Unexpected Surprises: Fall Colors Montage Deer Valley – Mercedes Tour

Aspen and Snow pinesDo you love aspens the way I do?  Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up with them, but I simply adore aspen trees.  I love them! Its not just “love”; it feels more like “being in love.” You know that feeling? Your heart is just taken over and there is nothing you can do about it.  I love how their leaves rustle in the wind. I love the stillness and beauty of their white bark. I can’t get enough of them.

I was excited to experience the aspens as they changed their leaves from green to a blanket of yellow and the reds and pinks of the shrubs that share the mountain with them. Snow was the first unexpected surprise. Since we planned our Montage Deer Valley– Mercedes Fall Colors Tour for the last week in September, snow on the ground was the last thing I counted on. I understand the first snowfall on record in Park City was as early as September 17 so we weren’t far off when it snowed on September 25 this year.

Guardsman PassWhen we arrived at the Montage, our driver, Nick decided to take a Mercedes 350L with all wheel drive. Then he could take us wherever we wanted to go – back roads, tight turnouts on winding roads, and enjoying comfort on the open road. Nick started us off at Guardsman’s Pass just above the Montage Deer Valley. It seemed like we were on top of the world!  Seeing a few inches of snow on the ground with the groves of aspens starting to turn yellow was delightful.

We’d never been to Big Cottonwood Canyon so Nick made a detour so we could see all sides of the Wasatch Mountains.  On our way, we saw hillsides full of evergreens covered in snow with pockets of bright yellow and orange foliage – so unusual and beautiful.  Here is a “locals tip” Nick shared – take a drive from the top of Guardsman’s Pass through Big Cottonwood Canyon and stop for lunch at the Silver Fork Lodge and Restaurant near Solitude Resort.  We’ll remember that one.

Big Cottonwood2Another unexpected surprise was just how nice it was to have a driver. Whenever we go for a drive, my husband is always at the wheel. That’s great for me, of course, but the driver needs to pay attention to the road and navigate as well!  Jay really enjoyed being a passenger for this trip, taking in the full experience of the beauty of fall. We noticed whenever the words, “beautiful” or “amazing” came out of our mouths, Nick had already stopped and got out of the car while saying, “Do you want to stop and take a photo?”  “Of course we do!” I answered as he opened my door.

Guardsman Pass2Guardsman’s Pass Road to Midway was our next route.  It seemed like the whole stretch is one huge aspen grove and my head was spinning.

Guardsman Pass at HeberNext stop, the view of Heber Valley from the top of the Wasatch.  Another “locals tip” Nick shared was going to Cascade Springs near Soldier Hollow Cross Country Ski Resort then stop in Midway for pizza at the Café Galleria.  We’ll remember that one, too.

Nick's towards GuardsmanThe next unexpected surprise was a special road to a secret spot Nick had scoped out a week earlier. I have no idea how to get there so you’ll have to ask Nick. He showed us an amazing scenic overlook and I can imagine this is what Switzerland might look like.

Next we were off to Sundance resort, Nick took us on the 20 mile Alpine Loop above the resort and maneuvered the Mercedes onto every turnout he could find.  The end of a winding road or a narrow turnout was no match for Nick if we wanted to stop and get our fill of the beauty and snap photos.  The glacier carved peaks of Mt. Timpanogos that rise above the Sundance Resort made for an amazing view.

Jay at Alpine Loop at SundanceAnother delightful surprise, Nick found a wonderful picnic spot nestled in the forest with a sunny table and pulled out two wine glasses and a bottle of Pinot Gris from the picnic basket filled to the brim with chicken pesto sandwiches, red quinoa salad, Caesar salad, berries galore and a huge brownie to share. The wine tasted crisp and fruity to me but even sweeter for my husband who could simply relax and enjoy the day since Nick was doing the driving.Nancy and JayOn the trip back, Jay and I were a little quieter as we made fewer stops and simply took in the beauty on our comfortable drive.  I got to gaze at my beloved aspens, while holding my sweetheart’s hand.  I had to pinch myself a couple of times to make sure this wasn’t just a dream.

 

 

Dog-Day Afternoon at the Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Trials

sheepAre you having a tough day? Long hours, changing expectations and no support?  If you want to feel better about how tough your job is, go watch the Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Championship in early September.  What these sheepdogs (and their handlers) do makes your tough day look like a walk in the park.

