She’s still sailing after all these years
April 19, 2013
Heather Pike shared her pregnancy and the birth of her son, Wyatt, on the big screen – a really big screen. She was the subject of the Discovery/BBC IMAX film, "The Human Body," back in 2000. "It was a great experience," she recalls. "I got a little terrified toward the end, just before Wyatt was born, but I would do it again."
It was but one episode in the adventurous early life of this active mom who moved to Park City nine years ago "because it was a great place to raise kids."
Pike was born in New York City and grew up sailing on the coastal waters surrounding Newport, R. I. "My father worked for Yachting magazine, so we just had to sail," she says. Pike raced sailboats and taught sailing throughout high school. At age 15, she spent a summer in Sweden on a sailing exchange program, teaching young children to sail.
That was also the year she met Buster Pike, another teenage sailboat racer in the Newport area. "He doesn’t remember meeting me that first time, but I remembered him," she grins. "We kept running into each other for years at sailing events and finally went on our first date 11 years later."
In the meantime, Pike graduated from Moses Brown School in Providence, a Quaker school, and came west to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder.
It was far from familiar seas. Pike explains she wanted a big change after high school. "I knew how to ski, but had never been out west to the high mountain ski towns. I wanted to combine skiing with school."
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After taking a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1992, Pike returned to her hometown high school where, for the next two years, she taught ninth- and tenth-grade English. Not surprisingly, she was also coach of the school sailing team.
Pike then took a public relations job with a firm specializing in sailing promotion. At age 26 she reconnected with Buster Pike. After a brief courtship, the couple married.
Within months the newlyweds were bound for New Zealand, where she was tapped to be director of communications for the prestigious Louis Vuitton Cup Challenge races in conjunction with the America’s Cup race.
In 2000 the Pikes moved to London, England, where Buster worked for a year developing tracking telemetry for racing sailboats. It was there that Heather was recruited to appear in the IMAX film.
"It was quite a coincidence. My neighbor worked for the BBC and knew the producers were looking for an American couple expecting a child. We actually had to audition for the job," she says, noting that they received a modest stipend during filming.
Returning home after the birth of their son, the burgeoning family settled in Beverly, Mass. With a toddler in tow and pregnant with her second child, Pike focused on long-dormant passions, landscaping and gardening, stirred while living in England.
"The gardens there were so beautiful. They inspired me to plant flowers and do some landscaping around our rented home," she says. "I can’t explain why I love these things so much. I think it might be genetic. My great aunt was a landscape architect," she posits." Pike devoted many hours to gardening and landscaping her Beverly home.
A 2003 visit to see her parents, who had moved to Park City after her father retired, set Pike on a new tack. "My dad was an avid skier and decided to be a ski bum after he retired. He chose Park City because there were multiple resorts here and in the surrounding area," she says.
"I loved the town instantly. After spending a month here, I knew it would be a much better place to raise our family. In Beverly, the only after-school recreation for the kids was the malls. I went back home and put our house on the market. We moved here in October of 2004 and never looked back."
Settling in Snyder’s Mill, Pike began designing the landscaping for her new home and garden. "The following spring, and for the next several, I practically lived at the Park City Nursery," she says. "For years I lovingly referred to it as my ‘crack house’ because I spent all my time and money there."
She broke the cycle two years ago when she got a part-time job at the nursery. "I still spend money there, but I’m there anyway."
Park City is definitely a better place for the young Pikes to grow up, she says. "Wyatt is 12 now and he’s a theatre bug, very involved with Youth Theatre at the Egyptian. Hazel is nine and she’s our little pixie. She’s recently dedicated herself to swimming and her goal is to be in the Olympics someday."
Far from the seashore and their beloved sailing, the Pikes recently remedied the situation. "Buster was one of the founding members of the Park City Sailing Association. He helped organize and runs the youth sailing program at Jordanelle Reservoir," she says.
Her summers are filled with sailing again, at least when she can tear herself away from the garden.
Steve Phillips is a Park City-based writer and actor. Send your profile comments and suggestions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Favorite activities: Skate skiing, horseback riding, outdoor concerts
Favorite foods: Pizza
Favorite reading: "I read just about anything. My favorite book of all time is ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’ by John Irving."
Favorite music: All types
Bucket list: Own horse property and horses; travel throughout Europe
Animal companions: Bella, age 13, a West Highland terrier; Milo, probably about two years old, a Furburbia "special."