Celebrity SkiFest: A Conversation with Mark Feuerstein

Mark Feuerstein

The star of Royal Pains—and too many movies to list, here—has been skiing his whole life. And when I caught up with him at Celebrity Ski Fest, we immediately bonded over skiing—and the fact that his son was lucky enough to spend the day with Letitia Lussier, who is not only one of my favorite instructors, but is a Feuerstein family favorite, as well.  And while Mark was excited to tell me about his races—or, at least the first race—he may have a second career in journalism. Before I realized it, he was grilling me about the skiing life.

BNC: Tell me about your races!

MF: I would certainly like to dwell more on the first one, because I won that one.

Opening Day 2013-2014 657

BNC: So, lets!

MF: The victory of the first one far exceeded the loss of the second one, and that is because Patrick Warburton and I raced once, two years ago, and kind of a rivalry was established. So that felt good. Then, for the second—Tim Daly is a very good skier, and I was racing against him.

Opening Day 2013-2014 666

BNC: Yeah, that’s a problem.

MF: And I was beating him the first half of the race, but I got too excited, I caught an edge, and he just swooped by me and I could not catch up.

BNC: Are you staying warm?

MF: Yes! They have these new things called heaters on your boots, which I have never seen. They are phenomenal. I have been rocking those, but I can’t say they keep your toes warm.

BNC: I wear them every day that I ski. And on the colder days, they don’t always keep up.

MF: And you ski every week?

BNC: Yes, I do—multiple times a week, actually.

MF: Wow. Do you get as good a workout as a hike?

BNC: Oh, yeah. If I ski hard. If I’m on the bumps with my friend Mel—or really, behind her.

MF: So, you’re very good.

BNC: No, I’m not.

MF: [Looks as though he doesn’t buy it, and takes a different journalistic tack.]

Did you ever ski competitively?

BNC: Yes—if you count my stint on the Hopefuls devo team at Pico Peak in Vermont—where I was more concerned with getting down safely, than quickly. Let’s say it was a short-lived career. I’ve been a happy recreational skier my whole life.

MF: I grew up skiing on the east coast. I broke my thumb when I was about ten, skiing at Catamount, where I slid down an entire sheet of ice on my thumb. So I know how to persevere. East coast skiing is a different sport—it’s like an endurance test!

BNC: Without the Deer Valley dining options—so, what’s your favorite thing to eat at Deer Valley?

MF: I just enjoyed the roast turkey that I had. That was lovely.

And, the S’mores at 4 p.m. every day at the Montage Deer Valley are all one needs, with three children, to keep your children happy. So, I am very happy about the s’mores.

BNC: How old are your children?

MF: They are 7, 5 and 4.

BNC: Are they all skiing?

MF: Just my son today. I want to get my older daughter out, but I can’t force her…

BNC: That’s the whole trick, you can’t force them because you want them to love it.  Also, Swedish fish.

MF: Oh? Is that part of the incentive?

BNC: Yes, I have a ten year old and a six year old, and it’s Swedish fish in the cargo pocket of your ski pants, so that at the bottom of every run, you go, Hey, Nice Job! And hand them a fish.

MF: Like a biscuit!

BNC: Yes, I’m not above it. Also, multiple hot chocolate breaks, and cookies as big as their heads.

MF: Bribery—it will get you everywhere.

BNC: Yes! It is all you need as a parent…you can dress it up, call it “incentive” “reward.” It’s bribery, people, and it works. How did you potty train your children? You bought them a condo in the Hamptons, because they WENT IN THE POTTY.

MF: That’s exactly right, we are still paying the mortgage on that.

BNC: I know! I did the same thing—and we live here. So it required a G5.

(We kid, people. We kid.)

Deer Valley Celebrity SkiFest: My Favorite “White Carpet” Event

With the Sundance Film Festival in town, you’d think there’s only one “see and be scene” event in Park City. Well, Deer Valley faithful know that the best celebrity event of the season happens….on the mountain.

Sure, there are red carpets rolling out all over town. But Opening Day at Deer Valley—features a white carpet, for Celebrity SkiFest.

Of course, wardrobe concerns take center stage when you’re prepping for the White Carpet. And it’s as much about “who” you wear, as “what,” so I’ll give you the rundown.

