Friday, September 30, 2016

One the many reasons I live in Park City...

This morning was mountain-bike day for me and I climbed the hills behind my home and rode what is my routine course. The weather was a bit unsettled with threatening clouds all over that enhanced the beautiful fall colors.
They cradled the bright foliage colors and made everything magic. Two days ago, I took the drive over from Empire Pass to Midway to be treated by a spectacular festival of colors. There's nothing like or foliage season and there's no place like Park City!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My weekend with Donald Trump

A well-connected friend of mine, suggested to Donald Trump that he should bring me in to provide him some badly needed political advice. I got summoned to show up at Trump Towers last Sunday for a fee amount that I won't reveal, all expenses paid.

Since the weather was quite pleasant. I showed up at Trump's home dressed as if I had attended a typical meeting in Park City. T-shirt, jeans and sandals. From the looks he gave me, I don't think Donald liked my attire, but without even exchanging the usual brief pleasantries, we dove right into the heart of the matter.

I advised him to smile a little bit more, be a little bit less of a bully and refrain from calling his opponents names. He didn't seem to appreciate my recommendations either. Instead, he asked me what I had been doing all my adult life, what was my net worth and if I even had a job at the moment.

After barely listening to my answers he blurted out: “So, you're a loser!” I wanted to say “Why makes you say that?” but before I had time to even mentally form my response, I heard him scream “You're fired!” I caught the next flight to Salt Lake and got home earlier.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Picking the “good” trash pile...

The news magazine Frontline showed us an amazing documentary about our two presidential candidates.

It pitted on one side, a ruthless, narcissist Donald Trump against a power-obsessed Hillary Clinton and painted a dismal picture of both.

Yet, one is worst than the other, and we, the American electorate, have make a choice between the two. My wife and I have selected the less evil of these two alternatives. Like picking one heap of trash over another one.

We'll go for the one that's not as stinky and less radioactive.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The angry white man...

Like millions of Americans, I was glued to my TV screen watching the first presidential debate of this election season. I said “I watched”, and saw plenty of telling body language. Trump wasn't doing too well in that category, while Clinton performed close to perfection.
Donald Trump personified the typical “angry white man” he is so good at electrifying. He must also have experienced a bruising contrast between the sixteen sub-par candidates he crushed during the primaries, and the fortress-like wall he had to confront in Hillary, last evening.

His usual swagger and bullying technique didn't work well on her. She was in fact a much fiercer wall than the one he promised to build on the Mexican border...

Until last night, it was totally impossible to imagine the outcome of this first face-to-face, and evidently, the difference between the two was simply overwhelming. While I was a reluctant Hillary supporter until that debate, I now can see that this choice totally makes sense and I bet that, besides Trump, other losers might be all down-ticket Republican Candidates suffering from a lower voters turn out on Election Day...

Monday, September 26, 2016

My One Percent is richer than yours!

In America, following the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, we've been talking a lot about that rich “One Percent” of the population.

According to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, it takes a minimum yearly household income of $389,436 to belong to the club while the average earnings of America’s 1-percenters is $1,153,293, but this threshold varies a lot per region as a recent article in the New York Time just showed.

Around Jackson Hole, in Wyoming is where the richest of America’s 1-percenters live; its 1-percenters earn more than $2.2 million. New York County, or Manhattan, ranks second, with a $1.44 million, followed by nearby Fairfield County, in Connnecticut, with just under $1.4 million. On the oposite side of the spectrum, if your household makes just $97,000a year, you'll be a 1-percenter in Holmes County, Mississipi, or in Lamar County, Alabama!

Ski resorts counties are all doing well too and that of Summit, which is Park City's own, is ranked #5 nationally with an annual threshold income of $1,207,000 per family. We seem to even do better than San Mateo County, home of Silicon Valley where they earn at least $1.1 million.

Enough said, I need to go out to work now, if I want to be in the club!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Better Ski Resort rankings

I recently criticized the way Ski Magazine was conducted its ski resort by its readers based on the experienced thay had during the previous winter season. Beside letting the publication know that their format is neither fair nor helpful, we should encourage them to reform the way such tests are conducted.

For instance the tests should be a reflection of the entire community (i.e. Park City) and include both ski areas (Deer Valley and Park City Mountain). Aspen should follow the same template and at least include Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands.

