Saturday, January 21, 2017

Park City Perfect Storm: Saturday, Snowstorm, Sundance, and March on Main

Saturday, January 21, 2017, will go down in history as a Park City Perfect Storm. Overnight, a snowstorm arrived with more moisture than forecast. The storm continued throughout the day, leaving over a foot at Park City ski resorts and over two feet on the Wasatch Front. A Saturday snow day with over 6" is a guarantee for traffic issues, full parking lots, and a little chaos.

So let's add more chaos. Today is the 1st Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival which means more traffic, pedestrians, an abundance of black clothing and cigarette smoke, and overflowing bus stops. Whenever you have a big storm that collides with the first weekend at Sundance, you either wake up before some Sundancers get to bed on their Friday night or you opt to sleep in and ski powder once the initial surge of early movie and ski traffic has long past.

And now for the Perfect Storm, we add the Women's March on Main! Police were planning on less than 3000 attendees and even with the storm preventing many from making the journey up Parley's from Salt Lake City, they have estimated at least 7000 people attended. That's women and men that chose to pass up first tracks at the ski resorts, sit in traffic for hours, and navigate the snowstorm to show their community spirit and love for each other.

I woke up early, snowblowed, packed all my gear in the truck, and parked at the ski resort just after 8am (45min drive instead of 15min). I began the slippery snowy walk toward Main Street not quite sure what to expect but thrilled to be involved. Within 5min, I had my first interaction of the day as another woman in her ski gear was on a similar mission. We quickly made introductions and hung out all morning. "M" has lived in Park City over 20 years and had just dropped her kids at ski school and like me, felt the need to March in solidarity. We have a friend in common and became fast friends thanks to the March on Main.
March on Main with "M"

There are different opinions about the Marches taking place across the globe today. What I experienced was nothing but love, community, solidarity, hope, and people proud of their country and willing to do what it takes to make everyone feel safe and respected. That's the kind of world I grew up in and want to continue to live in.

March on Main - Staging Area

March on Main - on the move

March on Main - Planned Parenthood had large presence
March on Main - Signs
March on Main - Outfits

March on Main - Women, Men, Diversity

March on Main - Speech Area 

March on Main - 7000 at 7000ft

My parents are working the late shift at Sundance this week, so they took the bus to Main Street and we were able to meet up quickly. There was plenty of face-timing during the March, particularly with Moms and fortunately I got to hug and selfie with mine.

March on Main with Mom and Dad

I had to leave before the speeches were finished in order to make our Saturday Pilates session in time. As I left Park City, the traffic coming in was worse than it was two hours prior. People with signs and film credentials were still making their way up to Main Street, Uber drivers were recklessly trying to find streets without accidents, and pedestrians were walking in the streets since the sidewalks were buried. Once we finished Pilates, there was no way we were heading back into Park City with the next wave of Sundancers so made our way to the Canyons with the swarm of March on Main traffic leaving Park City.

Pilates to Powder Transition on the Gondola

We had two good chairlift interactions. One with a ski patrolman from Missoula, MT. He's in his 3rd season and works summers fighting fires. We reminisced about Montana and got some hints on where to find the best runs. Another interaction was with an attorney from Washington D.C. who purposely left the Capital this weekend to get away from the craziness. She had no idea that they booked their condo for the same weekend as Sundance or the March on Main. We talked Utah politics and also learned that if she had a chance to do her career again, she would have been an engineer. Well, there's a first.

Another Fat Ski Day

Terry meets Devil's Friend

After a few hours of skiing in fresh powder, we stopped at Whole Foods before heading home to rest up for another day of skiing. During Sundance, you can always expect something unusual at the grocery store and today was no exception. I was at the hummus section at the back of the store when I had yet another interaction. The hummus brands are always changing, so I was looking for something new and next thing I know Woody Harrelson is standing next to me. I'm horrible at recognizing actors, but this was a no-brainer.

I wasn't starstruck but more intrigued, so treated him like anyone I'd run into buying hummus. We had a lengthy discussion about vegan, organic, and local options before I finally acknowledged I knew who he was by asking about his film. He told me that Wilson opens tomorrow but then he got back on the hummus talk-track. We also had two separate incidents when women (not locals dressed in their ski gear & helmet hair like me) asked for a picture and then handed me their camera. It was awkward but also another way of connecting with Woody. We finally parted ways with a handshake (I didn't ask for a photo but should have asked for tickets) and ended up seeing each other again after I found Terry and we said hi again.

I won't forget that Sundance interaction just like I won't forget the March on Main. It's been a memorable day in Park City, Perfect Storm and all.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sundance or Bust

Living at 7000ft is an adventure in itself. In the winter, snow is both a blessing and a curse. Instead of skiing on Sunday, we opted for a snow removal workout. It hadn't stormed since Thursday so we didn't have to worry about the driveway. Instead we attacked the deck, windows, and roof. We were successful on the first two, but the roof is going to require professionals.