 Base layers by Patagonia

Socks by Smartwool

Full-sole stick on foot warmers by Grabbers

Hand Warmers by Grabbers

Shiny black ski pants by Obermayer

Shiny gold cheetah-print ski jacket, fully vented, also by Obermayer

Shearling hat, by Uggs

Boots by Sorel (I made not turns that day—I was saving those for my family’s first ski day of the year, the following week.)

And yes, the event was chock-full of VIPs, including some of my favorite green-jacketed types. To wit, the always hilarious guys from the Ski Check at Empire. On the White Carpet, they’re the greeters, welcoming the guests to the VIP tent. Rick, Johnny and Hal are consummate hosts—if you’ve ever checked your skis before lunch at Empire, or visited the Rossignol Demo Center there, you know what I’m talking about. And, I got them to take their first “selfie” with me.

Empire Guys

Inside, I caught up with old and new friends. Like my friends and former Good Housekeeping colleagues, Sara and Courtney, and my pal Summer Sanders, who was covering the race for CBS Sports.

Rob Morrow was there with his family, including wife Debbon Ayer, and daughter Tu. You may remember Tu from a few years ago—she was a little kid with impeccable taste in ski pants. I know this because we were wearing the same pair of Marker ski pants in brown plaid. I was, thus, outed for my shopping in the kids’ department. Debbon greeted me with a warm hello, as well. Tu, charming and funny as always (and now, rather grown-up), remembered our moment, and I thanked her for letting me feel young, hip and awesome that day. She was decked out in a floral pant this year. “Let me take a photo?” I asked, “So I know what to look for when I shop for new pants!”

Tu Morrow Pants

The Morrow clan were also excellent sports about my uncontrollable urge to photobomb. After the evidence was recorded, Rob handed me his phone so I could text the photo to myself, and, in turn, share it with you, dear reader:

Photo bomb

“Remembah” Rachel Dratch From that Wicked Saturday Night Live sketch with Sully? Yup! She’s also the author of the hilarious, smart memoir, Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle. We shared some fun “New England” moments, and then she dished up her top three experiences on the racecourse: “One, I didn’t fall. Two, I only did one practice run, but the race went better than the practice run. And three? Lunch at the end of the race.”

Rachel Dratch

Turns out, Rachel is a Deer Valley regular. “I used to come out with a group of friends, every year, during the Sundance Film Festival, and it was our little girls’ weekend tradition to ski at Deer Valley.” That’s the trick: full hotels, empty slopes, and the best week of skiing all season. I couldn’t agree more.

Cheryl Hines

Funny, when I interviewed actress Virginia Madsen for SELF magazine, some time ago, she and I never talked about skiing—but it turns out that she didn’t learn until fairly recently. “I love being here,” she told me. “This is where I learned how to ski—about 13 years ago.”

Virginia was not exactly thrilled with losing her race, but she offered some good insights into what makes a successful race—and, really, a successful ski day.

“In these conditions, I was just off my game, there was a white-out up at the top, and it really takes a lot to ski in this light and this snow. The visibility took me down,” she said. “But the thing about skiing is it’s all mental. Women are thinkers, we multitask 24/7, but skiing is almost like meditating, like yoga. You have to get out of your head and stop thinking. It becomes very peaceful and zen-like. When we think we are going to fall, in life, we pull back. But, on the mountain, you go with gravity, like you are going to fly. From skiing, I learned to stop judging myself. “

As one would expect, when you interview Dr. Oz, you’re going to learn a thing or two.

Rule number one: Never ask anyone what their meditation mantra is. I know this, now, because when I asked Dr. Oz to share his, he and his smart, engaging wife, Lisa, were quick to say, “You’re not supposed to tell anyone your mantra—it’s private.” Somehow, they managed to not make me feel silly for having asked, in the first place.

He told me that he coached Cheryl Hines at the top of the racecourse. “I was giving Cheryl some tips on how to stay calm in the face of adversity,” he explained. “I gave her earphones to listen to so she could meditate to them. It took her a while to figure out there was no music, because they weren’t connected to anything. It broke the ice, anyway.”

Rule Number Two: Don’t pigeon-hole people. Just because he’s a world-class surgeon with a hot, daily talk show, and a new magazine, “Dr. Oz: The Good Life,” (hitting newsstands on Feb 4), doesn’t mean he couldn’t also have a career as a comedian.

