Interview with Marilyn Stinson, Chief of World Cup Volunteers

Marilyn 2013 World CupMarilyn Stinson is Deer Valley’s Tour and Travel International Marketing Manager. Yet before, during and just after the annual FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup, she becomes the Chief of Volunteers for this acclaimed sporting event. Marilyn has been assigned to that event position since 1999. During that period of time, she has gone through one Olympic Games, two World Championships and every single World Cup event. Currently, she is responsible for around 220 volunteers without whom the event wouldn’t be possible.

What is your main role in this position?

My main role is signing up the volunteers and putting them in their appropriate area of expertise. This represents a lot of preparation before the event and some constant coordination as the competitions unfold. It carries on until the festivities are over, into the tear-down of the hill that is conducted jointly by our volunteers and Deer Valley’s staff.

How do go about recruiting volunteers?

They seem to come to me directly. I don’t need to do much recruiting. We built a great database of those interested in volunteering from the 2002 Olympic games. Volunteers seem to enjoy the Deer Valley experience. In fact, we have a wait-list of people who want to volunteer with us for next year’s World Cup.

So is there more than your nice smile and your pleasant personality to attract these volunteers?

I hope that’s part of it (chuckling…), but I think we want to make sure the volunteers are respected and know that their time is very important to us, in making that important event happen.

What makes a good volunteer?

Someone who’s timely, has a great personality, is always positive, has a flexible schedule and likes Deer Valley Resort.

So if I wanted to be a volunteer, what qualities would you be looking for?

Where I always seem to be short is for most on-hill positions, that includes our mogul and aerial events. I definitely look for someone who is a strong skier, capable of getting down the steep mogul course, or who doesn’t have a problem chopping the hill on the aerial course. But also important is somebody that is positive and happy!

So you need someone with strong legs and arms?

Good legs, good arms and a good smile!

Marilyn Hard at WorkBut, you’re not just doing the job of Chief of Volunteers all year round; what’s your regular position at Deer Valley?

My full-time title is Tour and Travel International Marketing Manager for Deer Valley Resort.

That’s a lot of hats to wear!

Yes, but we have a great team at the marketing department and we all step-up when it comes to World Cup!

Do you learn things during your World Cup job that you can apply to your normal position?

It’s a totally different activity for me; it’s essentially making sure that our volunteers are assigned, checked-in, in the right place, fed and are all happy!

Do you look at the World Cup as a break from your normal routine?

I wouldn’t call it a break.  It’s a change, because while doing the volunteer position, I’m also still doing my regular job.

So you’re doubling up?

I am doubling up!

Are there skills that you use in your regular job that you can transfer into the Chief of Volunteer position?

Yes. I think it’s mostly working together and enjoying the friendship that develops over the years with all the volunteers, many of whom have been with us since the beginning. It becomes an on-going relationship. Everyone knows what to do, when to be there and the whole process seems to flow easier and smoother, year after year.

2174_63757777058_1146_nWho are your volunteers, where do they come from?

Our volunteers come from all walks of life. Some are retired, some are military personnel from Hill Air Force Base. Others drive from as far as Ogden or Provo, year after year, day after day. Sometimes they show up at Snow Park Lodge at 6 a.m. to volunteer following over an hour of driving. Especially with the snowy weather we experienced just before this year’s events, it puts them through the test of being an unflinching volunteer!

Now, what do the athletes think about this World Cup event?

They really love to come to Deer Valley Resort. They’ve always told us that Deer Valley is the best stop on the Freestyle World Cup circuit and they’re so appreciative of our volunteers. With our team of volunteers, there’s no drama, and everyone makes the event happen in the Deer Valley way and the Deer Valley style.

Now that the Word Cup is over, how would you assess this year’s event?

The events this year went very smoothly. We, once again, had great volunteers who have been with us for many years and are all of them are greatly experienced. We had a volunteer thank-you dinner to recognize all of them.  We’re already thinking about next year!

Fast and Furious

We are hooked.  Saturday night my husband, Jay and I stood with the crowd at the base of the run for the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Dual Mogul finals at Deer Valley Resort.  After watching athlete after athlete “eat it” speeding down the course in attempt to grab a coveted top 16 semi-finals spot, we had great respect for the difficulty of the course and how steep the competition.

Nancy and Jay
The finals were insanely crazy - what a rush! These athletes flipped in the air doing the “truck driver”, “iron cross”, “heli 360″, or elegant front flip aerial moves. Then after landing, they immediately hit three – four foot tall moguls while racing a world class athlete skiing beside them. The competition was fast and furious.

Mogul Course

We watched Brad Wilson advance past #1 ranked Mikael Kingsbury ending the Canadian’s 19 event podium streak as the crowd went nuts.  We saw U.S. athlete Patrick Deneen lose the gold by a nose to Canadian Alex Bilodeau by five hundredths of a second!  Hannah Kearney has a few more raving fans after watching her absolutely kill it and win gold.

