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.

National Ability Center Barn Party Fundraiser- Just Plain Fun

photo (26)

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.

photo (27)
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.

photo (28)
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!

photo (29)


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?

Leaving My Son in the Dust

Nancy and RickSons have a special bond with their mothers. Well, at least when they are little since when most kids enter high school they are embarrassed to be seen with their parents.  I remember begging my mother to park down the street when she picked me up from school so I didn’t have to be seen getting in the car with….gasp…my mother.  She refused, of course.  I dreaded the time when my kids didn’t want to be seen with me.

It didn’t happen in high school with my youngest son, Rick (now 23).  He seemed to actually like having me around. In fact, he would even dangle his arm over my shoulder at…gasp….the mall! I thought we had bypassed the “my mom is embarrassing” stage until he came home from college saying things like “You aren’t going to wear THAT, are you?”  I guess certain things are unavoidable in life.

We came full circle recently when he came to visit. He is now a college graduate and a contributing member of society. He is also a snowboarder but wanted to switch it up and ski with me at Deer Valley.  His last memory of me skiing was not a good one – it was well over a year ago when we first moved here and before all my lessons!  He even took embarrassing photos of me traversing back and forth across the run and falling since my technique was so poor. He and his brothers ditched me after one run.  Who could blame them?

Nancy Rick JayThis time was different.  He was on skis instead of his board and I had been practicing, taking lessons and attending clinics. He started off on the Wide West run using the “magic carpet” people mover to get his “ski legs” since it had been 12 years since he had been on skis. Once he had the basics down, we headed up the Carpenter Express chairlift to Success.

I planned on taking the Rosebud cut off since it would be a bit easier for him for his first run.  He didn’t see me and stayed on Success where the bottom is a tad steeper.  I caught up with him and as anticipated, he had some initial challenges and stopped halfway down.

This was my opportunity – one that rarely comes and I wasn’t going to lose it. You see, Rick is a good athlete, and I knew he would quickly pass me up.  I wanted to show off my hard work and newly found mad ski skills.  So I did what any self respecting mom would do — I executed a controlled sideways slide then an abrupt hockey stop spraying him in the process.

With a straight face, I said, “Let’s face it, I am better than you.”

Then I took off.

Nancy and Rick SPWe had a great laugh as he told the story to family and friends at Snow Park Lodge.  Rick and I skied the rest of the afternoon with my friend Michelle and in no time, he was skiing beautiful turns, enjoying himself and waving at me as he passed me by. His wave, however, was one of respect.

It takes hard work and determination to learn to ski especially when you start after age 50. To be able to spend the day skiing with my son and have him dangle his arm over my shoulder again is a wonderful feeling and definitely worth the effort.

Thank you, Deer Valley.

Learning to Ski at 65 – Call in the Professionals

photo (31)While I certainly don’t agree with it, I can understand why many people wouldn’t venture to learn to ski after age 65. The older you get, the more you realize that life (and your body) is fragile.  It doesn’t help that everyone loves to tell skiing horror stories, either.  You might ski a hundred times and have an amazing day after day but do you share those stories? Of course not.

Everyone tells the story of their most dramatic day that either involved extreme fear, pain or a combination of both. For example, my brother told me the story of when he skied in college as a novice with his buddies in California, his friends took him in the trees instead of staying on groomed runs. He fell flat on his face with his skis sticking straight down and he couldn’t get back up! His toe nails turned black and eventually fell off since his boots were too tight.  Unfortunately, this happened to be my first introduction to skiing, and I was left with a less than favorable impression.

Another favorite storytelling subject is “falling” which involves ledges, trees and collisions with other skiers.  Then there is the story of a friendship ending day when someone is taken to a black diamond mogul run, chute or bowl that is way too advanced for them.  The friend ditches them and leaves them to somehow slide or trek down alone, scared and angry.

Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?  Doesn’t really make you want to grab your gear and head to the lift.   Why would you put yourself through this at 65? Well if you read this previous blog, you’d know why my husband is doing it. He wants to ski next season with our three year old granddaughter. He also wants to do it right so he can enjoy himself and minimize his chances of injury. At 65, he also certainly can’t afford to waste time learning things the wrong way and then having to relearn them.  He wants to do it right.

We called in the professionals.  We booked a couple one-on-one private lessons with one of Deer Valley’s professional ski instructors.  Since Mary Lou Mignot helped me bump up to a solid intermediate skier at the Women’s Ski Clinic Weekend, we asked for her to put together a Beginner Boot Camp for Jay.

It worked!

photo (30)Mary Lou got Jay from surface lifts on Wide West to the Carpenter Express chairlift in a matter of a few hours but more than that, he got a solid foundation in balance and control that will stick with him forever.  The lesson began with helping Jay get a feel for the skis and enjoying the slide. He then learned to take the wedge to more of a parallel turn and control his speed.

By the second lesson, he was very comfortable on the lifts and enjoying runs following Mary Lou’s ‘S’ shaped turns and having her follow him observing and providing tips to improve. He even kept his cool when some pint sized skiers went flying out of the trees within a couple feet of him. They didn’t faze him one bit and he passed his first test for skiing with grandchildren.

There were no dramatic stories of run-ins with trees, crashes, or cliffs.  He did catch the bug, however. You may know it well.  It’s the bug that changes your whole perspective on life;  the one that makes you excited when it snows on April 1st,  where you count the number of ski days left in the season and you no longer talk of events in years but in terms of “ski seasons”.  You know what I am talking about.

photo (32)It makes all the difference in the world to start your ski experience off well. Especially as you get older, you don’t take anything for granted … especially a ski season at Deer Valley.

Cross Country Skate Skiing- Day Off From Downhill

Nancy on course

Do you -
Want a day off from downhill skiing?
Want to cross train and use different muscle groups?
Have a friend who doesn’t downhill ski that you want to spend time with?

Day PassAll of the above applied to me so I made a reservation for two for cross country skate ski lessons with White Pine Touring Company.  Since I don’t cross country ski, I assumed skate skiing would be a challenge to learn but a great workout so the learning curve would be worth the effort.

Surprisingly, we were able to learn the basics in an hour and ski the 3 kilometer track the same day!  I went from what looked like a duck walk to a basic skate with the help of the instructor, Don.  As often happens in Park City, Don was more than meets the eye. He is a cross country ski instructor on the weekends and during the week he is a paleontologist (dinosaur expert) for the State of Utah.  In other words, Don is an interesting guy.

InstructorHe took us to a well groomed teaching area (that doubles as the driving range of the Park City Municipal Golf Course in the summer) and taught us to skate on long skinny skis. He suggested, “glide like Dorothy Hamill!” I tried but looked more like Daffy Duck.  After a few “back and forths”, the glide became more pronounced.

It took me a while to get the concept and get used to the different style of skis – like skiing on toothpicks!  It started to click for me when Don had us put one ski in the classic track going straight which enabled us to focus on pushing off with the other leg skating at an angle.

InstructionAfter an hour, we had the basics down and were cut loose to ski on the beautifully groomed track on the front nine of the golf course.  The course had some gentle hills which gave us enough of a challenge as a beginner but not too much to be frustrating.  We skated the 3K and at the end, I was dripping with sweat, could feel every muscle in my body, and was absolutely in love with skate skiing.

Skate skiing isn’t for everyone. In my personal opinion, you don’t have to be in top physical shape but at least be in good shape. It is physically challenging getting up the hills. This wouldn’t be the sport to go from “couch to skate ski.” It would also be best for groomed trails since it would be really tough to cut a trail using this method. So if this is an intro to the sport of cross country or you are a back country person, stick with classic cross country.

LessonTake a lesson. I assume you could learn skate skiing on your own, but why? It was much easier taking a lesson. If you are open to feedback and want to learn something new, skate skiing could be your new sport.

