Skiing as many runs as possible, in one day!

The weather was superb on the day I was going to find out how many of Deer Valley Resort’s runs I could ski in about seven hours. Usually, I’m not a morning skier; while I generally get up around 6 a.m. every day, I first spend time reading the news, doing some chores, going on my morning run and after a late breakfast, I always find a few more things to do. My morning goes by too fast and it’s already lunch time. This Monday was an exception to my otherwise slow-morning routine and my afternoon skiing.

While I was a bit apprehensive the day before, but I got up early and by 8:40 a.m., I was standing in the Snow Park parking lot, outfitted and ready to go. At 8:45 a.m. I was in the lift line waiting for Carpenter Express to open and by 8:58 a.m. I was already boarding the chairlift ready for my long ski day.

The weather was overcast but quite cool, the snow felt great on Little Stick, my first run; soon, I found myself on Deer Hollow, headed to the base of Mountaineer Express chairlift. My next big run was Jordanelle where I “flew” as I was among the first few skiers on a perfectly manicured run. I sampled the rest of the trails served by Mountaineer, doing a few “firsts” on runs like Keetley, Crescent and Dynamic.

table1

Upon completing Little Stick and visiting Wide West, I was back riding the Carpenter chairlift. It was just 10:05 a.m. and I had 12 runs in the bag! From the top of Bald Eagle Mountain, I got to the Sultan Express and collected a large number of runs, both on groomed and bumpy trails, including Grizzly and Ruins of Pompei. Reminding me that fine corduroy and rough-and-tumble bumps were still a way to separate the men from the boys!

table2

After another run on a groomer and a fast lap on Reward, I made it to the Wasatch Express chairlift at 11:59 a.m. I had already skied 25 different runs! After challenging myself with the tough moguls on Rattler, I relaxed on what are arguably the best, most popular and most enjoyable groomed runs of Deer Valley: Wizard, Legal Tender, Nabob, Keno and Birdseye. At the same time, I committed what should fairly be called a “Deer Valley Sacrilege” by eating my lunch on the Wasatch Express.

table3

It was almost 1 p.m. when I boarded Quincy Express, on my way to Empire and Lady Morgan Mountains. There, I would mix some great cruisers like Orion or Magnet with the bumps that carpet Empire Bowl, on runs like Domingo and Solace as well as Argus or Hillside, off Lady Morgan. I also managed to pay a visit to one fun run that originates from the right of the bridge on Bandana, and plunges into what’s known by most young skiers as “Bucky’s Backyard,” the perfect interlude made of giant rolling bumps with peaks and valleys that never fail to capture all the attention of the most jaded skier!

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At 2:21 p.m., I rode Ruby Express one last time to rejoin Flagstaff Mountain and its collection of fine groomed runs, beginning with Hawkeye, my 50th run of the day. Then it was time to hit these wonderful, pleasant runs that are Lucky Star, Lost Boulder, Sidewinder and Blue Bell. I paid a quick visit to the Silver Strike Express chairlift and after a few more runs off of the Red Cloud and Quincy chairlifts, I found myself riding the Crown Point lift. It was 3:45 p.m. and I could already claim 62 different runs!

table5

Flying under the road bridge on Kimberly is something I love and consider to be a quintessential Deer Valley experience. I skied down Navigator and caught another ride on Carpenter Express. Descending Big Stick felt like a flash and enabled me to catch another ride up Carpenter just after 4 p.m. that gave me access to a swift, Solid Muldoon, and then, just in the nick of time, I grabbed the very last Carpenter chair of the day that brought my total of different runs skied to 67 out of some 100 possible. In the meantime, I had accumulated 62,100 vertical feet!

table6

When I took my skis off at Snow Park, I was so excited that I did not even feel tired. Moreover, that night, after dinner, my wife and I went for a 2 mile walk; I guess I just needed to unwind a bit!

Airing My Dirty Laundry

photo (14)The sign of a well-skied powder day exists in my mud room: gear is laid out everywhere, drying.photo (15)

Sunday was another ski day that wasn’t for the faint of heart—it seemed warmer than two weeks ago (and it was, in truth), but it was snowing, blowing and drifting so that it felt pretty cold when the gear got wet. It was the kind of deceptive day that had us running back into the lodge after the first run to grab neck gaiters and face masks, and switch out goggle lenses for flat light. All that accomplished, and with the boys in ski school, Jeff, Mel and I took off for a day of powder turns.