Here’s what you have to do:

the gateRun up the hill in the hot sun and approach a group of eight sheep who think you are a wolf.  Do this in an easy smooth way (called “the lift”), so they don’t bolt.  Then when they want nothing to do with you and are scared you will do them bodily harm, take control of the group and herd them down the hill through a pair of gates.  Leave the group at the bottom of the hill … and…

Go back up and do it again!  Get another group of eight sheep and herd them through the same gates even though as soon as they see the other group, they want to make a beeline straight towards them.

Join the two groups and herd all 16 sheep around a pole in front of a stadium full of people. Then send them back up the hill through yet another set of gates, with no stragglers veering off course.  Since that was so much fun, you get to do it again!  Cross the hill and herd your 16 sheep so every single one does your bidding.  Bring them back to the stadium and into a ring.

the chaseYou aren’t done yet.  That was the easy part.  Now you want to shed off all but five sheep.  Not just any five, you have to keep the ones with red collars. The problem is they really, really, really want to stay together.  They will bolt the minute they can.  Picking out five and keeping them separated from the others is like picking a needle out of a haystack on a moving truck.

IF, AND ONLY IF, you are able to accomplish this, you have one more step – get them in a 12 x 12 pen so your handler can close the gate.  By the way, these sheep are now very irritated and tired of you pushing them around.  They will challenge you, stamp their feet, refuse to budge, or try to run off.  You have to get up close and personal (remember they think you are a predator) and herd them gently into this pen which is just about the last place in the world they want to go.  You have to be extremely patient and slowly urge them in. No problem, right?

the penSome of the dogs lost their cool and either rushed the sheep too quickly or nipped at their feet. That’s a no-no. They just couldn’t take it anymore!  Who could blame them? But the best dogs were able to do it!  At the sight of the gates shutting and the handler raising his hands, the dog jumped for joy and then jumped directly into a big horse trough full of water to cool off after a job well done.

Whether the dog gets the trophy or the doghouse, it’s been an extraordinarily difficult feat that very few dogs and handlers achieve!  Whatever my day has in store for me, I know it’s much easier than a dog-day afternoon at the Sheepdog Trials, but certainly not as entertaining.

Don’t Try This at Home: Champagne Sabering Ceremony at the St. Regis

nancy and jayChampagne is something we don’t drink often enough.  Traditionally Champagne is the beverage of choice for celebrations, and I don’t know about you but I tend to only pull out a bottle for the big things. When there is a new job or promotion, a wedding, a new baby or a new home, out comes the bubbly.  My European friends on the other hand, will pop open the cork simply for a beautiful afternoon to enjoy together. They know how to celebrate life every day.

My husband Jay and I, along with some good friends, decided to follow the European tradition and celebrate a beautiful evening in Park City.  We headed to Deer Valley and took the Funicular up the mountain to the St. Regis to enjoy the nightly Champagne Sabering Ceremony.  I figure, if you are going to enjoy champagne, why not enjoy the pageantry of the sabering ceremony while taking in the view of my favorite ski runs from deck of the St. Regis?

pre saberAs often happens in the mountains on a beautiful clear evening, a cloud appeared and sent droplets of rain on all of us.  Though we easily could have gone inside, we stayed out on the deck with a few other adventuresome patrons and ducked under the substantial umbrellas until it passed over.  It was worth the wait as the sky cleared up and the St. Regis Butler jumped onto a large boulder with a champagne bottle in one hand and a saber in the other.

post saberIn the blink of an eye, he sheared the top of the champagne bottle clean off.  At first, I thought he had sliced the cork and it popped off because I’d never seen this before.  Under closer inspection, the sword indeed had sliced cleanly through the neck of the bottle.  After holding the heavy and very sharp saber myself, I could see how it could be done.

nancy with saberThough I wouldn’t recommend trying this at home but watching at the St. Regis mountainside deck with good friends, definitely!

Cheers!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The St. Regis Champagne Sabering Ceremony is held every evening on the deck. Contact the hotel for more information. The gorgeous views and the champagne are complimentary.

