So, if last year’s experience taught me that it’s OK not to ski during Sundance, this year I proved that the Sundance Film Festival + skiing = Awesome. Anyone familiar with Common Core math knows it’s true. After all, if you’re mixing in bluebird days with screenings of thought-provoking and inspiring films (I saw Life, Animated, Eddie the Eagle, and The Fundamentals of Caring), you can’t lose. Stir in friends with whom I never get to spend enough time (owing to their living in far-flung spots like New York, LA and London), and some cool synergies, I had the makings for a memorable week.
This year, I was thrilled that I could ski, and that I got to do so with wonderful friends, including one, Marnie, who hadn’t had a proper ski day in over ten years.
And while we started off with mellow warm-up runs on Ontario and Blue Bell ski runs, we found some powder and trees so I could send her home with proper bragging rights.
Jeff and I also spent a fun Sunday morning making turns with our friends Val and Stephen. Stephen’s miniseries, The Night Manager, based on the John Le Carre book of the same name, is premiering on AMC in April (I can’t wait.) Val is a producer of Eddie The Eagle, starring Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton, which made its surprise world premiere on Townie Tuesday at the Library Center Theater during Sundance. It was, of course, the perfect local’s screening, since it tells the story of Britain’s against-all-odds ski jumper (Egerton), who, under the guidance of a fallen-from-glory American jumper (Jackman), makes good on his dream to compete in the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary.
At breakfast in Snow Park Restaurant, that first Sunday morning, Val, a member of a mutual admiration society with our kids—wanted the latest updates on the boys. I told her about Lance’s filmmaking club at school, and then showed her this video of Seth, partaking in his new passion, Nordic Ski Jumping.
“That’s really cool,” she declared. “I’m coming to watch him jump while I’m here,” I knew he’d be thrilled—he’s called her “Princess Leia” since the day he met her, about five years ago, when she hosted us at the film studio lot where she worked (and, yes, Star Wars was filmed there). When I told her the next practice was the coming Tuesday evening, she got a gleam in her eye. I thought I saw some wheels start to turn in Val’s head, but it was time to ski, so off we went. “You’re local, so we’re hoping you’ll be our tour guide,” Stephen told me. “We want to ski some trails we haven’t done yet.”
I had grand plans to take them over to Jordanelle, so we made our first run down Roamer, with the idea of taking Little Stick to Deer Hollow and the Mountaineer Lift. However, halfway down Little Stick, we realized the winds were blowing uphill from that exposure, and I rerouted us. “We’ll head back down to Carpenter, and then go over to Flagstaff, and see if it’s less windy there.” Stephen and Val thanked me for my quick thinking and we were richly rewarded with lighter winds and amazing conditions.
We cruised a number of our favorite runs—Blue Bell, Gemini, Star Gazer, Sidewinder—each offering tons of soft powder and beautiful views. And on the chairlifts, Val would take out her phone and call her colleagues, telling them about the Park City Nordic Ski Club at Utah Olympic Park. The ski day was memorable—and then I was off to a screening.
By Monday afternoon, I was showing another colleague around the ski jumps, and giving her a peek into my Park City life. To wit: “Wow, I thought being a soccer mom was cold and unforgiving,” my friend said, as she caught her breath at the top of a hill we’d just hiked at Utah Olympic Park. “You’re in a whole other category!”
Then, Val did, in fact, show up for jumping on Tuesday, just before the screening, and she brought some friends. Those are my kids, and my friend’s daughter, hanging with Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman, stars of Eddie the Eagle. (Ok, so Seth, once he realized it was Hugh, could only call him, “Wolverine,” but he didn’t seem to mind.)