Ryan’s First Ski Lesson

Learning to ski can be very intimidating. I was nervous leading up to my first ever ski lesson. This wasn’t my first time on skis however, it was my first time since I was a small child. I have been a snowboarder my entire life. After finishing college I planned to learn to ski. I have a lot of friends that ski and instead of take the time to learn, I continued snowboarding.

01272014 102

In the fall of 2013 I started a job at Deer Valley Resort. The job called for an intermediate skier. I figured that I would pick up right where I left off when I was 4 years old (It’s just like snowboarding, right!). Boy was I wrong. My first day on skis I did everything wrong. I couldn’t turn, crossed my skis, and  dropped my pole off the chairlift. It was safe to say that I was a little rusty. I knew then I needed the help from an experienced ski instructor. After recovering from a few rough falls, I scheduled my lesson for the middle of January.

I felt like I had to start at the bottom and work my way up. The Deer Valley rental shop had a sign on the wall explaining the six different skiing levels. I thought I was a “Beginner.” So I signed up for this level.

Ski Lesson Sign

Deer Valley made it really easy to find my ski instructor. Signs outside of the ski school pointed me in the right direction and signs marked where each skill level gathered. I soon met a very nice young man named Brandon. He took my lesson receipt and put me in a group of three other skiers with the same skill level.

Max 4 sign Sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took the chairlift up to the top of the Wide West ski run, after introducing ourselves to the group. After making sure we all knew how to stop, our instructor gave us some pretty basic instruction. Like, get in an athletic stance, hands in front of you, and keep your weight balanced. Brandon explained that he needed to watch us ski a little bit before he could instruct us. We made our way down Wide West making slow parallel turns as our instructor watched.

Ski Lesson Chairlift Ride

When we reached bottom of Wide West Brandon informed us that we were all actually “Advanced Beginners” and were done with the training hill.

One person in our group said she felt more comfortable staying with the beginners on Wide West. So my “max 4″ group lesson became a lesson of three and one instructor, we were about to get upgraded to “Advanced Beginner.”

I would have to say my favorite part of the lesson was getting to know the other two skiers and the instructor. Adriana was around my same age and from Washington D.C. She moved to Park City to ski for the winter with her boyfriend. Greg was an older gentlemen who had retired and lived all over the world. He told us interesting stories all afternoon about the places he had lived. Our instructor Brandon explained that he was the youngest instructor at his level of expertise at Deer Valley. This gave him the nickname “Pampers.” He was from Oregon and moved here to teach skiing and be a part of, in his words “The best ski resort in America.” I’m a huge people person and these memories are the ones really took away from my ski lesson.

Ski Lesson on Wide West

Brandon told us that he liked teaching skiing by what is called the mileage method. He explained that the only way you will get better at skiing is to ski. This was really cool because we got in a lot of runs during the lesson.

Our first run was a green run called Ontario. We got there by taking Silver Lake Express to Silver Lake Lodge, then skiing down to Quincy Express. The best part of this run was that there were a lot of designated Ski School areas. We would ski down to the signs out of everyone’s way, and get instruction from Brandon. This worked really well for me.

Ski Lesson Sign

We skied from 1 p.m. until 4:15 p.m. Skiing from one Ski School area to the next. Brandon would ski in front of us a little bit and then watch as we came down. We would work on new stuff on the easier parts and things he had already taught us in areas where it was more difficult.

At the end of the day Brandon told us that we were done with the green runs and we needed to tackle our first blue run. The group was a little nervous to say the least. We made our way up Carpenter Express and took Little Stick ski run down. This run was a little narrow in some spots. The best part of Little Stick was being able to see the resort from a different view, which was very beautiful. After reaching the bottom Brandon explained that we were now intermediate skiers!

Ski Lesson

Have you had a lesson at Deer Valley or another ski resort? Tell me about it in the comments below. Also, check back I will be updating my progress throughout my first season as a skier!

Deer Valley Resort Announces Special Take-Away Menu for Super Bowl Sunday

Just in time for the big game, the resort has announced a take-away menu guests can order from and pick up at Deer Valley~Grocery Café for their Super Bowl parties. 