 

Tour of Utah Final Stage on Main Street in Park City

race startMain Street is the place to be when the cyclists take off and return for the final stage of the Tour of Utah. Even though many of us have never cycled in a race, we all can relate to the difficult sport.  I can’t even imagine five days of leg burning capped off with a sprint up Guardsman’s Pass in the last 5 kilometers of the race then racing at 50 miles an hour down the steep Empire Pass.  That’s brutal!

cyclistsI love the buzz on Main Street in Park City on race day. I attended last year and was shocked at how we were able to get such a great view of the finish line at this world-class race.  This year my focus was on the start.  My husband and I came early and set up on lower Park Ave so we could watch the riders from the beginning before all the breakaways.

support carsI found myself cheering for the support car from my favorite sponsors as they followed the riders on the course ready with a spare bike and tire.  It seemed a little odd to be cheering for a car in a bike race.  Then again, NASCAR fans across the nation cheer for their favorite cars (sans the drivers) as the support team drives across the country to the next race.  So I figure I am in good company.

subaru boothMain Street was packed with bike enthusiasts discussing the latest equipment and technology with vendors.  The BackCountry and Subaru booths were jammed with fans watching the race on the big screen TVs inside.

We picked up our swag from the vendors including our cowbell that we plan to send to our 3-year-old granddaughter (which she’ll love but just might drive her parents a bit crazy.)  We stocked up on Chapstick, hats, and sunscreen offered by the vendors.  We put our names in to win multiple bike jerseys – we’ll let you know if our names are drawn!  You never know.

backcountry stickMostly we walked away with an appreciation of the teamwork involved in cycling. At first glance it appears cycling is an individual sport. It’s not.  I really had no idea how the Lead-out man, the Peloton, and Domestiques on the team work together to produce a win.  Living in Park City, we have so many opportunities to learn about world-class sports up close and personal that we might not have the chance to see elsewhere.

backcountry tvThis may sound silly but I am looking forward to riding my bike on the trails in Park City using my “Competitive Cyclist” water bottle.  It will be a reminder for me to push myself, take one more hill and pick up my speed due to some inspiration I got on Main Street at the final stage of the Tour of Utah in 2013.

Revitalize Mind, Body and Spirit at the Remède Spa at the St Regis

StRegisLobbyI have a theory as to why you feel so revitalized after a massage.  A massage can be much more than simply relaxing and having a trained massage therapist knead away the tension in your muscles.  Certainly, the body feels great after a massage but the mind and spirit can be rejuvenated, too.

My theory has to do with “what’s behind the knot”; something caused you to tense up and create a knot in the first place.  Granted, sometimes you may have tension in your lower back because of the way you sit at your desk or you may have tightness in your calves because you are a runner.  Most knots, I believe, are due to some tense event that caused you to tighten up, possibly without even realizing it.  There is a reason people call someone or something a “pain in the neck.” The problem you had may be long solved or the person long removed from your life but the knot is still there.

As your massage therapist works on the knot, you often think about that tense event.  When you let it go in your mind as you let it go in your body, the whole thing revives your spirit.  When I booked a couple’s massage for my husband Jay and me at the Remède Spa at the St. Regis, I’d forgotten all about my theory.  We’d never had side-by-side massages before and the anticipation of the experience was all I was thinking about.

RemedeCouplesSpaSuiteOnce the massage started, I remembered.  You see, I told my massage therapist, that I really didn’t have any knots in my back so she didn’t need to spend much time there.  But when she started working between my shoulder blades, she found a couple of knots hiding there.  These knots gently reminded me of some unfinished business, some residual tension that I still needed to let go.  With her help, I did.

Jay OutsideAfter the massage, Jay and I relaxed together on our serene private patio listening to the sounds of the waterfall from the massive rock sculpture in front of us. As we took in the breathtaking views of the mountains, he mentioned a few things he was thinking about during the massage.  Turns out, he’d had the same experience with some knots he didn’t even realize he had and some unfinished business he had a chance to let go of too.

I have another theory.  The reason it was so easy to let go of the tension and revitalize the mind, body and spirit was the sanctuary at the Remède Spa.  The treatment room was more like a retreat than a room so we felt peaceful.  We had our own private space to relax before the massage with a Jacuzzi tub, private shower and our own outdoor patio so we felt at home.

StRegisFireGarden_SummerThe therapists spoiled us.  We were treated to a warm oil foot massage and paraffin wax treatment for starters.  During the massage, there were no distractions by feeling too warm or too cold or the pressure being too strong or too soft. The state- of-the-art massage tables bent gently at our knees and raised our heads slightly adding to our comfort. Our needs were met before we had to ask so we were able to relax.

