Our Sunday Magazine Section

3 Feb
Ann Lyons, Instructor Jan Zinn, Lonna Petrie, Kathryn Brown, and Jim Petrie at the start of Wednesday's lesson.

Ann Lyons, Instructor Jan Zinn, Lonna Petrie, Kathryn Brown, and Jim Petrie at the start of Wednesday’s lesson.

(Winthrop, MA, February 3, 2013) We will soon join everyone in the United States watching the Super Bowl, but first, here are some memories in photographs of our great week in Park City, Utah.

Craig Moyer skiing in Thursday's snow

Craig Moyer skiing in Thursday’s snow.

Bobbi Blake taking in the mountain rescue demonstration Wednesday afternoon.

Bobbi Blake taking in the mountain rescue demonstration Wednesday afternoon.

Our view from the top of Park City Mountain Resort.

Our view from the top of Park City Mountain Resort.

Olin "OT" Thompson at the top of Silver Lode Lift

Olin “OT” Thompson is ready for the slopes near Silver Lode Lift

Cathy Loudon practices her mountain rescue techniques.

Cathy Loudon practices her mountain rescue techniques, knee-deep in the snow.

Nick Newcombe on top of the world Wednesday morning.

Nick Newcombe is on top of the world Wednesday morning.

Stella the Rescue Dog runs back with the sweater she recovered from under the snow.

Stella the Rescue Dog runs back with the sweater she recovered from under the snow.

A unexpected local celebrity interrupts our Ghost Tour in Park City.

A unexpected local celebrity interrupts our Ghost Tour in Park City.

Instructor Karl Poplawski starting a lesson on Assessment Trail.

Instructor Karl Poplawski starting a lesson on Assessment Trail.

Street art, downtown Salt Lake City, Sunday, January 21.

Street art, downtown Salt Lake City, Sunday, January 21.

Jim Broderick conquering moguls on Monday morning.

Jim Broderick conquering moguls on Monday morning.

Ed Mattison is happy with this year's semester in Ski University.

Ed Mattison is happy with this year’s semester at Ski University.

Videographer Cameron Kirkpatrick reloading for the next shoot.

Videographer Cameron Kirkpatrick reloads for the next shoot.

Tony Cucchiara and Chet Kaplan are two men on their way up.

Tony Cucchiara and Chet Kaplan are two men on their way up.

Carol Cowgill points the way on Claim Jumper Trail.

Carol Cowgill points the way on Claim Jumper Trail.

A dramatic afternoon sky from King Con Lift.

A dramatic afternoon sky from King Con Lift.

Cowboy Poet Fred Engel weaves his magic at our final evening in the Lake Placid Room.

Cowboy Poet Fred Engel weaves his magic at our final evening in the Lake Placid Room.

The Mogul's Tom Martorelli had his hands full all week.

The Mogul’s Tom Martorelli had his hands full all week.

A trailside ore bin reminds us of Park City's mining days.

A trailside ore bin reminds us of Park City’s mining days.

Edie Dempster skis much of the Rocky Mountain West with Road Scholar.

Edie Dempster skis much of the Rocky Mountain West with Road Scholar.

There's plenty of room for learning on the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort.

There’s plenty of room for learning on the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort.

Jim Petrie at the start of his lesson with Jan Zinn.

Jim Petrie at the start of his lesson with Jan Zinn.

Thanks again, Gary and Sandy!

Thanks for an amazing program, Gary and Sandy!

Epilogue: The Equal-Opportunity Joy of Learning to Ski

31 Jan
Zlata Kovac feels the joy of Park City skiing

Zlata Kovac feels the joy of Park City skiing

(Winthrop, MA, January 31, 2013) Lifelong learning isn’t always about the history of a place, or the culture of the people we visit. Sometimes it’s something so basic, and so much fun, as getting outside and playing in the snow – no matter what kind of skier you are. Our fellow participants were people of all abilities; some were here to conquer moguls; others were happy rookies learning the basics every day.

Alvaro Lema attacks the slopes in his own inimitable style

Alvaro Lema attacks the slopes in his own inimitable style

No matter. We all had a blast. And we all learned a lot. We learned how welcoming and wonderful a ski-in, ski-out program can be. Waking up in a trailside condo, heading downstairs to breakfast, and then putting on our boots and skis for a morning on the slopes, might be the only way to ski. And every day, this experience was available to all, from those who came for double-diamond thrills on a Winter Olympics mountain to others who were just starting out.