Super Bowl to-go menu options include:

    • Chilled cooked shrimp
    • Chilled Dungeness and Opilio crab legs
    • Housemade tortilla chips and salsa fresca
    • Purple, sweet and russet potato chips with caramelized onion and balsamic dip
    • BBQ and cilantro lime glazed pork ribs
    • Buffalo-style chicken wings
    • Pulled pork sliders
    • Mini cup cakes
    • Assorted half-size cookies
    • Assorted brownies and bars
    • Mini chocolate éclairs
    • Cashew caramel corn
    • Football shaped sugar cookies

Additional information and pricing for the take-away menu items can be found at deervalley.com. Orders may be placed by calling 435-615-2400. Orders must be placed by 5 p.m. Saturday, February 1, and picked up at the Café by 7 p.m. Sunday, February 2, 2014.

DVGC

Deer Valley Grocery~Café serves fresh roasted coffee and espresso drinks, soups, chilies, stews, salads made with seasonal ingredients, Panini sandwiches, creative appetizer and entrée specials, housemade breads, desserts, cakes and other freshly baked items. The café also offers daily soup, sandwich and salad specials. A selection of gourmet grocery items, house prepared take-away entrees, as well as wine, beer and liquor are available for purchase.

Deer Valley Grocery~Café is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and located in the Deer Valley Plaza building at 1375 Deer Valley Drive, Park City, UT 84060.

Lessons from a Local Tourist

One of my favorite things about living in Park City is that we sometimes have the opportunity to “check out” of our regular routine and check in to a hotel and play the part of tourists.

We got to do this on the second weekend of ski season, when Jeffrey and I were invited to dine and stay at Goldener Hirsch Inn, at Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Village. We made arrangements for the kids to spend the night with our good friend (and theirs) Mel. But we also had the chance to bring them up to the property to see what it was like.

Bari Nan Blog done

It turned into a brief glimpse of what it means to take a ski vacation with the kids. I’ve always tipped my hats to families who pack up all their gear and brave the wilds of air travel to then decamp to Deer Valley for a ski vacation. It seems daunting, but of course, it’s not without rewards. And, I realized, there are lots of ways in which being a tourist is way more fun than being a local. (I didn’t have to do a single household chore while I was at the Hirsch.)

As we proceeded through the weekend, I picked up a few insider tips and tricks that might make your vacation here a little easier to manage.

Tip #1: Call about early check-in

Granted, if you are traveling here during the busiest weeks, your room is unlikely to be available before the property’s official check-in time. But most lodge/hotel/inn style properties will have secure baggage storage, so that you can stash your belongings and get on with your day, as quickly as possible after arriving. We were visiting the Goldener Hirsch on a “pre-holiday” weekend, meaning they were not busy, and were happy to welcome us early, so we could take advantage of the ski-in, ski-out location. It was a massive luxury to be able to layer up and boot up in the room—which had a lovely sitting area with plenty of room to organize our stuff. Even if you are not staying in a slopes-side property (as I don’t, nearly every night), it pays to get geared up as head-to-toe as possible, at your lodging location. Fewer items get dropped or left-behind if you are wearing them. By the same token, if you’re looking for a more leisurely approach, don’t hesitate to take advantage of the lockers and basket-check at both Snow Park and Silver Lake Lodges.

Tip #2: Invest time in getting your ducks in a row  

Note that in the tip, above, I did not say “get on the slopes as quickly as possible after arriving.” Honestly, when you’re traveling with kids, it is well worth the investment of time to allow a few business hours after your arrival (whether it’s the afternoon/evening you arrive, or the next morning) to sort out all the gear and arrangements. For instance, getting fitted for your rental gear the night before your first ski day is a great time-and-sanity saver (the Deer Valley Ski Rental Shop at Snow Park Lodge is open until TK time). If you or your kids are taking ski lessons, visit the Children’s Center or the Ski School well before the lesson’s start time to make sure all the waivers are signed, and that any allergies or special requests are noted in the file. I did exactly that. We pulled up to Snow Park Lodge, and Jeff dropped me off at the curb before he pulled into a designated “waiting” spot. I’m telling you this detail for two reasons: First, this really is a quick errand. Second, if you are going to be at the lodge for more than 10 minutes, find a spot in the regular parking lots.