Since our massages were side-by-side and we happened to choose the same type, we had a shared experience like none other.  Some people might come to the Remède Spa to let their mind and body escape reality, but in our case, I think the peacefulness of the experience helped us each to let go of an old reality and embrace a new one together.

 

 

Hops on the Hill at Stein Eriksen Lodge Makes our Favorites List

Nancy with beerOne of the best-kept secrets is how wonderful Park City is in the summer.  Many locals have shared with me how they came here to ski in the winter but once they spent a summer here, they became permanent residents.   This is only my second summer living here year-round and I’ve found there is so much to do, it’s difficult to decide how to spend a summer evening.

Last week my husband Jay and I attended, “Hops on the Hill” at Stein Eriksen Lodge and now have added the event to our list of  “favorites” for summer entertainment.

Here are five reasons why:

  1. The Hill.  The setting on patio of Stein Eriksen Lodge is hard to beat. As you walk onto the patio, no matter how many times you’ve been there, you just say, “wow.”  The views of the aspens and evergreens on the mountain and the green grass on the ski runs are so pretty.  You just simply feel relaxed being there.
    Apricot Hefeweizen
  2. The Hops.  With the event admission price, you get a wristband with 5 mini-tickets so you can try five micro-brews.  The night we went, Wasatch Brewery was highlighting their Apricot Hefeweizen, White Label Belgian Style White Ale, Ghostrider IPA, Summerbrau Lager, and the Devastator Double Bock Amber Lager. My husband tried them all.

White Ale Devastator

Since you could mix and match at your leisure, I loaded up on my favorite.  I immediately fell madly in love with White Label Belgian White Ale so I used up three tickets on one.  Then I had a tiny sip of my husband’s “Devastator” so I could taste it but held out the rest of my tickets for the Apricot Hefeweizen and the Summer Lager. Choices are nice.

Chef Zane3. The pairings.  I’d attended a wine and food pairing but never a micro-brew and food pairing with Chef Zane.  He put together a roast beef and horseradish sandwich with the Summertime Lager – perfect!  The Apricot Hefeweizen tasted great on its own but was really amazing with peach and apricot delicacies.  Veal meatballs and prosciutto wrapped shrimp skewers went well with the Ghostrider IPA.

Jay with beer4. The company.  Many of the attendees came with a group of friends and sat together at some of the round tables or around the fireplace.  The venue provided an opportunity to share an evening catching up with good friends. Jay and I moved from one of the tall standing tables to the next trying our new brews and meeting new people.  We got some tips on hiking trails from some locals and met people from as close as Draper, Utah to travelers from Palm Springs, Calif.

Mister Sisters5. The music.  In the middle of the event, we heard music and realized Tuesday nights at 7 p.m., there is a free concert at Stein Eriksen Lodge lawn just below the patio.  After our fill of food, we finished our last beer tasting on the patio looking down over the concert.  We had a chance to listen to local band “Mister Sister” with the amazing harmonies that only sisters can have.

I love watching people dance almost as much as I love dancing myself. It’s fun to see how each dancer interprets the music once they have shaken off their initial shyness.  Concertgoers got up to dance on the grass to Mister Sister’s covers of oldies such as “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel and more recent tunes such as “Black Horse in the Cherry Tree” by KT Tunstall.  Little girls did twirls and cartwheels. Ladies got up and danced together in small groupings.  Couples walked up hand-in-hand to enjoy a tender moment on a summer evening.

With those five reasons, can you see why Hops on the Hill at Stein Eriksen Lodge made our favorite’s list?

For more information on Hops on the Hills, click here.

 

Savor Your Summer at the Royal Street Cafe with Deer Valley’s Signature Cocktails

 

three cocktailsWhat are your favorite memories of summer?   One of mine is a girl’s weekend (before I moved here permanently) in Park City – three California girls came in for a four-day weekend.  Dressed in short sleeved t-shirts and shorts, we rode the chairlifts from Snow Park to Silver Lake Lodge and to the top of Bald Mountain.  It was a beautiful warm summer day so we didn’t dream of bringing a light jacket!  It got chilly on the lift so the three of us huddled together for warmth.  We each pulled our arms out of the sleeves wrapping them around our waists underneath our shirts to slow the goose bumps.  When we arrived at Silver Lake, we ran into a shop and bought sweatshirts!  We enjoyed the second half of our lift ride to the summit much better and have laughed about it ever since.