Oh another thing… if you want to eat an entire pizza all by yourself afterwards and not gain an ounce, take up this sport because it burns about twice the calories of downhill skiing!

For more information on cross country skiing in Park City, call White Pine Touring at 435-649-6249 or by email,

Snowmobiling Adventure

photo (1)550 cc snowmobiles (with speeds up to 60 mph)
7000 acres of groomed trails
My husband
Our 23 year old son
An experienced Deer Valley snowmobiling guide named Tabitha
And a sunny day

What could be a better combination for fun than that? I have to say the experience of snowmobiling with Deer Valley was the perfect recipe for a great time.

Rick AndersonIt was a pretty safe bet the guys would like it.   Like many men, they love anything involving motorized speed — motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, etc.  I am more of a human power fan myself — rowing, kayaking, or hiking so I didn’t realize how much fun I would have, too.  Once we were set up with our gear and our helmets strapped on tight, we jumped on our machines to listen to Tabitha give us the run-down of how to operate the sleds.

Tabitha and NancyWe headed down the trail to a wide open meadow that served as a track – we could go anywhere as long as we avoided the hazards and kept going left (aka NASCAR drivers.)  After a couple loops and getting a feel for the sleds, we opened them up a bit and took turns cutting through the middle and passing each other (while keeping a safe distance of 2-3 sled lengths in between, per our guide’s direction).

Nancy JoyThe panoramas were next as we headed to the top of the ridge to look over the Wasatch front.

We followed the fence line and headed through the Aspens covering a lot of territory on the ranch.

Anderson FamilyOn the way back, we hit the throttle and opened up the sleds through the wide meadow before parking them at the ranch.  Another adventure under our belts, I was reminded of the saying, “a family that plays together stays together” and an afternoon of snowmobiling was just the ticket for this family.

Learning to Ski at 65- Better Late Than Never

Ski School

Who in their right mind would learn to ski at age 65? A man with a mission and that man happens to be my husband – Jay. He never learned to ski as a kid even though he grew up about an hour away from the ski resorts at Lake Tahoe, California. His family didn’t ski – they were avid golfers and played virtually year round. None of his childhood friends skied so he never thought much about it, until now that is.

His motivation is a little pig-tailed three year old named Norah (our granddaughter).  You see, Jay doesn’t want to be the grandfather waiting in the lodge for everyone to finish skiing – not that the lodge isn’t nice — but he wants her to remember them skiing together.  He wants to share memories of mugs steaming with hot chocolate and marshmallows at Cushing’s Cabin.

In order to do that he needs to be good enough to not just to ski the mountain himself but to be able to take care of her safely also – follow her through the trees if need be. He knows has a long way to go since he is starting at square one but that’s not stopping him.

There is no better time than the present to get started so he signed up for a Max – 4 “first time on skis” lesson and was greeted by Deer Valley ski instructor, Peggy Philbrick who just so happens to love first time skiers.  He was joined by a couple fellow novices for the lesson  –  Danya from Las Vegas and Megan from Birmingham, Alabama who were both excited to learn to ski.

Peggy made Jay completely comfortable from the minute he clicked his boots into the bindings and headed to the skier conveyor where first time skiers move to the top of the run. Peggy explained the importance of rising up to a standing position with skis parallel and letting them float down the hill. Then after gaining speed slow down by using the wedge. These novices repeated this time after time to really feel the experience of skiing while adding in right and left turns. In a little over an hour, they were making nice wedge turns and skiing in control.  Jay came home tired but very happy from the lesson.

Jay on Wide WestThe next day, Jay and I skied together to practice his new skills on the gradual slope of the Wide West beginner run at Snow Park.  I  followed him watching in amazement at how he maneuvered his turns around the cones — practicing his turns.  He looked so relaxed!  I could tell that he will be a pro in no time not just because of his determination but because he really was having fun out there.

