#DeerValleySummer Concerts

This year marks my first summer in Park City. After the ski season, I thought that the town would slow down. Friends and family would ask, “What do you do when the ski season ends.” Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. Numerous people told me that summer in Park City is just as fun as winter. I was told stories of outdoor concerts, hiking, mountain biking, standup paddleboarding and all of the other activities the #DeerValleySummer had to offer. I was excited to see for myself what all of the talk was about.

Dirks

To kick off the summer, we planned to attend the first concert of the season at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, The Bacon Brothers. My girlfriend and I are huge Kevin Bacon (the actor) fans and when we learned he would be performing at Deer Valley Resort, we had to be there. We didn’t know that Kevin Bacon played in a band; we later found out that Kevin and Michael Bacon had been playing music together since they were small boys and as The Bacon Brothers since 1995.

2

I was told that to truly get the full experience, you should order a Deer Valley Gourmet Picnic Basket. I made sure to order the basket 24 hours in advance as per the ordering instructions online. We had the choice of salmon or beef entrèes and of course, Kourtni and I had to go with both. The salmon was lightly smoked with marinated cucumber ribbons and dill caper aioli. The beef was a chilled petit fillet with caramelized onions and horseradish cream. The Gourmet Picnic Basket also came with steamed artichokes, aioli, imported olives, Deer Valley’s housemade Tuscan salami, slow roasted tomatoes, baby heirloom tomatoes and fresh arugula, Deer Valley Artisan Meadowlark double cream brie with freshly baked baguette, an apple, grapes and two salted caramel chocolate brownie pops. We also added on a bottle of Ceago Chardonnay.

PB

You would think after all of that food, we would have had enough. A little girl walked by with a Deer Valley cookie that was bigger than her head. I realized Kourtni had never had one so we decided that one cookie couldn’t hurt. We made a quick stop by the concession stand and picked up a delicious chocolate chip cookie. Kourtni was very impressed and even sent a snapchat to all of her friends with it. I told her you could buy the mix online or from the Deer Valley Grocery~Café and make them at home. She bought the mix a few days later. The music was great, but for us the food stole the show.

photo 1 (23)

The Bacon Brothers ended the night with Footloose and had the entire crowd standing up and singing with them. Our seats were fantastic, but honestly, knowing what I know now, there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

DCIM100GOPRO

After the concert, to my surprise, the party didn’t stop. We made our way to the St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights VIP after-party inside the Snow Park Restaurant where drinks and appetizers were served. We met a few friends and talked for an hour and a half. Realizing we were one of the last groups still there, we decided to call it a night.

photo 5 (6)

This was the perfect way to kick off our #DeerValleySummer. We enjoyed it so much in fact, that we attended the Martina McBride and Dierks Bentley concerts in the following weeks.

photo 5 (8)

We sat in reserved seats again for Martina McBride. She was surprisingly short and looked as if she hadn’t aged a day. She made note of the elevation and how beautiful the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater was. Afterwards, we attended the VIP after-party and were one of the last groups to leave again.

photo 3 (14)

Dierks Bentley was by far Kourtni’s favorite concert. We had general admission seats on the lawn, brought our own cooler and got there early to make sure we had a good spot. My sister, Andrea, and her boyfriend, Tyson, met us there. They purchased hamburgers from the Deer Valley concession stand and beer from the Deer Valley Etc. store. We stood the entire concert and sang every word with 5,000 other Dierks fans. He put on a great show and really interacted with the crowd. The venue and great music made this one of the best concerts we have ever attended!

Friends

Have you been to a concert at Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater? Let me know how your experience was in the comments below or on Twitter @RyanMayfield or @Deer_Valley.

 

Deer Valley Resort is Out For Blood at the 11th Annual Transylvania Tea Party Blood Drive

Deer Valley Resort is truly out for blood this Halloween by hosting the 11th annual Transylvania Tea Party Blood Drive. This fun-filled, Halloween-themed blood drive is a tradition started by Deer Valley staff who wanted to support the community blood banks and get into the Halloween spirit.

Blood

“This event has become a fun and worthwhile Halloween tradition at Deer Valley,” said Kim Mayhew, Deer Valley Resort director of human resources. “Our staff enjoy dressing up and coming together in support of a worthy cause. We also encourage the public to join with our staff in donating. The need is urgent and constant and donations are vitally important for emergencies and for people suffering from cancer, blood disorders, sickle-cell anemia and other illnesses.”

blood 2

Last year’s Transylvania Tea Party Blood Drive received more than 100 donations. This year’s event will take place on the second level of Snow Park Lodge in the Clock Room from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, October 31, 2014. Deer Valley’s current staff base is being encouraged to participate in full force, and the blood drive is open to any community members wishing to donate. Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments are encouraged and can be made by calling 435-645-6654. Light refreshments will also be provided.


blood 1

Donors must present a photo ID, be 18 or older (or at least 16 years old with parental permission slip), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. To find out if you are eligible to donate blood, please consult the ARUP Blood Services website at utahblood.org. ARUP Blood Services, a division of ARUP Laboratories which is an enterprise of the University of Utah and the Department of Pathology, will be conducting the drive and is proud to be the sole blood provider to University of Utah Hospital, Huntsman Cancer Hospital, Primary Children’s Medical Center and Shriners Hospital for Children.

