November 30, 2010
Most of us have heard (if not lived by) the expression: "There are no friends on a powder day." But for Park City resident Matt Baydala, the opposite is actually true in fact, he collects friends on powder days. Mostly so he can write about them and take their pictures.
Matt was the winner of this season’s Ultimate Powderhound contest, put on by Ski Utah. In exchange for a free silver pass, which gets him 30 days at each of the 13 resorts in the state, Matt spends a couple days per week writing about shredding.
Now, you might find it ironic that I’m writing about another writer writing a blog, but Matt’s application process for this gig was rather unconventional, and frankly, worth writing about.
"I had to fill out an application and submit a video about why I am the Ultimate Powderhound. I knew the competition was pretty steep. Utah is home to a lot of excellent skiers and some of the videos were so good, they looked professional," Matt said.
So, in addition to adding his ski video of epic face shots and hucked cliffs to the vast field of qualified applicants, he also sold them on his story: A groomer gaper come backcountry crusher.
"I knew I needed to do something to stand out. So instead of just making a video about skiing, I made a pitch about being a tourist turned local."
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Matt, who is originally from Long Island, N.Y., spent a number of hard-earned vacations in Utah before moving here. "I was living in New York, had a good job, and wanted to come out here to ski. I’d plan my trip using Ski Utah’s website. I chose Utah because of the snow, but I really didn’t know what to do with it once I got here. I had all the wrong, outdated equipment and I didn’t really know what to do with that either. I was the guy I laugh at now."
And as he was filling out the contest form, it dawned on him not long ago he was Ski Utah’s target demographic. "Just a few years ago I was the guy they were trying to reach. They wanted people like me to choose Utah over Colorado and other resort areas, and they did a good job. Such a good job I ended up moving here."
So he took this realization and sold it to Ski Utah. He also told them he was the man for the job because he already spent a lot of time boasting to his buddies back home about his day. "I told (Ski Utah), ‘Look, I already post videos and photos of me and my friends skiing all the time on Facebook. My status updates are already about the snow conditions, new runs opening, and whatever happened that day. I’m the guy for this job because I’m already doing it.’"
Turns out, the folks over at Ski Utah agreed and awarded Matt the title of Utah’s Ultimate Powderhound, along with the coveted first-place prize: a Utah silver pass. Which Matt has already put to good use. "I’ve got 17 days in so far and I’m expecting at least 100 more this season."
In the five years he’s lived here, Matt has averaged about 120 ski days per season. And he expects this year to be one of the best. "I hate to use the word ‘epic’ because it gets so overused when people talk about skiing. But the snow so far this season has been ridiculously awesome. It doesn’t even compare to prior years. We’ve had January conditions in November. We’ve already had more powder days in November than we usually have by Christmas."
So if you are one of those rare people who believe powder days are best shared with friends, Matt’s got the welcome mat out. Just be advised anything you say or do can — and probably will — be used against you on his blog.
To follow Matt’s ski blog visit: http://www.skiutah.com/winter/blog/authors/matt
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, public-relations guru and globe-trotting thrill seeker. In a former life she worked in TV news, both as a reporter and sports anchor. She has bagged peaks on six continents, kayaked the Zambezi and Nile rivers, swam with great white sharks in South Africa and tracked mountain gorillas in Rwanda. She was once very nearly sold for 2,000 camels while traveling through Morocco.