Friday, March 13, 2009

Park City: Why Have Just One!

Why is it that the mountains always take my breath away? Could it be the snow capped peaks? The elevation? The scaling views? I'm sure all of this adds to my awe, but the thing I'm most floored by is God's glory revealed in creation. I'm always humbled by the magnificence and splendor of His footstool (the earth) and feel that the mountains grant me perspective that I often lose in everyday life.

This past weekend I ventured to the mountains of Park City, Utah with 28 Chicago friends for a long weekend of fellowship, good food (thanks Rosie), challenge, adventure and memories that I will attempt to capture here.

By the time I arrived Thursday night, the early crew had already gotten the accommodation and transportation logistics squared away. The 3 story cabin, although huge in it's own right, was carefully tucked away in the side of the mountain so as not to detract from the splendor of the mountain itself and the breathtaking views that it graced. This night, Thursday, was an early night for most. A long day of travel plus work for me, led me straight to my humble top bunk. Knowing that "early to rise" is a must on ski trips, most people wanted to be fresh for the first day of fighting the mountain (choose your weapon: board or ski).

Friday came bright and early. The sun rose and shone through our large windows and the sound of the group buzzing downstairs caused me to rise without a wince. I was eager and anxious for the first day of skiing. In case you aren't familiar, skiing is comparable to riding a bike. You never really forget, but the first time back on the saddle you are a little wobbly and have to regain your bearings. After a hearty breakfast we packed PG&J's and trail mix for lunch and were off to Sports Authority to rent our gear. It was at this point of the trip I seriously considered buying my own gear - even though I only go 1x per year! Renting ski gear is painful. The process is laborious and takes forever to get the whole group suited up. Not to mention, ski boots are not exactly idyllic and are half the battle in this sport. During the wait, I happened to strike up a convo with a guy and his fiance who were ironically from Chicago too! We instantly became friends before I had to wish them farewell as we were off to the mountain.
Day one skiing was The Canyons. It began snowing about the time we arrived and continued to snow the entire day. Visibility wavered between fair and white out, so I had to save most of my photo opps for the next day. The Canyons were decent, but I was less than impressed with the runs. Per tradition, the group met up for lunch at the lodge and it's always a fun part of the day to catch up with everyone and get some much needed energy from our pancake flat sandwiches. Then it's off to tear up the mountain for a few more hours before the 4pm cutoff. I spent the first half of the day skiing with Britt and Molly and then went off on my own to tackle some blues. After meeting two nice guys from Utah, I ran into my new Chicago friends from Sports Authority, Kelly and Randy! They were just arriving, so I did a few runs with them, exchanged info and hope to hang with them now that we're back in Chi!

After a long, cold and wet day on the mountain, we headed back to the house. This is where it gets interesting...Britt decides to have Molly stop on our way up the treacherous rode to the house so she can get a pick of the place Deaner slid off into the snow bank that morning. So, Molly stops mid 90 degree turn and it was all "downhill" from there. Yes, we were stuck. Couldn't go forward, then started going backwards down the hill with Molly saying, "Guys I can't break! We are just sliding backwards and I can't stop us!" -Not to worry, right?!? We finally halt and Rob gets out to be the man and save the day...meanwhile slipping and almost completely biting it on the thick ice underneath the truck. He walks to the bottom of the hill where another one of our trucks is and is working on a plan, when Molly puts it in gear and floors it and miraculously we go! Sianora Rob! We headed up to the house and hit the hot tub! Not a bad day at all. Disclaimer: the hot tub wasn't nearly as gross as the one last was a pale green/gray vs. light brown, haha!A cold shower and a few hours later, we were feasting on Rosie's fabulous fajitas and some good convos and chill time ensued. Then it was early (kind of) to bed for the next early to rise morning was coming soon.