For more information on the Transylvania Tea Party Blood Drive at Deer Valley Resort, visit deervalley.com.

Scarecrows at the McPolin Farm

dvr-SCrw (1)

As you drive to Deer Valley Resort on State Route 224, it’s impossible to miss the McPolin Farm that stands as the gateway to the town of Park City. This iconic farm, purchased by the citizens of Park City in 1990, is meant to enhance the entry corridor and maintain some precious open space.

dvr-SCrw (2)

Since those days, the barn and farm have been extensively refurbished, stabilized and regularly maintained, mostly through the continuous support and work of the Friends of the Farm volunteer organization.  The McPolin Farm is also available for community events like the annual Scarecrow Festival which kicked off on September 27 and will be displayed through Halloween. A variety of scarecrows are displayed along the paved, multi-use trail that parallels the main highway.

On the last Saturday of September, Parkites created themed and handmade scarecrows. Everyone put on their creative hats, brought clothes, shoes and accessories and created a collection of unique characters.

In exchange for a donation benefiting the McPolin Farm, organizers provided the stuffing material and a support stand for each scarecrow. Events including games, pumpkin carving and face painting were held while the scarecrows were assembled. Creativity went wild and the end result is stunning!

Now the show is yours to enjoy. This past weekend, we took our grandson and he had the time of his life discovering the whimsical and sometimes spooky creatures that were lining the path. We checked each scarecrow from head to toe, laughed when we read their stage name and took lots of photos. Following is a pictorial summary of what we liked most:

dvr-SCrw-a

dvr-SCrw-b

From Snoopy to Star Wars, characters are always popular; there’s something for everyone…

dvr-SCrw-c

dvr-SCrw-d

The majority of creations are just fun and whimsical…

dvr-SCrw-e

What would a display of scarecrows be, without a few crow-creations?

dvr-SCrw-f

Of course, there is always room for the spooky kind…

dvr-SCrw-g

Education wasn’t forgotten either!

dvr-SCrw-h

…As well as worthy causes, like the ALS bucket challenge.

dvr-SCrw-i

dvr-SCrw-j

What would Park City be without sports of all kinds?

dvr-SCrw-k

… and skiing, of course!

dvr-SCrw-l

But above anything else, Snow, and lots of it!

Don’t wait; bring your kids or grandchildren along with their friends, and enjoy a day out. Just make sure to park across the street in the parking lot and walk through the tunnel to get across the highway to the Farm. Everyone will be guaranteed a great time, will get plenty of fresh inspiration and perhaps will want to create their very own Scarecrow next September!

Kathy Sherwin’s Deer Valley Difference

Fresh out of college, Kathy began her career at Deer Valley Resort as a Ski Instructor before joining the Ski Patrol team and then moving on to the resort’s Human Resources department. She didn’t stop there and worked part-time in retail at the resort’s Signatures Stores, while she pursued a career as a professional cyclist. Today, she is the Tour & Travel/International Coordinator in the Marketing department. Before she re-invents herself once more, I stopped Kathy for a few precious minutes to uncover the secret of her breathless career path with Deer Valley Resort.

dvr-dvd-kathy1

JF: What was your life like before Deer Valley Resort?

Kathy Sherwin: I was raised in Tacoma, Washington and always was a very active child. I was a tomboy, I guess; I already had my little BMX bike and built a track for it in the back of the house. I also played soccer, tennis and was put on the ski bus every week by my parents.

JF: Where did you go skiing?

Kathy Sherwin: Snoqualmie Pass, Crystal Mountain and White Pass; those were the main places I learned to ski; I was always on the go!

JF: As you grew up, which career path did you want to pursue?

Kathy Sherwin: It’s kind of funny; I wanted to be a doctor. As I started volunteering and working in that field, I soon realized that everyone was sick. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be around all these sick people all the time and started looking instead into preventive approaches to healthcare which led me to a healthier lifestyle. I met my late husband in college and he was the one who had a bicycle and said, “Hey, let’s commute to school everyday.” It was of course much faster to ride our bikes than drive for 40 minutes in Seattle’s traffic. That’s how I got back into bike riding.

JF: I guess, biking was well planted into your DNA.

Kathy Sherwin: Yes. I remember telling my mom, “I want to bike race!” when I was 6 years old, but it didn’t happen.

JF: So you are at the university and then you graduate; what brought you to Deer Valley Resort?

Kathy Sherwin: My late husband said, “I’ve heard about Deer Valley Resort, it’s a great place in Utah; they treat their employees extremely well.” So we went, we got jobs, he became a Mountain Host and I became a Ski Instructor.