Everywhere I turned there were skiers giving up—too cold, too windy, too wet. In fact, a friend who will remain nameless, in town for a three day ski trip, sent a text that he was toughing out the weather in….a spa. REALLY????

Never mind Mel and I had already locked in our hardcore mettle for the season, and Jeff was too stoked to be out for his first kid-free runs of the season to even consider packing it in. The powder, too, was delicious.

We met up with our friends Ethan and Robert for a couple of runs—Ethan told us all about his first race with Rowmark Ski Academy, and I reminded him that just a few years ago I was scared to death of skiing with him. Back then, he was a fearless four year-old, bombing down any terrain with only speed on his mind, and not a turn in his quiver. “I’m so proud of your TURNS, E!” I exclaimed. “You’re rocking them!” Ski racing is a great way to give a speed-demon some discipline.

Mel and I couldn’t resist the siren call of the trees between Hidden Treasure and Three Ply, nor could we keep ourselves from gobbling up the bumps. Jeff was more than happy to carve down Hidden Treasure and watch us make our descent—or, really, because Mel takes a bumps run faster than regular skiers carve a groomer, they both watched me make my descent. Later, Jeff said to me, “I couldn’t believe how great you looked on the bumps, you should be proud.”

The compliments flowed both ways, as Mel and I watched with glee while Jeff made a graceful glide through some nice powder on Gemini. “That used to terrify me,” he said. “Now, it’s just fun!”

We finally broke for lunch after 1 p.m., and Jeff seemed utterly relieved to be able to send me back out for more turns with Mel, while he relaxed in the lodge. As we rode the lift we debated the relative merits of skiing cruisers on such a fabulous powder day—and, duh, opted for the runs with the best powder stashes. By that time, it was snowing so hard that Little Bell offered us fresh tracks for three consecutive runs. On one of those, Mel watched my turns and said, “It’s not just that you’re getting down it, it’s that it’s PRETTY. You’re doing all the right things, and it looks GREAT.”

I may bask in that praise for the rest of my days.

After each sweep down Little Bell, we cut over to Gemini, where, again, we were treated to fresh powder. And, on one run, we were treated to a Seth sighting—carefully carving turns with his group, behind their instructor. We tried to hide like spies behind some trees, but you can’t out-smart my Ninja boy, and he spotted us, treating us to a big, wide grin of recognition. I couldn’t wait to see how Lance fared—and a few minutes later, I was rewarded with a smile from big brother, too. Later, I would get their tales of hardcore skiing, but for now, all they wanted were cookies.

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

World Cup Skiing at Deer Valley is a Family Affair

Bryon and Brad Wilson

Bryon and Brad Wilson

Through the years I have met many of the best athletes in skiing. From club level kids that have risen to X Games podiums to Stein Eriksen, each time I meet someone who has competed at a world class level I am fascinated by what motivates them. What drives them to risk so much in a sport that many see only as recreation?

With Deer Valley Resort’s World Cup week about to begin, I sat down in the Snow Park Lodge with two members of the U.S. Ski Team, Bryon and Brad Wilson, to find out more about their lives as World Cup Mogul Athletes, and did my best to not ask who would win in a head to head dual mogul race.

Why Bumps?

Bryon: One thing about freestyle that is appealing is that you can always improve in some aspect of the sport, whether it’s turns, speed, or degree of difficulty in jumps, there’s no perfect run. There’s an idea of perfection.

Brad: When we first started skiing as just weekend skiers, the best skiers on the mountain were the freestyle team, they were shredding the bumps. If you knew how to ski bumps, you knew how to ski everything else.

How close have you come to perfection?

Bryon: I had one run in Are, Switzerland, for Junior World Championships..

Brad: I was thinking that same run for you.

Bryon: Yeah, everything happened. I nailed my top jump, skied out of it fast, perfect, came down and nailed my bottom jump too.

Brad: Fast

Bryon: And it was fast. I scored something ridiculous like 28.6 or something.

Brad: Out of thirty, it’s the highest score in FIS history.

Bryon: It happened at the Olympics too, when I got my bronze medal, everything came together. Everything was crisp and clean, kind of fell into place. It was special.

When it goes wrong what is your thought process?

(both laughing)

Bryon: Relax the body and take the hit. In Lake Placid I hit a control gate on the right side, and it threw me into this, like death spin down the side of the course and I hit about eleven posts.