The Boys of Level Seven celebrate another great day of lifelong learning

The Boys of Level Seven celebrate another great day of lifelong learning

Ski University “graduate students” found twice-a-day, advanced work on their skills with demanding instructors. Other participants happily mixed three afternoon lessons with the many other pleasures of Park City. “Something for everyone” isn’t a phrase that gets much respect when it comes to business strategy, but it says here that it makes for a terrific winter vacation.

The Sundance Film Festival. Ski lessons for people of all abilities. A behind-the-scenes look at mountain rescue techniques. A walking ghost tour along Main Street in Park City. A farewell evening punctuated by a Cowboy Poet. And, through it all, the great pleasure of dining with fellow participants before and after exhilarating runs down one of the best ski resorts anywhere. Maybe best of all, the anticipation of doing it all again tomorrow.

Cowboy Poet Fred Engel autographs his book for Lynn Snyder

Cowboy Poet Fred Engel autographs his book for Lynn Snyder

We close this edition of the Mogul with two messages: one of sincere thanks to Gary and Sandy Nielsen for hosting one of the best weeks many of us have spent in a long time; and secondly, an invitation to anyone who has never been on this program to sign up for the next one.

We don’t always learn with our heads. Sometimes we learn with our ankles, shoulders, and even our “uphill little toe.” But learn we did, with the great gusto that makes everyone want to come back for more.

The smile on Karen Bareiss's face says it all

The smile on Karen Bareiss’s face says it all

Fun in the Snow

24 Jan
Grace Voss skiing down Assessment Trail on a snowy morning

Grace Voss skiing down Assessment Trail on a snowy January morning

(Park City, Utah, January 24, 2013) We awoke to a snowy morning, which meant only one thing to avid skiers – fresh powder! Being the polite Road Scholars that we are, no one wolfed down breakfast or rushed to line up before the lifts opened, but you could sense the enthusiasm for getting outside.

Libbie Brunsvold decided to take in one of the Sundance Film Festival's many offerings

Libbie Brunsvold decided to take in one of the Sundance Film Festival’s many offerings

But because this is Park City and Sundance Week, there was at least one compelling alternative, and several of us opted for some of the early offerings in the Egyptian Theater, the Library, or any of the other venues where movies started as early as 8 am. Needless to say, by 9 am, there wasn’t anyone left in the lodge.

Grace Voss in front of the old Park Consolidated Mining Company building near Bonanza Lift

Grace Voss in front of the old Park Consolidated Mining Company building near Bonanza Lift

Grace Voss and Craig Moyer were generous enough to ride the lifts with us. The snow added magic to the trailside scenery, including the green spruces and white aspens that line the slopes. But it also sparked the imagination as it fell on old mining structures the resort has left standing, softening them, and reminding us of the people who lived here a century ago.

What must it have been like to climb this mountain only to work underground? When did the miners start to ski? And which of them was first to think about building a ski resort when the mines began to fail?

Craig Moyer during a run down Park City's snowy slopes

Craig Moyer during a run down Park City’s snowy slopes

Thinking about history at the top of a ski lift inevitably gives way to other questions – which trail to ride next, or how to take Park City’s intricate web of chair lifts to a new corner of its 3,300 acres of winter fun. Riding lifts whose tops were hidden in snow only added to the anticipation, and the fun, of this amazing program.

No wonder why so many people come back year after year.

 

Après Ski Stories from Park City

23 Jan
Sam Holmes and Cheryl Neeb flank ski instructor Carl Poplawski on King Con Trail

Cheryl Neeb and Sam Holmes flank ski instructor Carl Poplawski on King Con Trail

(Park City, Utah, January 23, 2013) Like every day this week, we’re certainly getting our fill of the ski slopes at Park City. But today’s schedule also included two additional activities to add some learning beyond lifting your uphill ski, or keeping your hands in front of you.

Stella the Rescue Dog demonstrates her skills

Stella the Rescue Dog demonstrates her skills

This morning, we took four lifts to the Summit Patrol Station to meet Rangers David Weiss, Bert Pacal, and Stella the Avalanche Rescue Dog. They demonstrated mountain rescue technology, from the kind that has four paws and a wet nose to state-of-the-art beacons and sensors.

Stella showed her skills at retrieving buried sweaters, followed by the tug-of-war with Bert she enjoys as her reward. But it’s not all fun and games – Stella and Bert were involved in a rescue operation a few weeks ago.

