Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Used to Ski in Jeans

My father likes to sum up Deer Valley with one memory from an early family ski trip to Utah. To paraphrase the image of one of Utah's most upscale ski resorts according to Mark Diedrich, "When I saw the guy carving a swan out of ice in the lodge, I knew we didn't belong there."


The opulence of Deer Valley may have frozen my brother, father and I like the Wisconsin slopes we were accustomed to skiing, but since then, after skiing every resort in the spectrum ( from Pomerelle's crowded lodge and lonely two fixed chair lifts near Burley, Idaho to the lush, timber lodges and innumerable high speed quads of Sun Valley 90 miles north) what I've discovered is that you can say whatever you want about the amenities or clientele of a ski area, but all that really matters to me is the skiing.

My side job bequeaths the privilege of free skiing, a generous perk for the price of working retail and returning used mountain boots with a smile. So this morning, thanks to an "invitation" from Deer Valley, I was able to get a quick 16,000' in before heading into the office. It's one of the few Utah resorts where you can accumulate that kind of vertical in such a short amount of time and by the second high speed lap on a groomer, my quads could tell this wasn't the usual AM ski.

Going into Park City when you are normally a "Cottonwoods'" skier is already a shock, and during Sundance, it's not unlike the sensation I had the first time I walked through Santa Monica, everyone seems to look better than you and it's uber style over substance. It really seems superficial, but it really comes down to the clothing. I'm pretty sure I would never see a woman at Alta wearing what I saw from the Quincy chair this morning. Tight black stretch pants and matching jacket with fluffy collar, cuffs and hat that gave her the appearance of a poodle doing a stem-christy. To her credit, I should add, it was a good looking stem-christy.

There are always nice people at Deer Valley and no one would be there if they didn't love what I love: skiing. Sure, I can gripe about the ticket price and how the current pace of development makes me feel like this season's mogul run will take me through some overpaid CEO's wet bar next season. Then again, during Sundace, it could be Scarlett Johansson's wet bar [YEAHHHH]... or Mario Lopez' wet bar [BOOOO].


Regardless of how you want to generalize Deer Valley, one thing I will say is that all Deer Valley employees have been exceptionally nice whenever I've skied there and while most of the mountain is turned into corduroy, it is usually very nice corduroy, and the bottoms of my skis feel as pampered as a cougar in the day spa. And before you get too judgemental on Deer Valley's skiers, check out this picture. Yes, that man is wearing jeans, just like I used to. We are all children of the mountain, even if as soon as this guy falls and gets an assfull of snow, he'll be colder than that ice swan I saw 20 years ago.

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