On the way down, we stopped for lunch at Royal Street Café and enjoyed a lingering lunch on the deck in the full sun with our new sweatshirts draped across the backs of the chairs and Blueberry Mojitos in our hands. Now, I live here full time and always bring visitors on that very same scenic lift ride and to bask in the sun for alfresco dining on the deck.  As a local, I’ve learned to always bring a light jacket or sweatshirt as temperatures change frequently in the mountains, and I’ve also picked up a thing or two about cocktail options at the Royal Street Café.

My friends and I lucked into the Blueberry Mojito because we saw it come out on a tray to a patron sitting at a table next to us.  We said to the server, “We’ll each have one of those.”  What we didn’t know at the time was the Royal Street Café scours the farmers markets each week to choose local seasonal fruits such as raspberries and apricots and herbs such as rosemary and basil for their cocktails.  They make juices and mixes fresh each day. When we were enjoying our day in the mountains, we were sipping the freshest local fruit juices and tasting hints of freshly picked local herbs from right here in the Wasatch Mountain area.  To us, the experience was seamless but to the team at Royal Street Café, it was intentionally designed for us to really enjoy a sense of place – the mountains and the summer season.  It worked!

nancy and bonnieA lot of the inspiration for seasonal cocktails comes from lead bartender, Bonnie Ulmer, who has been a part of Deer Valley since the beginning. I had a chance to spend some time with Bonnie, observing her skills in action, chatting with her on the deck and having a taste test of the latest signature cocktail. In case you need some help deciding which drink to sip as you drape your arm over a chair sitting on the deck on a summer afternoon, here are some suggestions for making your summer cocktail decision:

sipping rosemary collinsTry this summer’s signature cocktail – Rosemary Tom Collins. If you like something a little on the tart side with the freshly made sweet and sour mix and you want to completely blow your mind with the addition of the hint of rosemary, this is the one for you.  When I tasted it, I couldn’t put it down because of the unique flavors.  You’ll notice when I snapped some photos of the drinks on the deck, the Rosemary Tom Collins had been sipped quite a bit.  I’ll admit it; it was me! You try taking just one sip and let me know how that works for you! The rosemary adds a unique sensory experience that encourages you to take sip after sip.

Experiment and go with this week’s special.  The restaurant and beverage team at the Royal Street Café all weigh in on the weekly special cocktail.  I got to try the RSC Berry Crush with Grey Goose vodka, splash of Chambord, fresh raspberries, and house made lemonade served over crushed ice.  The weekly special is one of the things Bonnie loves most about summer! She had a twinkle in her eye when she talked about plans for a cucumber and basil combination she was planning.  Whatever fruit is ripe and herbs are available, a new special cocktail is created to pair with the weekly food specials. If you want to be adventuresome and try something new, try the current creation.

mojitoGo with the winner – Deer Valley’s Blueberry Mojito.  This drink is the winner of the Park City’s Best Cocktail Award in 2007/2008 and for good reason. With the combination of mint, lime and blueberries, how can you go wrong?  People from all over the world come to Royal Street Café asking for this special drink and the recipe to take home.  Even the culinary challenged (such as me) have been able to make this drink at home with success!

Stick with the classics.  It’s fun to experiment with something new, but you certainly don’t have to!  You can order anything from a Manhattan, a High West Distillery Rendezvous Rye Whiskey, to a locally brewed lager from the Wasatch Brewery to enjoy on the deck at Silver Lake Lodge.

deck cocktailsThe diners who stop at the Royal Street Café are an eclectic group and the drink choices certainly fall right in line.  Whatever choice you decide, make it memorable. The important thing is to savor your summer and create lasting memories of your time in Park City, whether you live here year-round or you are here for a short stay.

For a peek at the menu and more information for Royal Street Café, click here.

 

 

Mountain Biking Lessons: Zero to Intermediate in One Morning

nancyHave you ever had a song stuck in your head?  Over and over you hear something like, “Wake me up before you go-go… I’m not planning on going solo.”  The words keep coming back in a never-ending loop and finally when you think its over, there it is again.

