Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ski Holiday

I boarded the plane last Thursday afternoon filled with excitement and a little trepidation. My annual ski trip to Utah with my best friend, Kari, and her parents, Joyce and Lyle, is a highlight of my year, and while I am a competent skier and am in the best physical shape of my life, I had been sick for almost a month with a powerful germ I had caught at a Superbowl party I attended at the beginning of February. Trapped in the throes of a severe upper respiratory infection with my voice no more than a hoarse whisper for the past several weeks, I had not been able to go to the gym or even meet my thrice-weekly volunteer obligations at the stable where I keep my horse. Would I be able to ski without wearing myself out? Would the cold air and high altitude cause a reversal in my recuperation?

Top of the Carpenter lift on day one
of our 2013 ski trip to Deer Valley, Utah

Joyce and Lyle had made the long drive over to Salt lake City from their home in Spokane, Washington. Kari had flown in from Dallas, Texas. l flew in from Baltimore, Maryland. The four of us happily convened in the lobby of the airport Hilton on Friday morning, refreshed from a good night’s sleep and dressed in our ski clothes, ready for action. We loaded the parental SUV with our gear and headed a short 36 miles up Empire canyon, one of several deep gorges in the dramatic Wasatch mountain range, to Deer Valley ski resort, where we enjoyed five long, superb runs down the resort’s 2000 acres of slopes before stopping for lunch.

For my plane ride across the country, I chose a mix of old and new garments: vintage black travel slacks from JCPenney that I bought when I worked for the retailer back in the 1970s, and a fresh, new cold-shoulder top from Boston Proper ( with flirty fringe all along the front yoke. On the slopes I sported a vintage ski suit by Skea, a fabulous find last year on eBay, thanks to one of my avid readers, Jill, who is also from Washington state.

After a satisfying lunch in the ski lodge, the four of us headed back out onto the slopes. Considering Joyce is 76 years old and her husband of 57 years, Lyle, will be turning 81 in May, that they are willing to strap skis to their feet and point themselves down a mountain at all is nothing short of amazing. But these two perpetually active individuals don’t just stick to easier terrain. No. They glide effortlessly down any grade, no matter how steep, and they look beautiful doing it. For my own part, I needn’t have worried about my agility. In fact, it was only in an effort to conserve our energy for another two days of skiing that we quit a bit early and headed into the town of Park City for some afternoon shopping.

Dinner on our last night in Park City, from left: Joyce, Lyle, me,
Kari's husband, Stuart, who joined us later in the trip, and Kari
Dinner on the mountain after our first day of skiing is always a celebratory affair. After checking into and freshening up at our longtime retreat, the Park Plaza Resort, we headed across the street to our favorite Grubstake Steak House, where we wined and dined long into the night, entertained by a talented acoustic guitarist who delighted us all evening with romantic ballads from the 1970s and 1980s.

Joyce and Lyle have been skiing
all of their married lives
In the morning, our group was joined by Kari’s husband, Stuart, who had flown in from Texas late the night before. The five of us hit the hill early, putting in another eight long runs before breaking for lunch. After lunch, we skied another few runs, and then a most astonishing thing happened. The men called it quits and retreated to the comfort of the lodge, while the women: Kari, her mother, Joyce, and me, were still raring to go. The three of us skied several more runs without the men, making a total of 15 for the day, an accomplishment that we are not likely to let the men in our party soon forget. Not a bad feat for ladies who only get a chance to ski once a year, especially for our tiny matriarch who is 76 years old!

Shopping with Joyce and Kari
in historic Park City, Utah
My treasures from Utah clockwise
from top: Boucle-knit bolero,
BrazilRoxx jeans, rhinestone ring,
bracelet and earrings, glittery
"texting" gloves
After coming off a day on the ski trails ready for an activity to fill the balance of the afternoon, Joyce and Kari and I headed back into town for more shopping while Stuart went for a run and Lyle took a well-deserved nap. Along historic Main Street in Park City, I found the most amazing pair of jeans in a darling boutique called Park City Clothing Company ( Handmade by artisans under the tutelage of Brazilian designer Eliana Solera, each pair of BrazilRoxx Luxury Couture jeans ( is embellished with stunning embroidery, beads, studs and other intricate ornamentation. With the able assistance of veteran employees Alix and Jo at PCCC, I couldn’t help but give in to the urge to try on an orange pair and, when the jeans fit me perfectly, to buy them. The fact that they were on sale put me over the moon.

Joyce and Kari beneath
a sculpture of Bud Wright,
who built Deer Valley's
first chair lift along with
Otto Carpenter in the 1930s
Next it was down the street to a little shop called Destiny (, where Kari found a darling knit bolero by Pretty Angel in the same sienna hue as the jeans. Before returning to our hotel, we made additional stops at Norsk, where proprietor John Jensen showed me a gorgeous pair of rhinestone-studded "texting" gloves in a sale basket, perfect for riding the subway in chilly Washington D.C., and at Destiny’s sister shop, Silverado ( where I treated myself to a fun fashion ring and bracelet of amber rhinestones which honor the year of the snake. Owned by husband and wife team Thomas and Michelle Gibson, Silverado and Destiny could have kept us enthralled all day. But it was happy hour and the charming Cisero’s Ristorante was calling to us. We sipped wine and gloated about outlasting the male skiers in our group as we awaited our friendly shuttle driver who  whisked us back to the Park Plaza in time to shower and dress for another hearty evening meal.

On a rainy day in Salt Lake City we went to the movies!
The Oscar-winning film Silver Linings Playbook was excellent

On day three, our keen desire to get in a last day of skiing was thwarted by a steady rain (we would have skied had it been snowing, but rain seemed so… well, wet), so we checked out of the resort and headed back down the canyon to the airport Hilton in Salt Lake City. With a full day to spend in the unrelenting rain, our group decided to try something a little different on our last day. We went to the movies! Silver Linings Playbook was the only Oscar winner none of us had yet seen, so we located a theater in town and settled into comfortable seats for the show. It was a marvelous film and we thoroughly enjoyed sharing the experience as a family before returning to the Hilton’s restaurant for our final dinner together.

Kari and her parents are excellent skiers whose grace and
beauty on skis is unrivaled by anyone else on the mountain
The tedium of the long flight back to Baltimore the next day was tempered by reminiscing about the sheer joy of having spent such a wonderful vacation with people so dear to my heart. I couldn’t be more impressed by Joyce and Lyle’s irrepressible energy and extraordinary physicality. I came home with a whole collection of fabulous accoutrements to show off in future blog posts. I managed to ski with strength and agility (although I will never ski as gracefully or as beautifully as Kari), and I was able to stave off any recurrence of my stubborn February malaise. Best of all, we girls will be able to savor the accomplishment of having out-skied the men for a long, long time to come. Such victory is sweet, indeed.


  1. Sounds like a great time! Wore me out just thinking about all that sking then shopping too! WOW
    XOXO Love you, Vic

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  3. Hi Lynell,
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Deer Valley to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon!