Don’t be Afraid of the Cold

Brrr, It’s Cold Outside!

I am right there with you.  When it is cold outside, all I want to do is curl up in front of the fire with a warm blanket, someone to snuggle with, a good movie and some popcorn.  Sounds perfect, huh?!  Well, perfect is rare and quite frankly a bit boring.  Besides, there is always time to come back in and enjoy that warm toasty moment.

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As parents we have to lead the charge on this one. If we don’t urge our kids to get outside on winter days, they won’t know what they are missing. Honestly, every time we bring it up, at least one of our two kids will whine for a second about how cold it will be. But we keep pushing forward and work to get the family suited up for the elements. Being prepared can help you achieve a victory.

  1. Be prepared: Make sure you have all of the necessary accessories to keep everyone warm: hat, gloves, snow pants, goggles, hand warmers.
  2. Get outside before making a concrete plan: Sometimes just showing the kids that it’s not really that cold can help motivate them.
  3. Always go to the bathroom before stepping outside: This will allow you to go straight to the slopes when you get to the resort. (Hopefully)
  4. Anything is possible: There are very few “no’s” when embarking on a winter cold outside adventure. Take off your mommy hat and let the kids have fun.

Now, we move onto the plethora of possible activities, which I have stated should be discussed outside.  When kids are in the elements, they see the fun. Standing in the warm house, it is tough for them to cast an educated vote.

  1. Snowy sandcastle anyone?!: This is such a fun and easy activity that quickly turns into exercise.  You will be surprised how much the kids like to mold the snow.
  2. They don’t have to know it is a chore. Some of my best workouts have involved shoveling the walk. In fact, I almost went into labor with Skye because of it.  You can make it fun by creating a contest out of it. Who can collect the “Biggest Pile” of snow?! It’s more fun!
  3. Snow tag or hide and seek. A snow ball fight never ends well, but a snow tag battle can last a bit longer with more room for strategy and fun. Just moving around in snow is harder and therefore burns off more energy.5
  4. Snowman: Building a snowman is such a great family activity. I just learned the proper way this year. You have to start with a small snowball and roll it around in the snow, packing down the new particles of snow that the snowball picks up as you go.  It creates the perfect ball!!! So much fun!
  5. Skiing: If you have the means and the access, skiing is a super fun family adventure that I highly recommend.3

Parents, always pack snacks when heading away from home for snow activities.  The cold weather makes kids SUPER hungry. A few M&Ms can go a long way!

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Have fun and don’t be afraid of the cold!!

JF’s Mid-Season Review

As February begins, I feel that we have now stepped into the second half of winter with longer days, deeper snow, great light and an urgent need for generous layers of sunscreen. Before we turn the page on the earlier portion of winter and look to its brighter second half, I wanted to share with you my on-snow experiences so far so we can compare notes or make you feel just a tiny bit jealous if you haven’t skied yet!

With me, winter always begins with great expectations of bottomless powder, but I publicly refrain to verbalize these thoughts as I actively manage my expectations. In fact, when I speak to other skiers, I loudly claim that I expect nothing in terms of snowfall, so Mother Nature will constantly surprise me!

While most of my skiing took place at Deer Valley Resort, I began skiing late November at nearby ski areas. The snow received through November bode very well for another great season. Still, I kept my exuberance in check and prudently, adjusted my expectations. In spite of that, I watched the weather like a hawk. It’s not something I just do daily, but several times in the course of a single day. Over the years, I have become partial to the Weather Underground website and app, that I find most accurate.

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While other weather stations give me a week preview of the weather to come, this one predicts up to ten days into the future. So if there’s something I don’t like today, I generally can find what I want to see in one of the nine remaining days. If a ten-day time span sounds like overkill, there’s the more granular hour-by-hour detail that enables you to poke your nose out when the snow stops and the sun starts filtering through the clouds.

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But enough said about weather and snow, let’s go back to my early season skiing. The very early weeks are often a progressive process. It always takes time to get a big resort like Deer Valley 100% open. That’s good, because a finite run work-in-step with early season physical conditioning and the time needed to reawaken skiing skills.

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I have had a wonderful ski season so far. I’ve skied just over 50 days and just shy of one million vertical feet. I hope to reach the century mark in ski-days before the season is over. I was lucky enough to avoid an imprudent white ermine that was crossing the bottom portion of Perseverance ski run and startled a large jack rabbit at the top of Centennial Trees ski run.

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So where did all of my skiing take place? It began on groomers; Deer Valley Resort grooms its runs better than most and the experience is always good whether we receive a foot of fresh snow a day or not. My favorite groomed runs remain both Nabob and Jordanelle ski runs and many of my days at Deer Valley are marked by one of these two runs.

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Most of my skiing takes place around my three favorite chairlifts: Sultan, Wasatch and Lady Morgan. While they’re spread at the opposite ends of the resort, with so much challenging terrain and fast chairlifts, I’m able to accomplish one full day of skiing within just a few hours. The snow cover has been especially good on Ruin of Pompeii and Grizzly ski runs, two of my favorites. These runs are wonderful; not only are they longer and more challenging than most, but they both end as a groomed segment just in time to relieve some very tired legs.

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I also like Wasatch Express chairlift for the large array of ski runs it serves. My favorite one is definitely Rattler ski run that sends an invitation as one rides up the chairlift. The early season has had great snow cover on this run.

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From the Lady Morgan Express chairlift, I’m partial to Argus, Hillside and Centennial Trees. I find the two first trails extremely technical and they never fail to provide me with a good challenge. Centennial Trees ski run remains the forest wonderland where some regular and well-thought out glade skiing keeps making the ski experience better, season after season for me. The bonus with skiing Lady Morgan is it always provides me with an excellent excuse to ski Ontario Bowl on my way back, with more trees and steeps to round off the experience of the day.

Here’s to 50 more days on the mountain this season!

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 being 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.

 

Deer Valley Resort’s Summit Meadows Adventures 2014-2015 Winter Season

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Deer Valley owned and operated Summit Meadows Adventures guided snowmobile tours take place on the Garff Ranch, located a short five-mile, 10-minute drive from Park City’s Main Street, on Brown’s Canyon Road (off Highway 248). Summit Meadows Adventures has access to 7,000 acres of pristine open lands on which to snowmobile. Beautiful scenic views of the Wasatch Mountains make this an adventure you won’t want to miss. Complimentary transportation from Park City is available. For more information or reservations please call 888-896-7669 or 435-645-7669. Guided tours use single or double capacity machines.

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One or two hour guided tours are available daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., conditions permitting. Private tours are also available with a two-hour minimum.

A one-hour guided tour costs $109 per person, with a passenger rate of $20. A two-hour guided tour costs $149 per person, with a passenger rate of $30. Private tours are $125 per person/per hour with a two hour and two-person minimum.

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For more information, please visit http://www.deervalley.com/WhatToDo/Winter/Snowmobiling

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.

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.