Sundance: Skiing, Screenings and Stars | The Official Blog of Deer Valley Resort

So, if last year’s experience taught me that it’s OK not to ski during Sundance, this year I proved that the Sundance Film Festival + skiing = Awesome.

Click below to read more about my Sundance 2016 experience

Source: Sundance: Skiing, Screenings and Stars | The Official Blog of Deer Valley Resort

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The Eagle Has Landed

So, Tuesday was kind of a big day around here.

Seth, having conquered the 20m jump in his alpine gear, the previous Friday, was given his first set of nordic ski jumping equipment—boots, and some wide, flat, long skis with no edges and special bindings that allow the heel to flex away from the ski. You know, for flying.

nordic gear with lindsey

PCNSC Coach Lindsey Van helps Seth select his Nordic Gear. “You want it hard, easy, or fun?” She asks. “Easy and fun,” he responds. “Well, it won’t be both. But it will be fun.”

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Mission accomplished. Cool boots. Giant skis.

He practiced some in-run position drills (skiing under the hoops helps form). As they made their laps, my friend Stacey came over to tell me, “I hope you don’t mind, but I just told your son to suck it up,” she said. “He was complaining about the boots.” Good, I thought—it came from someone other than me. That left Jeff and me the room to  pep-talk Seth through the first uncomfortable, awkward moments in the new gear, the adjustment to the new learning curve, and the frustration that came along for the ride.

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He took some jumps—which was a lot harder on the new gear than he thought it would be. But all I could do is yell—”That’s my kid! THAT’S MY KID!!!”

Which is what was happening when my friend Valerie showed up to watch, with the stars of a movie she produced, called Eddie the Eagle. The film is based on the life of Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton), a British ski jumper who defied the odds to compete in the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary. His coach is played by Hugh Jackman. Which was, it turns out, just enough excitement to make Seth feel better about the steep learning curve he was encountering on the new skis.

Hugh and Taron watched the kids fly, and enthusiastically congratulated them on their skills. It was hard to tell who was having more fun, really. But I got a hint, a few hours later. (More on that, in a moment.)

As it happened, Eddie was the “Townie Tuesday” screening, for which Sundance Film Festival officials had distributed free tickets to locals. The kids were bummed that we were not taking them to the 9pm screening. But 9PM! On a school night! Not even I, “Fun Mom,” am that irresponsible—and I can bring it. So, we got them settled at home and set off toward town, for the film. My friend Sarah scored great seats at the front, and saved some. In turn, we saved three for our jumping pals, Stacey, Julie and Coach Lindsey.

Which turned out to be fortuitous, because Taron and Hugh came to the screening to introduce the film, shared their visit to UOP with the audience and wound up in a chat with Lindsey. You can watch the whole exchange, here:

And then…we watched the movie and loved every minute of it. Everything from the writing and acting to the direction and the music—oh, the 80s synth wonderland of a score! My bone to pick? The cinematography—it captured, all too well, the spectacular heights and the death-defying crashes, which are, of course, part and parcel of the sport. I tried to comfort myself with the idea that some things are exaggerated for dramatic and comedic effect, but having just spent the evening watching a practice in which more kids fell than usual (icy course), those moments hit a little too close to home.

However, I’m thrilled to say that the aspect of the sport that Eddie the Eagle captured best is the one I love the most, and one that the PCNSC embodies—its spirit. The essence of jumping is as much heart as it is skill, and if you have heart, you’ve won. And, by the way last Tuesday went, I’d say everyone involved was a winner.

Fly Boy and the 20

Last Friday was a “Chamber of Commerce” day at Utah Olympic Park—the morning had offered cloud cover and sub-zero temperatures, but by afternoon, as happens in Utah, the sun was shining, skies were blue, and the thermometer was hovering around 30 degrees. With all  the sun reflecting off the snow,  the ambient temperature felt 25 degrees warmer than that. Kids and adults assembled in the training area for Get Out And Play were shedding warm layers as though they’d suddenly arrived poolside in the tropics.

With much of the Nordic team and all of the coaches in Steamboat for a competition, the substitute coaches introduced themselves: a current US Ski Team member and the president of Women’s Ski Jumping USA—my new friend Julie. It’s not enough that the kids’ coaches are all highly accomplished ex-Olympians. Park City’s bench is deep, man. I laughed out loud at the irony of our overqualified “subs,” then joined the other mom chaperones, to watch the freestyle and nordic groups begin their warmups.`

 

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Happy Jumpers

 

My friend Liz was there, for the first time, chaperoning her school group, and seeing her kids learn tricks of the Freestyle trade. Our kids have done karate together for years. We are fond of each other’s kids. “Look,” I pointed. “There goes Seth, he’s jumping the 10 meter.” I could feel her tense up as I did—as though he were her own. I know the feeling—every time I see her kids huck themselves off a jump or over a rail, I gulp. He landed it, we both began to breathe normally, and then something amazing happened. He rode the rope tow lift up, but this time, he rode past the point where he usually exits to ski to the 10m start, not letting go until he could ski across to the 20m start.