Kathy in the early days at Deer Valley Resort with late husband Chris Sherwin.

Kathy in the early days at Deer Valley Resort with late husband Chris Sherwin.

 JF: Had you taught skiing before?

Kathy Sherwin: Yes, I forgot to tell you; I had taught skiing at Ski Acres, next to Snoqualmie in Washington, during my last year of college.

JF: What were your expectations when you arrived at Deer Valley Resort?

Kathy Sherwin: That we would work there for a season or two and leave.

JF: And move on to another place?

Kathy Sherwin: Yes, but Deer Valley Resort was so fantastic and with the employee benefits, the way we were treated, and the tight-knit family atmosphere, it was hard to think about leaving.

JF: Were you hooked?

Kathy Sherwin: Totally!

JF: What did you learn during your first season?

Kathy Sherwin: The importance of customer service. If you had a question from a guest and didn’t have an answer for it, you would go find it out and would get back to the guest no matter how much work it meant and whether it took a few minutes or an hour. I thought it was pretty cool because many other places didn’t know how to service their customers that well.

JF: What else did you learn?

Kathy Sherwin: The other thing that I discovered, that I thought was really neat and interesting, was that all the departments were working well together. So we got along well with the kitchen and the kitchen would help us, Mountain Hosts would help us too; soon, the other departments would pitch in. The philosophy was, “We’re all under one roof, we’re trying to achieve the same goals, so we need to help each other to achieve them.”

JF: Did you feel this came naturally from all your coworkers?

Kathy Sherwin: We had orientation and training, but no one can force a certain attitude on you. With the kind of employees that we have, many of them so well-educated, this way of acting comes quite naturally. It isn’t pushed down your throat and most people buy in to that concept.

JF: What’s remarkable about your career at Deer Valley Resort is the impressive range of positions you have occupied over the years; tell us about that.

Kathy Sherwin: The ski school came naturally because I had done it previously. Still continuing on the thought that I wanted to go into medicine, I became an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and joined the Ski Patrol for a few years. Then about a year later, after my husband and I married, I had the urge to get a “real job” and an Administrative Assistant position in Human Resources became available. I applied and got the job.

JF: Was it a year-round job?

Kathy Sherwin: Yes, salaried, full-time. I did it for a little over 10 years and worked my way up to HR Manager by the time I left. I decided to then pursue my passion of racing a bicycle full-time.

4 Crop

JF: Did you take a sabbatical or did you find some other working arrangement?

Kathy Sherwin: What I did was to work on-call with the Deer Valley Signatures stores. I would come to help over Christmas, holidays and other busy periods and did this for six years. In the meantime, I was racing my bike full-time, traveling the world and training daily.

dvr-dvd-kathy5

JF: How did that passion for mountain bike racing develop?

Kathy Sherwin: When I was sitting in the HR department, I watched the NORBA (National Off Road Bicycle Association) series come through and set up mountain bike races; I wondered what this was all about and thought it would be cool to try one day.

JF: Did you have any mountain biking experience?

Kathy Sherwin: Not really, I would occasionally ride a hard-tail mountain bike and eventually I ended up getting a full-suspension one. I loved it and started to race. My first competition was the Intermountain Cup Series, 14 years ago. I participated as a beginner and won my category, which was a real shocker to me.

dvr-dvd-kathy3

JF: What happened after that?

Kathy Sherwin: Everyone was excited for me and told me to go on to the next race, which I did and won! Then I got a local sponsor and little by little, I built my resume up to garner even more sponsors, about ten of them. I was able to accomplish all this without even setting the goal of becoming a professional in the first place.

Kathy on a muddy day of cyclo-cross.

Kathy on a muddy day of cyclo-cross.

JF: Is this how you went on to race nationally and joined the international scene?

Kathy Sherwin: Right. I raced in Canada, Belgium, Scotland, Germany, among other countries.

JF: How long did you race as a Professional?

Kathy Sherwin: About six years.

JF: How did you return to Deer Valley Resort?

Kathy Sherwin: I always knew I wanted to return to Deer Valley and this was always part of the plan. I knew I wanted to work in the Marketing department. A position became available when my husband was sick with cancer, which made the transition so timely. 

dvr-dvd-kathy8

JF: How do you like working in the Marketing department?

Kathy Sherwin: I love it. It’s amazing, as a professional athlete, how you must learn to sell yourself. First I was really shy about it, but it soon became a matter of survival. You learn how to push yourself and show what is important to the person you’re selling something to. It’s amazing how my competitive experience translated into the sales and marketing process. Add to this my love and passion for Deer Valley Resort, the best product out there, all these pieces make it so easy!

Kathy sharing trade secrets with the Travelocity Gnome.

Kathy sharing trade secrets with the Travelocity Gnome.

JF: In looking back over your remarkable career, where do you see the essence of the Deer Valley Difference?