Brad: Like a pinball machine. That moment when you’re skiing down the middle. You feel good, as fast as you can go, and then you start going a little bit forward – “there’s no way out of this.”

Bryon: They taught us how to fall in gymnastics, how to relax.

Brad: Our Mom said growing up you’re never going to get better unless you crash.

The speed athlete’s take through the mogul course is incredible. How fast?

Bryon: I think about thirty-two, thirty-five miles per hour. I use a metronome. If I watch a really fast skier in World Cup, I’ll take his cadence and try to match it in my own run. I use it for visualization, so I’m not rushing or going too slow.

How are you guys feeling this year?

Bryon: Good.

Brad: I had a rough week last week, I wasn’t there mentally and didn’t really perform the best I could at Lake Placid. It makes you itching for more; I’m going into the rest of the season with a different mindset.

Checking out Deer Valley's venue

Checking out Deer Valley’s venue

How many World Cup stops have you had, and what’s the remaining schedule?

Bryon: We have competed in four already- and have Deer Valley, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and then Lake Tahoe for Nationals.

Do you guys get down time in any of these places?

Bryon: Not really. Once we get on the road – we get there, we train, we compete, and we leave.

Brad: We might get a day in Norway.

Brad: When we get to Russia it’s a test for the Olympics; we’ll be there a week early to adjust to the time zone.

No sweet Japanese powder when you compete in Inawashiro?

Bryon: No, (laughing) nah, we go to ski a gnarly course, super steep – it’s really steep. We’re having duals on it this year, which is pretty crazy. It’s like three cliff drops into the top jump, and you want to take as little speed as you can because once you land you’re booking. You’re out of control, basically, the one who can hold on is the one who’ll come out on top.

Brad: I’m excited to ski it. It’s one of those courses growing up, you see it on World Cup and you’re like, oh my God. Deer Valley is one of those courses too.

Bryon: Yeah, it’s a beast.

Let’s talk tricks. Where do you see it going?

Brad: I think if they start allowing doubles in bumps…

Doubles?

Brad: Double flips, double anything. A Double Full is a seven twenty (note – two full spins) but it’s one single flip. They don’t allow two flips.

Is that about safety?

Together: Yeah.

Bryon: All the specs would have to change to allow doubles. They’re looking at a new format for dual moguls, this is a proposed thing, where they take out the bottom section, so it would just be a big table to finish off.

That’s a huge transition in the discipline, that’s straight up incorporating park skiing.

Brad: That’s what people want to see, you know? They love seeing the duals, big jumps, and big airs. People throwing their biggest degree of difficulty, I think it would be good for the sport.

Are you prepared for doubles?

Bryon: Yeah, we do them all summer so when they come we’ll be able to do them.

Any double corks yet? (note – a double/triple cork is nearly impossible to explain. In half pipe and slope style skiing it is considered the most difficult maneuver as it is combined with multiple spins.)

Bryon: Double Cork 10 (two off axis flips with three spins) I haven’t done on snow, but on water pretty consistently.

Brad: I think that would be the hardest one to throw with the amount of air we have.

Bryon: You don’t want to take away from mogul skiing either, you’re skiing the moguls between the jumps as well.

Brad: Fifty percent of the score is for turns.

Bryon: Freestyle moguls are what we do.

547991_184311291685322_753787909_nWho are some of the skiers you guys look up to?

Brad: Coaches.

Bryon: Yeah, Coaches.

Brad: Our Wasatch (Freestyle Team) Coaches, Jon O’Brien, Rick Shanor, Scotty Meyer, and also growing up Tony Gilpin. When we lived in Montana he would compete against us all of the time, but that one dual that we beat Tony, it was a huge step. Our parents joke about it all of the time, but that’s when they said we’re actually going to go somewhere.

Bryon: All of our coaches have had some kind of positive impact on our skiing, and our lives really.

Guy’s you can trust.

Brad: Yeah, exactly, knowing you can trust what they had to say.

Bryon: Growing up in Montana there was this group of great local skiers that were kind of our role models. That was important for us to have up in Montana, to see where we could get. To have a tangible goal.

If you weren’t skiing bumps, no ski team, none of that – what would you be doing?

Bryon: We’re both into art. I do wood carvings; I really enjoy doing wood sculpture, trout mostly. I would get into that, a little more into canvas painting.

Where does that come from?

Bryon: Our parents are really good artists.

Brad: The other thing too, is we were really into a lot of sports growing up, football, and baseball. I think that or gymnastics would’ve been something we pursued.