Bari Nan fireplace done

It took just minutes for me to visit the Children’s Center and make sure everything was in order for the boys’ lessons the next morning, as well as for the Children’s Sunday Ski Experience programs that begin next month. The super-helpful staff even printed the tickets for the private lesson Jeff and I had scheduled with Letitia Lussier, and my ticket for the Women on Wednesdays program, which begins next month. I learned that one of the members of the team, there, has the initials J.Z. so I couldn’t resist taking a photo of “J.Z. and His Ladies.”

“We wish more people did what you are doing,” the staffers in the Children’s Center explained. “It makes it less stressful for everyone.” I thought back to many seasons’ worth of chaotic first-days of the CSSE, and realized how right they are. Granted, the staff there are over-the-top helpful, but walking into the morning rush, with overheating geared-up kids, can be an unnerving experience. If you can’t get to the Ski School ahead of time, take a moment, a day or two before you depart for your vacation and call the Children’s Center to make sure everything’s arranged as you planned.

Tip #3: Manage Expectations—the kids’ and your own

Jeff and I agreed that we’d count on getting no more than two runs in with the kids, Saturday afternoon. Any additional snow time would be considered a “bonus.” (Granted, this would be an expensive proposition if we didn’t hold season passes, but we do, so we figured a couple of runs would be a good idea. But it can also work if you plan to do a half-day ski day, which will likely involve more than two runs, but not leave you all to exhausted to enjoy the rest of your vacation.) So, we let the kids know that we wanted to just “test” our ski legs, and have a nice lunch at Silver Lake Lodge restaurant. This dovetailed nicely with one of my oldie-but-goodie tips:

Tip #4: Leave them wanting more

This one never gets old. (For the Seinfeld fans, I call this the Costanza Rule.) If you want your kids to love skiing, call it a day while they are still enjoying it. The pros at the ski school say that frequent breaks can be the key to a successful day. We did exactly two runs on Ontario and then it was time to break for a late lunch. Yes, the lifts were still running when we finished, and the kids were BEGGING for more runs. “You will have all day tomorrow to ski,” I reminded them. Then, I engaged my supermom powers with a deft “look at the birdie” distraction move: I asked if they wanted to go back to the Goldener Hirsch and check out the live music in the lounge. People, there was yodeling. And it was a big hit. Also, there was a little nook on our guest room’s floor, where several varieties of freshly baked cookies, some hot beverages and fresh fruit were laid out for guests to enjoy. So, my chocoholic big boy availed himself of a chocolate chip cookie, while his (shockingly) sweet-tooth-impaired younger brother delighted in choosing and eating an apple. This was just one of the great details we appreciated at the Inn.

Tip #5 Stay Hydrated

While Jeff and I were in our private lesson with Letitia, on Sunday, she told us about a seminar she’d attended, through the Professional Ski Instructors Association, that focused on hydration. Among the highlights: Flying is dehydrating, as is staying at a higher altitude, as is eating spicy food and drinking alcohol. So if you do any or all of these before you make your first turns, you’re already at a hydration deficit. Then, when you’re skiing, you lose water through your breath, in the cold, dry air. Boom. Then, your muscles aren’t working at their capacity—and, to boot, once you start to dehydrate, your ability to feel thirsty shuts off. So, drink lots of water—and take plenty of breaks for water throughout your ski day. (I reviewed the previous evening’s delicious tasting meal at the Goldener Hirsch restaurant, including the bottle of Pinot Noir that Jeff and I shared, and realized, that I could benefit from an extra glass of water or two throughout the day.)

