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Until next year

Every year, without fail, my mom calls me on New Year’s day and sighs heavily into the phone. I ask her what’s wrong and she inevitably says something like, "Oh, just putting away the Christmas decorations." I can almost hear her shoulders droop and her bottom lip begin to quiver over the phone.

Then she muses about how sad it is now that the gifts have been opened, the leftovers are gone, the tree is taken down, the poinsettias are starting to wilt and the house, once filled with family and friends, is nearly empty. My dad and the dog the only ones left. My mom loves the holidays and when they’re over, she gets a little bummed out for a bit. She knows it’s a long wait for her favorite time of year to come around again.

Which is exactly how I feel this week, just days after the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup at Deer Valley Resort. To me, that’s the most wonderful time of the year.

All the glitz and glamour of Sundance, the ooh’s and aah’s of 4th of July fireworks, the cuteness of the Halloween dog parade, the quirkiness of the Park Silly Sunday Market, the concerts, the elite athletic competitions, the nonprofit galas, and all of the other annual events that keep our calendars full, in my opinion, are tied for second place. Simply put, nothing comes close to the event Deer Valley puts on each year. I love World Cup weekend.

There’s something really special about walking up the hill under the stars, a cooler of beer strapped to your back, a flask in your pocket, cowbell in hand, to meet several thousand cheering fans. And they’re dedicated fans at that. Nighttime temperatures are rarely above 20 degrees. But it doesn’t matter. Every year approximately 10,000 tourists and locals brave the cold to watch the world’s best freestyle skiers compete. The way the athletes twist, fly, twist, and race under the bright lights has a way of warming us up, and making us feel like rank beginners on skis.

As always, the athletes wowed, the crowd gasped. The announcers made us laugh. There were crashes, there were fist pumps. There were smiles and tears on the podium. And there were fireworks, both on and off the snow. Deer Valley Resort knows how to throw a party.

Even the athletes seem to know there’s something really special about competing at Deer Valley. It’s not just another venue on the circuit.

After his win, France’s Anthony Benna said in an interview: "I just won at Deer Valley! I remember six years ago when I saw Guilbaut Colas on the top in Deer Valley, I just said, ‘I want to do that.’ And now I took first place here!"

Russia’s Petr Medulich took home the gold medal for men’s aerials and said, "It’s my first victory, and I’m so happy to do it here (in Deer Valley)!"

I can’t be certain, but something tells me neither winner would have been as giddy to win somewhere in Kazakhstan.

And now, it’s over. This week, I’m the one with drooped shoulders and a pouty lip, sighing heavily. I’ve got to make it through another eleven months before I can get excited about this event again.

Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident, and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis.