Thieves Forest. These are the names of some of our mountain bike trails. Can you name that movie reference? Did you also know we have an enchanted forest at Deer Valley? You’ll have to come and find it.

Building float
So here’s the final product. Of course we won “Best in Theme” this year. We take our participation level to heart. Of course the girls who played fairies made the float with their cute smiles.

Girls on Float
I hope you all had a great Fourth of July! Keep enjoying the summer and come up to Deer Valley Resort and enjoy a hike, mountain bike ride or scenic chairlift ride then finish at Royal Street Cafe with a delicious meal or cocktails.

Two Shout Outs!

Despite not having any snow on the mountain right now, you would be wrong to think that I don’t have any connection with the resort until opening day in December.  This past weekend we had the Park City Ski Town Lacrosse tournament. This was the largest attended tournament in its nine year history with a whopping 93 teams! There were teams from all over the west, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona to as far as Texas. This event is great for local businesses as it brings a number of out of town visitors (somewhere between 4,000- 4,500 people).

photo (4)As my son’s lacrosse team, 212 Lacrosse, was in preparation for the tournament we got word that the head coach would be Brian Bilzi, none other than a Deer Valley ski instructor! I never knew we had a Division 1 defensive player on the ski slopes. Park City is home to top athletes in many sports. Mike Acee is the director of Park City’s 212 Lacrosse teams and a few of his accolades are All American, 4 time Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC) Champion and NCAA national champion for the North Carolina Tar Heels (University of North Carolina) as their starting attack player. Park City’s 212 teams were very successful during the tournament, winning 23 games losing just four. Not a bad record, especially when that covers five different teams playing in different age groups! I have to take a minute to brag about the U11 boys’ team who won all of their games! Go Coach Brian and Mike!

Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the country! If you live in the Park City area and have children, you may want to head over to the website, 212lacrosse.com. I’m not sure who enjoys the games more, me or my sons… How lucky are we to have this type of coaching locally? Very.

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Another Deer Valley connection during the tournament was Mountain Host Mike O’Malley. I remember running into him at last year’s Ski Town tournament and asking him what his connection was to it. He is a referee. Who would have thought?! This is no easy job for Mike. I was witness to some sideline antics!

And yet another Deer Valley connection…during the opening ceremonies, Deer Valley Ski Patrol Supervisor, Sue Anderson, addressed the players along with her avalanche dog, Ninja. They wished the players well and set the stage for competition.  So yes, I felt at home connected to our Deer Valley family off the slopes and on the lacrosse field!

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ninjalax

 My second shout-out is that after spending 16 years skiing in Marker clothing I am welcoming a new opportunity with a new clothing sponsor. While I am sad to end my partnership with Marker, I am filled with excitement to work with Mountain Force. Have you heard of the brand, Mountain Force? If not, check out their website.

The clothing is made in Switzerland so the fit and stitching are perfect! (Just a little joke). These coats are a few of what you’ll see me in this winter. One of my goals with Mountain Force is to bring in crazy colored and patterned pants since they have more of a conservative look than you may be used to seeing on me. But don’t you worry; I have some bright color jackets that are really fun!

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I see this relationship as a chance to be part of a new company for a long time. I hope to help in design and technical feedback. What a better way to improve something already top shelf but to have someone ski every day and put it to the test! I already believe it’s a product to trust and grow.  Check it out this fall at ColeSport.

See you on the slopes or at a lacrosse game!

 

Summertime in Park City

Only 8 days until school is out, which means summertime for the kids and back to being a full-time Mom. Do we ever have time off? Nope.

Our summer “line up” is looking good for the boys. Lucas starts off with the Park City Town Shootout (lacrosse), then off to ski camp, then back for Eliteam in Park City, then back east for another lacrosse camp in Stowe, VT. Stefan’s schedule includes lacrosse with 212 camp in Park City, Lego Minecraft camp, Eliteam in Vermont and Nike lacrosse camp. Then we’ll go south to Cape Cod after Vermont a trip to the St. Lawrence River in Canada. We land back in Utah in August and stay home saying, “phew” and enjoy the few weeks before school begins all over again.

Before the school doors close (and my kids have a dream summertime schedule), I took part in Park City’s fourth annual “Running With Ed” on Saturday, May 18, 2013. This is a 38-mile relay race that raises money for our local school system. It’s great fun for a great cause. My team this year included: Simone Nixon, Kathy Pederson, Amanda Greene, Michelle Szwajkun and moi. Let’s just say I was the weakest link! Our team raised over $2,000 and this year’s event has raised over $150,000. Not too bad for some fun and exercise!