“He’s not going to jump the 20—” I said, to everyone and no one in particular. “Is he?”

“He’s got to have his first time, some time, right?” One of my pals offered. I supposed so, but I’d been under the impression he wouldn’t be on the 20 until he made the switch, at some yet-to-be-determined-date, from his alpine gear to nordic boots and skis. Perhaps not.

We watched as he engaged in a few minutes of conversation with Julie. He took off his skis, climbed up to stand next to her on the coaching platform, and I inferred that she explained how he should position himself on the start bar. I tried to remember how to breathe. And then, he talked to her for another moment, grabbed his skis, walked down the steps, clicked in and skied down toward the 10-meter start. Oh, ok, maybe, just maybe, he was just curious. Maybe he wasn’t yet allowed. I had begun to formulate questions to ask him about what he learned up there, so I’d be ready when he landed the 10, again—and then he skied over to the rope tow, again, grabbed hold and rode up.

“Oh—oh! He’s going back to the 20…” I witnessed this moment with a bit of reverence. Here was my child, working out for himself, exactly how far he wanted to push, exactly which goals he wanted to accomplish, today. This, I thought, was the second of many decisions that solidified jumping as “his sport.” The first was that initial jump, three weeks earlier, from the 5m. Now, as then, he didn’t need his parents’ advice or input—just some good, supportive coaching and a boost of confidence. Here’s Meg’s video of our view from the bottom…

Here’s Julie’s video of our view from the top…

 

and here’s the trailer Seth and Lance made with some more footage, the next day.

Family Reunion Ski Trip Tips | The Official Blog of Deer Valley Resort

Spending a family reunion on skis is one of the most fun excuses I can think of for getting the gang together. And while my cousins like to travel around to other canyons, while they’re here, our family ski days are centered at Deer Valley.

Well, as “centered” as our brand of multi-generational mayhem can be.
Click the link, below, to steal our sanity-saving, fun-making tips for an awesome family reunion on the slopes.

Source: Family Reunion Ski Trip Tips | The Official Blog of Deer Valley Resort

Do you Ski at the Sundance Film Festival? | The Official Blog of Deer Valley Resort

In my life as an avid skier and a journalist, my worlds collide in funny ways. The Sundance Film Festival—which brings a huge contingent of my professional community to my front door—is a great example of this. Last year, for instance, an interview with a favorite actor proved to me that not skiing can be a win. (WHAT?!)

[Click the link below to see the full post, and to find out which actor saved me from myself.]

Source: Do you Ski at the Sundance Film Festival? | The Official Blog of Deer Valley Resort

Skiing Success Tips from Skifest | The Official Blog of Deer Valley Resort

Everything you need to know about having a great ski day, you can learn at the Deer Valley Resort Celebrity Skifest. Here’s what I found out when I chatted with some of the competitors in Deer Valley’s annual opening weekend event to benefit the Waterkeeper Alliance.

[Click below to learn how you can improve your ski day experience!]

Source: Skiing Success Tips from Skifest | The Official Blog of Deer Valley Resort

Skate skiing mojo

I needed a mojo boost. The start of the year had me feeling sluggish and grumpy—for no reason that I can think of, except, perhaps, a lack of exercise during the two-week school break. So, today’s activity—skate skiing—was just what I needed. What is skate skiing? Well, it’s a version of Nordic Skiing that is a cross between hockey skating and falling on your ass. Oh, wait, that’s just me. If you want to see how it’s really done, watch this video:

I’m not naturally gifted or graceful in athletics. Therefore, I sign up for lessons a lot. For instance, I’m a lifetime alpine skier, but I’ve done Women’s Weekend and Women on Wednesday, twice each, at Deer Valley. I’ve skied the Mahre Camp at Deer Valley. I’m a good skier, now, but it took all those lessons (on top of the weekly ski schools and racing camps I did as a kid) to get me there. Actually, as a child, I took lessons in everything: skiing, figure skating, swimming, tennis, horseback riding, and ballet. Oh, the ballet! So much of it, and I’m still the opposite of graceful. And, nearly every winter since we have lived in Park City, I have taken a lesson or two in skate skiing. I tried to get Jeff into it, calling in a favor to arrange a lesson on the 2002 Olympic Winter Games course at Soldier Hollow, with no less an inspiration than Luke Bodensteiner, a two-time Olympian. Jeff liked Luke a lot, but we didn’t win a convert that day. Jeff’s suggestion: I should find some friends who like to skate. It bummed me out a bit, because I had visions of going for skate dates, pondering life and nature together—or something.