North Lake Tahoe would include Squaw – Alpine and Northstar, while South Lake Tahoe would include Heavenly and perhaps Kirkwood. Banff with its enormous bed base would be the community connected to Mt. Norquay, Sunshine and Lake Louise, etc.

We should also know how that survey is conducted. How does the process work? How many questionnaires are sent? To whom (who's qualified to respond)? What's the total rate of return and the percentage distribution by resorts to make sure that there is a minimum of statistical legitimacy...

Finally, there should be some independent oversight to guarantee that the results are not manipulated to reward those sole adverting in the publication...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Revisiting our former home...

It's just fourteen years ago that we sold our large home of twelve years overlooking the Park City mountains on American Saddler Drive in Park City.

Today, I got a chance to preview the massive remodeling our former abode had undergone over the past year. It's stands now even larger at some 6,300 square feet of area, with updated and beautiful finishes and captures even more views than ever before.
In the past 26 year, this home has seen our family, another one for a couple of years and a 9-11 widow and her kids for the following 11 years. Today, it's looking for a new household with a large family...

Do I feel regretful or nostalgic in walking back into what used to be our house? Not really, I now feel relieved that we've have substantially scaled down in view of this supersized dwelling that we could no longer afford!

Friday, September 23, 2016

A regimented motel

The Japan House in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho is quite unique in terms of the form of hospitality it offers the unsuspecting traveler. I booked the hotel through Expedia and still can remember that most of the comments were extremely good, particularly those about the quality of the breakfast offered, so with absolute confidence, I pulled the trigger and booked a room.
When we got there, the outside didn't look that fancy, in fact it was just your traditional American motel. At the reception, Kim, the owner gave me a very exacting order form for the next morning's breakfast. It took me a good five minutes to go through it (multiple options, but rigid flexibility) and a set time for showing up in the morning.

Then we got into the room. Quite clean, but lousy Wifi signal. I went downstairs and began bitching about it. We got it working. The TV was an old cathodic tube, low definition model that we didn't use, but it sure failed to impress us. Any remote chance of a view was blocked by the staircase, but the king size bed was very comfy.

The next morning, our breakfast appointment was set at 7:30 am sharp. Problem is that we came straight north from British Columbia and assumed that we were in Idaho (correct) and still in the Mountain time zone (wrong), because Coeur d'Alene's heart beats in unison with Spokane's and its Pacific time zone. Go figure!

So we had been up since 6:00 am, hungry and champing at the bit for our breakfast slot, so by 8:00 am mountain time, I went down to plead for moving up the time to 7:30 pacific time. In the meantime, my wife was wondering if we'd get at least two slices of bread and always re-assuring, I told her that “everything is gonna be alright”.

The lady of the house wasn't not enthused about my requested change of plans and told me that she could not run her business if every guest were as scattered as I was. Still she granted me an exception and authorized me to bring my wife downstairs for the meal at 8:00 am. When we got there, everything was measured and tiny.

It was a Lilliputian version of breakfast. The coffee mugs were small, the sausages tiny and we had two slices of bread each, but together they added to a third of a normal slice. Granted, we were offered coffee refill that we gladly accepted and it's only when we checked out that our hosts became very pleasant.

The guests from hell were gone!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It sure pays to advertise!

It's always with great interest and anticipation that I open the October issue of Ski Magazine to discover how its readers have ranked the resorts they have visited the previous year. Even though, deep inside, I know these results have been heavily “massaged”, I always like to check how ethical, objective and truthful the publication is...

Boosted by a multi-million investment from Vail Resorts interconnecting 7,300 skiable acres, I was hoping that Park City would make it to number 4 or 5. In fact, I expected no less from our ski town that has grown to be the largest ski area in the USA. When I began thumbing through the pages, I saw that Park City had been passed by a list of destinations that don't come even close to its offering, not to mention areas like Whitefish and Winter Park, and was relegated to spot #13, which simply was unbelievable.

To add insult to injury, a rabid commentary, compared our largest resort to a “Frankenstein-stitched” job and, if anything, showed that the local Vail Resorts and Park City Mountain bashing had now gone national. During the season, I ski almost daily and meet lots of visitors on the lifts.