Tip #6 Know thyself

If you are tired, take a break. If you know you didn’t get enough sleep, or had a sore back the day before, take it easy. Skiing within your limits is way more fun that pushing yourself to the point of injury. Take an early lunch if your energy is starting to flag by 11 a.m. This is a great strategy, also, because the restaurants aren’t crowded, and then, when the rest of the skiing population is at lunch at noon, you’re back out on empty slopes. This is especially helpful if you are skiing with your kids—you get the benefit of keeping them fed and hydrated, and enjoying quieter trails with them. Plus, you can be the hero and call for a hot cocoa break at 2 p.m.

 Tip #7 Invest in a caribiner

Among its many handy uses you can attach your basket check tag, or ski-check tag to the handy metal clip—sliding those around your wrist or shoving them into a pocket can create an opportunity to lose those items. (Also, take a photo of the tag with your smartphone, so you can show it to the ski check staff in the event you do lose the tag, somehow.) Collecting your whole family’s tags at the end of the day, in one place,  is a great way to keep track of them. I use some sort of memory device to recall whose is whose. For instance, my current ski-check tag says “1619” and since I often think of myself as younger than I am, I told myself, “For the purposes of this exercise, I am in my teens.” Then, when my kids got their tags, I noticed that the older child had a tag with a higher number than his brother’s tag. There’s always some funky way to recall which tag correlates to which family member, so I find them where I can.

EBS Lounge Featuring Live Musical Events.

Deer Valley Resort’s EBS Lounge, a favorite après-ski destination, is featuring live musical events throughout the winter season on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 3 to 6 p.m. Located on the upper level of Snow Park Lodge, EBS Lounge is home to three talented musicians this winter: Michael Rogers, Alicia Stockman and Ché Zuro.

Michael Rogers brings his musical talents to Park City, where he is a Professor in Music for his company, Musician Builders. Rogers not only performs as a dueling pianist, he also teaches, composes, arranges and operates his own music studio. He grew up and attended schools in Massachusetts and is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Rogers has performed as a dueler for many years at Salt Lake City’s Tavernacle, as a solo act and also with a number of popular bands throughout the country. His performances are one-of-a-kind and never cease to thrill audiences and his counterparts.

Alicia Stockman hails from the beautiful Swiss-themed mountain town of Midway, UT. It was there that she formed her love of country and folk music. Stockman now resides in Park City, where she can be found playing music at various venues around town or in neighboring Kamas, Heber and Hanna. She is a solo singer and guitarist, known for her acoustic covers and is also a member of the lively Bonanza Town band.

Ché Zuro is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. After seeing The Rolling Stones on TV and deciding she wanted to be just like Keith Ricards, Zuro’s parents complied. At just 9 years old, Zuro received her first electric guitar. Growing up in a musical family, Zuro never officially “learned” to sing; singing in tune to the radio, a capella or fighting family members over who got to sing the harmonies was a common place occurrence. Over the years, Zuro has worked with many groups and artists, singing, playing, touring and recording. Her touring has taken her all over the country as well as internationally and her music has been acquired for film and TV libraries. She has been called the hardest working woman in rock and roll.

Named in honor of Deer Valley’s founder, Edgar B. Stern, Jr., Edgar’s Beer and Spirits Lounge offers a large selection of draft and bottled beers, fine wines and cocktails, including Edgar’s favorite drink, the Edgartini, for après-ski enjoyment. Guests can also cozy up with delicious appetizers while watching sporting events or ski movies on the big screen TV. Outside, the large deck offers great views of Deer Valley Resort—a perfect way to remember a fun day on the slopes.

Eric Schramm Photography 2013
For more information about Deer Valley Resort’s EBS Lounge and its live music schedule, please visit the resort’s event calendar or contact resort. To follow resort happenings on social media, search #skithedifference.

Game on!

After the excitement of Celebrity SkiFest was concluded, my family decided to extend the fun, and celebrate Opening Week.

One of the great benefits of getting out on the second weekend is that it’s quieter than it will be for weeks to come. Honestly, If you can come here on an “off” weekend (i.e., non-holiday) do it.1282013 099

On Sunday, we felt like we had the mountain to ourselves—the four of us were in ski school for the full day. Jeffrey and I had a private lesson with Letitia Lussier, the amazing instructor I met on my first Women’s Weekend, several years ago

Meanwhile, Seth spent the day in Reindeer Club, and Lance spent the day in Adventure Club. It was a treat to see Lance shredding Lost Boulder from our perch on Northside Express Chairlift—and the run was loosely –populated enough that we had the chance to spot him.