Saturday was AWESOME! I awoke early to the smell of breakfast casserole and the humming voices below (funny i could hear them even through my earplugs). We got our gear on, ate, packed lunches and were on the mountain by 8:30! I think the earliest I've ever been. Park City was an awesome place to ski. Tons of runs, esp the blues, which i prefer. I spent the day skiing with Kim and Justin, which was most fun! We made a short pit stop for lunch and were back on the slope for a full day of runs (probably did at least 15)! Some of the crew chose to watch the Intelligent Design boarding competition featuring the esteemed Shawn White who took home the gold. It was a fun and fulfilling day that did me in. I was sore in places I didn't know you could be.
So, you guessed it, back to the hot tub. Only after an hour or so of relaxing at the Pig Pen Saloon at the base of the mountain where I enjoyed some of the most delicious hot chocolate I've ever tasted (unfortunately, it was so good I burned my tongue, boo). Back at the house it was a repeat of hot tub and cold shower (great combo, right). The girls made chili for dinner and cornbread (with jalepenos), mmmmm. I think i ate 3 pieces. Gotta love southern cooking! This night a few in the group hit up the town of Park City in celebration of Heidi's birthday. I opted to stay in and play games in my PJ's! Justin and Kim broke out the Times Up game, which (sorry guys), was a huge flop. There's something about humiliating yourself in front of a group that doesn't get people jazzed ;-) After that failed attempt, we broke out the Bible Trivia, which was surprisingly super fun! Side Note: Don't play in the same vicinity as Justin Solomon, he is a compulsive answerer and pretty much has the Bible memorized (thanks Lon).

Story of the trip: The guys decide to go on a BEV RUN and end up losing the keys to the truck that they moved (so that they could get Dave's truck out of the driveway). This wasn't realized until they returned and B
enson, Dave, Dean, Deck and others scoured the driveway, house and trucks for hours to no avail. Finally, around 1am, they decide to go check the liquor store. Wallah! They were there safe and sound in lost and found. Whew...Back to the house victorious! Well, not quite...they ran out of gas halfway home and had to call AAA for the 2nd time that night (first was to tow the truck with missing keys) to bring them gas! The funny part is they called the house and everyone was asleep and then they tried Heidi's birthday crew who gave them no love b/c they thought it was one huge joke!...well, it kinda is now! haha!

Sunday rolled around and most of the group headed to Snowbird for another day of torture, haha, jk...great skiing/boarding and new terrain. I chose to sleep in and hang with the girls in Park City that day. We cleaned house, and ventured in town to return our ski gear. Then we paraded around the cute main strip of PC. Some shopped, but Katie, Blair and I chose to get some ice cream (Almond Joy flavor!) and lunch and cop a squat at a Cyber Cafe to read, journal, chat and relax. It was really fun, but ended too soon.

had to get back and start dinner - lasagna! This day was Heidi's actual birthday, so I offered to make the cakes (one vanilla, one chocolate). Everything was going well until we put the cakes in the laundry room to cool so that Heidi wouldn't discover them. When i went to retrieve them, i noticed the vanilla one was gone. I thought someone had removed it...nope! Upon further inspection, I realized that it had fallen face first on the floor and the glass pan had shattered on the tile floor and glass was everywhere. Apparently the dryer was running when we set the cake on it and when it stopped things got messy. There was no salvaging this one and i felt horrible for ruining one of the cakes. My solution...have Kim help me do a fantastic decorating job on the other so people would forget! It turned out great (half choc/vanilla icing a la Michael Jackson).This night everyone stayed in and played games, sooo fun! I learned how to play Euker (apparently a Wisconsin/Michigan card game). It was addicting. There was also lots of pool, fooseball and Hearts playing as well. We all stayed up a bit later this night to relish the last night of vacation.

Monday came too quickly! After sleeping in a bit, the smell of several lbs of bacon woke us. That's we had to eat the remaining food in the house...bacon, bacon, Dan's rotten eggs, dry cereal, veggie burgers and more bacon! We cleaned, packed lunches/dinners for the airport and played music catch phrase until it was time to depart. Leaving the cabin around noon, the snow
started falling hard and fast. We headed in town to the PC Wasatch Brew Pub for Polygamy Porter Beer and food. Our group got a kick out of this Utah beer, esp it's slogan: Polygamy Porter. Why Have Just One! Clever, I must say. We rolled out of PC just as 14" of snow rolled in. Of course we couldn't avoid it's reaches...our luggage got rather coated and wet in the back of the 4x4 trucks and our flights were a tad delayed. I must admit, though, that it was one of the most beautiful snow falls I've ever witnessed.

Getting home at 2am on Tuesday wasn't ideal, but totally worth it. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Being home a few days now, I'm finally not sore anymore, but still feeling like I need a vacation after that vacation....hmmmm...Good thing April isn't too far away! To my PC crew...I miss you all already!

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