| ParkRecord.com

Mountain Life Church’s DivorceCare provides tools to maneuver the emotional and spiritual roller coaster

While Parkite Mandy Demmert was in the process of going through a divorce last fall after 13 years of marriage, Laura Behnke, Mountain Life Church care and connections director, suggested she sign up for DivorceCare.

Behnke told her the 13-week, faith-based support group, which will start again from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 28, via Zoom, would help with the healing process, Demmert said.

“I went in with no expectations, but as I attended the classes, I found that they walk you through each of the natural emotional stages of divorce, and, with a Christian basis, help you through those steps,” Demmert said.

The classes showed Demmert what she was going through and reassured her that she wasn’t the only one grieving the loss of a marriage.

“The classes also showed me how to go through the grieving stages, and also let me know the importance of moving on and not getting stuck in one of those stages,” she said.

The weekly groups are facilitated by Marci Morse and her husband Dave, who have each experienced their own divorces in the past. And although they facilitate the group, they are not licensed counselors, Morse said.

“We do fall back on our experiences as we lead the classes, but that doesn’t mean everyone in the class has gone through the same experiences,” she said. “Our own experiences just gives us a different understanding of what people are going through.”

The group examines a different topic each week, according to Morse.

These topics range from the different stages of grief that include anger and depression but also give insight on finances, child care and single sexuality, she said.

“In addition we look at future relationships, forgiveness and reconciliation, which deals with moving forward in a healthy relationship with a former spouse,” Morse said. “Since the groups are faith based, we also discuss what the Bible says about divorce, and how we can become close to God.”

The lessons are preceded by videos and reading assignments that come with registration. And after each chapter, there are worksheets that help drive the lessons home, Morse said.

Sometimes Demmert would look ahead and feel the upcoming lessons wouldn’t apply to her situation, but after participating in the class, she felt differently.

“I began to reflect on where I was emotionally, and even though I thought I was over being angry or hurt, I found that I wasn’t quite past those emotions,” she said. “Sometimes that was hard for me, but in the long run, it led to more healing and, eventually, to the place I’m at today.”

Demmert still uses the tools she learned in DivorceCare in her everyday life.

“Once you have processed through the grief of losing a marriage, you will still come up against some of the issues that resulted in being a single parent,” said Demmert, who is a mother of three pre-teen girls. “You will learn a lot about yourself. The classes cause a lot of self-reflection, and you find ways to become a better person with yourself, your children and others.”

Morse enjoys facilitating the classes, because she loves helping others. Her motto, which came after an incident when she was in college, is: “We’re not put on Earth to see through one another, but to see one another through,” she said. “I can support others and help them move forward.”

DivorceCare is one of many programs Mountain Life Church offers to the community, said Behnke.

Other programs include grief support for those who have or are experiencing loss, and one titled Celebrate Recovery for those struggling with addictions, she said.

“Divorce, which is something to not take lightly, may be popping up more frequently because of COVID-19,” she said. “There are many families who have been stuck in the same house for months, and the pandemic has brought on financial burdens, job losses and external things that can put a lot of stress on a marriage. The ideal thing is for people to work things out, but if they can’t get to that point, we’re here to help.”

Park City Farmers Market will continue into October

Volker Ritzinger has announced an extended schedule for the Park City Farmers Market.

His plan is to keep his weekly open-air grocery store at Park City Mountain Resort’s Silver King lot open through October.

“We want to be open at least the first three weeks, and if there are still produce available, we’ll go for the fourth week,” Ritzinger said. “If the farmers still have stuff left after that, we may even go the first week of November, because we want to be open as long as the last farmer has an apple on the tree.”

One of the reasons why Ritzinger wants to keep the market open is because he had to open two weeks late, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Ritzinger had worked with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to come up with social-distancing guidelines that were also implemented with other farmers markets throughout the state.

Those guidelines require all the vendors to wear masks, and call for patrons to maintain a 6-foot space between each other while they wait in lines, Ritzinger said.

“These lines were sometimes 300 feet long,” he said. “So we hired extra people to help control the lines and make sure people are socially distancing themselves.”

Ritzinger also set up a number of hand-sanitizing stations throughout the market, designated an entry and exit and opened early from 11 a.m. to noon to accommodate the elderly and others who are part of the high-risk population.

“We also preferred the public to wear masks, and if we got a complaint or saw someone who wasn’t wearing one, we would offer them a free Park City Farmers Market bandana,” Ritzinger said. “Most of the people we approached took them, and we did have some give us some lip. But for the most part, people understood.”