Doug, our Deer Valley mountain bike instructor, got in my head during our lesson last weekend but fortunately in this case, it was in a good way. You see I have a bad habit.  I look down.  When I ski, instead of looking at where I am going, I look down right in front of me at all the obstacles I am about to hit.  Of course this means I have no time to react because I see them too late.

dougDuring our mountain biking lesson, my husband Jay and I learned a great many things including balance with the platform stance and transferring our weight way back on the bike so we are almost sitting on the back tire for steep declines.  We learned to trust the bikes; we employed controlled momentum and the 29” knobby tires took us over rocks, roots and gravel with no problems. The third important lesson we learned was vision.

Doug explained,  “When you look ahead to where you want to go instead of where you are, your brain registers everything in front of you even the fuzzy stuff in your peripheral vision.”  I took that to mean, looking down is a complete waste of time.  It’s also no fun.  When all you are looking at is obstacles, all you experience is fear.  When you look ahead to where you want to go, your brain is actively engaged in the strategy to get there, which is way more fun!

Somehow this concept I had been struggling with suddenly became very easy. The words, “Look up” were stuck in my head and I was automatically doing it.  Why now? I wondered.  Maybe it was because Doug, from a large Italian family, is a loud talker.  He told us growing up he couldn’t get a word in at the dinner table unless he spoke really loud and over top of his brothers. To the casual observer, his family dinner might sound like a heated argument but to them, it was a normal every day occurrence.  His loud clear instructions stuck with me – “Look up! Vision!  Choose your line.”

When you coupled the loud talking with his step-by-step instructions and attention to detail, we had a winning combination.  Since Deer Valley mountain biking trails start at the intermediate level, Doug started us in the parking lot where he built skill upon skill. He had us riding the bumpy stairs from one lot to the next.  He taught us how to take turns on specially prepared switchback trails beneath trees on the side of the lot. When we got the “Let’s do it!” from Doug, we headed to the lifts.

Nancy on Tour de Homes

Nancy on Tour de Homes

 

The lift operator handled each of our bikes hooking them onto the chairs behind us.  When we got to the top, we headed to “Tour des Homes” – the easiest mountain bike run but still an intermediate trail.  When we hit the first steep decent, I was prepared and looked up to where I wanted to end up – not at the ground in front of me.

The first turn – I looked ahead.

The first bump – I kept my eyes on where I was going.

When I encountered:

Rocks,

Gravel,

Grooves,

A narrow single trail,

And switchbacks with all of the above, I looked up the whole time!  I just kept hearing, “Look up!” both from Doug and also in my own head. I was cured!

Nancy's husband, Jay, on Tour de Homes

Nancy’s husband, Jay, on Tour de Homes

The most important part is we were also having fun. Jay and I hadn’t even dusted the cobwebs off our bikes this year. We’d never even ridden a single track in our lives and Deer Valley got us from zero to intermediate in one morning.  We were pretty amazed.  Our friends were amazed.  Our children were shocked.

after the lessonWe’re looking forward to taking our bikes up the lift and hitting the Tour des Homes many times this summer.  I love having that voice in my head saying, “Vision! Look up!” I hope it stays with me for the entire ski season, too.  Now, that would be wonderful.

The only problem I have now is I can’t get this tune out of my head, “Wake me up before you go-go … I’m not planning on going solo.”  Anyone have a cure for that?

To learn more about the mountain biking lessons and experience at Deer Valley Resort, click here.

Find Your Beach at Deer Valley with Stand Up Paddle

I do miss the beach.  Don’t get me wrong.  The love of the mountains is what brought me to Park City and their beauty keeps me here.  But… if I could have the absolute best of both worlds, it would be on the water AND in the mountains.  Guess what?  I found it. Its called Stand Up Paddle (SUP) located at the ponds behind Deer Valley Grocery~Café.  You can get your surfer culture on-the-water fix set off by the mountain backdrop.Paddleboards

My friend Lin and I stopped by for a Stand Up Paddle lesson. We met owner Trent Hickman and instructor Max Doilney who showed us the ropes. Max asked me if I’d ever surfed. No.

Skateboarded?  No.

Snow boarded? No.

Canoed? Yes!  There was hope for me.

We lacked experience but not enthusiasm. There were all kinds of boards to use and they started us on wider more stable boards.  I went first hopping on the board to a kneeling stance and paddled around with no problem at all.   So far –so good. This was pretty easy.

Getting the Hang of itNext was standing up.  I had some trepidation in moving from the kneel to a stand, which is really kind of silly, since the worst thing that could happen is I would get wet.  I love the water and it was hot so a dip would have actually been fun.  No worries, with the demonstration and instruction, we both easily stood up. We did it!