Still, he seemed to be all business when he started telling me about his favorite eateries at Deer Valley—“I love it all–from fine dining at Stein Eriksen Lodge, to the great food you can find at the cafes all over the mountain—it’s all delicious.”

Dr. Oz had to cut our chat, short, since he was set to race again in a few minutes—but I caught up with him, and with Lisa, at a party that evening (at which neither of us were wearing ski boots!):

Dr. Oz Wife

 

Celebrity Skifest and Deer Valley Memories

I say it a lot: Nobody has a better life than I do. I don’t say it boastfully—I’m just so thoroughly appreciative that I get to do work that I love while indulging in the Park City lifestyle 24/7. Entertainment journalists aren’t exactly a dime a dozen in the mountains, to be sure. (In fact, I had a conversation on this topic on the chairlift en route to Celebrity Skifest—with a fellow Vermont expat who lives in LA, and, it turns out, works at a PR agency with which I do a lot of business….the world is never smaller than on the chairlift at Deer Valley.)

Sure, once upon a time, I took a limo to the Emmys, but nothing beats taking a chairlift and a quick run down Silver Link to get myself to an event. Long live Celebrity Skifest.

Watching the race is always a blast, and I could hardly contain my glee as the snowfall intensified. Still, I had work to do. Again, in that once upon a time, I sat in the backstage press room asking actors about which designers they wore, and how surprised they were to win their award. But on this day, I was chatting up actors about our shared love for skiing at Deer Valley. I captured our shared “snow-eating grins” as well as some of their favorite Deer Valley ski memories:

“The people at Deer Valley are great,” Cheryl Hines told me. “Every guest gets treated like royalty—and I’m certainly not royalty!” Her trademark smile was in full evidence as she described the feeling she gets on a great powder day. “it’s a clear day and you stand on the top of the mountain and you can see everything,” the Suburgatory star explained. “There’s no feeling like it.”

The next thing I knew, I turned around and found myself face-to-face with Rosie Perez. I reminded her that we’d worked together when I’d been an editor at Glamour and Self Magazines, and we had a chance to catch up. “I’m not skiing,” she told me. “But I am so taken with what Bobby Kennedy is doing with the Waterkeeper Alliance, holding corporations accountable.” And, to be sure, she was a powerful one-woman cheering squad.

Julia Ormond was so taken with the action on the hill, I hated to interrupt her—but we wound up chatting about the beauty of pulling oneself out of the comfort zone. “Honestly, I hate the idea of putting myself out there as a skier—I’m not used to powder, and I’m not that confident, but for something as good and compelling as the Waterkeeper Alliance, I’ll do it,” she said.  “For a good cause, you have to get over yourself. It’s important.”

Moments later, we were chatting about the beauty of the falling snow, and I fell into a conversation with Rob Morrow—someone I look forward to seeing every year, because, like me, he’s unabashed about his love for skiing at Deer Valley—and I’m always thrilled to note that he shares that with his wife and daughter.

Rob told me that he was temporarily converted to a “trees and powder skier” by his friend and fellow actor, Tim Daly, on one fine powder day last year. “He took me to some places I’d never been—and would never have gone on my own,” Rob told me. “Suddenly, I’m a snob for powder and trees.”

A moment later, Rob confessed to me that he’s so taken with the beauty and the people at Deer Valley that he and his wife have a long-held fantasy of “finding a year to just move here.” I didn’t hesitate to tell him that he’d have no regrets.

Ski Season Two: Hardcore Opening Weekend

On opening Saturday, I asked a friend of mine if he was coming back on Sunday too, and he answered, “You are going tomorrow? You are hardcore. ”

Hardcore?  In my mind, hardcore means tearing down the mountain at break neck speed and taking Bode Miller style Giant Slalom turns.  That’s hard core, not me skiing on groomers opening weekend at Deer Valley.

But you know … Just maybe… I might actually…be.

Opening day was amazing as the ski gods were with us when sky decided to dump buckets of snow on the mountains. So taking JF Lanvers advice, I decided to start slow by doing a few easy runs to get my ski legs back and remember what I learned from my lessons last year. My husband met me for lunch at Silver Lake Lodge and we enjoyed the Celebrity Skifest from the warmth and comfort of the lodge while eating pizza and a heaping bowls of steaming pasta.  This seemed like the perfect opening day to me.