All the folks I talked to have been ecstatic about the Park City improvements and its connection to Canyons. Presumably, Mr. Pugh, who also appears to be a blogger for Solitude Mountain Resort, never experienced the kind of large Alpine interconnected resorts loved by modern skiers.

Put together, these observations suggest that the survey results where somehow "rigged", the comments slanderous, and that someone was out to hurt Park City. When I looked at which resorts had advertised in the publication, Vail Resorts and its affiliates stood conspicuously absent and payed the price for not patronizing it.

As an individual resort, Park City paid even a much dearest price. With Ski Magazine, there is no longer a firewall between editorial and ad sales; it's now “pay to play”, so more than ever, it pays to advertise if you want some decent editorial!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How to punish Wells Fargo

On Monday, John G. Stumpf listen shamelessly as he was scolded by U.S. Senators. This was a nice display of good intentions by the Government, yet Mr. Stumpf will get out scot-free, won't go to prison, won't be charged personally and his friendly Board of Directors won't fire him.
Still, Mr. Stumpf said that the 5,300 low-paid employees who had been terminated over the scandal “deserved” to lose their jobs. So what is one to do?

Pretty simple: Bank account holders should vote with their feet and move their accounts elsewhere.

I know, this is painful, highly inconvenient, but it's by far the only effective way left to punishing Stumpf, his high-ranking executives and his Board.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bode Miller's back on skis

Except for Trump, few folks are as good as Bode Miller for generating publicity. It appears that now, Bode wants to return to ski racing in a month or so from now. If I'm not mistaken, our explosive champion is now 39 and has not trained much in recent years.

To add insult to injury, he's going to dump his regular Head skis and start on “Bomber”, a totally unknown entity.
Good luck! Unlike a Ligety, Hirscher or Svindal, Bode has never operated with a significant margin of superiority over his rivals and has always won by pushing the envelope to his own extreme limits and grabbing whatever Lady Luck would offer on his winning days, making his performance, hair-rising and super-spectacular in the process, but always elusive.

So when you mix all these elements, his winning chances in Sölden are extremely thin, if non-existent. The only guaranteed result is that we might talk a little about Bomber skis... That's my modest personal opinion.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The scenic Coeur d'Alene – Boise drive

The drive from Coeur d'Alene to Boise is filled with scenic variety. From wheat fields, to rolling meadows, river running communities and mountain canyons as we get to the capital of Idaho...

On the way there, we also stopped in Tamarack to check the progress made by the bankrupt ski resort. We had been told this winter that it was improving...

While it's difficult to really know what's going on with the bankruptcy, the taxes owed, little progress seems to have been made since we visited the place four years ago, dilapidated Tyvek covering is still the order of the day!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Rained out in Coeur d'Alene

For a long time, I had been intrigued by Coeur d'Alene aka CdA, and had this idyllic mental picture of a wonderful lake town. Well today, these dreams were largely drenched as we drove south from Canada under a relentless downpour.

There was no scenery that we could really appreciate on the way to town and that was just okay, because we had received the “scenic treatment” for the entire week. This said, I ignored that Coeur d'Alene, plus a number of communities and Spokane in the nearby state of Washington are lumped in one huge, 680,000 people strong, metro area.

With the rain beating so hard, we were barely able to go for a walk and were not overly impressed by the neighborhood we went through. This will probably take another visit. So what I thought was a quaint little lakeside town is instead, just the tip of a huge metroplex.
So much for that! Not the place I will move to when, and ever if, I'm tired of Park City...

Fernie, the anti-Banff

Just like Park City, the mountain town of Fernie, in the southern part of British Columbia began as a mining town (coal) and has been working hard to transition into a mountain resort, with both skiing, mountain-biking and fly-fishing.

Because of its remoteness from a large airport (3 hours drive from Calgary) and its general isolation, the town is still like Park City used to be 30-40 years ago. A few restaurants, none of them very good though, a great looking ski mountain with a 3,500 feet vertical, but the community still has a very long way to go if it want to climb up the staircase of notoriety.