This year’s market focuses on produce and prepared foods, all of which are non-GMO, he said.

“We also didn’t set up a food court and we didn’t make any pizzas this year,” Ritzinger said. “With that and the fact that we also didn’t offer jewelry or craft vendors, the market is running at a deficit, which is something I expected. I’m floating that money out of my own pocket, but I expected and accepted that because I wanted to make sure it opened this year.”

Even the cold spell that brought snow and an early frost to Summit County didn’t shut down this year’s market, Ritzinger said.

“While farmers in Logan and Summit County got hit a little bit, it didn’t freeze anywhere south of Provo,” he said. “Even farmers in Syracuse and Ogden didn’t lose much, because they had greenhouses. So we were lucky to sneak by that cold spell.”

Ritzinger said this year will always have a special place in the market’s 20-year history.

“The farmers market has always been my baby,” he said. “I knew we could do it in a safe way, and I had been thinking about how to do it back in March and April.”

Ritzinger knows the market couldn’t have opened without the support of Vail Resorts, and Park City Mountain Resort Chief Operating Officer Mike Goar.

“Mike and I started the Park City Farmers Market more than 20 years ago at what is now called Canyons,” Ritzinger said. “While we delayed it this year because Vail needed time to open their property, Mike made sure we had a spot. We have a great relationship with Vail, and they are the reason we’ve had a good market for the past two decades.”

Utah filmmaker learned the value of listening while shooting ‘Collodion’

“Collodion: The Processes of Preservation,” which Park City Film has scheduled for free virtual cinema screenings on Sept. 25 and 26, is much like the wet, glass-plate photographic media alluded to in the film’s title.

The film captures a transparent self-portrait of the American wilderness, and while filmmaker Eric Overton, a photographer, physician and Utah native, reminds viewers of the fragility of these landscapes through this delicate art form, the film also emphasizes the importance of communication that goes beyond listening for the sake of responding.

The filmmaker’s inspirations for the film came in roundabout ways. The first came while he was finishing his medical residency in Phoenix a few years ago.

“I had been working on a series of photographs that I called ‘Wild America,’ which are these collodion landscape photographs that I started in 2012,” Overton said. “Taking these photographs was a way for me to get outside.”

Overton’s draw to collodion photography stemmed from the early 2000s, when he was a film student at the University of Utah.

One assignment required him to see nine films at the Sundance Film Festival that year, and he watched Steven Cantor’s documentary “What Remains,” which examined the creative process of collodion photographer Sally Mann.

“I loved the aesthetic and approach to what she was doing, and I decided to try the wet-plate coating process on my own,” Overton said. “I ordered all the chemistry, but just couldn’t figure it out, so I put it away for a few years.”

During those few years, Overton started a family and began medical school.

“I remember one day that I wanted to do something outside, after spending so much time with my head in books and studying,” he said. “So, I found a teacher, Quinn Jacobson, in Denver and did a two-day private collodion workshop. During that class, I geeked out and learned the process backwards and forwards.”

Although Jacobson taught studio work, Overton decided to take the process outside.

“I started photographing places that I had never really experienced,” he said. “It’s crazy that I, being born and raised in Utah, had never been to Bryce Canyon.”

Overton does remember seeing red-rock spires during family road trips to New Mexico.

“We would just speed through the scenery on our way to Thanksgiving dinner,” Overton said, laughing. “I can remember my dad shouting, ‘We’re making good time,’ while I was wanting to stop and look at what was outside the windows.”

These memories served as the basis of Overton’s “Wild America” series, which led him to another inspiration for the film, a businessman and art collector named Jeffrey Morgan, owner of National EWP, Inc., a company that specializes in drilling water wells.

“He bought more than half a dozen pieces of my big collodion landscapes,” Overton said. “We got along, even though he’s dapper, well put together, and leans conservative.”

Overton and Morgan formed a strong friendship, regardless of their differences.

“We would get together and talk about art, and really connect about the value of land,” Overton said.

After a few months, Overton decided he wanted to make a documentary about land, its use and its preservation. To get the ball rolling he contacted his friend, Jennilyn Merton, a local filmmaker who is known for her work on the documentary “Sons of Perdition.”

Merton helped Overton put together a pitch to ask Morgan for funding regarding a film that would eventually become “Collodion.”

“I wrote a couple of paragraphs explaining the concept of this documentary film, which was what it means to protect wilderness and what wilderness offers,” Overton said.