Sunday morning after Mass, I quickly ate breakfast and changed into my ski pants (though I did see several people who were obviously going directly to the slopes the moment the service let out – their ski attire gave them away.) The storm seemed heavier on Sunday and by the time I got there, the lines were short. I was able to get right on the lifts every time — no waiting at all.

Since I lacked a face mask, my chin and cheeks were getting pretty cold though the rest of me was warm.  On the lift, I could pull my scarf and jacket up like a mummy to keep my face warm.   But on the runs, the snow stung me hard as I skied down the hill. I could care less and was loving being out there.

Deciding whether or not to take that extra run, I stopped and took stock of myself. My fur lined hood was covered in snow, my bangs were mangled and tendrils of hair were frozen to my scarf.  My face was burning from the fresh snow and wind on the lift, and so were my quads from those first runs.  I wondered for a minute if I was crazy.  Only the crazy people are out now.  This was not a day for fair weather skiers.

Then I thought, you know…I just might be…. hardcore!  No helicopters were involved, no back country or avalanche precautions were necessary, but for me… getting out there, pushing myself on the groomers, staying out even when the snow was dumping down and stinging my face and when most folks were in the comfort of the lodge (or home by the fire,) there I was taking one more run.

Some people might think my experience was relatively mild but for me …my second season opening weekend, I guess I would have to say it was hardcore.

What about you? What makes you a hardcore skier?

Car Wash = Snowy Opening Day

Skiers are a superstitious lot. At least this skier is. To wit: On Friday, December 7, I heard a hint that the snow was coming. You know, the snow that we, the skier faithful knew would come, but, nonetheless was elusive enough to make us impatient.

But I’m just the right amount of superstitious and faithful to take action, just to be sure. So, I washed my car—at the fancy car wash, which sells a five-dollar upgrade that allows you to come back once a day for two days, in case of a storm. But I knew I’d be too busy skiing on fresh powder to return/knew that buying it would tempt the snow gods to withhold, so I didn’t upgrade. Just the $12 wash for me, thank you. And then, the snow came.

You’re welcome.

With all that fresh stuff flying out of the sky, I eschewed our usual Opening Day Breakfast at Snow Park Lodge—too time consuming. I grabbed a protein bar, and tapped my foot impatiently as my kids ate their toaster waffles and my husband ate his cereal. I realized, in that moment, that if I want to get on the hill early on opening day, I have to make a game of it: “I have an idea, guys: Who wants to try to make first chair with me next year on opening day?” I asked. Lance started to explain to me, in perfectly articulated 9 year-old logic, the sixteen ways that it would be logistically impossible, that ski patrol gets first chair, and what if someone is in the next lane in the lift-line corral at the same time as us? Seth, 5, saw the opportunity to please: “Mommy, I’m in!!” I began to fantasize about getting up at 6, being in the car by 7, and tucking into breakfast in Snow Park before the slopes opened. I’m certain it looks better in my mind’s eye than it will when we attempt it. Regardless, Jeff busted me out of the reverie: It was time to dress and load.  Annnd….we were off.

Even the drive to the mountain was exciting—the roads, which had been completely clear the night before, had switched, overnight, to snow-covered loveliness.  “See? I washed the car!!” I gloated to my husband. “I did it! It worked!”

Once we arrived, it felt like the first day of school, or summer camp. All the familiar faces, the giddy mood that permeated every corner of the resort. The ski valets, usually speedy to offer help, were giving their best impression of the ‘lightning round’. I hadn’t even gotten out of the car and someone was unloading the gear. 

We assembled ourselves and headed for our ritual first run on Wide West—the kids’ request. I was about to protest, and then I realized something. I turned to Jeff and said, “I’ll be so sad when they don’t want to make Wide West their first run of the season anymore,” I said. He nodded with a certain solemn understanding. And that, friends, was the only solemn moment of the day. We were, in a word, unstoppable. We did runs on the Racecourse. Runs on Candyland. And then, after I left them to go visit Celebrity Skifest, they did lap after lap. Jeff reported later that they literally inhaled their pasta, and that he had presided over several races at the mini-course on the hill—even providing the sound-effect countdown beeps. Meanwhile, I was at a race of my own, as a spectator, watching the Celebrity Skifest race. (Stay tuned for my Skifest report.)

