Girls’ Weekend Spa Day – Five Tips To Make It Fabulous

Girls talk.

We’re wired that way.

No seriously, we really are. In fact, recent research has shown that women’s brains are wired differently than men’s. This research has confirmed what many of us suspected. In females, wiring in the brain goes between the left and right hemispheres, suggesting that they facilitate communication between the analytical and intuition. (Think great memory, multi-tasking and group solutions.)

In men’s brains, the wiring is front to back suggesting their brains are structured to facilitate connectivity between perception and coordinated action. (Think singular focus.) (Read more here.)

What this means to us, ladies, is we are meant to be communicators.

We talk. We listen.

So when I was setting up my girls’ weekend spa day, I knew I had to plan for lots of communication time.

1

Since my girlfriends carved out precious time away from their families to get together and unwind, I needed to make sure we made the most of our time together. I asked Katie at Zanté Spa, located at the Deer Valley Plaza Building, to help me plan a morning of relaxation and rejuvenation with the girls. As a pro at creating special pampering experiences, she gave me a few tips.

Here are five of them:

1. Take over the place. Since you and your girlfriends don’t get together as often as you like, you want every moment to count. Zanté Spa was able to book our appointments so that we had the place to ourselves the whole morning. We’d welcome any other spa visitors, of course, but having “just us girls” made it feel so welcome and cozy. We were able to employ “no filter” conversations which is what girls’ weekend is all about.

2. Build in transition time. Katie scheduled our treatments with plenty of time for lounging in-between. Instead of feeling rushed and checking our watches, we were able to relax as some of us were getting done with our treatments and others were getting started. As a Type A personality who lives her life by the clock, I appreciated the no-stress attitude. This is one tip many of us can apply to all areas of our lives – I certainly will.

2

3. Customize your experience. We brought in some special fruit plates, juices and appetizers to complement the selection of goodies the spa provided. Don’t laugh but we also brought some “lighter” reading – fashion magazines! The spa supplied some wonderful reading material, but be sure to bring in whatever makes you feel comfortable whether it’s a special book or a fashion magazine.

photo

4. Linger. When your spa day comes to a close, don’t rush out. After a few hours of Zen space and total relaxation, we didn’t want to just bolt out the door. We needed some transition time to step back into the world. The ladies at Zanté Spa, suggested we linger. They also had menus on hand for us to review some choices for our next stop – lunch at Deer Valley Grocery~Café.

photo 1 (26)

5. Treat yourself to something special – you deserve it. Try something new to enhance your experience. My girlfriends who had massages tried a Japanese energy technique called Reiki integrated into their massages and felt fabulous afterwards. I tried the restructuring and soothing facial called Vital-Elastin which included a facial massage with the exfoliation and dry brushing. This was a new experience for me and my skin appreciated it!

photo 1 2

So remember when planning your event, girls talk.

Just go with it.

Do you or a family member need a retreat or special getaway or do you have questions about our girls’ weekend? Connect with me on Twitter  and @Deer_ValleyClick the links for more information on; lodging at Trail’s End Lodge, spa services at Zanté Spa and menu options at Deer Valley Grocery~Café.

Jam-packed Summer

Dear Reader,

I owe you an apology. I was too busy living the Park City lifestyle to write about it this summer. I didn’t have the heart to part with my kids for many full-day camps. As I write, the boys are in their first full week of school after a two-day opening “week,” and I am missing all the adventures we shared over the summer. I jokingly referred to the school-free months as “Our Summer of Academic Rigor,” because I was convinced that if I didn’t stimulate their minds in nearly equal measure to their bodies, all the things they’d learned in school would, quite simply, fall out of their heads. So, there were academic camps, sports camps, even a sleep-away camp for Lance one week. But I wanted to squeeze in as much time with these dudes as possible, so after every morning camp, we’d hit the pool together, or a trail, or, yes, the movie theater.

Kids from FB

We enjoyed lazy mornings too and we thrilled at the fact that when the day ended, there was no homework. We took our RV on a few trips and got rained out of a few others. Yes, the RV means rain isn’t a tragedy, but being cooped up in the RV because of the weather isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of fun. One of our trips took us to Bear Lake. It’s close enough for a day trip, so if you’re visiting Park City in autumn, a drive north to this turquoise-blue lake on the Utah/Idaho border is something to consider.

Bear Lake is known for its raspberries and its raspberry shakes. Garden City, Utah features a seemingly endless strip of “shake shacks,” whose shakes my family is more than happy to sample. There are ATV trails and tons of rentals available, a marina, beaches suitable for sunbathing or launching kayaks and paddleboards, yet you’re surround by lush trees and rugged mountains. Garden City boasts a multi-use path for biking and walking, that makes it a very biker/pedestrian-friendly location. Oh, yes, and there are also go-karts. My family loved racing around the track and then getting a shake to celebrate our “victory.”

IMG_7452

Like any vacation house, our RV is stocked with games. Our favorite, and one which I recommend to all travelers, is Story Cubes. Because it’s pocket-sized, you can take it with you on the plane, in a car or wherever. You simply roll the dice, which bear symbols instead of numbers, and players have to tell stories using the symbols they have rolled. This was the winner of the picnic table game night.

IMG_7472That’s just one highlight. I’ll be reminiscing about many more as the gorgeous fall descends into mud season and we have nothing but the memories of a sweet summer and the anticipation of a snowy winter (please!!) to get us through.

How was your summer? Did you jam-pack it as well? Tell me in the comments below or on Twitter  or @Deer_Valley.

