Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Could have been my dream job...

Last night, I enjoyed the interview of Yves Béhar, the Swiss-born industrial designer, by Charlie Rose. He came across to me as bright, charismatic and incredibly interesting. He was following another interview of Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, who in contrast was lackluster.

I would have loved to do what Yves is doing, had the talent (I honestly believe) but missed my calling because of my poor choices. No regret, no jealousy, just plain admiration for what this young man has done with his professional career. Kudos!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The failure of religions

In recent years we've been thrown back into the uncivilized notion of religion wars. Sunnis and shites fighting, tens of of thousands of lives destroyed at the expense of much needed humanistic progress. The fights rages on and yet no one, among the religious higher-ups, says or does anything substantive, or start a ground-swell of indignation capable of getting humanity's attention.

Religion is receiving another big black eye as the planet watches. In the Muslim word, it seems to be business as usual, same thing among Jews, and the Christian world watches without creating an opportunity for denouncing and addressing the issue. Even though I'm a fan of his, I'm particularly disappointed that Pope Francis doesn't fully embrace the issue.

Unless I'm wrong, these three monotheist religions worship the same God and because of it, should react vehemently, unless – deep inside – they all know that the program is bogus and that God doesn't care because he's not even there...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The power of negativity

Let's face it; it's a lot easier to becoming negative than remaining positive. Negativity is fed by fear, anger, ignorance, depression or jealousy among other not-so-noble feelings. It's easy to fall into their orbit and just like gravity, let any of them drag us down.

Positive outlook, on the other end, always requires a constructive effort that seldom comes naturally, except perhaps in the case of extreme enthusiasm, elation or love, feelings that sadly, are always short-lived and extremely hard to recreate by simple acts of free-will.

Creating and maintaining a positive environment is constant work, while sinking south into the dark side of life is unfortunately a natural tendency that pull us all down and that we should always resist as forcefully as we possibly can.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Foliage season and team spirit

We have four main types of trees that grow naturally on our Park City mountains. Fir trees on the shady, northerly exposed sides of the slopes, aspen and rocky mountain maples almost everywhere and gambel oaks on the arid, sunny slopes.

Sometimes, our deciduous trees get their act together and their foliage colors changes in synchronicity creating a wonderful symphony of colors mixing dark and light green, bright yellows, deep reds and browns to create a palette of colors that brings admiration in all of us.
This was the case in most recent seasons. This year, the mountain oaks decided they wouldn't be team players and began turning two weeks ago. Now, most of their foliage is either dull or gone. The aspens have not done anything yet and the “scrub oaks” - that's right, the gambel oaks as we call often call them, are still on the fence.

I am really worried as to where this cacophony of colors will lead us, but that's a trees' problem, not mine. Further, since I'm one who loves turning lemon into lemonade, I keep telling myself that this could be a harbinger of a fantastic snow year!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The plight of the old Jupiter chairlift

On Wednesday, my wife and I managed to climb to the top of Jupiter Chair, at Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR). The weather was just perfect, Indian-summer like, and as I was observing the old, fixed-grip chairlift, it suddenly started to move.
For some reason, someone, at the lower station was getting it going. The noise was creaky, almost plaintive. I wanted to shoot the scene, but failed to set my phone on “movie” and shot a series of still pictures instead. At about the same time, the grinding sound from the old lift turned into a voice that lamented:

“I'm old and tired and have been slaving on this mountain since 1981. After 30 years, I hoped that PCMR would let me retire and perhaps send me to South America or to Kazakhstan for some part-time gig, but it never happened. Today, I suffer from old-lift arthritis, my wheels are squeaking, my cable is beginning to fray, and all my seats are hardening. Besides, I'm getting slow, much slower than in the past (it must be the altitude) and my paint continues to peel. Please, get me out of here!”

I heard this on September 10. The next day, PCMR had sold the lift as part of the rest of the resort to Vail Resorts and hopefully, next year, the Jupiter Chair will enjoy full retirement as the new owner is not so much into “antiques”. That's right, even Kazakhstan only buys used high-speed quads these days...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11 and the rest of us...

We all have a story or some very distinct memories around the tragic events of 9/11. Thirteen years ago, I was at our Vail apartment, having breakfast, when I first heard the news about the attack. I remember thinking immediately “the result of the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian crisis...” I immediately called my wife in Park City, we both try to get in touch with our daughter, who at the time was in college near New York, but couldn't get through...

In 2002, as our kids were no longer living with us, we decided to “downsize” and sold our Park City home. The new owners, a Mormon family from California weren't fond of all that snow and three year later re-sold the residence to Mrs Schlag, a 9/11 widow. who moved to Park City with her three children. The five of them had visited our resort during a ski vacation before the terrorists attack. This is something we didn't know until a few weeks ago.

It's when I discovered that one of the children, Garrett, had made a movie about his struggle with the loss of his dad, Steven Schlag. As coincidence would have it, the Schlag family came from Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, just where Lange ski boots were headquartered when I still worked for the company. I watched the very moving clip and the opening section looked very familiar to me; it was filmed just inside our old garage...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The real good (ski biz) news!

It wasn't really that Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) had agreed, yesterday, to swallow a first bitter pill and post a $17.5 million bond to protract its demise, but more that – the very same day - Ski Utah released a map detailing its three potential connections for an over-the-snow interconnect between all seven resorts via chairlifts and ski runs.
This long overdue move called “One Wasatch” will offer the largest lift-served ski experience in North America covering over 18,000 acres via some 100 lifts and more than 750 runs, all on one pass. While no time-line has been set for that long awaited project, I might stand a chance to still ski it before I die...