I wrapped up my day by skiing from the Skifest tent to Homestake, where I arrived with a giant grin on my face. The grin was so large, a fellow skier asked me what I was so happy about. “What’s not to be happy about? Opening day in the snow…The SNOW!” I shared a chair with a Sharpshooter photographer named Tiger. He’s a local, so we bonded over the thrill of being rewarded for our patience with snow on opening day. (I told him about the car wash, and he thanked me. Locals get it.)

I headed down Success and wondered where the kids and Jeff were at that moment—and then, as I finished my run, I had my answer. I spotted them hauling their gear to ski-check, and called out: “Wooo hoooo!” I was rewarded with three happy grins. “We couldn’t have planned that,” Jeff said. “It’s perfect.”

He’s right. But just to be sure, I think I’ll go wash my car.

Opening Weekend and Celebrity SkiFest

Opening weekend 2012 is officially finished and was successful in all areas. The storm that brought us 6″ of snow on opening day made everyone’s mood electric. I saw big smiles on everyone’s faces. Living in the mountains it is assumed that by December there will be snow on the ground. When the temperatures don’t allow for snow making and the landscape is bare, people start to get grumpy. So our snow storm arrived at the perfect time and was welcomed with open arms.

Opening weekend is paired with the Celebrity Skifest to benefit the Waterkeeper Alliance. In case you didn’t see it on CBS this past Sunday, it’s a celebration of skiing and promotes a great cause, clean water. It was the same musketeers (ahem, skiers), Phil & Steve Mahre, Tommy Moe and me, as in years past. I think I can safely say that we all had a great time and we each skied as fast as we could to beat each other. The competitive adrenaline never goes away.

Heidi and Tommy Moe

There’s something to be said when we all get together. Whether we have shared the same experience of winning an Olympic medal or being at the top of our sport; we have respect for each other and admiration. (Maybe a little more from me towards them.) Whenever I work with these guys and others from the ‘good old days,’ I always have a smile on my face and truly feel blessed that I can still be involved and work with these amazing, successful athletes.

One of the stand-out memories of opening weekend was the Melissa Etheridge benefit concert on Saturday evening at The Montage. WOW, what a voice. She doesn’t even have to sing to know her voice is powerful. She played 7-8 songs and brought the house down.  It was amazing to be so close to someone as they performed. I know I will probably never be able to get that close to a performer at a concert again.

Now that opening weekend is behind us, I have some friends arriving today for 48 hours to
celebrate 12-12-12. I know this date is a neat one, but for a teammate of mine, it represents 25 years from when she had a horrific racing accident. I don’t think there is a better way to celebrate life, as 10 of us old Ski Team-ers get together to ski. I can’t tell you where we will be but you’ll hear us whooping and yelling!

See you on the slopes and keep snow dancing!

Celebrity Ski Fest

Whoever wins the actual ski race during Celebrity Ski Fest is, of course, the title holder. And it’s pretty easy to argue that the real winner of the day is the Waterkeepers Alliance, which works to protect waterways across the country.

But I decided there were a few award-winners that may have been overlooked.

Cutest Hat Wearers:


Meet Hannah, 1

Her sister Elise, age 3

These Los Angeles natives were enjoying lunch in the VIP tent in extremely cute (and warm looking) winter hats. Hannah’s Paul Frank Monkey, and Sophie’s Oscar the Grouch brought a smile to everyone who met the girls—including my friends Josh, Debbie and me.

But a cute hat is only as cute as the child wearing it—and these girls are title holders.

“Hannah’s not skiing,” said her mom, Maureen. “She hasn’t quite mastered walking.” Which, of course, struck my ear as a total non-sequitor. Don’t you teach your kids to walk by skiing? I’m kidding, Maureen! No one recommends rushing the process.

Favorite Long-Lost College Friend

Neal, whom I love to torture with the fact of how awesome my life in Utah is—we reconnected at SkiFest last year (he’s a TV executive in New York…his life ain’t too shabby, for the record).

Favorite fly-by skier.

Neal introduced me to a NY friend, Scott, who owns a second home in Deer Valley, and who uses business trips to LA as a vehicle for more skiing. He rattled off his  typical one-nighter ski trip schedule thusly: “I land here after my meetings and I’m at No Name Saloon by 9pm, on the first chair at 9am, and back at the airport at 7pm to fly home.”  Way to be dedicated to the Pow!