Kathy Sherwin: It’s all in the guest service quality, being upfront with all the experience and value we’re offering our guests. The key is to provide guests with an experience that is always over the top and makes a true difference for them. I love being part of that entire process. I would also add that the company’s leadership has a huge influence on the Deer Valley Difference. For example, Bob Wheaton, our President and General Manager, is instrumental in making it work by leading through example and there’s a trickle down effect throughout the entire work force. This and the fact that we’re all empowered to think out-of-the-box when it comes to solving problems and finding solutions for guests, continuously fuels a customer service experience second to none.

JF: In closing, and for our readers considering a Deer Valley Resort career, what advice would you give them?

Kathy Sherwin: They should know that our employees are kind, open, willing to engage guests, hardworking and willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. Another very cool thing about Deer Valley Resort is that we hire a lot from within – I mean a lot. So go get that “entry-level” job, because, before you know it, you can have a year-round position; this is exactly what I did.

#DeerValleySummer Adventure Camp Art Show

08012014 Art Show 024Deer Valley’s Summer Adventure Camp has been entertaining kids for 19 summers. Based out of the Children’s Center at Snow Park Lodge, Deer Valley Summer Adventure Campers experience hiking trails, biking, lots of guest speakers, hillside playgrounds, bouldering, a rock climbing wall and a full supply of craft projects, games, puzzles, videos and books to complement the outdoor activities.

Each summer the campers participate in S.A.V.E. (Summer Adventure Volunteer Effort), which raises money through an art show for a selected organization. Some of the past recipients have been the Carmen B. Pingree School for Children with Autism, Recycle Utah, Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project and the Blind Children’s Learning Center.  In 2013, the kids raised $772 for the Ocearch Organization.

08012014 Art Show 029

Before the Art Show this year, I spoke with Deer Valley’s Children’s Programs Manager, Mya Frantti, to see what the Art Show was all about.

Ryan: Where did the idea of an annual Art Show come from?Mya: The idea of the Art Show came from a brainstorm between summer camp employees, while exploring what we could do to recognize local organizations and get the campers tuned into how important volunteerism is, what it adds to the child’s experience as a whole and connecting them to the community.

Ryan: How many years has Deer Valley been hosting the Art Show?

Mya: We have been doing the Art Show for at least 10 years. Our first recipient was Whiskey, Deer Valley’s avalanche dog. He was sick and needed to undergo a very expensive procedure and the kids wanted to help out.

Ryan: How do you determine where to donate the money?

Mya: In years past we have given the campers a choice of a couple of organizations and they voted. This year the format was a bit different. The People’s Health Clinic did an outreach program with us throughout the summer. They first visited and explained what they do for the kids, then the kids made “goodie” bags for the dentist to hand out which included toothbrushes, toothpaste, temporary tattoos and stickers. After that, the campers went to visit the clinic.

Ryan: How much money do you typically raise with the Art Show?

Mya: Typically we raise between $700 and $1,000.

Ryan: What do you think the kids take away from the experience?

Mya: The Art Show is the culmination of the Summer Adventure Campers’ arts and crafts projects throughout the summer and presents an opportunity for their parents and Deer Valley staff to be able to give a donation for the art pieces that they would like to purchase. This year, the money raised went to purchase books for the People’s Health Clinic. They give each child a book who visits the clinic, whether they are there for their own appointment or with someone else who has an appointment. They are also starting a program for expecting moms, in which the mom-to-be receives a book each time she visits the clinic during her pregnancy. This way they have a starter library by the time their child is born.

Ryan: Any idea who you will be donating to next year?

Mya: 
Typically, we do not decide on the organization until early in the summer.08012014 Art Show 033This was my first art show and I was impressed by the range of different art projects the young campers produced. Everything from hanging lanterns, hand print art, origami, flowers, figure paints and everything in between.  Art lined the halls of the Snow Park Lodge, inviting parents, community members and Deer Valley staff to browse the art work and buy their favorite pieces.08012014 Art Show 026I soon found out that the Art Show offered a lot more than just art. Complimentary drinks and chips and salsa were offered for those browsing the Art Show. The campers served these treats with a smile. The kids being involved really added to the overall environment. The show was a lot of fun for the campers, parents and Deer Valley staff.     08012014 Art Show 075The annual Art Show is held the first week of August and allows the campers to proudly display the varied art projects they have worked on so diligently all summer. The pieces are available to purchase for a donation and this year, the kids raised $1,173 for the People’s Health Clinic.08132014 Check 060The People’s Health Clinic offers uninsured people who live in Summit or Wasatch Counties access to professional medical providers. They offer services such as; general medicine, pediatrics, chronic disease care, prenatal care, women’s health care, mental health services along with many other specialties.Other services offered by the People’s Health Clinic include referrals to low-cost diagnostic testing, free mammograms for women over 40, referrals to social services, job services and help with health insurance applications.

08012014 Art Show 065A few weeks after the Art Show, the campers were able to present representatives from the People’s Health Clinic with books that they were able to purchase from the money raised, as well as the really big check pictured above.