Morgan’s reply wasn’t what Overton expected.

“He said he couldn’t support the cause of preservation, because he thought a film like this could be used as political propaganda,” Overton said. “I was taken aback because we had these great discussions, and I felt, as disparate as we were in political leaning and ideals, that we understood landscape does matter.”

Before Overton replied, he called his wife, Jesse, and told her what happened.

“She’s the reason I have accomplished anything in my life, and her advice was for me to take a step back and pause,” Overton said.

After reading Morgan’s email a few more times, the filmmaker sent off a reply.

“I told him I understood, but also said I’d love for him to be one of the subjects of the film, because his voice matters in the whole discussion.”

After reading Overton’s email, Morgan agreed to become executive director.

“He told me later that no one had ever responded to him the way I did, and I realized that my reply, because it wasn’t reactionary, had perpetuated a conversation.”

That respect continued throughout the filmmaking.

“Although Jeffrey was executive director, I had 100% creative control,” Overton said. “He never influenced me, or demanded to see any of the shots, clips or edits. He was a great collaborator.”

Overton approached the other subjects in the film the same way. By listening, he was able to tell their stories accurately.

“It was a great lesson I learned, and it has become more timely than I could possibly imagine,” Overton said. “Sometimes we all need to just shut up and listen.”

New Robert Redford-produced documentary highlights critical struggle over public lands

Utah audiences will recognize some of their most treasured landscapes in the about-to-be-released documentary “Public Trust.” They’ll also see several familiar faces, though not in such a complimentary light.

Utah Congressman Rob Bishop and former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, along with Sen. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch are among the most vocal antagonists in the film’s urgent plea for action to save America’s rivers, forests, grassland parks and monuments.

In its opening scenes, “Public Trust” soars over a diverse panorama of America’s dramatic public lands and recaps the country’s early passion for preserving those national treasures. But as the arc of history curves toward the present, the film’s director, David Garrett Byars, shows how vulnerable they are to current economic and environmental threats.

To illustrate what he sees as an imminent, nationwide crisis, Byars trains his lens on three recent, high-profile controversies: establishment of the Bears Ears National Monument, congressional legislation to expand oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and an application for a copper mine adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The stories are knitted together with a common thread, the Alabama-twanged voice of veteran environmental journalist Hal Herring who laces up a pair of well-worn work boots to walk among the communities at the heart of those political battles.

Herring, who grew up roaming the outdoors in the South and then the West, says, “The idea of public lands wasn’t really in our vocabulary. But the scale of the freedom — we understood that … so there is a very personal blood stake in this game for me.”

In his younger days, Herring parlayedhis love of hunting, fishing and climbing into writing for outdoor sports magazines but, in 1999, he experienced an epiphany. He stumbled on a research paper, backed by a raft of well-funded coal, oil and gas producers, titled: “How and Why to Privatize Federal Lands.” That, he says, triggered his career as an investigative environmental journalist.

“What that did for me was to declare, once and for all, that the American public land was absolutely in the crosshairs of the wealthiest people in the world.”

In response, Herring says he traded his shotgun for an Apple computer and set out to warn the American public. “I wanted them to know what we have, how we got it and what’s at stake.”

“Public Trust” follows Herring’s quest to illustrate how critical the debate over public lands has become. The first stop is in Utah’s San Juan County, where Native American and environmental activists have been engaged in a fierce battle to protect nearly 1.4 million acres from oil, gas and uranium interests.

The well-publicized conflict is familiar to most local residents, but according to Herring and Navajo scholar Angelo Baca, the issue has taken on new urgency.

In an especially cringe-worthy moment, Rep. Bishop is seen declaring, “People say public lands belong to all the people. Well, I’d like them to tell me which part is mine because I want to sell it.”

In Round 1, Bears Ears supporters prevailed. In 2016, President Barack Obama used his executive power to declare the disputed acreage as a national monument, and environmental activists celebrated a brief reprieve. Their optimism, though, would soon be dashed.

As the film continues, Herring also shows public lands activists making headway in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the fragile Boundary Waters wilderness where energy industry interests are courting politicians to loosen federal regulations.

But the appearance of a Trump-emblazoned helicopter at the Capitol, in January of 2017, and newsreel footage of Ryan Zinke’s ascendance as secretary of the Interior, signal that the activists’ gains would be short lived. Herring, clearly discouraged, ticks off a list of Trump administration bills aimed at rolling back environmental protections and putting public lands back in the crosshairs of private interests.