So if you are bullish on the future of heretofore unappreciated, undervalued mountain towns and are looking for the next diamond in the rough, Fernie might be the right number for you. As for me, I'm not quite ready yet to sell-out everything and invest it in that cute little town.
I just enjoyed my visit and still believe that it will take some time before it begins transforming itself into another Banff!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Lake Louise, gem of the Canadian Rockies

Nothing is more iconic than the view of the Lake Louise Chateau cradled into the montains and surrounding glaciers. 
Just like Banff, the place is overcrowded and an Asian tourists' favorite, just like Interlaken in Switzerland or Paris in France. It truly is a picture-perfect tourist spot which explain the fleet of tourist buses beating a path to it.

We loved it too and our only regret is that we didn't meet much wildlife while in the Banff National Park. We'd thought we'd see some bears, but no luck; they all were on vacation! The only animal we saw was a panicky deer stuck in traffic in the center of Banff.

In fact we see much more wildlife passing through our own backyard at home that we've seen this time in a place they're supposed to congregate. Go figure!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Banff, exquisite and crowded

I've always said that Banff was the to North American Rockies was what Chamonix is to the Alps. The best representation, bar none.

The first time I visited that postcard-place was exactly some 40 years ago. I have since returned three times, mostly to ski the nearby Sunshine and Lake Louise resorts.

Popularity of course comes with having a price to pay. In that case, it's a dismal amount of friendliness from the locals. Unlike in America, where the service industry workers are from Mexico, in Alberta, they all seem to hail from Australia, New Zealand or the U.K.

They sure master the language, albeit at time with an incomprehensible accent. But given the cosmopolitan nature of the place, it blends in perfectly and adds to the general confusion!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The thing about Glacier NP

Glacier is definitely one of these out of the way places that you won't visit every other day. It takes a long time to get there and when you do, it's crowded, car to car, and September is not even June, July or August.

The best way in my view to appreciate the area is to circumnavigate it, as we did in the end. A lot of miles, too many in fact, but stunning views.
We were helped in that by a fresh snowfall the day before that white-washed all the peaks, made the main crossing impassable (unfortunately) but going around the park left some wonderful images that will stay with us forever.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

On the way to Missoula

The drive between Sun Valley and Missoula is pretty unique. First, there's the Salmon River Valley, a very picturesque place and then after passing the Lost Trail ski area at 7,000 feet, a beautiful descent into the Bitterroots Valley with a stop in the charming town of Darby and its unique one-block long tourist shop with its remarkable candy section.

Missoula stands at the end of the trail with its large, older city, its many students and funky stores and restaurants. Our hotel, the C'mon Inn was the perfect log construction showcase. We drove downtown and picked a sushi place for dinner, with a tantalizing $1 for 1 offer.
Sure, it wasn't the kind of eatery we find in Park City, but it hit the spot nonetheless. Too bad that the weather – From the Lost Trail pass to Missoula was freezing!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What's going on in Sun Valley, Idaho?

Not much on an early September Sunday. The place was deserted when we got there two days ago.

Much commercial real estate for sale and lease, plenty of real estate brokerage offices, and not much going on. Isolation, hard access and a tiny, hard to reach airport with few seats seem to be the challenges that are plaguing that mountain town.

The heydays of Sun Valley are getting to be something of the past. When I first visited the place in the late 80s, I thought it was cool, but now it might be getting a bit cold!

Monday, September 12, 2016

So hard to go on vacation!

When you live in Park City, getting away from that wonderful place almost takes an irrational or violent act.

In most cases, wherever we might be going won't be as much fun, the weather will sure be lacking and even tough the scenery might be more beautiful or drastically different, it won't quite make up for all the other elements we're missing.

So, here we go, we force ourselves to get out of town in order to discover what's still outside of “our bubble” and get a regular dose of reality!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Getting the North Koreans in line

Only the Chinese can solve that problem. Certainly neither not more sanctions, nor a resumption of negotiation with North Korea. We've been wasting our time far too long in trying to have a sane discussion with an insane regime.

This time, Obama and the State Department must tell the Chinese that they have rein in their protegé once and for all, plus take away his nuclear toys. If they don't, we'll hit them where it hurts most and will start imposing duties on Chinese-made imports unless they'd rather have us nuke the crazy little man to oblivion..

Even though I don't like Trump, this time I have to borrow a page from him. As simple as that.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Is Park City going to the dogs?