We bumped into friends, here and there, there was a Mahre Training Camp under way, so we said hello to Phil and Steve a couple of times on lift-lines. (I won’t name names, but one of those brothers may or may not have called me out for being too “matchy,” in my appearance—purple boots, purple-ish skis, white pants, jacket with a pattern that contained purple. I may or may not have retorted that I was owning it, so it was allowed.), and the overall atmosphere was both relaxed and festive, as staff and guests alike got our ski season on.

Bari Nan Kids done

One of the best benefits was something that had not occurred to me when I booked the boys into their group lessons: it wasn’t at all busy in ski school. Hence, Seth was the only child in his group. As his instructor noted, “This week is the ‘value week,’ in ski school,” because you have a higher likelihood of one on one coaching. Lance had only two other children in his group (both of whom were picked up 90 minutes early), leaving him with, essentially, a ninety-minute private lesson at the end of the day.

Finally, the restaurants were not crowded in the least.

So, don’t tell your kids’ principal I told you to do this, but if you can sneak them out of school for a day or two and grab a long weekend at Deer Valley when everyone else is not on vacation, I highly recommend it.

 

 

Ski Team Reunion

photo (42)

During the 2014 Deer Valley FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup the U.S. Ski Team had a fundraiser called “IceMen.” In short, generous people donate to the U.S. Ski Team and in return get to ski with past members of the team.  

photo (43)

I always enjoy skiing and learning from these former U.S. Ski team members. Their resumes include a two-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time silver medalist, bronze medalist, and an overall World Cup title holder. I’m always in amazement when I ski with them. I have such respect for this group of skiers.   

photo (41)

It was our first powder day and the group wanted good skiing, so we headed to X-Files. I didn’t realize that one of our champion leaders didn’t like to hike until it was too late. But it was worth it, he enjoyed the skiing and it was great to see him laugh harder than anyone has ever seen. The guest witnessed all of us joking around with each other all day. One mentioned that it was cool to see how close the U.S. ski family really was. I feel lucky to be part of the Deer Valley family and be able to show the friends I have made it from ski racing to representing my home resort. 

See you on the slopes. 

 

 

My Favorite Things: Yama Sushi at Montage Deer Valley

Julie Andrews and Carrie Underwood may have enjoyed raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, and brown paper packages tied up with string when they reflected on their favorite things. For me, though these don’t rhyme, I love the mountains, I am addicted to skiing, and am crazy about sushi. Since the combination can be found at Yama Sushi at Montage Deer Valley, this restaurant is officially one of my favorite things.

My husband Jay and I pulled up to the resort to the complimentary valet parking, walked through the lobby and we made our way to Yama Sushi. The restaurant is nestled along the windows over looking ski runs and the expansive deck with a roaring outdoor fire pit.

A0002443

I have to admit we started with a sesame wings appetizer with chili and peanuts because we just couldn’t resist them – we decided it isn’t a “first date” item to order.  Since we’ve been married for 19 years, we were safe!  We weren’t worried about getting any sauce on our chins.  Besides, we were kindly provided with a warm towel for quick clean up, so we started our sushi night in wing heaven.

Our server Brittany was full of good advice and since we love trying new things, we decided to try the local favorite “Wasatch Roll” with Montage Mountain Ale battered shrimp, spicy tuna, salmon, cucumber, avocado, chipotle aioli, and tobiko.  After trying, the lemony Yama Roll with spicy tuna, cucumber, avocado, yuzu-shisito pepper “pesto” suzuki, lemon and micro shiso, my husband now has a new favorite roll!

A0002452

Since I am normally more of a wine lover than a sake aficionado, I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and try the sake flight.  As a sake novice, in the past I had only tried warm sake. To keep up with my quest to try something new every single week of my life, I decided to try three different cold sakes.   I won’t tell you which was my favorite. You’ll just have to check them out for yourself and maybe you’ll find that Yama Sushi becomes one of your favorite things, too.