Bryon: We’re both competitive; I think we would have gone into something where we could stay competitive.

Brad: To get where we are now our parents sacrificed a ton, they would have given up so much for any sport we do.

After an hour of talking it was evident what motivates the Wilson brothers on their journey through the ultra competitive world of mogul skiing. Time and time again they gave credit to their parents and the skiers that they watched growing up as positive influences in their lives. It is no wonder Deer Valley sponsors these young athletes in their pursuit of World Cup and Olympic victories. A shared value system and passion for skiing is evident after even a few minutes with Brad and Bryon.

World Cup week is upon us and it is a blast! Head to the mountain to watch the men and women compete in aerials and moguls, paying close attention to the two former Jr. World Champions. This is a pre-Olympic year, a year when some of the most stunning and perfect runs will be laid down in one of the most difficult courses in World Cup bumps. This is Deer Valley in February and you do not want to miss it!

Want to see what it takes to win an Olympic Medal? Check this out.
Bryon Wilson Olympic Medal Run

And is this the future of World Cup Mogul maneuvers?
Bobby Brown Triple Cork

An Open Letter to Fair-Weather Skiers

Dear fair-weather skiers,

As I write this, it is -18 on a Monday morning.  It’s a one-ski-run kind of day, but there are deadlines to be met, so, I won’t get that run. (“Wait,” you say. “One run? How about no-run? Who in their right mind will go out in sub-zero temps in order to ski?” Um, who said anything about being in my right mind?).

But I want to thank you for all the amazing runs you let me have, yesterday. While my children were in their first day of Children’s Sunday Ski Experience (appropriately layered and covered: 2 sets of base layers, each, plus face masks, toe and hand warmer packs, etc., along with promises from instructors of frequent warm-up breaks), my friend Mel and I were crushing it.

I should add these were my inaugural “grown-up” turns of the season. We’ve had at least a half-dozen family ski days since the resort opened, but neither Jeff nor I had taken a single run without the kids. I’m not complaining—these family ski days have been nothing but a blast. But I hadn’t tested my mojo yet, and I wondered if I still had it. I needn’t have worried. Mel and I took our well-layered selves for a full day of carving and bumps—all over the resort, and had mojo to spare. Our boot heaters were turned on (though mine lost ground around the end of the second hour, then caught up during lunch and held up fine through day’s end), and we pulled our hands into fists inside our gloves and around our warmer packs on every lift ride.  And with every run we completed, we congratulated ourselves for having the good sense to come out and enjoy the snow.

It was a glorious bluebird day—we kept our body temperature up in the morning by taking our first three runs on Hidden Treasure. The fact that you have to skate-ski through a giant meadow before reaching the top of the trail is not only a great lower-body workout, but a smart way to keep warm. And then, there’s the sweet reward: The view from the top. I should note that it was too cold to take pictures—but this one was worth the cold hand.

Fair weatherAfter the third run, we took off for Lost Boulder—though I immediately detoured onto Lucky Star, only to be richly rewarded with yet another empty trail of sweet, soft snow.

Mel is a former nationally-ranked competitive mogul skier, so I knew just skiing behind her on the bumps would help me up my game. When we saw, from our perch on the Northside Express chairlift, that the moguls on skier’s left of Lost Boulder had some nice texture, we decided to ski down Lost Boulder to test them out. Spoiled by the pristine conditions of the other trails, we sniffed at a couple of scratchy spots on the Boulder and then dropped into the bumps. Afterward, I told Mel, “I need to do it again, since I stayed in a squat for most of that run, rather than standing up properly over my skis.” She chuckled her agreement, and we scoped out an entry point from the trees on Lucky Star, since we far preferred the conditions on that trail to the top of Lost Boulder. We found our connection and floated through some delicious powder to the moguls. I stood tall and did a better job of picking my line a few turns ahead. Thus acquitted, we moved on to Blue Bell- Silver Buck-Star Gazer-Gemini. Gemini greeted us with layers of un-groomed powder, before we connected to the bottom of Silver Buck to ride the Silver Strike lift. By now, we had to admit that we were rather cold. “Let’s take an early lunch,” I suggested. Mel agreed, and we skied the same loop, but took the cat track toward Viking lift, and noticed that it was already noon: proof positive we’d been having way too much fun. We made our way inside to Silver Lake Lodge, which had only short lines at high noon—fellow hungry skiers sporting snow-eating grins. We were in on a shared secret—there was killer skiing to be had.