Since we moved to Park City, inevitably  the topic of skiing comes up with just about everyone we talk with. Surprisingly, I have heard more than one person say they don’t ski because they are too old. Too old?  I am not talking about sixty year olds here, these are forty year olds talking to me. Really?  Too old?  Maybe they have no idea that age is a state of mind.

To me, being young means:

* being open to new experiences.
* skiing during a snow storm to experience fresh powdery snow.
* riding the lift when it is five degrees out and seeing snow speckles resembling diamonds.

NorahBeing young means learning to ski at 65 and carrying a little girl wearing her princess ski helmet to the car after a magical day of skiing with her grandfather who learned to ski just for her.

Fast and Furious

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.

Nancy and Jay
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.

Mogul Course

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.

For more information click here.–

Need for Speed at Women’s Weekend Ski Clinic

Reservation sign
You always want what you don’t have.  I don’t have speed and I want it — very badly. Skiers whizz right past me, not just a couple of hot shots, but literally everyone. I am sick of it! I want to be the passer not the “passee” while at the same time, skiing safely and not getting hurt. That’s why I signed up for the Deer Valley Women’s Weekend Ski Clinic.

I figured three full days of lessons with the same instructor in the same group would do the trick and … I was right! The weekend started on Friday with a nice get-to-know each other breakfast at Snow Park Lodge with both the Men’s and Women’s program attendees. There were quite a few advanced and high end intermediates all excited to bump up their skiing levels, too.

We then did a warm up run as the instructors watched and divided us into groups based on our ability. They had planned on groups of four but we didn’t match up that way skill wise. We had a couple of advanced skiers, some solid advanced intermediates, and a few “getting back into skiing after a decade” and second season skiers (like me). I was impressed at how the instructors divided us (adding an additional instructor) so everyone was very comfortable in their group. The groups fit the individuals rather than vice versa. No one felt they were put in a group that wasn’t perfect.

InstructorAs my instructor, Mary Lou, rode the lift with my group to our first run, I explained my challenges with speed (which were obvious from the warm up) and my goal of enjoying intermediate runs with my friends.  Her reply took me by surprise, “You need to slow down to speed up.” Instead of skiing fast, we worked on controlling speed using the entire turn.  I had been doing quick back-and-forth stop-and-start turns which were not working at all.

Mary Lou used tried and true coaching techniques. When Tiger Woods trained as a kid, he purposely placed his golf ball in the deepest rough and under the most difficult lips in sand traps. Along the same vein, Michael Phelps’s coach used to purposely step on Michael’s swim goggles so they would fill with water during races so the swimmer wouldn’t be caught off guard when they were waterlogged in big races.  Mary Lou took us through some obstacles to increase our skills in the way.

You want speed?  Then conquer steep runs, ice, powder and moguls.  Mary Lou first taught us how to control our speed by shifting our weight during the whole turn instead of making sharp “Z” turns across the hill.  Then she took us over daunting obstacles and gave us a plan on how to maneuver them.  She took us to the steep Star Gazer run then to Little Kate because the top can get slick.  She had us slip slide the whole way.  She took us down Little Bell because the top has mini moguls. We took all kinds of steep runs, narrow runs, busy runs, bumpy and powdery ones, too.  Bottom line — when have some tools to handle the challenges, confidence increases.

Reviewing our skiing in the video shack.

Reviewing our skiing in the video shack.

Solid Muldoon was my test.  When I actually skied it, not just ”getting down the hill,” but nice wide controlled “S” turns and actually having fun, I knew just how far I had come in only three days.

There is something for having three solid days in a row with the same experienced instructor and being part of a bigger program –we all met for lunch each day and celebrated afterwards at the wine and cheese party — that sets you up for success.  I have to say, by Sunday afternoon my shins were tender and my quads were burning but I was happy.  I had the speed I was looking for and much, much more.

To learn more about or enroll in the Men’s and Women’s programs, click here.  Be sure to attend the celebration at the end!