08132014 Check 088

The Executive Director of People’s Health Clinic, Nann Worel, took time to sit down with me and answer a few questions after the presentation.

Ryan: Where did the idea to give every child a book when they come into the clinic originate?

Nann Worel: We believe very strongly that health literacy is an important part of our mission.  It is very difficult to live a healthy life if one is unable to read. Imagine how difficult life would be if you couldn’t read the instructions on a prescription bottle or read a food label in the grocery store. Statistically, low income children have one or NO books in their home so we wanted to encourage parents to read with their children and give them books to do that with.

Ryan: How many books a year does the clinic give out?

Nann Worel: Hundreds!

Ryan: How do you get all of those books to give away?

Nann Worel: Various organizations have children’s book drives for us throughout the year and we are frequently given donations with which to purchase books, like the Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp did recently.

08132014 Check 132

Ryan: Are there other ways people can help out the clinic?

Nann Worel: We are always in need of volunteers—whether they have a medical background or not. We also need financial support.

Ryan: Are there other items the clinic needs?

Nann Worel: We currently need new computers and printers, a portable tympanometer and a 3D probe for our Ultrasound machine.

Ryan: How can people get involved?

Nann Worel: They can call me at 435-333-1875, or our Volunteer Coordinator, Barbara Clark at 435-333-1849

Five For…Dancing?

IMG_7946

It would be easy to blame the euphoria I felt throughout the Five For Fighting concert at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater on the incredible gourmet picnic basket, the delicious red wine (and let’s be real, people), the salted caramel brownie on a stick. But not everyone had that particular delicacy and the euphoria of the evening was a shared audience experience. Because, you see, we were all on our feet dancing for most of the evening.IMG_7949

Nobody ever accused Five For Fighting’s John Ondrasik of being a purveyor of dance jams. Yet, there is something to be said about a performer whose energy is so infectious, whose lyrics are so heartfelt and whose talent is so worthy of celebration, that the crowd can’t help itself.

In fairness, the crowd was pretty excited before Ondrasik and his talented band members took the stage. Not only were we treated to two opening acts, one of them was Park City’s own Austin Wolfe. Locals are very proud of Austin—she competed on the most recent season of American Idol and made it to the top 15 female performers on the show. No lesser a star than Harry Connick, Jr. told her that she not only had the talent to be a star, but she had a cool name to boot. Still in high school, Austin has the stage presence of someone much older and a voice that can handle everything from standards to pop. On this night, she even got to sing “Happy Birthday” to her mom—we were fortunate to be seated just a couple of rows ahead of her proud family.

IMG_7948

And then, out came Five for Fighting. Before long, we were all singing along to his hits. Some of us (okay, Jeff and I and the fun woman just behind me who kept high five-ing with me as we danced) sang along to some of the lesser-known songs. In so many ways, it felt like an intimate party. John told a lot of great stories and he teased us for dancing to his not-dance-jams. He and the band played their hearts out. John told us we were his favorite crowd; he may say this to all the crowds but he told us that he doesn’t. And the thing is, I believed him. All three of the acts that night, Jesserae, Austin Wolfe, and John Ondrasik, had connections to Park City and Deer Valley. Jesserae, told us his family has a vacation home in Heber City and skis at Deer Valley. Austin Wolfe is a home-grown local and John Ondrasik told the crowd how much his family loves their ski vacations at Deer Valley Resort and how he plays in the Luke Robitaille hockey tournament at the Park City Ice Arena every year during the Sundance Film Festival. Like many of the audience members who aren’t lucky enough to live here full-time but who are lucky enough to visit here, often these performers consider Deer Valley a part of their hometown crowd.

IMG_7951

John solidified his connection to the crowd when he truly let whatever shred of his remaining “guard” down at the end of the show. “We were going to play two more of our songs, but you guys clearly want to dance, so we picked out some other songs—some party songs,” he announced. “But I forgot some of the lyrics, so you have to forgive me for reading some of them off the iPhone.” And that’s how we all came to sing along with the band, as they played Simon and Garfunkel’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”  It all felt so…familiar. Perhaps, in part, because he was foisting the mic into the crowd, giving solos to people at the stage’s apron—and I realized I’m not the only person in the world who thinks I am singing on key. In between songs, John had to hand off the phone to his drummer, “What’s your code? It locked up? Can you look up the lyrics for the next song?”

It takes a special guest to make the host crowd feel more welcome than when they walked into the venue. But it turns out this was just part of the magic of the evening. That, and the salted caramel brownies on a stick. More on those soon, I promise.

10599823_10152409656053585_2036681698_o

Jam-packed Summer

Dear Reader,

I owe you an apology. I was too busy living the Park City lifestyle to write about it this summer. I didn’t have the heart to part with my kids for many full-day camps. As I write, the boys are in their first full week of school after a two-day opening “week,” and I am missing all the adventures we shared over the summer. I jokingly referred to the school-free months as “Our Summer of Academic Rigor,” because I was convinced that if I didn’t stimulate their minds in nearly equal measure to their bodies, all the things they’d learned in school would, quite simply, fall out of their heads. So, there were academic camps, sports camps, even a sleep-away camp for Lance one week. But I wanted to squeeze in as much time with these dudes as possible, so after every morning camp, we’d hit the pool together, or a trail, or, yes, the movie theater.