Lucky for me some friends run a very cool women’s skate ski group: Park City Nordic Betties, which works like a team, with coaching, but has a decidedly no-pressure vibe, allowing members to self-select into ability levels. Plus, we get this cool hat!

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I am prepared to make good use of the awesome skate skis I bought last year (the week before I wrecked my knee), and to share a new sports adventure with my pal Kellie.

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The last two years, Kellie and I spent a day a week improving our alpine skiing at  Deer Valley’s Women on Wednesdays and the funny thing is, two of the first people we saw, today, were women we knew from WOW. I guess I’m not alone in my lesson-addiction.

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We went with the Beginner crew, led this week by my friend Inge—who announced that we’d be leaving our poles behind. Nothing—and I mean nothing—says “beginner” like skiing sans poles. Quickly, all those ballet lessons came into play—I had to balance. And I visualized the way I used to flex and point as I figured out how to better launch the skis. Ok, fine, it makes more sense in my mind—don’t judge. And I only fell once. Net net, the day was a success.

“It’s so much more fun to suck at something in a group of people doing the same thing,” I said, as the lesson ended. Everyone laughed, and then a couple of women chimed in. “It’s more fun when you’re with a group of women,” said one. “I hate to admit it, but when my husband says he wants to skate with me, I get a little bummed,” said another. When I told them about Jeff’s dislike of the sport, they simply said, “Lucky you!” I left in a great mood, knowing I could go home and proudly tell Jeff he was right, he really doesn’t want to skate. And, I haven’t taken off my hat, yet.

 

Nine years as a mom? Really?

Watching Lance turn 9 has been a treat. And a study in amazement, disbelief (9??? ALREADY???)

Our first family photo

One of my dear friends is fond of saying, “Every age is my favorite age.”

I get it. Because that’s how I have felt every minute of the last nine years—ten, really, because the moment I learned I was pregnant with my firstborn, I was in thrall with the very idea of being a mother. From the moment Lance was born, I was in thrall with the idea of being his mother. And there hasn’t been a minute of his life that I haven’t found something to wonder at, to marvel at—even in the inevitable moments of exasperation and frustration.

This morning, talking to my mother-in-law, I shared the fact that Lance’s birthday party guests are all friends he’s known since birth.

And I noted that he had a couple of play dates this weekend that were so easy—the kids getting along seamlessly, the parents having the ability to trust them to entertain themselves, that I wanted to just freeze him at this age. “At least you know it won’t last forever,” she remarked, wryly.

Still, I could remember how every year has been a good year, how lucky we are to have been blessed with a child who has been healthy and happy for his entire life, who has known the security of a safe, loving home, supportive parents and a village of people around him invested in his success as a human being. The tween years may loom, but these facts, I hope, will carry us forward through the challenge of helping him grow into each phase.

As I toured an online album of his first weeks of life, I found myself reliving the profound amazement, disbelief and gratitude that this precious little person had been entrusted to us. That feeling has never faded, but sometimes it takes a backseat to the daily juggle of school-homework-karate-dinner-bedtime.

On this day, I want to wish our Lance a Happy 9th Birthday, a year filled with wonder and fun. His curiosity amazes me, his passion for all things tech-y, his ability to push himself to do things that scare him, to absorb the lessons life hands him, to talk about his feelings, to devour books—big, long, complicated books, to tell jokes—good ones, to find the humor in almost any situation, to be able to dive into his religious studies with interest, to have a clear idea of what he wants, and to have a handful of friends who truly “get” him is more than I knew how to wish for him in those early days of his life.

Ski jumper!

Pizza chef!

My rider of bikes, skier of mountains, teller of jokes, giver of hugs, cooker of meals, lover of dogs, guardian of little brother, and cuddlier of mom and dad—I can’t wait to see what you do next. Happy 9th birthday, kiddo. You’re the best!

Best leftover turkey idea, yet!

So, of course, I’m looking forward to the awesome meal Ski Dad will prepare for Thanksgiving. But what I’m ever-so-curious about is what on earth we’re going to do with all the leftover turkey? Well, if we have our thinking caps on, we’ll make some of the Deer Valley Turkey Chili that is a signature menu item at Deer Valley Resort. And if we’re really smart, we’ll borrow a page from the idea books at the Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, a year-round restaurant that carries take-and-heat versions of resort favorites, and a dine-in menu that’s clever and fun. I’m yakking about the best-ever application of Turkey Chili I ate at the DV Grocery Cafe, today, on my Deer Valley Resort Blog. Read it and…drool. I give you….. Turkey Chili Nachos.

First snow report at Deer Valley

The first snow got me thinking about…shopping. Honestly, some days my life as a parent revolves entirely around what my kids have outgrown or worn out, that must. be. replaced.

I wrote about the hubbub at my house on a recent (and snowy!) October day for Deer Valley. Check it out here. Then tell me whether you are cursing all the lost mittens and outgrown boots in your house!