 

While at Ski Fest, I had the chance to chat with actor Scott Wolf (he and I have met a number of times, usually in the context of his work as a Hollywood actor, and my work as an entertainment journalist), but we never talk shop for long. Our bond is over the fact that we’re Park City locals—and parents.

On this day, though, Scott told me how lucky he felt to be able to participate in a fun event for a great cause in his backyard. “Everyone else here had to fly in from all over to be here,” he said. “But I didn’t drive more than 10 minutes.” Still, as he spoke to me about why he supports Waterkeepers, I got the distinct impression he would have traveled to be here, both for the fun of the competition and to support the work of Waterkeepers Alliance, which was founded by Robert Kennedy, Jr. to TK.

I ran into a bit of a buzz saw in Dylan [Bruno] on race day, but being out here to support Waterkeepers is something I’m always proud to be a part of,” he said. “And I have a son, so the importance of our water and our air and our food is completely heightened for me.”—I got the distinct impression that he certainly would have traveled to be here.

Quickly, the chatter turned to whether his young son will ski this season.

“He’s just now 2 ½, and he’s already so strong, that he’s already hucking front flips off our couch! I think he’ll love it ,,” said the proud papa. “His legs are super-strong, he’s got these stocky little legs like his dad, so yeah, he’ll get on this year, but I’ll just follow our friends’ advice and do warm days and short bouts.”

I shared the virtue of the SunKid conveyor lifts on Wide West, of course—and my secret weapon: Swedish fish. “My kid will, like, speak Portugese for a Swedish fish,” said Scott. “So skiing should be easy!”

We’ll check back with you, Scott!

Celebrities, NASTAR and Holiday Fun

Well our season started almost a week ago. It’s probably a good time to recap opening weekend and of course the skiing. It was a great time racing in the Celebrity Skifest and for a great foundation, The Waterkeeper Alliance.  It started Friday night with opening reception at Empire Canyon Lodge where I loaded up on raclette cheese, at Fireside Dining, and caught up with the competitors.

Saturday morning came and it was time to race. I must say I had a great team and it was proven by us winning the 20th annual event. We won beautiful Bulova watches and great necklaces. It was definitely the year to win. One of the highlights was meeting and sharing the “captain” spot with Terrell Owens. He didn’t ski but coached and cheered us on from the finish. We tried to ski as fast as he runs!

I had to race against Tommy Moe the first round. The announcer introduced us as ambassadors of skiing at our designated resorts. At that moment I reflected what it means to be Ambassador of Skiing at Deer Valley. It is an honor to be part of the #1 ski area in North America for the fifth time in a row! I feel so lucky that I can work for a resort that has continued to strive to be the best. I’m proud to work with all the employees and staff and most importantly show our guests what we are all about and the great skiing we have.

Saturday evening, following the race, we celebrated at the Montage Deer Valley with dinner and a live auction. I think it was a great success! We wrapped up Sunday with a Pro-Am event. Similar style as Saturday races but a little more laid back and no title on the line.

My next fun adventure is next week when the NASTAR season begins. What this means is I travel to the western pacesetting trials to get a handicap for the year. I set the pace at Deer Valley on Saturdays and then handicap the PCMR staff for their race arena. It’s always fun because the pacesetter is AJ Kitt whom I grew up with. He is still fast but maybe this will be the year I can beat him. Just saying? I’ll let you know.

As I return from the pacesetting trials it will soon be Christmas. My sons are counting down the days till Santa arrives. Lucas wants a phone, Eskimo hat and a Go-Pro. Stefan wants a Star Wars Lego (big one), Star Wars movies and a Go-Pro. We’ll see what Santa can do. We have in the past years skied Deer Valley when Santa makes his visit on Christmas Eve (Santa visits Deer Valley each year on Christmas Eve. You can find more information on Deer Valley Events Calendar) . The boys make sure and tell him one last time their wish list. Then when we are done with Christmas morning we gear up to ski a few runs. Maybe this year the boys will make ski movie of their day skiing before we settle into dinner and say thanks.

The skiing is great. Come ski the slopes, we are opening more terrain each day. The cold temperatures are allowing the awesome snow makers to cover the slopes with our signature snow! See you on the mountain and wishing everyone a great holiday season.