In the film, Utah leaders, including Bishop, Lee, Gov. Gary Herbert and Rep. Chris Stewart cheer as Trump declares his intention to reverse federal overreach by slashing the size of Bears Ears National Monument by more than 80%.

“Public Trust” does not offer a happy ending but suggests, instead, that the ultimate outcome will be up to the citizens who get engaged. In the film’s closing scenes Herring proclaims: “You only have a right to what you are willing to fight for.” As aerial footage of the nation’s majestic landscapes fades to the credits, the filmmaker offers this reminder:

“Three quarters of voters in the western United States believe public lands should be protected. The entire House of Representatives and 35 of 100 Senate seats are up for election in 2020.”

Parkites, passionate about open space, flocking to the outdoors

This Saturday, Sept. 26, is National Public Lands Day, and while it may not be on most people’s radar this year, it is likely that more residents than ever will be busy exercising their right to access Summit County’s plentiful open lands this weekend.

In 2016, Park City residents approved a $25 million open space bond to purchase 1,400 acres of undeveloped land along the city’s skyline. While the price tag would require a significant hike in their property taxes, voters passed the measure by a 70% margin. In the years since, locals have embraced the property known as Bonanza Flat as a natural extension of their own backyard.

In fact, throughout Summit County and the state, residents have consistently dug deep in their pocketbooks to support trails, conservation easements and watersheds. Through grants, private contributions and the generous cooperation of several longtime landholders, the locally based Summit Land Conservancy now serves as the steward of approximately 7,000 acres of public land. Statewide, another local nonprofit, Utah Open Lands, has helped to preserve more than 62,000 acres of land that may otherwise have been developed.

According to the leaders of both organizations, those high alpine meadows, rivers, pasturelands and forests have become a vital sanctuary during the pandemic, as more residents and visitors than ever have been seeking refuge outdoors.

“We were fortunate to have so much publicly accessible land when the pandemic hit,” said Summit Land Conservancy Executive Director Cheryl Fox. “The Summit Land Conservancy conducted a survey where 98% of respondents reported going to these open spaces for exercise, solace and rejuvenation during the pandemic.” 

Utah Open Lands Executive Director Wendy Fisher echoed that observation.

“COVID has provided a bit of a laser focus on how critical our trails and open spaces are. Utah Open Lands has witnessed firsthand how connecting with nature has provided a sense of normalcy for some and for others has been crucial to mental and physical health at an uncertain time.”

Land preservation also plays a role in helping to stave off climate change, an issue of special concern to winter resort towns that stand to see their ski season melt away.

“Land conservation can be a critical tool in mitigating climate change, but again, only if we can save it,” said Fox.

As to the economics of choosing open space over development, Fisher, who has spent 30 years at the helm of the state’s conservation effort, says that despite some of the high-profile battles, she is optimistic.

“It is truly dawning on leaders that there is an integral connection between a vibrant economy and open land in Utah. People are still coming to Utah to recreate because of the millions of acres of public landscapes, they are still moving here, in large part, because of the opportunities to get outdoors,” said Fisher.

For more information about local land conservation efforts:
Summit Land Conservancy
Utah Open Lands

Park City Ski and Snowboard to host trail running series, bobsled bike race

In the spirit of competition — and since there isn’t yet any snow to slide around on — Park City Ski and Snowboard will play host in the coming weeks to a four-part running series and a truly one-of-a-kind bike race.

On select Friday evenings beginning Sept. 25, PCSS will host the Fall Trail Running Race Series. On Sept. 25 and Oct. 2, 9 and 23, participants will race along trails at Utah Olympic Park, with overall top finishers eligible for cash prizes. The cost to participate is $45 per race or $175 for the series, and the races are as follows:

• Sept. 25: Iron Bill to Lower Moose Puddle (4 miles, 800 feet of elevation gain)

• Oct. 2: Yeti’s to Moose Puddle (7 miles, 1,300 feet)

• Oct. 9: Lower Moose Puddle to Iron Bill (4 miles, 800 feet)

• Oct. 23: K120 Climb, 60-minute Crit (480 feet elevation gain per lap)

“These trails provide a wide range in gradient and technical challenge,” said Adam Loomis, head coach of ski jumping and Nordic combined programs. “From the smooth contours of Yeti’s to the rocky switchbacks of Iron Bill.”

The K120 climb, the finale of the series, involves climbing the largest ski jump at the park as many times as possible in one hour, or in other words, multiple Red Bull 400s.