Spring Break at Deer Valley Resort

Spring weather and bluebird days in the mountains bring exceptional values at Deer Valley Resort. During the coming months, guests can experience Deer Valley’s award-winning accommodations at a fraction of its winter rates. Spring break holidays provide families an ideal time to experience a getaway tailor-made for all ages, from Deer Valley’s lodging specials and packages that offer great savings to the new Steeps & Stashes specialty clinic for adults.

036_Deer Valley Resort

New this year, is “Steeps and Stashes,” an adult co-ed specialty clinic for strong intermediate, advanced and expert skiers. The two-day clinic takes skiers to Deer Valley’s lesser known off-trail terrain, where guests will push their limits and test their stamina. Deer Valley’s professional ski instructors help guests improve their skills, while creating lasting, memorable experiences. Included in the program is an opportunity to try a variety of skis from the resort’s Rental Shop (a Rossignol Experience Center) and a closing reception.

Family Value Package

Kids ski FREE and save 20% on lodging, lift tickets and kids’ ski rentals. With family-friendly amenities, including an outdoor pool and hot tub, free hot breakfast buffet, onsite Deer Valley Rental Shop and complimentary in-town shuttle all within close proximity to Snow Park Lodge and ski school, Lodges at Deer Valley and Silver Baron Lodge are the perfect choice for families vacationing at Deer Valley Resort. Package is valid March 30-April 6, 2014. Receive up to two complimentary child lift tickets per day and two Deer Valley ski rental discount vouchers for children 12 and under. The purchase of four adult lift tickets is required.

Late Season Package

Experience Deer Valley Resort during the late winter season period and receive 25% savings on lodging and lift tickets at a wide range of accommodations managed by Deer Valley. Package is valid March 30-April 6, 2014. A minimum of four lift tickets total must be purchased with this package. Minimum night stay is required and varies by property.

Spring Ski and Stay Package

Save 15% on lodging and lift tickets when you book your Deer Valley Resort spring ski vacation. Package is validFebruary 23-March 8, and March 23-29, 2014. A minimum of four lift tickets total must be purchased with this package. Minimum night stay is required and varies by property. This package is not offered at Black Diamond Lodge.

Spring Lodging at Summer Rates
Enjoy spring skiing at Deer Valley Resort with summer lodging rates starting at $165 per night for a hotel room at Lodges at Deer Valley and 25% off lift tickets. Valid from April 6-13, 2014. Minimum night stay is required and varies by property.
 
Stay Longer, Save More

Receive free nights lodging the longer you stay at Deer Valley Resort. Purchase six nights and receive one additional night free, purchase eight through 10 nights and receive two additional nights free, purchase 11 through 13 nights and receive three additional nights free, stay 14 nights or more and receive four additional nights free. The ‘stay six nights and receive one night free’ option is not valid March 7-22, 2014.

The following apply to all packages: At time of booking, offers are based on availability at select properties, on new reservations only and packages cannot be combined; tax and service fees not included. Purchase of daily adult lift tickets is, at times, required to obtain lodging discounts; end dates are checkout dates.

Please speak with a Vacation Planner to clarify all package details. Visit deervalley.com for additional packages or promotions.Guests can visit deervalley.com or inquire with one of the resort’s Vacation Planners at 800-558-3337 or 435-645-6528 for further package details. For a complete list of Deer Valley Resort’s 2014 spring packages, rates and restrictions, please view Deer Valley Resort Lodging & Reservations on our website.

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.

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 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?

 

 

School Bus Synergy

photoTrue story: I’m “Facebook friends” with over 1,800 people. At least a dozen of those are people with whom I rode the school bus to Rutland Town Elementary School with from 1978-1986 in Rutland, Vermont. As the small world turns, I run into one of these pals, Julie, on a weekly basis at our favorite exercise class at the Silver Mountain Sports Club. Another friend, Tori, lives in Atlanta, and I’m used to following her adventures from afar—she and her family (including two young boys, not that far in age from my guys) travel a lot, and get to go to a lot of fun events, in far-flung locales. So, imagine my delight when I found a Facebook message from Tori, letting me know she’d be skiing at Deer Valley on the first Sunday of Sundance Film Festival.

“Smart move”, I told her. “The hotels are full, but the slopes are empty!” I promised to meet her by the ticket window after I dropped off the boys at Ski School, so that we could say hello in person—which we had not done in over 25 years.

I was so excited to see Tori and meet her husband and kids that I forgot to take a picture of us together. But I did score this great photo of her family enjoying their day at Deer Valley Resort. I’d say they fit right in, wouldn’t you?

Come back sometime soon, Tori and family… so we can ski DV together!

A Dirty Little Secret

I recently came across a pamphlet titled “Do you have a gambling problem?” Certainly not I thought. However, a closer inspection of the symptoms made me realize I was not being very honest with myself. I don’t mind some low stakes poker and betting on who catches the first trout, or what year Picabo Street won Olympic Silver in the Downhill, but I will never take out a second mortgage to cover a loss.

So what’s my problem? Check out my symptoms and you tell me.

* Being preoccupied with skiing
* Increasing your skiing risks
* Trying to cut back on skiing without success
* Reducing the time you spend at work/with family because of skiing
* Reviewing past skiing experiences in your mind
* Constant daydreaming of that one big score

Based on the fact that my mother still waits for first chair by skating back and forth to warm her legs up, I would say that my problem is genetic so there may be no help for me.

Of course the Deer Valley Blog may not be the best place to get help. I doubt anyone reading this could find one thing wrong with that list. 11 days 12 hours 8 minutes and 50 seconds until we ski folks! I can’t wait to see you out there, and by the way – do you know what year the aforementioned silver medal was won? No cheating, Google to find out or guess in the comment section.