Kids from FB

We enjoyed lazy mornings too and we thrilled at the fact that when the day ended, there was no homework. We took our RV on a few trips and got rained out of a few others. Yes, the RV means rain isn’t a tragedy, but being cooped up in the RV because of the weather isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of fun. One of our trips took us to Bear Lake. It’s close enough for a day trip, so if you’re visiting Park City in autumn, a drive north to this turquoise-blue lake on the Utah/Idaho border is something to consider.

Bear Lake is known for its raspberries and its raspberry shakes. Garden City, Utah features a seemingly endless strip of “shake shacks,” whose shakes my family is more than happy to sample. There are ATV trails and tons of rentals available, a marina, beaches suitable for sunbathing or launching kayaks and paddleboards, yet you’re surround by lush trees and rugged mountains. Garden City boasts a multi-use path for biking and walking, that makes it a very biker/pedestrian-friendly location. Oh, yes, and there are also go-karts. My family loved racing around the track and then getting a shake to celebrate our “victory.”

IMG_7452

Like any vacation house, our RV is stocked with games. Our favorite, and one which I recommend to all travelers, is Story Cubes. Because it’s pocket-sized, you can take it with you on the plane, in a car or wherever. You simply roll the dice, which bear symbols instead of numbers, and players have to tell stories using the symbols they have rolled. This was the winner of the picnic table game night.

IMG_7472That’s just one highlight. I’ll be reminiscing about many more as the gorgeous fall descends into mud season and we have nothing but the memories of a sweet summer and the anticipation of a snowy winter (please!!) to get us through.

How was your summer? Did you jam-pack it as well? Tell me in the comments below or on Twitter  or @Deer_Valley.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Lesson

The #DeerValleySummer is filled with more adventures than I could have ever imagined. Friends and family ask me all of the time, “What do you do when the ski season is over?” Lift-served mountain biking, hiking, concerts, standup paddleboarding, the list goes on and on. The question isn’t what do I do, it’s how do I find time to do it all?

Before I started working at Deer Valley, I didn’t know you could take a mountain bike lesson. I soon became aware that Deer Valley Resort’s Bike School offers knowledgeable mountain bike instructors who will teach you the proper techniques to help you ride safely and confidently, while navigating the nearly 70 miles of trails at Deer Valley Resort.

I signed up for a mountain bike lesson so I could learn the ropes of downhill mountain biking. Unlike skiing, I had zero experience in mountain biking, unless you count riding my bike around the neighborhood as a child. I knew that if the instructors in the Ski School could turn me into a skier, then the Bike School could turn me into a mountain biker.

20140815_100959

Not having a mountain bike myself, I rented one from the mountain bike rental shop in Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park Lodge. The rental shop also made sure I had a helmet, elbow pads and shin guards. Going into the lesson, I was very nervous; after leaving the rental shop, I felt prepared to take on the mountain. I met my bike instructor, Doug Gormley, and we made our way outside to start the lesson.

20140815_101739

Doug showed me the basic braking functions of the bike as well as the gears and how to properly shift. He taught me a trick that I used all day; easy or lower gears, use your thumb and harder or higher gears, use your index finger. I was very surprised how light the bike was and the incredible amount of spring in the shocks.

We went over the four basic riding fundamentals I would need for downhill mountain biking; balance in an athletic position, look ahead, smooth braking and controlled momentum. 20140815_101753

Doug asked if I played on my bike as a child. He said that people who have experience on a bike, even if it’s just jumping off curbs, have a huge advantage when it comes to mountain biking. This helped me get into the balanced athletic position or “platform” as Doug called it. Doug emphasized that I needed to be standing on the bike with both pedals even and my weight balanced. Since this was downhill mountain biking, leaning back was encouraged and being light on the handlebars to avoid going over them.

Looking ahead was the next lesson in my biking education. “Don’t look down, you need to see what’s coming up, not what you’re on. Trust your vision and your body to react.” ,Doug stressed. At first this was the most difficult thing for me to do. I wanted to see what I was rolling over. I soon realized that I needed to see what to prepare for and be looking ahead to properly position myself for the upcoming obstacle.

20140815_102214

Smooth braking was the third fundamental Doug taught me before we made our way to the mountain. I learned how to use the front and rear brakes evenly. I had never been on a bike with hydraulic, disc brakes. These were not the same brakes on my 1998 bike I rode around Taylorsville as an 11 year old. I could tell that too much front brake would cause you to fly over the handlebars. Doug showed me how to place my hands so that my index fingers were on the brakes at all times near the end of the handles. This allowed me to evenly brake and not use one more than the other.