Perhaps even more novel than the trail series is Bike The Bob, a two-part bike race that for qualifiers means the opportunity to race the Utah Olympic Park’s bobsled track. Racers must qualify in a time-trial race up the Utah Olympic Park “Bobsled Road” to determine which participants will advance to the bobsled track race. Racers can ride either a road, MTB, CX, or gravel bike, and the 50 men and 50 women with the fastest times across four age groups (16-18, 19-39, 40-49, 50-plus) will move on. Registration is $45, but those who just want to experience riding up the bobsled track without having to qualify can purchase a $250 VIP pass to do so.

All proceeds from the trail series and Bike the Bob will be used to support PCSS youth programs.

Loomis said PCSS began brainstorming ideas for smaller-scale events this summer, after the cancellation of the Red Bull 400 due to concerns around the spread of COVID-19. Loomis said the group included himself and fellow Nordic and jumping coaches Emma Garrard, Gordon Lange and Alan Alborn, as well as Director of Operations Katie Koemans and Executive Director Christie Hind.

While Bike The Bob may seem novel, this won’t actually be the first time the UOP bobsled track has been used in this way. Years ago, before USA Cycling took over as the national governing body overseeing cycling, there was the National Off Road Bicycle Association.

“Back then, NORBA organized mountain bike races up the bobsled.” Loomis said. “It was part of a ‘King of the Mountains’ overall competition which was reportedly a big hit. But this was a long time ago.”

As they brainstormed ideas for events to serve as fundraisers, the old NORBA races came up. Loomis credits Alborn, a former Olympic ski jumper, with the idea to revive it. First, though, they had to be sure it was still viable.

“To test it out, we sent one of the Nordic combined athletes up the track on his bike,” Loomis said. “He came back excited with the good news that it’s totally doable and a blast to ride up the bobsled track.”

Prizes will be awarded at each race in the trail series, though Loomis wouldn’t say what they are, just that PCSS is excited to show people what they have in store for them on race days. The fastest racers will be given gifts from Suunto and Jaybird, and the top three male and female finishers in the series will receive cash purses.

For Bike the Bob, prizes will be awarded across the four age categories for each gender.

“Given the cancellation of other events this year, these are a key aspect of PCSS’s fall fundraising,” Loomis said. “We’re fortunate to have a very supportive community in the Park City area, and we’re excited about this opportunity to pair fundraising and fun racing.”

Loomis said those who wish to participate should register as soon as possible, as the trail series and bike race are capped at 150 and 410 participants, respectively. Additionally, there will only be 50 VIP passes made available.

To register, visit parkcityss.org.

Swaner EcoCenter webinar shows preserving nature can start in the backyard

Part of the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter’s mission is about restoring, preserving and researching specific and native landscapes, but according to Executive Director Nell Larson, not every landscape has to be undisturbed like the preserve.

“Nature can happen in your yard, in your neighborhood or even in the city,” Larson said. “These areas all count as part of our ecosystem, and they’re still valuable.”

To show how backyards can make a difference in preserving nature, the Swaner EcoCenter is partnering with the Utah Humanities Book Festival to present a free webinar with Doug Tallamy, author of “Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard” at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30, on Zoom. Visit swanerecocenter.org to register.

“We love partnering with the Utah Humanities Book Festival, and we’ve been able to present many authors in person in the past, but aren’t able to do that this year, due to the pandemic,” Larson said.

Tallamy, professor and chairman of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, will discuss basic steps homeowners and renters can do to nurture nature, Larson said.

Many things he will talk about will be from his book, “Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard,” which is available for purchase at the EcoCenter’s gift shop, Larson said.

“Doug lays out plans for some of these actions, and what that would mean if we all do it collectively,” she said. “So many problems we face regarding the environment are large-scale when you think about climate change and loss of habitat, which makes it all feel so overwhelming. But when you hear about Doug’s research and hear him speak, you realize that there is so much that can happen in the mini ecosystems in backyards that include nesting and seeds.”

One of the points Tallamy’s book focuses on is replacing non-native plants with native plants.

“The reason that’s so important is because these native plants will attract more native insects who will use these plants as habitats,” Larson said.

Native birds, in turn, can eat those native insects, and more native wildlife will follow the birds, she said.

“So you start thinking about the next time you plan your garden,” Larson said. “You may want to select native plants or I will replace this tree that was uprooted by those hurricane winds that blew through Utah last week with a native tree that native moths can use as a habitat. It’s pretty simple and intuitive, and that’s what I like about it.”