After the awards ceremony, the party kept going!

 

Even the volunteer clean- up crews had smiles on the faces as they picked up signs and took down the pedestrian walkways to ready the run for skiing the next day.

Volunteers

Our evening took an unexpected but delightful turn when we met semi-finalist freestyle skier Dylan Walczyk on the bus to the Main Street station.  He was fresh from a bronze medal at Lake Placid.  He mentioned he was headed to an Olympic test event Sochi, Russia in two weeks.

Dylan
While this was our first moguls competition, it will certainly not be our last.

For more information click here.– http://www.deervalley.com/WhatToDo/Winter/FISWorldCup

VISA Freestyle International including “behind the scenes…”

Since the beginning of the millennium, Deer Valley Resort has embraced freestyle skiing by hosting Freestyle World Cups, Olympics and World Championship events. This year was no exception and while the Utah resort bested itself once again, the top international freestyle athletes met at what is, without much debate, their favorite venue in the word.

With its mogul and aerial events, freestyle is one of the very few ski competitions that can be seen and enjoyed by the public from top to bottom, without solely relying upon a giant TV screen. Deer Valley’s venue is quite unique in the way it is shaped and configured and is designed to accommodate close to 7,000 cheering spectators. A number in that vicinity could have been counted on both the Friday and Saturday evenings that, by far, attracted the largest crowds.

I’m a bit partial to the mogul competition which is a true test in edge-to-edge quickness, rolling bumps that come at the competitors like a monster conveyor belt eager to swallow them, where there’s a need for electric knee-action interspersed with a couple of high powered jumps where athleticism, balance, sporting creativity and a lot of good luck combine to offering a breathtaking show. As a single event, moguls is plenty entertaining but in its dual format, the whole spectacle truly comes to life, builds up additional pressure, intensifies the excitement and let the athletes’ raw talent explode in full view of a cheering public.

The aerial competition on the other hand is like a high-speed elevator lift that boosts a skier high into the air, which materializes into seemingly unending airtime that can be used to execute all kinds of twisting and rotating maneuvers while the flight lasts and until it becomes time to land the skis securely and stylishly on a steep and short reception area. Each jump is another opportunity for the athlete to deeply concentrate; balance apprehension versus desire to excel and almost go for broke, hoping to better the last best jump!

Oh yes, while the world’s elite was delivering their perfect show, and the adults were riveted on their awesome performance, another “unofficial world cup” was being held just below the tent and the television house, right on the edge of the immense spectators platform, where the slope is steep. The 5 to 10 years old who are between 3 and 5 feet tall and might have been a bit too small to see everything World Cup, decided to hold their own snow-ball throwing contest and testing the low friction of their ski suits on Deer Valley’s famous great snow, and thinking they were champions in their own right!

Each evening has been marked with big crowds, loud cheers, and pressurized atmosphere with spectators and athletes in communion for pushing the envelope and chasing excellence. A wonderful way for our entire community of visitors, residents and visiting athletes from the world over to bond over a sport we all love!

If you missed the live action these three nights, these World Cup events hosted by Deer Valley Resort will be televised on NBC on February 11, 2012 at 1 pm. EST and on Versus February 11 and 18, 2012.

Here’s the Versus broadcasting Schedule (all times EST):

Freestyle Moguls 2/11/2012 2 pm.

Freestyle Aerials 2/11/2012 3 pm.

Freestyle Dual Moguls 2/18/2012 2:30 pm.

Put a few moguls into your ski life

As I do every year, I just attended the Freestyle World Cup at Deer Valley to get a boost of skiing inspiration early in the season. This is a first-class event that can only be seen in Deer Valley and impeccably showcases the best freestyle skiing has to over. The venue, the preparation and the execution of the event are seamless, charged with energy and designed to keep you on your feet. While I’m envious of the aerialists, I’ve never been able to land well enough to emulate them; I just watch them in awe along with the big crowds that come to cheer them. The mogul competition however, is something I can relate to a lot more, as I keep on encountering bumps in my daily skiing life.

Sure, we all love morning corduroy, the “rice krispies” feeling it generates under our feet and we can use groomed runs now and again for resting a bit, concentrating on our technique, looking perfect on skis or just enjoying the sheer joy of the sport. Yet, many skiers can’t just live off smooth, seamless
snow; there’s always a point when it’s time to change “textures” and evolve towards some more exciting relief and pick up new skills.  That’s right, skiing is made up of a variation of textures that begin with Deer Valley’s trademark corduroy, a few “waves” on the slope and culminate with World Cup moguls as seen on Big Stick.

But why should a satisfied skier even contemplate leaving the civilized, groomed universe for venturing into a world of “ups and downs?” It must have to do with our craving for change; like variety is spice of life, moguls are skiing’s salt and pepper. They build excitement, unpredictability
and, over time, turn every one of us into much better skiers. That’s right, the lowly little bump can teach us important things having to do with triggering our turns, enhancing our balance, sharpening our reactions and giving us the kind of unwavering style we all aspire to.