We took a longer lunch than usual, treated ourselves to a shared plate of fries with our sensible entrees, reveling in our morning—and the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company for an entire day. We mused about our shared love of our Volkl Kenja skis, and our stubborn insistence on keeping a one-ski quiver. I received a scolding call from an instructor friend of mine, insisting that I wasn’t taking frequent-enough breaks for the cold temps—all based on a (correct) hunch. I boasted, via text, to Jeff, who was trying to conceal his envy. And, noting that we had 90 minutes before we needed to meet the boys at ski-school pickup, we headed back out.

Funny enough, the conversation drifted to warm-climate vacations—even as we zoomed down Kimberly to check out the new high-speed quad lift, Mountaineer Express overlooking the Jordanelle Reservoir. We bantered about how best to spend a beach vacation, fantasized about Hawaii and Mexico, all the while carving our way along Navigator toward Deer Hollow.  The new lift was a bona fide treat—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: the merits of a detachable high-speed lift cannot be overstated, particularly when temps dip, and you want to keep your sitting-down time to a minimum.

We gobbled up soft, sweet snow on Fairview—which made for a more-than-pleasant cruiser run. The next run was utility-minded: Deer Hollow to Little Stick to Carpenter—Little Baldy needed our attention. We picked up Little Bell at the top of Success, and enjoyed the piles of crud and moguls it offered up. And then, cutting across Success from Solid Muldoon, we approached Dew Drop. And there, friends, was the reason I must thank you: Fresh, untracked corduroy. It seemed only a handful of folks had made turns on this trail—and it was nearly 3:00!  After zooming down Little Kate, we started to notice the cold again. Still, we weren’t ready to stop—“Let’s just do a bunch of runs on Wide West,” Mel called out, gamely. So, we did—and on this sunny, protected stretch of snow, we felt warmer and satisfied that we hadn’t wasted a minute of skiing. Also, it took my mind off the fact that some of my fellow “mommy spies” had witnessed my older son’s “lawyer skills,” as he tried to convince his instructor to call off the lesson after the first hour. I could only speculate on the disgruntlement that awaited me. I needn’t have worried—two beaming kids arrived moments later, begging to ski a few more runs.

So, my fair weather skier friends, while I realize this post may be self-defeating, I wish to thank you for letting us have the mountain (nearly) to ourselves. Fear not, we took a few extra runs with you in mind. Help yourself to the bragging rights. You’re welcome!

 

 

My NEW Deer Valley

I’ve spent a lot of time this season interviewing DV employees about their Deer Valley—and I have to admit, a lot of their picks sounded exotic to me. They named gladded runs and bowls that I’d either seen only from a chairlift or only heard about. And then I went to Women’s Weekend—and I spent three days on terrain I’d always assumed was there for other people.

Turns out, it’s there for me. And a few hundred other people—but hardly any of them were in evidence on the trails we skied. It was kind of incredible to note that while there were plenty of people on the most popular groomed runs (admittedly, the same runs where I spend the majority of my ski days), the bumps and trees seemed to be ours alone. At one point, I said to my fellow students, “Isn’t it empowering to have the keys to this place?” It felt, for the most part, like we had the mountain to ourselves. I loved it. You might, too.

Herewith, my ode to the trees and bumps—of MY Deer Valley. Yep, I’m willing to share.

Little Bell these are my favorite warm-up bumps. It’s short, sweet and not too steep. So you can do some turns and then peel out into Solid Muldoon, cut over to Success and then keep an eye out for…

White Owl, which is home to World Cup Aerials events. Those scary-high jumps are off limits to the general public, but the bumps that run above them is a fun challenge. You can find a line (most likely: skier’s right) that isn’t too deeply rutted, and will allow you plenty of room to find your turns. Take a hard right out onto the bottom of Solid Muldoon, and you’re golden to hop on Carpenter to scoot down Silver Link, across the beach at Silver Lake Lodge to Sterling lift.

Emerald I must have skied past this run hundreds of times in the past eleven winters. Once in a blue moon, I’d spy someone possessed of more skills (or confidence) than myself making turns into this bowl that is found skier’s left at the top of Birdseye. Now, it’s got to be one of my favorite runs. The top is steep, but it mellows out fairly quickly. There’s plenty of room to “shop for turns,” among the bumps, and then you have your choice of widely-spaced Aspen glades where, yes, there is some powder (or yummy crud) to enjoy.