Personally, I think we had the best costumes with inspiration coming from the Dr. Seuss book, “GO Dog Go”. 2013 Thanks in part to Simone Nixon who came up with the idea. Last year we were “The Running Crayons,” another great theme. 2012I certainly don’t contribute in creativity or to the seven minute mile that everyone else runs!  I’m running for the cause, to be the comedic relief and keeping it non-competitive, (ha-ha). When I woke up Saturday morning, it was pouring rain. Always trying to stay positive, I thought, “at least it’s not snowing!” The weather managed to hold out considering what it had been early that morning. I ended up running in the rain and I must admit it was actually very pleasant! To top it off, we placed third overall for costume and third in the women’s division!

During the summer I try to fit in some hikes with the dog and, my favorite, road biking between shuttling and traveling with the kids. I also try and hit the little white ball and pretend I’m a golfer. Luckily my friends know about my love of the game but I don’t think they realized how much I love it until the other night at dinner. I always tell them about the going-ons from the “Golf Channel” which is on at my house 24/7. Seriously. They think I’m crazy, but I may be the epitome of a “fan/admirer.” My friends are nice enough to listen to me ramble on because they know the game of golf is challenging and I’m hooked on it. While we were having dinner at a local restaurant I looked over and I said, “that‘s Mark O’Meara” they all rolled their eyes and asked who? Are you kidding me? I rattle off some stats confirmed with a friend talking to him. It ended up being the best day ever. Yes, I had spotted my first celeb sighting!photo (37)

Since the summer is just beginning. I’ll continue to keep you posted with the activities and happenings that fill my days until winter rolls back around. No, I’m not ready to be on skis just yet. I need to exercise and get ready for the fall, but I promise to enjoy the warm temperatures of summer. Stay tuned for my next post on my new ski clothing sponsor!

Cheers,

Heidi

 

Dining with Friends at the Seafood Buffet

SnowballWhere do I begin or where do I stop? Well, it’s easy to know where to stop at Seafood Buffet- the selection of desserts, but how you get there is a different story.

The other night I went to Deer Valley’s Seafood Buffet with my husband and good friends, Pete and Jolie Iacobelli. I can’t remember the last time I dined there. Not one of us left disappointed, eating at the Seafood Buffet is one of the most relaxing ways to dine. It’s a great way to catch up with friends because eating is at your own pace. You go to a food station, come back to your table, talk, and decide when you’re ready to select another station OR repeat the same station because it was so good.

Even though there is a suggested way to visit the stations, there are no specific directions or order you need to follow. We all started with the raw bar of oysters and sushi. After, I went to the grill for steamed clams and mussels. I could be completely satisfied the entire night by staying here and repeating this stop many times.  It reminds me of being on the beach in the summer because when I’m on the Cape that’s all I eat. So much for ski season weight loss after eating at our Deer Valley restaurants! Heck, life is short might as well enjoy the good stuff!

I then followed with the shrimp bisque. Yummy! I think I should challenge someone to see if they can eat everything at the Buffet just once. I wanted to try the Italian soup too, but I knew I needed room for the rest of my wish list. Now this was just my plan (of course it’s always about me) ha, but Tim and Jolie followed my path.  Pete went his own way. He came back to the table with his choices but with a sample of a dessert already! He continued to bring a dessert each time he returned. He is Italian after all.

I then ventured over to the entree station. I am a sushi and fish fan, and I will hands down say the Ahi tuna, seared rare, is best in town! My three dining partners concurred with thumbs up! We all repeated this station a couple of times even though we were trying to pace ourselves. Next came the carvery with duck & prime rib! What is nice are the small, tasting size portions you are given. You can eat a lot and try foods that you may otherwise not.

Finally it’s time for dessert. So many choices again, but my favorite is the Chocolate Snowball.  When I find my favorites, I rarely go off course. Just like Royal Street Cafe’s tuna tacos, I can’t stay away from those!

If I haven’t tempted you to dine at the Seafood Buffet then get out and ski! Start your snow dance and see you on the slopes!

Ski Racing Momma

IMG_3484I was a race mom again this past weekend and it was great! I think the best part of the weekend race was seeing Lucas aka “Billy Goat” hobble up to the start on crutches to get his little brother organized. He didn’t think I could help (so be it). You can see in the pictures Stefan listened to his brother and big brother was right there cheering him on.

IMG_3488Lucas has had a great attitude even though he has been benched for a few weeks due to his broken leg. All he says every day is, “I want to ski”.  Always having a positive attitude will pay off in the end.

IMG_3848Lucas will be on the slopes soon and the brothers will be back to challenging one another. Ohh the joys of having boys! They just don’t realize Mom can still play.

See you on the slopes!

World Cup and Being a Finish Line Mom

IMG_6192The 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!

IMG_6835So 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

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!

See you on the slopes!