In Park City, dogs are just like sacred cows in India.

At times, pooches are more important than people. They have their own psychics who can talk to them, their own summer camps, baby-sitters, birthday parties and the like.

Because of well orchestrated public pressure, they can now roam free on trails, can cause you to fall if you're mountain-biking or bite you in the buttock if you're just walking by.

I won't even mention dog owners not picking after their dogs when no one sees them or leaving poop bags along the way, never to be claimed.

Worst, if you don't own a dog – like I do – people wonder what might be wrong with you.

Call this a case of the tail wagging the dog!

Friday, September 9, 2016

My fascination with Chef's Table

“Chef's Table” is an American documentary series that we've been watching religiously on Netflix. David Gelb, its creator, considers this series a follow-up to his critically acclaimed documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”.

Every episode profiles a single world-renowned chef who tell his own story. Each show generally focuses on a unique aspect of the careers that are featured, so no one is ever the same. While some shows are a bit fake or pretentious, more are deeply touching.

The take-away from all these show is that without determination, single-mindedness and passion, there is no exceptional food. A must-watch show.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

When mountain-biking kills...

A few days ago, someone killed himself on a new “designer mountain bike runs” that have begun to sprout around Park City.

While mountain-biking isn't a sport for sissies and sees its share of bloody falls, broken bones and concussions, death has been up to now a rare occurrence.

My sense is that with the introduction to these downhill-only “flow trails”, that are artificially designed and built for spectacular banked turns, jumps and undulations to create a flowing ride experience, riders find themselves in a situation similar to super steep groomed ski runs in which it's super easy to loose track of any sense of relation between speed and control.

These new flow trails and their special features like banked turns, rolling terrain, various types of jumps, and consistent and predictable surfaces promote a high rate of speed and users get so intoxicated by their fast descent that they lose their sense of control and danger relative to speed.

I have experimented a flow trail like the ones described above last year and I got scared to death on it; immediately, I could see the inherent danger of unbridled speed with a hard terrain, rocks and trees all around...

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Is there a way to reasonably “consume” Facebook?

If you are of average intelligence, you might have already concluded that Facebook is an incredible time-waster and that besides being a tool for narcissism, voyeurism and a host of not-so-desirable attributes, there are a lot of good reasons of spending little time on it, or better yet, severing all ties with that service.
Of course, sheer curiosity remains a strong enticement to stay linked to the addictive monster. Some might also call it “fear of missing out”.

In the middle of that reality, is there a “wise way” to consume the medium? I honestly don't know. I've tried to stay away from it and that hasn't lasted long.

Perhaps, should I behave like 95% of my Facebook “friends” by taking the passive attitude of reviewing it daily, but abstaining from posting anything. I'll try that!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Accepting what we don't control, and more

One of the skills mature age brings us is acceptance.

When we're young, we aren't accepting anything unpleasant that come our way and even if it's far beyond our control, we still want to turn around the disappointment, the hurdle or the loss.

As maturity sets in, our ability to accept issues that heretofore were totally out of the question, starts being challenged.

We slowly train ourselves to the idea of accepting a tiny more, until the unacceptable or unthinkable become an easy common place. Our mindset is quickly transforming and, all of a sudden, we adapt to the idea of accepting many more things than ever before.

Of course, we should have known long ago that anything we don't control should be de facto accepted, and we've lost too much valuable time and resources trying to fight the insurmountable.

In the course of getting familiarized with our new acceptance skills, we often accept things that might be worth a fight, but that we find trivial enough to let go and totally unworthy to getting all upset about them...

Monday, September 5, 2016

Park City celebrates its mining legacy

Today is Labor Day, but in Park City, it's called Miner's Day, because our town was created from the mines that crisscrossed its subterranean territory and that extractive activity has made our mountain enclave what it still is today. So, this Monday stands as our 119th annual Park City Miner's Day celebration.

A nice way to acknowledge an old western mining town where billions in silver came out of the ground.  For us, this is our 32nd Miner's Day celebration. When we attended it in 1985, we had lived in the community for just a couple of weeks and like today, the weather was cool, almost cold, but with blue skies.

