A Look Back Through Time: Ski Bumming in the 70s

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It’s so true  —- the more things change, the more they stay the same. We were stoked in 1976.  We might not have used that word; we were happy, blissful, exhilarated, living the cool life, living the free life, feeling groovy, – yep, we were stoked!

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It’s October, 1976.  We pulled into Park City, Utah. The colors were screaming from the hillsides, and the town was beautiful.  We stayed forever…..  (well, with a few diversions in between forever).  We were chasing pow, but more importantly, we were searching for a certain lifestyle.

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It was easy to fall in love with the mountains and the friendly inviting ski town.  Winter came early and fast that year, and soon enough we were gliding through the white stuff every day.  We tended bar at night to support the lifestyle. Sleeping a couple hours after late nights serving up the booze to the rest of the ski bums in town, we would all see each other again competing for first chair every morning.  Especially on those deep powder mornings, when it was so quiet, so peaceful,  so white, and so exciting to know we would soon be in flight through baby soft feathers we call snow,  and grant us that oh-so-needed feeling of joy.

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Rewind back to 1974-75; we both left behind promising careers in the big cities of New York and Los Angeles. We met over red wine, fell in love, and made a choice. Let’s find a life style where we can live out our dreams. And it was in mountains where that came through for us.  35+ awesome years of skiing down the mountains, biking up the mountains, hiking through the mountains, playing golf in view of the mountains, and sailing on the mountain lakes. At night, we’d all recount our days of adventure while playing poker (that’s entirely another story).

After a season in Park City, it was time to conquer mountains in Steamboat Springs, Aspen, Vail, Copper Mountain, Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, Heavenly, and Sun Valley.  So over a few years, we moved to various ski towns, visited others in between, and always found jobs, mostly bartending, to support our ski bumming lifestyle.  Man, it was fun! Did I mention we also spent a year on the beach in Cali playing lots of volleyball? When we weren’t in the mountains, we were on the ocean. But then, we always found our calling back to the mountains….

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The rest of the story was made up of years of skiing deep powder – that was always the constant.  Always watching the storm tracks coming our way.  Sometimes we’d pack a bag in 5 minutes, throw the baby in a car seat, and book it to Targhee to catch a three foot dump, and giggle our way through waist deep dust for two days.  Those were the days we wore our onesies, but honestly guys, there hasn’t been anything warmer since.  And we shredded on our long, skinny skis and rear entry boots.  Here’s where I can talk about my “perm”, but let’s not go there. After all, it was the 80’s.

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Long, long story short: we eventually got married, had two beautiful daughters, raised them on skis, bikes, tennis courts,  golf courses, hiking trails, and (ssshhhhhh), poker tables.    So yes, things change.  And yes – things stay the same, except we are now us + 2. And we are still getting out there, everyday, living the lifestyle we always dreamed of, outside of the cities, away from the 9-5, in the mountains where we call home.

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And along with all the wonderful winters, there was always the anticipation of summer as well. We watched the evolution of mountain biking, and spent many years enjoying the amazing trail system that was built in Park City. We came to love good dirt, the way we love good snow. We love the variety of sports the summer offers, and participate in all of them. We’d find ourselves in mountain lakes sailing the Jordanelle, Rockport, Deer Creek & Lake Tahoe. We sailed with the dog on board, too. We continued having poker games.    It’s all part of the lifestyle.  Yes, we work.  We have “real” jobs since we “out-grew” our bartending days.  That’s a nice way of saying we got older.  With the passing years, we had all the joy of being with our daughters, watching them grow and develop into elegant, smart, & caring human beings. We are honored that they too have embraced the lifestyle of mountain living, and attached even more to it; surfing, paddle boarding, para-gliding & traveling the globe. Most importantly to us, is that they still like hanging out with us!

And we are still here.  Still skiing, still riding the dirt, still hitting tennis & golf balls, still hiking. Our girls are para-gliding and rock climbing! So, I say it again: things change, but the life style remains the same. For everyone, then… and now.

We all still listen and watch those beautiful flakes falling from the sky throughout the night, stand on line early in the morning to catch freshies on those bottomless clouds we call runs.  We ride our bikes on single track passageways that give us miles of smiles. So whatever it is that turns on your “stoke”, skiing, boarding, biking, climbing, or just breathing the air: live it, love it, and share it.

After all these years, the most important lesson we’ve learned – there are many friends on a powder day!

 *As Professor Petrovsky says: “We can’t run from who we are.  Our destiny chooses us”.

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3 thoughts on “A Look Back Through Time: Ski Bumming in the 70s

  1. Manette says:

    Well written, well said, love the way you embrace life. Wish I had moved here and met you sooner, but I’m so lucky I did get here to enjoy the lifestyle you described so well. Thanks for sharing it with me. I’m in love with this life! Love the pix!!!

  2. Mike Stance says:

    Nicely said Penny! I love that about you guys 🙂

  3. Mark Potler says:

    Some stumbled across this googling Park City. I was as llc and lift op for 2 years a few years ago during my 1st retirement. I believe I met you 2 briefly through Frank G. I never knew your “story”. Fantastic. Keep living it!

    Mark

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