Larson discovered Tallamy during a nature center conference a couple of years ago.

“He was the keynote speaker, and I was super inspired by his message,” she said. “I wanted to bring him in because, like the other presenters we host, he just didn’t talk about the problems regarding the environment. He offered solutions. And I think that will resonate with our patrons and community.”

Following the presentation, Larson and Hunter Klingensmith, Swaner EcoCenter visitor experience coordinator, will moderate a Q-and-A session with Tallamy.

“I know all the people we at the EcoCenter talk to want to make a difference,” Larson said. “They all want to do the right thing so we can see a brighter future for planet Earth, and I think when they hear his speech, they will find some steps they can take right away.”

‘American Downhiller’ documentary races to the last Twilight Drive-In at Utah Olympic Park

With all North American races dropped from this winter’s alpine World Cup schedule, the screening of “American Downhiller” couldn’t come at a better time.

The film, which was produced and made by a team consisting of producers Claire Brown and Scott Lyons, director of photography Susie Theis and Jalbert Productions, will show as part of Park City Film’s Twilight Drive-In at Utah Olympic Park at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20.

The origin of the documentary came when Lyons, Theis and Brown, a Park City-based ski racer and the publisher of skiracing.com, formerly known as Ski Racing Magazine, began creating a web series for POC, a company that develops snow- and bicycle-sport safety products, five years ago.

POC was a sponsor of Marco Sullivan, a former Olympic downhill racer, and it approached skiracing.com to do a YouTube series about the brotherhood and camaraderie within the American men’s downhill team, Brown said.

“With that first episode, we began talking with more and more athletes from different generations, and saw there was an amazing story about this conscious effort to pass down their knowledge from generation to generation,” she said. “Marco’s Instagram handle is @americandownhiller, so he’s sort of the one who created this brand and identity for the team.”

After producing seven more YouTube episodes, the team was contacted again by POC last fall to pitch an idea about a full-length documentary.

“They suggested we take something from all the episodes and put them together in a more all-encompassing story,” Brown said.

Brown, Theis and Lyons worked with Joe Jay Jalbert and his son Jay with Jalbert Productions to get some of the historic footage.

“Joe Jay Jalbert is kind of a legend in the ski world,” Brown said. “He was Robert Redford’s stuntman, and downhill racer and has filmed the sport for a long time. And a lot of historic footage you will see in the film is theirs, and they took the film to the next level.”

Adding to the Jalberts’ historic footage, are images culled from the Ski Racing Media archives at the University of Utah.

“We have this incredible photo gallery that I think is one of the most extensive ski-racing photo archives in the world,” Brown said. “I’ve been really wanting to utilize this. Many of the photos you see in the film are from these archives.”

One of the filmmakers’ goals was to find ways to interview at least one athlete from each generation of downhill skiing’s 50-year history, Brown said.

“This project was a labor of love, and we didn’t have a huge budget for our little team to travel around the country to interview everybody we wanted,” she said. “I remember one of our editors who was heading to Vermont for a wedding reached out to see if there any dowhillers in the area who would be able to do an interview.”

During that trip, the team was able to interview Eric Keck, one of the big downhill names from the 1980s.

Unfortunately, Keck passed away in July at the age of 52, before the film was completed, Brown said.

“That made us more grateful that we were really glad to include him in the film,” she said.

Through the low-key process of utilizing weddings and other weekend excursions to land interviews, the production team made friends with many athletes and their families, according to Brown.

“We would sleep on their couches and do the interviews the next day,” she said. “It was really fun.”

Once the interviews wrapped, Brown and Theis began editing. In the process they took apart the YouTube videos and pieced things together.

“The goal we had was to tell these amazing stories before they get forgotten,” Brown said. “There are a lot of people like Buddy Werner, who was one of the first Americans to win the big classic races on a global level before the founding of the World Cup, and Bill Johnson who showed what the next generation could do, paved the way for those, such as Steven Nyman, who are having success today.”

The first athlete they showed the finished film to was former World Cup downhill racer A.J. Kitt.

“He was the one who helped me get in touch with a lot of the interviews,” Brown said. “I remember seeing him cry as he watched the film. And that only showed us more how important this film is. It is important to keep the sport visible, especially now.”

Park City Film spreads winter joy with ski screenings with final drive-in weekend at Utah Olympic Park

Summer’s end is a special time for Park City Film.