Sandy Nielsen finds a quiet place to relax before heading back to the lodge

Sandy Nielsen finds a quiet place to relax along the slopes

After lunch, we adjourned to the mountain’s many chair lifts for another in our continuing small group lessons. But a few of us opted for a short ride into town for the Sundance Film Festival, to see movies or maybe movie stars during Park City’s best week of the year. It’s a tough choice to make; either is an excellent option.

Road Scholars make the news at the Sundance Film Festival

Road Scholars make the news at the Sundance Film Festival

We added to today’s fun when twenty-six of us rode into town for a Ghost Tour Gary and Sandy had arranged for us. Before our guide arrived, a local television news crew used us for one of their glamor shots to open their evening coverage of the film festival. The least the Mogul could do was return the favor.

And then it was off on the tour, visiting actual buildings where Park City’s legendary ghosts appear in a variety of their own starring roles, including floating torsos, icy cold disembodied lips, or reasons for tenants to abandon rented apartments in record time. It was a great way to see Park City, and to share stories with each other while we did.

Zlata Kovac at the Egyptian Theater on Main Street

Zlata Kovac at the Egyptian Theater on Main Street

One of tonight’s favorites was from Zlata Kovak, who grew up in Croatia. Her father was the Chief Engineer for the Orient Express for decades, including all of World War II, and its last years of steam. She remembers climbing into the great steam locomotive to bring him a piece of bread every day before he left for work.

All this, and we’re only three days into our program. With the forecast of fresh snow tomorrow morning, we’re all anticipating another great day.

The Many Personalities of Park City

22 Jan
Tony Cucchiara, skier, historian, and amateur boxer, enjoying a perfect day at Park City

Tony Cucchiara, skier, historian, and amateur boxer, enjoying a perfect day at Park City

Chet Kaplan comes to Park City every year with his friend Tony Cucchiara

Chet Kaplan comes to Park City every year with his friend Tony Cucchiara

(Park City, Utah, January 22, 2013) Tony Cucchiara is a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, NY. A recently retired professor at Brooklyn College, he is now teaching at Pratt University and writing a book on the history of his favorite New York borough, and how it became “cool.” He and his friend Chet Kaplan, who teaches music education at NYU, come to Road Scholar’s Park City program every winter, this year without their wives. When he’s not spending his time skiing or hiking outdoors, Tony is an amateur boxer.

Ann Lyons relaxes at the lodge after a fantastic day of skiing

Ann Lyons relaxes at the lodge after a fantastic day of skiing

Ann Lyons is a clinical social worker, now in private practice after a long career at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. She is here with friends she trained in the field.  One of them, Nick Newcombe, now a social worker in Seattle, will tell you Ann taught him everything he knows. Ann is also an avid outdoors fan, and also hikes with Road Scholar. Like many participants here this week, she loves meeting like-minded people.

Jan Zinn is not only a ski instructor, she also leads our morning stretch classes

Jan Zinn is not only a ski instructor, she also leads our morning stretch classes

If yesterday was all about the lessons, today was about the people Gary and Sandy Nielsen bring together in a remarkable seasonal ski lodge – times when friends old and new come to Park City to ski and enjoy each other’s company without another care in the world. We get up, we stretch, then we venture out for a morning of pure fun under impossibly blue skies. And after lunch, we do it all again. I don’t remember such a carefree time with so many happy people.

Lynn Snyder and Jay Patchett enjoy a beautiful Park City afternoon

Lynn Snyder and Jay Patchett enjoy a beautiful Park City afternoon

Jay Patchett and Lynn Snyder, from Fairfax, VA, are here for several weeks this winter; starting next Sunday, friends of theirs will join them here. Retired educators, they’ve found a new interest in politics. In fact, Jay started this morning on the phone dealing with misbehavior among his state legislators – a story that was actually on the morning news. But it didn’t stop him from enjoying a day on the slopes.

This edition of the Mogul includes a new feature, courtesy of videographer Cameron Kirkpatrick. Click on the image below to see moving images of Road Scholars doing what they do best . And think about the fun you can have by joining them next winter.

Nothing But Slopes

21 Jan
Ski University Participant Karen Bareiss Conquers Park City's Slalom

Ski University Participant Karen Bareiss Conquers Park City’s Slalom

(Park City, Utah, January 21, 2013) This morning, after breakfast, twenty-seven Road Scholars skied out the door and onto Park City Mountain Resort for the first day of skiing, and – in the case of those on the Ski University Program – the first day of lessons. We spent the morning with instructor Howard Gravel and the five most advanced skiers in our group, and the afternoon with Jim Wilson and his two students. While they are all great on four edges, as they like to say, they are also some of the funniest and most welcoming people you’ll ever meet.