Tons of glades (with powder stashes) can be found on this run. Just look for your opening and go for it.

Three Ply, I like to access it from the trees on skier’s left, just below the first steep stretch at the top of Hidden Treasure, because you don’t have to do the very top, but it still allows plenty of length to get your groove on in the bumps.

Guardsman Glade is one area I had spied for years from my perch on Ruby Express, only to wonder who on earth would ski in there. Guess what? I do!

Anchor Trees this was love at first sight when Letitia introduced me to it last year. I never get tired of it. There are lots of ways to enter, and the glades are widely-cut enough that you have your choice of turns.

Finally, X-Files. Stay tuned for my ode to this run that makes hiking worth it.

View Deer Valley’s Trail Map here!

Good to Great with 15 inches of New Snow!

This weekend saw our second “major” snow storm of the year, so after clearing my driveway and dressing for the weather, I went out to Deer Valley to assess the results.

The snow kept on pounding the mountain all afternoon and as the hills were shrouded in a mystical cloud cover, I chose to stay in the forested areas of the resort and skied an unprecedented ten “Centennial Trees” runs, non-stop and during each and every one of them, I literally let myself go, bouncing from turn to turn as if I were a ball bouncing down some stairways, in that fluffy, out-of-this-world and so forgiving soft matter…

It felt as if I had received some magic powers and as if gravity as we know it had suddenly lost its sting. There was no stump too high, no drop too steep for me not to embrace in total confidence. I suddenly felt as if I had become invincible and had received a license to “cheat…”  Yet, after the first couple of runs, I started to feel hot; that’s right, with all the powder I had to work much harder than usual.

At each turn, the abundant snow on all sides of my skis, my boots and my legs had to be moved around and was pushing back. At the same time, I had too be twice as concentrated as I watched like a hawk for hidden obstacles, sudden drops and of course, huge trees!   That day, 15 inches of new snow were measured and I rediscovered that unmistakable and special sensation of feeling deep powder hugging my lower legs.

What were imposing moguls 24 hours prior had been neutralized and didn’t amount to much anymore, the few twigs still emerging were now dwarfed and far less intimidating, the forbidding stumps were now totally covered and turned into fat snowmen and the rare rocks had magically sunk to the bottom.

All around me, there was a brand new ski world, and more than ever before, I took the time to appreciate every second of my descents!

Date Night—Park City Style.

Saturday night, with my little one well into his second dose of antibiotics, and the big one eager to hang with Claire-the-cool-babysitter, Ski Dad and I headed out for a double date with our friends Miriam and Josh.

(Seth filling out his own prescription)

As I laced up my Sorels, zipped my fleece, and made sure my pockets were stuffed with packets of hand-warmers, I started to giggle—partly with anticipation for a grown-up night out, and partly in appreciation of the difference between dressing for date night in New York City—skirt, heels, cute-but-not-necessarily-warm top—and date night in Park City. I shared this with our friends when we picked them up a few minutes later, and Miriam said, “I know—I’m not even wearing makeup! I didn’t see the point.”

The mood in the crowd was festive, excited and very social. We ran into tons of friends—and even made a few new ones. Here I am with my new pal Mike Hale—locals know him as the star of commercials for the Acura and Chevy dealerships he owns in Park City and in Salt Lake City. We know him as a newfound friend. He immediately struck up a conversation with us, introduced us to his son (also Mike) and, yep, talked skiing. (Ok, we talked a little bit about business—he was quick to tell me I don’t have to drive all the way to Salt Lake to get my car serviced, since his shop can work on any type of car. And that his team will also wash and vacuum the car after they work on it. Which, any mom will tell you, is enticement enough!)

 

Most impressively, Mike told us how much he’s enjoying his first season skiing—on his new knee. This, my friends, was a lot different than date night chatter in New York City. And, to boot, I got my breath taken away—multiple times—by the excitement of the dual moguls competitions.

Here’s why: People crash. They cross in and out of each other’s lines. Their bumps skiing goes awry—massively awry. And then, poof! They regain their line, their balance, their mojo, just in time for the second jump near the bottom of the course, and POW! They land these killer, killer tricks. Perfectly. And it happens again and again. My favorite moment in competition was watching two US Women—Heather McPhee and Hanna Kearney—go head-to-head in the finals. Astounding, inspiring. And I can’t wait until next year.