Thanksgiving Means Skiing

Well its official, I have had my first day of skiing for the 2011-2012 season today, Nov. 19. I can’t tell you where it was… Ok I guess I can, our friendly neighbors next door PCMR.  The conditions were perfect for early skiing so I know when we open the skiing will be great! However, I had a panic attack while on the chair. It registered with me that when PCMR opens it’s usually around Thanksgiving. I realized its only five days away, a week out from our opening which means Celebrity Ski classic and trying to beat the boys.

Excitement and anxiety came across me all at the same time. I’m excited to get the season rolling again but a bit scared because when it starts rolling it’s the end of the season before I know it. Am I organized enough at this point?

Hmmm time will tell.

So as I thought about Thanksgiving and trying to get organized what are my plans? This year we are celebrating with our good friends and children the Lacobelli’s. If you don’t know them take a look at deervalley.com. They are the poster family all over the site.

Their name, Lacobelli, should be a giveaway as to how our Thanksgiving will be mapped out. It should be a blast. I’ve been told to be prepared for an Italian Thanksgiving.

“There’s Italian and then there are those who want to be Italian!” I guess I qualify as “I want to be Italian for a day”. So I guess weight loss isn’t an option before I try and fit into my ski pants DV opening day Dec. 3.

So following my Italian Thanksgiving experience I can turn my thoughts to opening day.

I anticipate opening day will be much of the same as I take part in the Celebrity Ski Fest. Phil, Steve, Tommy and I will be trash talking each other trying to psyche each other out and trying to be the one with the fastest time. I need to make sure my starts are strong. There is nothing like coming out of the gates of competition opening day. The weekend as a whole is so much fun. The skiing, competition, teammates, friends, and the evening receptions equal a great time and celebration to the beginning of 2011/12 season.

I’m grateful for this time of season. The energy in the air for the upcoming season and holidays can be cut with an edge! That is a sharp ski edge! See you on the slopes.

 

Cheers,

My Celebrity Skifest Recap

I ski for lunch, JUST LIKE FAMOUS PEOPLE

You already know so many of my favorite edible indulgences. Here’s what some of the competitors at the Celebrity Ski Challenge had to say:

What is your favorite Deer Valley treat?

The turkey chili…that’s an easy question – Joey Pantoliano 

We had some pizza here that was pretty fantastic. And I love the cookies here–I had some dipped in chocolate fondue. I mean, I’m working out, right?–Cheryl Hines

Oh, it’s the bacon at silver lake lodge. There is little out there that is worse for us to eat, but the bacon has like a honey pepper flavor and they cook it to perfection so it’s irresistible — it’s ridiculous. –Ian Ziering

 

Petite moms, take note. There are great deals to be had on gear for us in the kids department. I learned this the easy way, scoring a sweet deal from the clearance rack on last year’s junior gear at our local children’s gear outfitter (it’s called Kindersport and they have a retail location at Snow Park Lodge), just last week.

I felt superstylin” in my new chocolate brown jacket and chocolate brown pants with a black, white and green glen plaid. I also felt empowered to use words like superstylin’. For reals.

So imagine my delight when I bumped into an adorable nine year-old girl, whose mother glanced at my outfit, pointed across the way and said, Great minds think alike. Yup, we were sporting the same ski pants! I was at the spectator area in front of the VIP tent at the celebrity ski challenge, bumping into someone from college, hanging out steps away from ski legend Stein Ericksen, and taking Olympic gears Phil and Steve Mahre by surprised when I addressed them by the title they hold In our house: Mary Ellen’s Uncles (Mary Ellen was our baby-sitter for years, and is practically a member of our family. Which means, of course, that we are practically related to her uncles, right?)

Anyway, Adorable Pants Twin turned out to be Tu, daughter of actor and Celebrity Ski Challenge competitor Rob Morrow. Naturally, we got a photo together, ensuring that my already overinflated sense of my own youth would be, well, immortalized.

As it turned out, Tu and I had lots more in common than our BRILLIANT fashion sense. We share a love for the hot cocoa at Deer Valley, and for skiing with our dads in order  to show them up. “I love to ski at Deer Valley with my dad,” Tu said. “He usually starts out ahead of me, and then I catch up to him, pass him and call him a slowpoke!”

When I was Tu’s age, I once skied down to where my dad had just set up a Yard Sale, and upon ascertaining he was ok, ditched him in order to beat him to the bottom. He’ll be here in a few weeks to initiate what I’m sure will be a healthy dose of payback.