Instructor Howard Gravel with Alvaro Lema and Jim Broderick

Instructor Howard Gravel with Alvaro Lema and Jim Broderick

A sample of our lifelong learning lessons of the day included how to “pedal” down the mountain, which shoulder to drop and when, skiing on the balls of your feet – and to always keep your belly button facing downhill. Howard summed it up this way, “If your body tells you to do something it absolutely believes you have to do to survive, do the opposite.”

Ed Mattison on the moguls of Silver Lode Trail

Ed Mattison on the moguls of Silver Lode Trail

Park City has several historic silver mine structures on the sides of its slopes, but today we saw them as different kinds of landmarks. This afternoon, Jim told us to practice turning without poles down the hill until we came to the old ore chute on the right. It was that kind of a day – one focused on learning and improving our skills on skis.

Alvaro Lema skis all over the world, but he always attends Road Scholar's Park City Ski University

Alvaro Lema skis all over the world, but he always attends Road Scholar’s Park City Ski University

And it was a blast. Old friends teased each other about techniques that would make anyone proud. Rookies like yours truly were encouraged to have fun practicing movements that seemed “wrong” at first. Face plants were few, but they were celebrated with laughs and endless remembrances of similar moments from participants and instructors alike.

Karrie Frantz and Karen Bareiss on the way up Park City Mountain Resort

Karrie Frantz and Karen Bareiss on the way up Park City Mountain Resort

We ended the day with runs down slopes that seemed impossible just hours before, feeling more like the skiers we want to be, putting together at least half a dozen new tips into a new kind of downhill grace. The new combination of speed and control felt terrific. Or, as Howard put it, “Skiing is a thinking person’s game. That’s why I love teaching it to Road Scholars.”

A Century of Silver, Fifty Years of Snow

20 Jan
Temple Square in Salt Lake City at Sunset, Saturday, January 19, 2013

Temple Square in Salt Lake City at Sunset, Saturday, January 19, 2013

(Park City, Utah, January 20, 2013) We arrived in Salt Lake City the night before our “Park City Mountain: Ski-In, Ski-Out” program began, just in time to enjoy a winter sunset as we pondered what would be most memorable for the next week: the skiing, learning about Park City and its history, or the people we will meet. By the middle of this afternoon, we know there’s much to anticipate in all three areas.

Cheryl Neeb and Carol Cowgill at our program orientation.

Cheryl Neeb and Carol Cowgill at our program orientation

2013 is the 50th anniversary of Treasure Mountain Ski Resort, opened by miners to save the town after the silver industry collapsed in the 1950s. Now Park City Mountain Ski Resort, it’s one of the world’s premier ski and snowboard destinations. Those miners knew what they were doing.

The Lake Placid Room is our headquarters for the week

The Lake Placid Room is our headquarters for the week

This year is also the 101st anniversary of the discovery of silver in these mountains in 1862. Colonel Patrick Connor and his men were stationed here, and prospecting seemed like a good way to stay busy. Those soldiers knew what they  were doing as well; the mines produced $400 million in silver and 23 millionaires in their day. And there are still 1,000 miles of tunnels beneath the slopes we’ll ski. We’ll even take a tour of the mountain’s mining history – on skis. Now that’s a learning adventure!

The steaks were hot, even if it was cold outside last night.

The steaks were hot, even if it was cold outside last night.

Our Road Scholar program leaders, Gary and Sandy Nielsen, have a full slate of activities ready for us, including ski lessons, tickets to some of this year’s Sundance Film Festival movies, and even a “ghost tour” of Park City highlighting, as Gary puts it, “some of the colorful characters who met untimely ends here.” In their introductions, they noted that so far, participants on their programs have produced many returning Road Scholars, dozens of new friendships, and even three marriages.

It all sounds like a great reason to get up early tomorrow for breakfast and a ride up the lifts. They say that some of the lifts were once aerial trams used for hauling ore. Here’s hoping the rust is history.

Program Leaders Sandy and Gary Nielsen are two big reasons so many Road Scholars ski Park City.

Program Leaders Sandy and Gary Nielsen are two big reasons so many Road Scholars ski Park City

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