It’s when the art-house nonprofit starts to get excited for the winter season, and even though it hasn’t been able to screen films in the Jim Santy Auditorium due to COVID-19, it will still wrap up its summer Twilight Drive-In at Utah Olympic Park screenings with a batch of ski films on Sept. 18 and 20, said Executive Director Katharine Wang.

“We hoped right from the beginning of the series that we would be able to end with a ski film weekend,” Wang said. “Since we’re all living in a ski town, we wanted to get ready for the winter.”

While there will be no screenings on Saturday, Sept. 19, due to a prior engagement at the Utah Olympic Park, the weekend will kick off Friday with two screenings of Matchstick Productions’ “Huck Yeah,” not rated, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Park City Film is planning an encore screening of “Huck Yeah” at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20. The film is filled with high-action segments featuring ski legends such as Hoji, Sam Kuch, Bobby Brown and the breakout girl posse, The Blondes — Tonje Kvivik, Emily Childs and Janelle Yipper, Wang said.

“The film is a reminder of how important it is to spend time in the outdoors with friends, and I think it speaks to the spirit of the mountains, and what it brings us all to Park City,” Wang said. “We love summers, but winter is where our hearts are. That’s why it’s so fun to bring these movies that get us excited for the next six to eight months of snow to the communities.”

Friday’s screenings will be part of a multi-town world premiere, according to Wang.

“Because of COVID, Matchstick isn’t following its usual release strategy, so ski towns across the Intermountain West — Gunnison, Colorado; Sun Valley, Idaho; Aspen, Colorado; the Sierras in California — will all screen the film at the same time as we will on Sept. 18,” she said.

Prior to the Friday’s screenings, filmgoers will also have a chance to enter an opportunity drawing for prizes, Wang said.

“While we can’t do our big swag giveaways like we’ve usually done in the past, people who attend the film can register to win these prizes via their tablets and phones,” she said. “In addition, we will give out free limited edition Matchstick movie tour (and) Stanley insulated pints will be given to the first 50 ticket buyers for each screening.”

Sunday night’s screening schedule will start at 6:30 p.m. with Joey Schusler and Wiley Kaupas’s short film, “Made In Voyage,” which will be followed by “American Downhillers,” a documentary by Claire Brown, Susie Theis, Joe Jay Jalbert, Jay Jalbert and Scott Lyons.

“American Downhillers,” not rated, is a new documentary about downhill racing in the U.S., Wang said.

“It shows how the sport has evolved from pioneers like Buddy Werner and Billy Kidd to Bill Johnson, A.J. Kitt and Bode Miller and Steve Nyman,” she said. (See accompanying story)

“Made in Voyage” follows the adventures of two skiers — Cody Cirillo and Kellyn Wilson — who remodel an old bus, rechristen it the Honeyhouse, and take an epic road trip through Colorado and Utah and ultimately end up in Revelstoke, British Columbia, Wang said.

“It’s just a fun film, and because it’s a short, we wanted to pair it with ‘American Downhiller’ for one ticket price,” she said.

Thanks to the Park City Social Equity Initiative from City Hall, Park City Film is offering free tickets to essential works for the Sept. 20 screenings, Wang said.

“Our town’s essential workers are those in the service industry who keep our economy going, especially now that we’re heading into the fall and winter season,” she said.

Workers interested in tickets can contact Wang by emailing director@parkcityfilm.org.

Concessions will be available at all screenings, Wang said.

Popcorn, candy and drinks will be available for purchase, while outside food and beverages won’t be allowed, she said.

Patrons will also be required to adhere to social distancing, follow all markings and wear masks when outside their vehicles, which will also be spaced to allow social distancing. And dogs are not allowed at this event.

Wang has enjoyed presenting the Twilight Drive-In at Utah Olympic Park series in partnership with Dragonfli Media Technologies and the UOP.

“It has been an amazing group of people and organizations to work with, and we also have a tremendous amount of support from the series sponsors.,” Wang said. “… When we finish the screenings this weekend, we will have screened 30 films, and that’s a lot of movies to put on in a short period of time. It’s been a tremendous pleasure to bring people together in a safe way and remind them of the joy of cinematic art.”

Park City Elks Lodge honor a herd of local first responders in scaled-down ceremonies

Since 2002 the Park City Elks Lodge 734 has recognized first responders and their families for their service in the community.

This year’s recipients are Park City Fire District Engineer Chad Kramer, Summit County Emergency Medical Technician Adam Butler, Park City Police Sgt. Rob McKinney, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Justin O’Driscoll and Summit County Sheriff’s Deputy Jose Veloz.

Usually the Elks Lodge hosts a barbecue party for more than 100 people at Rotary Park, but due to COVID-19, the ceremonies on Thursday, Sept. 10, and Friday, Sept. 11, were held at each entity’s local offices, said Elks member Craig Cooper.

During these low-key ceremonies, the first responders received a plaque and a gift certificate for dinner at St. Regis Deer Valley, as well as a small stipend, Cooper said.

“We also gave them a gift bag that includes hand sanitizer, rubber gloves and snacks,” he said. “The Elks put these together, in particular Lynnette Garrett, and others, to show these first responders that we remember them, and want to say thank you to them, but also their families for their service.”

The Park City Elks Lodge, which is one chapter of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks that was first organized in 1897, began honoring first responders in 2002, which marked the 100th anniversary of the Elks in Park City, according to Cooper.

“They do so much for the community with so little fanfare,” he said.

The honors originally began with police officers and firefighters, but expanded to include EMTs, sheriff’s deputies and Highway Patrol troopers throughout the years.

“We added these three additional branches, because we are grateful to all of them for serving Summit County,” Cooper said.

The Elks aren’t involved in the selection process, he said.

“We leave that up to the different departments, and they’re the ones who pick those they feel are deserving of the recognition,” Cooper said. “Then it’s just our pleasure to make sure they get some kind of recognition.”

This year’s honors, although presented in more intimate ceremonies, took on a bigger meaning, according to Cooper.

“You look at the fires that are going on all around us, and the amplified civil unrest throughout the country, and we’re just grateful to have their service and protection this year,” he said.

Cooper does remember that the firefighter honoree a few years ago had to leave the barbecue to fight a fire at Rockport.

“They ended up taking their dinners to the station so they could enjoy them later on,” he said. “It just showed us in real time how dedicated they were to their jobs in protecting us.”

Cooper hopes next year’s ceremonies will return to Rotary Park.

“The barbecues also have an old-town Park City feel, and even though the town is changing so fast, it’s nice to have that sense of community,” he said. “These gatherings allow us to meet these first responders and their families and put human faces to the tough jobs they have to do. A lot of times they put their lives on the line for us, and we’re grateful for that.”

Park City Elks Lodge 734 2020 First Responder Award Recipients

• Park City Firefighter Engineer Chad Kramer has been a member of Park City Fire Service District since August 2007. Kramer, a husband and father of three, was promoted to engineer in 2015 and has worked primarily as a special ops tech firefighter and a special ops tech engineer. He was deployed to Hurricane Dorian as a HAZMAT Team Manager in September of 2019 and to Hurricane Harvey in 2017. He also responded to Magna, in response to the earthquake in March 2020. He has made himself available to be deployed for wildland fire.

• Emergency Medical Technician Adam Butler grew up in Monticello and became interested in emergency medical services when he took an EMT class while completing a criminal justice degree and applying for the Utah Highway Patrol. He has worked for Park City Fire/Summit County EMS for 3 1/2 years, and is involved with EMS whether responding on calls or teaching EMT classes or CPR-first aid.

• Park City Police Sgt. Rob McKinney, a husband and father of five, began his law enforcement career in 2009, when he joined the Utah Highway Patrol. He worked as a rookie in Moab, where he worked a very difficult stretch of Interstate 70. McKinney transferred to the Summit/Wasatch section and worked on several specialty units, including the DUI Squad and State SERT Team. He joined the Park City Police Department in 2014 and was promoted to sergeant in 2016, before being appointed as the traffic unit supervisor in 2019. McKinney, a member of the Wasatch Back multi-jurisdictional SWAT team, where he serves as a sniper observer, also served as the vice president of the Park City Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge and was recently accepted to the FBI Regional Command College in Montana.

• Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Justin O’Driscoll, a married father of three, is a leader in removing alcohol and drug impaired drivers from the roads. He is a long-time Summit County resident that is also the owner of a family construction company. After running that company for many years, he came to the UHP with significant life experience.

• Summit County Deputy Sheriff José Veloz was hired as a corrections deputy at the Summit County Sheriff’s Office in 2014. Prior to that he had been working at the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office since 2008. He trains the jails volunteers and civilian staff and translated the inmate handbook into Spanish and has used his fluency to help with criminal investigations, interviews and recordings. Veloz recently finished a rotation as the working inmate coordinating, and shows how to work with inmates with respect and compassion.