20140815_102352

The last of the four fundamentals was learning how to control my momentum. We practiced in the parking lot going down stairs and hills, controlling my momentum, not too fast and not too slow. A consistent motion all the way down was the goal. Doug stressed going into turns slower with a consistent speed and accelerating out of the turn when I felt comfortable to do so. By this time, I was ready to take on the first trail which was Naildriver, Deer Valley’s easiest downhill mountain bike trail on Bald Mountain.

1

After riding up Silver Lake Express chairlift, we rode Sterling Express to the top of Bald Mountain. We stopped at the beginning of the trail for a few last-minute pointers and we went over the four fundamentals again. I was so excited; being scared in the rental shop beforehand felt like a lifetime ago. After the fundamentals, I honestly can’t remember what Doug said. I’m pretty sure it was just “follow me.”

We headed down Naildriver trail, a smooth single track. The views of the Jordanelle Reservoir and the Heber Valley were breathtaking. I followed close behind Doug and felt at ease on the mountain bike. I tried imitating Doug’s route. Little jumps in the trail made for fast learning experiences. If I saw Doug run over a huge rock, I then knew that the mountain bike I was on could handle it as well. I just needed to remember the fundamentals and stay loose.
20140815_121331 (1)Like my first ski lesson, we would stop and talk at certain spots on the trail. Doug gave me pointers and praise along the way. During one of the stops, I learned to lean to steer. The key to this was to lean your bike, not your body. Doug showed me how to make long arm turns and turns with one pedal up and one down. I tried to soak up the 26 years of mountain biking knowledge Doug was sharing with me like a sponge.

We made our way down Bald Mountain and to the end of Naildriver trail. I was surprised at how many different muscles I used navigating down the mountain. The other person in my lesson was wearing a heart rate monitor. It said she burned 800 calories in the short time we had been in the lesson. This was easily the most fun exercise I had ever done. After a few more turning lessons, I said goodbye to Doug and my lesson partner at the bottom of Sterling Express chairlift.

2

I had the option to download on Silver Lake Express chairlift or take Tour Des Homes trail down to the Snow Park Lodge. This trail was a lot different than the first one I had been on. Lots of loose gravel and wider trails made for a different experience. It was very cool to see this part of the resort during the summer. Tour Des Homes mountain bike trail follows much of the same trail line as Silver Dollar ski run. This is one of my favorite ski runs, because of the views you see along the way and the homes that line the trail.

I can’t wait to explore more of the fantastic trails Deer Valley Resort has to offer. Have you ever had a mountain bike lesson? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @RyanMayfield or @Deer_Valley.

Want to explore Deer Valley’s variety of trails? Sign up for a guided mountain bike tour led by Deer Valley’s professionally trained instructors. Gain some riding tips while meeting other riders and learning about the mountain and the resort. Participants must be intermediate level and 13 years or older.

For more information on mountain biking or to reserve a space in the Mountain Bike School, please call 435-645-6648 or 888-754-8477.

Things you never thought you could do on a mountain bike

IMG_1134

Your brand new mountain bike is ready to take you on the many exciting trails that Deer Valley Resort has to offer. You may also know the expression, “He who can do the most, can (also) do the least,” and this perfectly applies to this piece of equipment because of its versatility and ruggedness. Today’s mountain bikes feature highly-engineered features, some powerful hydraulic disc brakes and great riding comfort thanks to a full suspension frame. This said, did you even suspect that there was more than one way to enjoy these sturdy and highly technical bikes? I found out by asking some of the experts who work at Deer Valley Resort. In just a few minutes, I was amazed to learn at what a mountain bike can accomplish.

Healing Faster

If you have injured your leg and you’re anxious to get back on your skis in the winter, chances are that your doctor or surgeon will prescribe a strong rehab program involving the use of a bike. Since stationary bikes can be boring after awhile, consider using your mountain bike instead. You don’t need to take it to any expert single track trails though; just ride it on a nearby asphalt or gravel bike path.

Earning a Living

Besides being a professional mountain bike racer, becoming a mountain bike patroler is a neat way to earn a living by using a mountain bike everyday. Patrol work involves a fair amount of trail maintenance activities and you’ll soon find yourself carrying a rake, a pick ax or even a chainsaw while riding. Earning a living this way also applies to the lift operators who, at the end of their shift or the end of the day, can jump on their bikes and ride down the mountain for fun. Policemen in Park City also share in that perk by carrying a service bike on the back of their SUV’s.

Trail Research and Development

New trail ideas generally begin on a map. Very soon however, they must be fine-tuned in their real environment. Most of the time, new trail paths cross obstacles like ski runs, undulating meadows, creek beds, rock formations and forested areas. It often helps a great deal to trace the ideal contours of the trail through that variable terrain by first riding it, before any trail is cut, to uncover the most natural path. On grassy meadows or on ski runs, the bike lays the grass down and works as a fine tracing tool.

Assistant Bike Patrol Manager, Chris Erkkila

Deer Valley Resort’s Assistant Bike Patrol Manager, Chris Erkkila.

Trail Testing

There are moments when it’s time to test a section of a new trail; the builder has to be the guinea pig and test a delicate passage or a tricky area, just like a test pilot would do. On segments of trails that are built around a big rock drop or a succession of large stumps, patrol staff and trail builders will use a bike without a rider. The bike is rolled over the obstacle to make sure that the chainring won’t hit anything. Chris Erkkila, assistant bike partrol manager, says that he uses this technique as a training tool, “When I teach new bike patrollers how to ride on tough terrain, I follow the same procedure and tell them that if the bike clears the obstacle, so can they.”

DVR-Things-2

Snow Riding

Surprisingly, mountain bikes do quite well on snow. No, we’re not talking about the fat-bikes with gigantic tires that are becoming the new rage in winter, but just your run-of-the-mill mountain bike. They perform well as long as there is fairly good hard-packed snow; you want to look for smooth surfaces and avoid too much tire penetration. Lowering the air pressure helps traction. Of course, when there’s deep snow over some hard pack, the sensation can be one of a kind especially if the snow is some dry, Utah powder. Says Doug Gormley, lead bike instructor, “I have been in a foot of dry, fluffy snow with hard-pack below and the sensation was out of this world.” The Mega Avalanche race in Europe would be another opportunity to test your bike in a group setting and experience mountain biking as a four season sport. Please remember that mountain bikes are not allowed at Deer Valley Resort during the ski season.

The Mega Avalanche race in Europe

The Mega Avalanche race in Europe

Performing tricks

Like any other bicycle, a mountain bike can do wheelies and a variety of tricks. The price to pay is a few more pounds to maneuver, but it’s doable. Wheelies, manuals, bunny hops and the whole panoply of tricks ingrained into BMX culture are totally possible with a mountain bike. Riders can take their “fat tires” on prepared tracks and do some dirt jumping. Most of the time, a bike with only front shocks will suffice and will feel a tad lighter. Besides the added weight, mountain bikes have other limitations. BMX bikes are lighter and tend to soar higher in the air. BMX bikes also have smaller wheels and a shorter wheelbase making them perfectly adapted to the terrain prepared-tracks and dirt jumps, but if you don’t own a BMX, there’s still plenty of fun to be had on your mountain bike.

Going Up and Down Stairs:

I have saved this one for last, because I’ve always been fascinated watching mountain bikers going down stairs without even thinking twice. In fact, I have been told that it’s possible to ride down huge staircases that wind back and forth into corners and zigzag all the way. Yet, as surprisingly as it sounds, the reverse is also true. With proper gearing, climbing stairs is also possible on a bike. You can also use a mountain bike as a trial bike, on which you balance the bike and literally hop the stairs. Doug can do it and he said, “My very first experience was in a building. For stairs, a full-suspension bike is better for both pedaling up the stairs and going down the stairs. A bike without suspension would actually be better for hopping.”

dvr-things-5

Upon reading this short overview, you now have a good idea of the amazing capabilities of your mountain bike. What cool things do you do on your mountain bike? Tell us on Twitter @Deer_Valley or in the comments below.

Park Silly Sunday Market — Always Something New

On New Year’s Eve, the year of my 50th birthday, I vowed to try something new each week for the rest of my life.

It could be something as simple as trying a new food, restaurant or museum exhibit to something a bit more daring, like giving stand up paddling a go. The “thing” itself isn’t as important as the meaning behind it — to be open to new experiences, avoid ruts and remain young at heart.

The Park Silly Sunday Market has proven to be a one-stop shop for new experiences. Despite the number of Sundays I’ve spent exploring the market, I’ve always encountered something new and exciting. You could go every week and never do the same thing twice.

PS 1

Come for the live performances:

You can find live music, yoga acts and other performances throughout the day on the stage at the bottom of Main Street.

PS 3 PS 2

Hang out in the Kids’ Zone:

Can you hula hoop? Check out the “Hoops O’Funn.”

I must admit, I haven’t tried it — I’m pretty sure the hoop would spin around me twice and fall right to the ground. But brave hula hoop dancers of all ages get out there and rip it up.

P 4

PS 5If you’re feeling daring and aren’t afraid of heights, the Kids’ Zone also features a rock climbing wall.

If you’d prefer to keep both feet on the ground and want to embrace the “silly” part of the Silly Market, get a butterfly painted on your cheek.

Shop at the eco-friendly open air market:

My latest purchase from the market is an recycled wallet and cell phone holder made from a black rubber tire tube. It’s functional and unique! (Though I haven’t noticed any black residue on my hands, I plan to keep it out of direct sunlight.)

PS 6

Additionally, many of the photos in our home of local wildlife and the iconic McPolin Barn were purchased from vendors on historic Main Street at the Park Silly Sunday Market.

Enjoy Park Silly Sunday Market from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Sunday until September 21. Come to try something new or just to enjoy the silliness. For more information, visit www.parksillysundaymarket.com.