At six in the morning, we were awaken by a series of dynamite blasts and after the traditional parade peppered with politicians vying for office, we were treated to the traditional drilling and mucking contest at the City's Park and discovered what Park City's heritage was all about.

Today, the dynamite reveille is long gone, we might go biking instead of watching the parade, but we'll still celebrate Miner's Day in our hearts by thinking how far the struggling little ski town from the mid-80s has come and made place to modern and striving mountain paradise...

Sunday, September 4, 2016

HT or FS?

Hard-tail (HT) or full-suspension (FS)? That's my mountain-bike question of the day. My bike mechanic told me that the current bicycle I use “is shot” and I need something new. Problem is, I'm not getting any younger and my needs come with multifaceted requirements.
I'd like to keep riding till I'm in my early 70s, plus I don't want to spend a fortune on a new bike and yet, I'd love to get a lightweight little machine instead of the slug I push up the hills these days.

I know that older folks like me appreciate the comfort of full-suspension, but could my kind of trails, that are gentler and smoother, absolve any portion of that requirement and let me ride a HT?

Tough to decide, and the more I wait, the older I get and if I don't make a decision, I might miss on this fall's attractive mountain-bike sales...

Saturday, September 3, 2016

More about mountain goats...

To those folks that hear about mountain goats for the first time and wonder what kind of animal it is, I usually say that it's the American equivalent of the chamois. Sure-footed, high-mountain dweller and elusive, both share very similar traits, but are they quite the same?

Are they to goats what a mountain bike is to a road bike? Not really, according to scientists. To be considered a true goat, an animal must be a member of the genus Capra. The chamois (Rupicapra), like sheep and goats, are part of the goat-antelope subfamily (Caprinae) of the family Bovidae.

North American mountain goats, however, are the sole species of the genus Oreamnos. Yet, this Latin genus name doesn't tell us if a mountain goat is a “true” goat. Oreamnos literally means "mountain lamb," which is a misnomer since goats are different than sheep.

Generally, people have a tendency of lumping mountain goats as a genetic cross between normal goats and antelopes, or goat-antelopes, just like our American pronghorn (these being reminiscent, because of their coat color, of the European chamois).

However, molecular studies also have linked mountain goats to muskox (sounds like a stretch, although some could find visual similarities). Scientists also assert that mountain goats share skeletal characteristics with a bovine species called rupicaprids.

Those are a subset of the animal family Caprinae, which includes oxen, sheep and true goats. Mountain goats are the only rupicaprids in North America. Their predecessors crossed over the Bering land bridge from Asia 40,000 years ago.
Today, five species comprise the tribe: the goral, the Japanese serow, the chamois and our American mountain goat; all share the same antelope ancestry. Each looks quite different from one another though, except for the signature horns, pronghorn excepted. So, in the end, chamois and mountain goats comes back in full circle and I wasn't that off when I lumped them together...

Friday, September 2, 2016

Skiing not keeping up with inflation!

I just looked at next winter season's rates from our nearby ski resorts and noticed that they raised their prices by 4%. Interesting is the least we can say.

Inflation may not even be at 1% this year. Are they raising their personnel salary by that much? Great if they pass the increase through their people, but frankly, I doubt it.
These lift companies are quietly pushing the envelope until people begin voting with their feet (excuse me, skis) and start taking up some alternative activity. Nothing impressive at all!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mt. Timpanogos' postman...

Climbing to the top of Mt. Timpanogos seems like a long, late-summer tradition as I have performed the climb several time. Yesterday was my 9th time and it was the 4th time for my daughter.

My wife and I started the climb in 1995 and this is a grueling hike that I have always enjoyed. I have chronicled this climb in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

Last year, we met a 73 year-old man who had climbed the mountain several hundred times. He almost does it everyday in summer and this year, we once more ran into him. This time he was 74 and had ascended Mt. Timp (as most people call it) some 837 times!

Ben Woolsey is a retired postal worker from Orem (near Provo, Utah) who makes the 15-mile round trip hike up to the summit of Mt. Timpanogos three to six times per week during the hiking season.

Over the years Ben has become a familiar face on the mountain, earning the nickname “That Guy,” meaning "that guy" that is always hiking Timp. Ben is an inspiring character whose performance leaves absolutely no room for excuse or complains for all of us who are his juniors!