Tomorrow is going to be a great powder day at Park City Mountain. I would be excited, except that today was my last day of skiing in Utah for the season and I am boarding an airplane back to New York tomorrow. However, I can't complain because I did get 23 great days of skiing in at four different mountains during my stay here.
Today started very early with Shane and I waking up at 7:00am for the power clinic. Now, for those of you who know me, you know I am not in any way, shape, or form a morning person, at all, ever, no way. Me and mornings don't get along, but if there is a reason to greet the early morning, I will. The power clinic at Park City Mountain starts at 8:45am, 15 minutes before the lifts even officially open. It lasts for two hours, until 10:45am, which is about the time more people start to get on the mountain. At $45 a person, the power clinic is a great option for advanced skiers to get helpful pointers from an instructor without paying for an adult group class ($90/person) that lasts only an hour longer and is usually more crowded, even though the lessons max out at five participants per instructor.
Allen Woods was our instructor today. Shane and I were two of three people in the class. The third person was a young woman just a few years older than Shane, so the vibe of the group was young even though our instructor was 78 years old! Yes, you read that right, he is 78 and still skiing. Allen from Stowe, VT is a very interesting guy. He was the head of ski school at Stowe for 30 years and came to Park City 10 years ago. He has multiple ski instructor certifications, including certifications that allow him to certify others. But, the most interesting thing I learned about Allen was that he was the first American ski instructor to be permitted to take the Austrian ski instructor exam. Pretty cool, right? Allen gave me some great pointers for carving on ice because I mentioned to him that I was headed to Stowe in 2 weeks. Stowe, and other mountains in the East, are notorious for having icy conditions all winter long. Allen wanted to make sure I was ready. If you are ever skiing at Park City I highly suggest waking up early and taking the power clinic with Allen Tuesday through Friday. He is a very neat person and I am glad that I had the opportunity to spend some time with him.
Mom met us at Cole Sport after the lesson. While in Cole Sport, I was introduced to charismatic Cindy, a competitor in the Special Olympics. I had the opportunity to ask Cindy some questions, which she was very excited to answer because she wanted to be on the blog! Cindy is a downhill skier because she thinks that cross country skiing is too difficult. She began skiing a couple of years ago and loves it (me too, Cindy, me too). Cindy was also a regular fashionista wearing her Sundance Film Festival jacket which she was proud to show off. And, she is a very big Lilly Tomlin fan. You can watch Cindy in the following video.
Shane and I led Mom down some trails that we went on with Allen during the power clinic. It was nice to change up our routine a bit. It had already begun snowing when we headed up with Mom, but during the time skied together it started snowing much harder. And then it got really windy. It very quickly became a "snowy and blowy" day, Mom's LEAST favorite kind of ski conditions. In order to protect ourselves from the blustering wind we opted to ride the Motherlode lift the majority of the time, even though it is a frightfully long lift with no footrest. We got bored while on the lift so Mom started singing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall". I then joined in and we belted out the song, getting down to 55 bottles of beer before we got off the lift. Mom must have been influenced by going to the brewery last night.
It got too windy for our liking and the snowflakes hitting our faces actually started to hurt, so we headed back to the base around 3:00pm, about an hour earlier than we usually do, after 22,584 vertical feet of skiing, 5,792vf of which were accumulated during the power clinic. We needed to get back to the condo anyway to pack up.
"All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go." I can't believe this amazing adventure is coming to an end. I am so glad that I got to experience "mountain life" first hand, improve my skiing, and spend time with my family. I am sad to leave Utah, but at the same time I am excited to go home. I know that I will come back to Utah though, so it's really not "good bye" but "see you later".
Thanks to E and R for renting us their condo. It was the perfect space for my family and we felt like we were staying at a friend's place instead of just renting. I know that we have made life-long friends in you.
Also, thanks to Vic, Kyle, and the rest of the team at Cole sport including Ryan, Brett, Will, Mike, and all those whose names I didn't mention. Your expertise, good attitude, and apres ski conversations made our time here that much more fun.
Special thanks to my mom, Judy for making this trip possible and for being the best mom that anyone could ever ask for. You will never know how much this trip has meant to me and I am so glad that I got to spend all of it with you.
Stay tuned for upcoming travels to Stowe, VT and St. Louis, MO. Until then...