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Red Card Roberts

Call it "middle-child syndrome," but when I was growing up, I endlessly exasperated my parents with this question: "Which one of us is your favorite child?"

I begged, pleaded, prodded and otherwise annoyed the hell out of them wanting to know if they loved me, baby sister Heather, or older sis Michele the most.

My parents, in return, annoyed the hell out of me by always responding with something like: "We love you all the same, but for different reasons."

"But you must have a favorite!" I’d persist. Only to be met with a stern shake of the head and either Mom or Dad insisting their love for us was a strict socialist policy. We were all equal (even when Heather got caught selling fake IDs in their basement).

Still, well into my 30s I didn’t fully grasp that "love you all the same" concept. I have a favorite of everything: color, restaurant, first-date activity, hiking trail, shoes, font, insect, movie, dog breed, song, pajamas, football team — you name it, there is one that I consider superior to all others.

And then last week I met Julia, who is preparing for her first winter here. Still unpacking boxes and settling into her new home, she innocently asked me the other day, "Where should I get a season pass? What’s your favorite resort?"

Suddenly I understood my parents’ Switzerland stance. "I don’t have a favorite." I told her. "I love them all, but for different reasons."

She too must be a middle child, because she insisted I must have a favorite. It simply wasn’t possible to not prefer one resort over the others.

"I’ve skied the Park City resorts for nearly 10 winters. All three have their own unique personalities. There’s something particular I enjoy about each of them, but I love them all equally," I explained.

She stood there in disbelief. Here she was, about to make the biggest decision of her new life as a local, and I couldn’t even give her a nudge in one direction. I could only offer my list of pros at each resort and include some comments from people who do have a favorite.

"Deer Valley is renowned for being the Park Avenue of Park City. It’s where you go when you need a bit of pampering," I told her. "The food is five-star, the service is top-notch and I’m not kidding when I tell you someone will wipe your nose for you if you need it."

Rob Alday, who has had a season pass at Deer Valley Resort for a decade, agrees. "It’s all about the food and the service," he said. "It’s where you go to avoid the ‘dude brahs’ and the twin-tip tricksters."

"And then there’s Park City Mountain Resort," I explained to Julia. "PCMR is awesome for a lot a reasons. Especially when you just have an hour or two to ski. You can literally park at the bottom of the lift and be on the hill in minutes."

Park City local Geary Furin has had a season pass at PCMR for 11 years. He says convenience is the key. "No matter where you are in town, you can get three or four runs in at PCMR before you even get in line at most other resorts."

"And you can’t forget Canyons," I told Julia. "It’s the largest resort in the state. It’s just massive."

Cathy Clark, who is going into her ninth season as a Canyons season-pass holder, concurs. "There’s so much terrain. You can ski that mountain every day all season and never get bored. And with all the improvements, it keeps getting better every year."

And as new and longtime locals begin to make the biggest decision they’ll make all year (where to ski is indeed more important to most of us than whom to vote for), I can only give you the same nugget of advice I gave Julia: Ski them all, and you will love them all. For different reasons, of course.

If you have a story idea for Red Card Roberts, please e-mail her at sabordog@aol.com.

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.


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