Park City Dispatch
Continuing my winter tour of mountain towns, I flew to Park City last week for the final two Grand Prix contests and the naming of the Olympic halfpipe team, a visit to the DC Mountain Lab and my annual Sundance fix. A quick recap …
As we were sitting on the runway waiting to take off from LAX, the stewardess explained the plane’s safety features and then launched into a telling of the never-ending story. Everyone groaned. I felt the plane tip onto its side from the sudden weight shift caused by the collective eye rolling. There are few things I find more annoying than flight attendants who abuse their access to a device that forces hundreds of people to listen to what he or she has to say. This story went on for a very long time, and it seemed to have no purpose, other than to let us know that she had met an enlisted man on a flight and become friends with him. He was married and lived in the midwest and had a baby due this month. She began writing letters to him and he recently told her he would be flying home to visit his wife and new child–a boy–in a few weeks. The flight from Afghanistan would take 30 hours. At this point, we all braced for the moment when she would either reveal her illicit love for this soldier or force her political commentary on a plane full of folks headed to a film festival. But then her ramblings turned into something rather wonderful.
She told us she had a journal. And she bought it just for this flight. She bought one for every flight she was scheduled to take that week and she asked that we pass it around and write in it. If we wanted. We could write notes of thanks, tell stories, tell jokes, draw pictures … anything to help her new penpal pass the time on his flight home to visit his family. When the man in the seat behind me tapped me on the shoulder and handed me the journal and a pen, I wrote my favorite quickie joke. (Q: What’d the fish say when he bumped his head? A: Dam!)
In Park City, it snowed and snowed and snowed. Happiness. On Thursday, I took a couple of (way too) mellow runs against the wishes of my physical therapist Lisa, and was so happy to finally have a snowboard strapped to my feet. Friday, I had the chance to visit the DC Mountain Lab, which is the company’s R&D facility/private snowboard park/playhouse just outside of Park City. I took a couple of laps on the towrope just to say I did, but the real fun was watching the pros tear up the park and test out the new airbag.
CRISTINA AND ME, LOOKING OUT OVER THE MOUNTAIN LAB SNB PARK …
I spent Friday and Saturday nights watching some of the best halfpipe snowboarding all season. Shaun White won both nights, and his new “stock” run is simply amazing. And I’ll say it now: Unbeatable. Best ever. His ability to learn (sorry, invent) a new trick in the middle of a stressful contest season is one of the most impressive skills in all of sports. Kelly Clark, who won both nights, is also riding better than ever. Her run Saturday night was arguably the best by a woman ever. I say arguably because although it is not meant to be, the superlative “best” is highly subjective. I always have a hard time choosing the best player of all time, or the best song ever written. I can never narrow it down to one. There are many. I realized lately–or rather, it’s been pointed out to me by people who have a tough time keeping track of them all–that I have no fewer than six women in my life who I refer to as “my best friend.” I do not rate them BF1 and BF2. And each of their friendships truly is “the best” for different reasons. I often think, “That was the best day ever” and “This will be the best year ever.” But that doesn’t mean there won’t be other BDEs or BYEs. They’ll just be different bests.
IT’S LIKE YOU’RE THERE! ONLY YOU CAN STILL FEEL YOUR TOES …
To read a little more about what happened on the snow this past weekend, check out my ESPN.com columns. Friday, I wrote about Scotty Lago and how he was dealing with the emotions of visiting two of his best friends in the hospital, two guys who were predicted to make the Olympic team, while focusing on making the team himself. (Spoiler alert: He made the team with a second-place finish Saturday night.) Saturday night, I wrote about the final two riders to make the Olympic team, the two youngest members of the squad, 19-year-old Greg Bretz and 20-year-old Elena Hight. (Spoiler alert: They are also BF-GF. So cute.)
Sunday was for Sundance. Sort of. My friend Tricia and I spent the early part of the day hanging out at the EW photo studio and watching our photographer/photo editor friends take fun photos of famous folks. Throughout the festival, actors and directors cycle through the Entertainment Weekly photo studio to have their photos shot for the magazine. It was fun to see how well actors act when there’s no script. Most of them had a really fun time. I know we did.
ADRIAN GRENIER (THAT GUY FROM ENTOURAGE) MUGS FOR TURE’S CAMERA. (PUBLICIST TO AG: “PLEASE TAKE OFF THE WOMAN’S HAT. PLEASE”) …
That evening, we went to the ESPN game-watching party at Harry O’s, which was hosted by TO, and cheered for the Saints. And Brett Favre. (Trust me, it’s possible to do both.) All in all, it was a really fun and productive trip. Now I’m so ready for some time at home.
Just kidding. Off to Aspen for the Winter X Games on Wednesday!
CELEBRATING THE WIN WITH DENEGE “GAME DAY” PRUDHOMME AND OUR NEW FRIENDS
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