Sundance Wrap Up

There are a number of reasons that I love the Sundance Film Festival. First, there are the films—I saw a couple of documentaries that knocked my socks off this year: Rebirth and Hot Coffee. But in many ways, the festival holds personal appeal. I get to spend time with colleagues with whom my contact is limited to phone, email and Facebook messages. Not the least of these are my friends at Self Magazine, where I worked as Entertainment Editor before I moved to Park City.

These women, who edit a healthy lifestyle magazine for women, practice what they preach, pushing the envelope on their comfort zone in the name of staying healthy and active.  To wit: a few years ago, the magazine’s executive editor and managing editor decided to take lessons at Deer Valley—in part because their kids had taken up the sport. They loved it. At the same time, other of our colleagues met me for first chair in what would become a tradition of a Self Sundance Ski Day.

And, so, the morning after I attended their lovely dinner event, “Honoring Women who Make Women Look Good on Film,” I met my friend Lauren, the magazine’s publicity director (we also, by some coincidence, went to college together) for a handful of turns and some Snow Park lunch. The previous evening, I’d sat with a documentary filmmaker and explained how, in part, working at Self had inspired me to leave New York for a new life here—what better way to capitalize on all that information I’d learned writing about healthy habits than to move to a place that thrives on them?

In truth, I pulled a locals move, and met Lauren at Silver Lake at the crack of noon. By then, she’d already taken a tour with a Mountain Host, and had that glint in her eye I’ve come to love. “It was great—we took one run on every part of the mountain,” she noted. “But they didn’t want to ski as fast as I did…” I cracked up—Lauren’s unofficial skier nickname is Speedy. So, we zoomed along the groomers (safely, in control, making full use of our edges, thank you very much), and then looked for little pockets of crud and moguls to test out our off-piste legs. On the chairlift, she told me about her 5 year-old daughter’s first weekend of ski lessons, and we compared notes on parenting beginning skiers.

 

After a while, I took her over to Hidden Treasure, explaining ahead of time that I like to use the flat area to skate for a thighs and glutes workout. Lauren looked for a powder stash on the side, and found herself grounded for a minute. “That will teach me!” And we had a good laugh before heading to Homestake so we could cruise Homeward Bound—a must see for any DV visitor.

 

I look forward to Sundance for just these moments—sharing my new life with old friends. We happened to luck into a bluebird day—which made us giggle excessively over the fact that we once did our traditional ski day in blizzard conditions, and our legs could barely keep up with the fresh pow.

Over lunch, I confessed to having a slight case of nerves at the prospect of my upcoming 3-day Women’s Ski Clinic (three full days! Yikes!) – And tried to entice her to plan her Sundance travel to include the weekend next year. Here’s hoping!

Fair Weather Skiing

I grew up in Vermont. Skiing there often means braving severe weather conditions in the name of sport. So when we hit the slopes in the early 20s of December, and a wet “snain” was falling, I found it oddly comforting.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a devotee of the 300+ days of sunshine Utah receives. I love the fact that skiing, most days, is a comfortable and fun affair, conducted in concert with the application of sunscreen, and proper layering to avoid the nearly-inevitable overheating on a bluebird day.  (No offense, Vermont.)

But we had so much fun making old-school jokes “How wet is it?? It’s so wet that…” and yep, making turns, my kids made only passing (and legit) complaints about the weather. 

It made me think what a service we do for our kids if we are not fair-weather skiers. It makes them see you can have fun even when the weather isn’t. It makes them hardier. If they’re going to compete on even the most casual levels, they’ll inevitably need to do it in less-than-stellar conditions, so they might as well learn to ski everything, right?

I risked sounding like one of those “uphill both ways to school” kind of moms, and said to Big Guy, “Can you believe that I spent most of my ski days in weather like this when I was your age? And I love skiing sooooo much?”

His response was one of those “Great Moments” parents live for. “Mom, I’m really lucky you still love to ski,” he said. “Because it would be a real bummer to live in Utah and have a mom who hates to ski!”

I thought, that night, as I did my usual toothbrush-time think on the day: This is what I wish for my kids—a lifetime of happy skiing, so they can share it with their kids.

 I’ll save the deeper thoughts for another post. In the meantime, don’t look askance at an overcast day. Use it as a skill-builder—hit overly-familiar terrain and remind your kids that their roll-with-it skills are as important a the perfect turn.

The Santa Stalker

For weeks, Little Guy, age 3, has been greeting us each morning with a query: “Is it Christmas?” then bursting into a medley of seasonally appropriate tunes. Which is adorable, and also hilarious. He hasn’t quite grasped the concept that we don’t celebrate the holiday, per se. Chinese food? A movie? Skiing and gathering with friends? Sure. But we’re Jewish, so Santa’s not coming down our (admittedly too-narrow) chimney.

Still, Little Guy’s been persistent in his desire to meet the Bearded Wonder. So, imagine his delight when he learned that Santa himself would make an appearance at Deer Valley Resort on the 24th. We planned the entire ski day around the intel that St. Nick would turn up at Snow Park Lodge about 1:30. And, yes, that was my crabby voice you heard resonating across the dining room at Snow Park restaurant at 1:00, after Little Guy acted the part of petulant, exhausted three-year-old and kicked a friendly member of the Deer Valley marketing department. Sigh. 

And those were his shrieks you heard ringing through the plaza after we traded his skis for a claim tag at ski check. Still, we hung around, hoping to boost his spirits with a Santa sighting. Better yet: we ran into friends (the aforementioned Lisa and Dave; other pals in from Palm Beach, etc) and chatted for a bit before Ski Dad determined we’d missed our moment and headed for the parking lot. 

Suddenly, Big Guy shouted: “Look! Santa’s on Success” and I speed dialed Ski Dad to return with his camera. Big Guy accepted Santa’s handshake (and a candy cane) with a grin. Little Guy did as Little Guy does and played shy.

Santa, for his part, lived up to the hype. I’m telling you: the man knows things. For as we lined up for a photo op, Santa offered a robust “Shabbat Shalom!” After all, this year the 24th fell on a Friday.