We were off!  We paddled around the pond a bit to get a feel for the boards and practice our turns. Then we headed around the island for a workout.

Trent HickmanNext we got to try something totally new – Paddle Board Yoga — an exercise in balance. We hooked the boards up to little buoys and sat cross-legged on the board to get in the yoga mindset.  I was having trouble visualizing how I could do a “downward dog” pose without tipping over.  Once I started, I realized it wasn’t difficult at all – it was a really cool way to practice yoga.  I decided not to press my luck and left the “stand on your head” pose to the professionals.

HeadstandWater, mountains, surfboards — all told I must say you can definitely “find your beach” at Park City Stand Up Paddle at Deer Valley Resort.

To learn more about Stand Up Paddle, go to PCSUP.

Check out SUP Yoga on Wed, Fri, and Sat mornings and Mad Max fitness class on Mon all starting at 10 a.m. at the Deer Valley Grocery~Café pond at 1350 Deer Valley Drive.

Participate or cheer on your favorite paddler at the Park City SUP Cup on August 24 at the Jordonelle Reservoir. Click here for more information.

Deer Valley Weight Loss Program- How to Slim Down Without Even Trying

A friend of mine spent an entire month participating in a live-in healthy weight loss program last summer. The group met with a nutritionist every day and had healthy balanced meals prepared for them on-site. A trainer worked them out six days a week, five to six hours a day both indoors and out.

I was very proud of him that he made a lifetime commitment to his health (and lost a few pounds,) however, the clinic just didn’t seem like much fun especially for an entire month.  I thought to myself, instead of booking a month at a boring weight loss clinic, why not put together your own weight loss skiing plan for a month at Deer Valley ski resort?  Let’s face it, skiing is a blast and burns a boatload of calories.

025 Mountain Scenic_Deer Valley ResortPersonally, I didn’t lose any weight this ski season.  When I stepped on the scale, the needle never budged.  But everyone kept asking me if I lost weight. I didn’t but what I lost this ski season was inches — two pant sizes to be exact. Even my feet have shrunk, (which is kind of creepy by the way) and I am buying shoes a half size smaller.  Seriously, who cares what the scale says!

Nancy PostThe weird thing is I haven’t done anything differently … except for skiing. I still am addicted to pretzels and wheat thins. I drink wine, eat pizza, cookies and chocolate — all in moderation. No deprivation diets in my house!  Even so, my pants hang on me and my suits need altering.  My body composition has changed with fat being replaced by muscle which is not reflected in the scale.  The only explanation I have for this phenomenon is skiing.

Since I had so much fun this ski season, I skied whenever I possibly could even when it was five degrees or snowing. Once I was there, I stayed out until I absolutely had to come in — my inner child wanted to continue playing in the snow!  This practice helped me lose inches without even noticing and could work easily for everyone.  Anyone wanting to lose their “muffin top” could put together a do-it-yourself weight loss plan and call it the “playing in the snow” program.

014 Deer Valley Resort Birdseye ViewAccording to Livestrong, downhill skiing with moderate effort for a 150 pound person burns about 400 calories per hour.  Taking into account the downtime riding the lift, you could easily ski three full hours in a day even with frequent breaks and burn about 1,200 calories a day. You only need a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat.  So with a ski program, you could lose inches without severely limiting calories.

Here are some ideas on how to put it together:

Ski three days on and take a rest day the fourth day – repeat for an entire month.

Try cross country classic or skate skiing to mix it up and burn even more calories.

Improve your skills and book some Max-4 lessons.

Incorporate a specialty clinic like the women’s ski weekend where you ski three days in a row with the same group and same instructor.

Eat healthy lunches like the “natural salad bar” or “turkey chili” at Silver Lake Lodge or Snow Park.Natural Buffet

Pile your plate high with good healthy delicious food at the Seafood Buffet or Fireside Dining.

If you want to eat the cherry pie, ski an extra half hour that day and indulge with a small portion.Cherry Pie

On your rest day, go to the spa at Montage, Stein Eriksen Lodge or St. Regis and get a massage, sit in the sauna, and/or steam room to relax, revitalize tired muscles and pamper yourself.

Now that’s my kind of a weight loss program!  You learn a new sport or improve your skills. When you are having fun, of course, you are going to get out there earlier and stay longer.  Getting slim by playing in the snow worked for me.  Do you think it might work for you?