A0002494with vignette

For a sample menu, click here.

More information on Yama Sushi, click here.

 

 

 

Ski Season Number Three

I measure time differently since moving to Park City and skiing at Deer Valley.  Like many parents, I used to measure time in terms of the ages of my children and events in their lives.  Reflecting back, my frame of reference usually went something like this,  “when Brian was eight” or “when we drove Saxon to college.”  Since moving to Park City and my children – now referred to as “adult children” – having graduated from college, established their careers and family lives, I have adopted a new way to measure time. I measure it by ski seasons.

Ski Area

When people ask me how long I’ve lived in Park City, I answer simply, “This is my third season.” Everyone knows what I am talking about – the beautiful winters here.  In my case, I also think about my progress in learning to ski.  Season #1 – the Hockey Stop was a big turning point for me.  Learning to stop on a dime gave me more confidence and allowed me to go on stepper runs.  Season #2 – the high point for me was the Women’s Weekend.  Three days in a row with the same instructor and group of women was a great way to improve my skiing. That weekend of fun and instruction landed me solidly as an intermediate skier – blue runs, baby!

Starting season #3 at Deer Valley, I noted that I am already skiing runs that I struggled with in the middle of last season.  On the mental game of skiing, I caught myself thinking, “You are doing pretty good, Nancy” and immediately gave myself a gut check.  I have found the moment I think I am doing well, something happens.  Maybe it’s because I stop paying attention and suddenly falter.  I was reminded over and over again that pride cometh before the fall during Season #2.

Snow on Tree by G~C

Fortunately, as a blogger, I can read about past seasons allowing me to savor my experiences and re-live the events right here.  But not everyone is a writer or keeps a journal.  It’s not hard to mark your seasons here in Park City or experiences on vacation at Deer Valley.

Here are four easy ways:

1.  Pinterest Boards.  You can make a Pinterest Board and name it based on your current season. I’ll call mine Season #3 Park City, Utah.  Use your own photos or search Deer Valley Resort, Ski Utah and Park City, Utah for lots of material. Pinterest2

2.  Facebook Albums and Timelines.  On Facebook, you can make a special photo album or simply post on your timeline and then come back and review.  My photo album on my personal Facebook Page, just says “Park City” so I need to split it up into seasons.

Facebook

3. Scrapbook or Photo Album.  Scrapbookers can make an album of their winter season and keep it on the coffee table to enjoy. Or make an electronic version for your family to enjoy wherever they live!

4. Instagram. Creating an Instagram is fast and easy. Create a profile for yourself and use hashtags to categorize your pictures. You can see in the picture below that Deer Valley Resort uses #SkiTheDifference. This is a great way to connect with other ski enthusiasts and see pictures from around the world.

InstaSS

Now with a plethora of social media, journaling, and photo sites, reflecting on your past seasons shouldn’t be challenging.  You just need to do it!

What was your favorite ski season and how are you going to remember this one?

 

 

I Love a Parade

… But I love the Torchlight Parade at Deer Valley, most of all.

Torchlight

It’s a known fact: It is flat-out impossible to be in a bad mood at Deer Valley Resort’s annual Torchlight Parade. This pre-New Year tradition involves a veritable river of complimentary cocoa, Deer Valley’s signature cookies, and an overwhelmingly fun sense of community. Mascots! Seafood Buffet staff taking in the view from the dining room windows! Chefs slipping out of the heat of the kitchen in their short-sleeves! And, of course, guests enjoying the company of family, friends and strangers. (As always, there are no strangers at Deer Valley, just fellow skiers, and lovers of all things DV.) The Deer Valley Synchonized Ski Team is, for lack of a better word, electrifying.

