Sundance on The Slopes

 WARNING: This post involves just a teensy bit of name-dropping.

Celebrity culture being what it is, there are not that many well-kept secrets in show biz anymore. But here’s one: The best week to ski in Park City is during Sundance. For 10 days, the hotels are filled with mostly people who are not skiing.

So, I celebrated the first day of the festival by launching my new favorite day 1 tradition: Skiing with a Golden Globe Winner.

Lest you think any Golden Globe winner will do, let me set you straight. In my world, the only one that matters is my pal Melissa Leo, who picked up her award for Best Supporting Actress last Sunday night. (Let me bore you with the details: We were introduced years ago by a mutual friend, Thelma Adams, who is the author of a just-published novel, Playdate…In case you had not noticed from my previous posts, I have pretty awesome friends, famous and not-famous, but all of them very accomplished and scary-talented. Which is good, because their successes delightfully reinforce my slacker-ski-bum self-image.)

Melissa arrived in town on Wednesday, straight from the New Orleans set of Treme, the HBO series she’s acting in now. For years, as her local buddy, I’ve helped her get set up for skiing during the festival, but it’s never worked out for us to ski together. When I told her I was free to ski the following day, she whooped almost as loudly as I had in my living room when I saw on TV that her name was called as the winner.

Soon enough, I was scooping her up at her hotel and we were booting up in the locker room at Snow Park Lodge. Melissa showed off her newly acquired, brand-new 20 year-old boots—she’d schlepped them from place to place in order to ensure she’d have them handy to come to Utah for Sundance. “I had a similar pair that I tried to replace for four years,” she told me. “And I managed to find these—they’d stopped making them., but somehow, I was lucky enough to find one last pair.”

I couldn’t resist asking the most obvious question. What was it like to win a Golden Globe??

 “There’s a lot of shock,” she confessed about her winning moment, as we waited in line to get her lift ticket. “I carried it around for a few days just so I could see that it had really happened.”  I wondered aloud if the award would feel left out that it didn’t come along for the ski day…

 We hopped on Carpenter lift, and as we slid our skis toward Silver Link, the tone of the day was set. Whooping and hollering ensued. We kept grinning at each other as we took in the perfection that was the bluebird day, the corduroy that seemed to be laid out just for us. We compared notes on skiing technique, working motherhood (she has a 23 year-old son who is currently living in Germany). But, mostly, we reveled in the dumb luck that found us enjoying a blissful ski day smack in the middle of the week, just before the wave of the Sundance Film Festival would sweep us away from the hill.  We giggled as we took turns carving past each other. More hooting and hollering. Finally, as we headed toward lunch, I declared, “Decorum is overrated.” Indeed.

 We sat down to lunch at Royal Street Café, and promptly ordered a blueberry mojito—with two straws. We found just a little humor in the fact that we’d have to wait 20 minutes for the clock to strike noon before the bartender could mix the drink.  We busied ourselves with tuna tartare, edamame, the black bean soup special and the iceberg wedge. And then compared notes on our experiences growing up in Vermont.

Before long, Melissa would be in glam-mode again, red-carpet ready for her Sundance premiere, Red State. But this day was about fun, friendship and food.

PS:  The award for best excuse for bailing on a fresh powder day: Melissa Leo, doing press for Red State the morning she received her nomination for an Academy Award!