Without taking the “ski class room” inside, and boring you with theory, let me just remind you that skis love to pivot when they’re sitting on some convex spot, and what’s more convex than the top of a mogul? There, they can turn freely, without having their tips or tails hitting anything or requiring significant torque. That for sure is the “lazy way to making turns!”  Then the skis take the plunge into the steep portion of the mogul. This only requires a sudden act of faith and a positive acceptance on your part to espouse their motion, enjoy the slight acceleration that follows, stay in control, and very soon you’re at the bottom of the pitch where speed becomes controllable again. That’s right, a bump is the microcosm of the larger hill, made of successions of flat and steep portions that alternatively speed you up and slow you down. You just need some professional guidance to experience the feeling and become an adept.

From that point, we simply need to increase the difficulty level. Skiing bumps enhances your work out, activates all of your joints and on a cold winter day, will keep you so warm that cold feet and frozen fingers never are part of the price to pay to enjoy a day on the slopes. That’s right, moguls are a perfect warming up exercise that puts every element of your “suspension system” to work and bring a nice rhythm to the experience. If perfect grooming is the great equalizer, what will soon separate the budding skier from the better one is practicing the bumps. It’s a place where there’s no room for cheating, yet nothing is that complicated because you can pretty much adjust the speed, the grade of the slope and the size of the moguls to your current ability level. Of course, the beauty of great mogul skiing is fluidity; the thousands of spectators attending the Freestyle World Cup at Deer Valley could see that raw quality in action amongst the top contestants.
“Fluidity” is an aspect of skiing bumps we can all focus on, and then match with the level of difficulty we choose; the main objective being to always appear perfectly smooth. Beyond that, if we really want to keep on improving, we just need to dial-up any one or all of the components we just reviewed! Remember that viewed from a distance, everything is only a matter of texture; from corduroy to camel-backs, there’s always a mogul sized right for you. Simply decide today about making room for a few more moguls in your skiing life and you’ll suddenly get a spicier and more exciting experience!

World Cup Recap

Thanks to everyone who made it out the World Cup events over the past weekend!  If you missed out on all the action, check out the photos below or catch it on TV during the following times:

NBC
Saturday, January 23, 1:30 p.m. EST (1.5 hours)

Versus
Sunday, January 24, 5 p.m. EST (Aerials - 1 hour)
Sunday, January 31, 4 p.m. EST (Moguls - 1 hour)
Sunday, January 31, 5 m EST (Moguls – 1 hour)

Cars arriving at Deer Valley for the evening events

Record Crowds!

Thursday Night's Free concert on Main Street

The Bravery Performed

January Events

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season starting to wrap up I am looking forward to the year a head.  January is going to be another busy month at the resort with the Freestyle World Cup, Freestyle Olympic Team Announcement and Sundance all taking place. 

Deer Valley Resort’s FIS Freestyle World Cup is coming up January 14 – 16, 2010.  Three days of competition and festivities will begin with the first of two mogul competitions taking place on Deer Valley’s Champion ski run on Thursday, January 14, 2010, beginning at 1:15 p.m. Thursday evening, there will be an evening celebration on Park City’s historic Main Street (near the Town Lift) from 7 – 9 p.m. featuring The Bravery and a fireworks display. The aerial competition will take place on Friday, January 15 under the lights on Deer Valley’s White Owl ski run, beginning at 8 p.m. The second mogul competition will take place Saturday night under the lights on Champion and will also begin at 8 p.m. As always, Deer Valley will host fireworks after its evening events on Friday and Saturday. General admission to all events is free. 

062 World Cup

  Official naming of the 2010 Freestyle Olympic Team will be announced at Deer Valley Resort Tuesday, January 26, at noon MST. Deer Valley, site of the 2002 freestyle and alpine Olympic venues, will host the announcement and send members off to Vancouver, Canada in “Deer Valley style” to represent the United States and bring home Olympic hardware. While freestyle athletes have been steadily working on qualifying for the 2010 Olympics, the selection period will close Sunday, January 24 and the official members are to be announced with several on-site for the official presentation, as well as greet and sign autographs for Deer Valley guests.

 Last but not least we have the Sundance Film Festival!  Sundance is the last two weeks of January and is a great time to hit the slopes.  This year Deer Valley is offering a package during the festival so if you have not made your reservations check out this deal…. Exceptional Value Package: Save 25% on select lodging and Deer Valley Resort lift tickets at a wide range of accommodations! Package includes lodging and daily lift tickets for each adult in your party. Offer is valid January 3 to 14, 2010; January 17 to February 9, 2010; March 22 to April 12, 2010. Children’s two-day or longer lift tickets also available for purchase at a discount. Please ask one of our Vacation Planners for details.

 So there is no excuse for us not to see you in January!