Seafood Buffet

Lesser-known fact: If your children are, on ordinary days, embarrassed by your public singing and dancing (And, really, in my case, who can blame them?), such tom-foolery is expected, if not encouraged, at the parade. So, cloaked in the magic of the festivities, I sang and danced with impunity. Then, the magic began—the Synchronized Ski Team, draped in LED lights, skied in formation down Big Stick to Wide West ski run. At one point, their giant S-turns created the illusion of skiing in circles.Big Stick

I loved watching my kids enjoy the show in their own ways—Lance simply sitting and watching (I could tell he was excited to be there because he couldn’t actually sit on the patio chair. I started to scold him for having his feet on the seat, and then stopped myself. He kept sort of popping up to get a better view, then squatting back down.) Seth’s not-so-hidden talent (which comes out a lot at Bar Mitzvahs and weddings, actually), is an innate gift for hip hop dancing. (He does not get it from me; but he has two grandmothers who are terrific dancers, so it’s something of a recessive gene, perhaps.) He demonstrated this skill on the patio wall while singing along with the music, keeping his eyes glued on the parade.

Seth

As the synchro team created its magic, I got swept up in the beauty of it all. Honestly, with all the hype and excitement around me, I didn’t expect to find myself feeling contemplative—but I did. There was something about this night that felt like a gift. I saw before me all the magic of skiing in a new light—appreciating the beauty, the grace, the fun, and the hope that skiing brings along for the ride. Hope that the next run will be better than the last, that more snow will fall overnight, that we can continue to share this sport with the people we love. I’m not much of a resolution-maker, but I sure enjoyed pinning my hopes for a wonderful season on the performance we enjoyed at the parade. I’d love to see your “Skiing New Year Hopes” in the comments. Until then, Happy New Year!

Wide West

Who Has a Gingerbread Doghouse?

What makes the holidays special to young and old alike?  Well, I have a theory – it’s the delight of the surprise.  When you open up an unexpected gift, your eyes open wide, a quick smile comes to your face and you lose your breath for a second.  The really cool thing about it is the gift giver experiences the same physical reaction as the gift receiver!

One winter when I was a young girl, my brother and I spoiled our Christmas. You see we searched until we found my parent’s special hiding place and we saw our unwrapped gifts!  At the time, it was a thrill to seek out and find something we weren’t supposed to see.  We kept it our little secret.  Then on Christmas morning when we opened the packages, the whole thing fell flat. Knowing what was inside took away the delight and it just wasn’t the same. My brother and I never spoke about it but we never tried to find presents again.

When I went to see the life sized gingerbread house adorning the lobby of the Montage Resort at Deer Valley, I expected it to be wonderful.  A 12 foot high gingerbread house was sure to be impressive!  I’d heard the resort’s award winning Executive Pastry Chef, Raymond Lammers and his team spent two months building it – so I knew it was going to be really special.

House

It is spectacular!  The house is tiled with over 11,000 gingerbread cookies (2,000 roof tiles, 8,000 small tiles and 1,000 white gingerbread tiles) and completed with:

1 ½ pounds of nutmeg

135 pounds of butter

165 pounds of sugar

170 pounds of molasses

85 pounds of corn syrup

540 eggs AND 110 pounds of special sugar were used for the 26 sugar candies and the 6 window panes.

But there is more!  The delight came when while I was looking up at the gingerbread house, a furry friend nudged me.  Jonas, the Bernese Mountain Dog Ambassador at the Montage was visiting his very own gingerbread doghouse.  Let me ask you this.  Who has a gingerbread doghouse?  Well, Jonas and his fellow ambassador, Monty both do. These 3 ft. wide and 4 ft. deep gingerbread doghouses sit on either side of the life sized gingerbread house.

House 2

When I saw them, I had the same physical reaction as if I was opening that unexpected gift. Everyone around me had it too. I watched teenagers elbowing each other and saying, “Look at the doghouses!”  Jonas lapped it all up oblivious to the doghouse as he focused on making sure each one of the guests had a chance to pet him and give him a nice big hug.

Don’t spoil the surprise when you bring your family to visit the gingerbread house at Montage Resort – keep the gingerbread doghouses under wraps!  That way you can watch their reactions as their eyes go from the tall roof line of the gingerbread house, to the six foot tall candy canes on either side of the front door, and finally to the doghouses with the names “Jonas” and “Monty” written in icing on the top.

House 3