Peak and Patio Roof are holding strong
We tried to coax the patio into sliding with our rope saw

Three basement windows in three stages of coverage

An hour later, all three windows clear... until the next storm or roof slide

Now that our daily workout was complete, we changed for a trip to Salt Lake City. We almost turned around when we saw the inversion over the valley. What a difference 3000ft and a mountain range can make, both for the lungs and mind. My desire to watch women's basketball kept us moving forward and though it didn't matter, we held our breath when first entering the wall of muck. The Utes upset the ranked Cal Bears making up for their loss to Stanford on Friday. We couldn't wait to get back to blue skies and fresh air as soon as the game was over.

Those aren't pretty clouds, that's Salt Lake City inversion

While we were navigating the snow and inversion, my parents were driving from Montana for their two weeks of Sundance. We got a picture and email update once they reached Tremonton for the night. It turns out they were 20 miles north of Idaho Falls when a truck passed them and kicked up something that impacted the side window. It sounded like an explosion or as Mom puts it "like that time the deer ran into us in Southern Utah". (That photo was the 11/25/15 Wildlife Wednesday)

It was very cold and the window hadn't completely shattered, so Dad kept driving. They turned up the heat, put on more jackets, and listened as the window slowly disintegrated. Even though they were on I-15 and approaching a fairly large city, it was Sunday and in Eastern Idaho that means nothing is open except for Walmart. Dad went in for supplies, MacGyver style, while Mom picked up glass in 10F. A little art foam and duct tape later, they were back on the road with barely a whistle as a companion. They should have written "Sundance or Bust" on the foam.

My parents arrived safely and were able to get the window replaced this afternoon. They are now in full Sundance mode and currently at their first movie. This afternoon they checked in, got their 2017 coats, and for the first time in seven years, their lodging assignment. They usually stay in our basement, but we are still in remodel mode and barely managing on our own. We will miss having them here, playing Scrabble when our paths cross, and hearing about the festival buzz.

Dad to the rescue 

Before meeting my parents yesterday, I spent the day skiing thanks to Martin Luther King Jr and my friend Penny (aka the Powder Hunter). We had the best time exploring the Canyons side of Park City and looking for leftover powder off of every lift. Usually tucked away in the trees, we found a stash or two that kept us giggling all day. After five hours with no stops, we called it a day after our best run on Devil's Friend. We missed the guys, but had a blast chatting and making sure we covered as much of the mountain as possible.

Grande Bowl after navigating the rock band

Penny working the aspens and powder on Devil's Friend

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Friday Water Ritual

Last Friday, we came home from work to frozen pipes and no running water. It has happened once before, so we reacted quickly and were able to get the water running before we went to bed. This Friday, I arrived at Terminal 5 at LAX after my last work meeting and later learned that there was a broken main resulting in no water. Now there's a first in my years of airport travel. It's not too bad at home where you can manage for awhile and maybe visit the neighbor, but imagine hundreds of travelers and employees with no time to visit another terminal.

My pre-flight ritual starts with a visit to the bathroom to change clothes. It seemed odd that both the men's and women's bathrooms were closed, but I assumed they were being cleaned and walked toward the next restroom sign. Nothing seemed amiss as I entered, except maybe a little confusion and a lot of people lined up for the hand sanitizer. As I rounded the corner to the toilets, it got weird fast. There were two cleaning ladies telling people if they had to go, to hover and make sure the toilet paper went below the seat height. Hmm. Then I heard someone say that the water was out throughout the terminal and had been for almost 30 minutes, with no end in sight. Aha. I didn't have to go and there was too much chaos to change, so I left and decided to grab lunch.

LAX Water Shutdown

When I passed my favorite restaurant on the way to the bathroom, the line was short so I was shocked when I returned not 5 minutes later to a closed sign and the manager letting us know that all restaurants had just been forced to close since it was unsanitary. He let me know about the broken water main and suggested I immediately go find pre-packaged food as it was disappearing fast. I found a banana and a couple bottled drinks then went back to the open bathroom to change.

Since the stalls were starting to smell, I changed out in the open between the toilets. I chatted up the cleaning woman and thanked her for her efforts and attitude. She has worked at LAX for years and like us, had never seen anything like this. She easily could have been a disgruntled employee yet here she was battling the shallow port-a-potties, communicating to travelers, and trying to make a gross situation as clean and adventurous as possible.

It turns out, many people opted to wait and go on their planes. The line to the toilets on my flight was long enough to delay boarding and take-off. I was able to wait until we landed then partook in all the joys of running water in the SLC airport. This coming Friday is Inauguration Day, maybe the water will go out in D.C. and cause a delay to the inevitable.

I transitioned from the airport to my favorite basketball game of the year, Utah vs Stanford. I am in awe of the Stanford coaching staff whether watching on tv or behind the bench. Tara is in her 31st season at Stanford and started her coaching career at Idaho in 1978. Along with Pat Summit and Geno Auriemma, she's one of the legends of the game. Watching her interact with her coaches and players is always a treat.

Stanford Coaching Icons - Amy, Tara, Kate

We woke this morning to blue skies and hit the slopes after our Pilates session. Andrea joined us and we had a blast warming up on the moguls off Motherlode and Thaynes, then onto Jupiter for several high traverses to West Face, and finally McConkey's.

1st SnapChat - staying current with technology and the youngsters
All smiles on West Face

Two little lovebirds sitting in a ... (thanks to Andrea for photo)