Tom Kelly: Introducing my new column for The Park Record, where I’ll bring you up on the mountain
Editor’s note: “Ridgelines” is a new weekly column from skier Tom Kelly showcasing the mountain life in Park City.
As Parkites, we’ve come to love the mountain life. From the morning shadows of our spacious valley, we relish the first splash of light that paints an arc on the ridgeline of the Wasatch Back. We bask in the warmth of the sun as it unveils a curtain across the aspen-lined flanks that extend to our town below.
Park City is a pretty amazing place. Most of us have made the choice to make this our home. We are active and engaged, finding ways to utilize our mountains and valleys every day. Dropping in to a powder bowl off Pine Cone Ridge. Pushing our mountain bikes up Armstrong. Hiking with our dogs through the enchanted forest on Rob’s Trail. Clipping in for a 50-mile ride through Kamas and Oakley.
I grew up in the rolling, glaciated hills of Wisconsin. My first time on skis was at 18, whisking down runs that extended across a ridgeline at tiny Alpine Valley. I made my move into the ski industry at tiny Mt. Telemark, where Billy Kidd once said that the lodge was bigger than the 370-foot vertical ski hill.
We all think back to our first experience in the mountains. Mine started with a pile of printed ski resort brochures from Colorado and Utah spread across my living room floor. I was planning for my first trip to ski out West. It was magical. As I opened trail map after trail map, I was suddenly struck by the rows and rows of ski runs coming off the ridge at Vail. From the fabled Riva Ridge to the frontside runs around Avanti and on to Born Free, it looked like paradise to me.
There’s a mystique to the mountain life. Mountains are exhilarating to us, bringing a special sense of engagement to our life. They provide a different view or perspective, as well as a sense of solitude.
Ridgelines are the connectors, transporting us from peak to peak with an ever-changing view on the landscape below. With my new weekly Ridgelines column in The Park Record, I’ll take you with me up on the mountain. We’ll explore one of the most impressive ski resort ridgelines in the world from Jordanelle to Condor. We’ll drop into powder lines through X Files or little-known Elk Ridge. I’ll take you on a craft beer tour of the mountain and provide insider intel on how to maximize your ski day. And we will journey back in time to the glory days of the 19th century silver mining boom that built the character and culture of our town.
If you know me, you know that I’m the glass-half-full kinda guy. Ridgelines will showcase the positives of the mountain life and how to maximize your enjoyment of our mountains.
I hope you’ll join me for the ride. See you up on the mountain.
Wisconsin native Tom Kelly landed in Park City in 1988 (still working on becoming an official local). A recently inducted member of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame, he is most known for his role as lead spokesperson for Olympic skiing and snowboarding for over 30 years until his retirement in 2018. This will be his 50th season on skis, typically logging 60 days in recent years.
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Columnist Teri Orr recently took in the wonder of Utah’s red rock country, a trip that gave her something she didn’t know she desperately needed: a renewed sense of wonder.