NYC to PC - 10 days and 10 years that changed my life forever
Ski Utah Yeti
on February 7, 2012
When my friend Bari Nan Cohen and her husband moved from the BIG City to "Park" City 10 years ago, many of their friends thought they had lost their minds. Cohen, a Freelance Writer who covers Celebrities, Fitness and Lifestyle, was used to a city that never slept. How would she survive in a sleepy mountain town?
Read below to find out how she traded Manhattan for mountains and subways for ski lifts…
I’ll never forget the looks on my magazine-colleagues’ faces when I told them, upon returning from a 10-day ski trip to Park City (our first ever) that my husband and I were trading daily subway commutes from our New York City home to our offices for daily rides on chairlifts at the resorts in Utah. As they scraped their chins up from the floor, I chided them—“Remember, I’m from Vermont.” One pal blurted out, “I thought Vermont was something you made up to seem more interesting!”
I wanted to say, no, I really am that interesting, and my life is more than just my job—but in truth, I wasn’t really certain of either point. I loved my job—I was an Entertainment Editor at a widely read national women’s magazine with a healthy-lifestyle focus. Daily, I interviewed celebrities about their health issues, cooking challenges, weight-loss plans—even accepting Caroline Rhea’s dare to open for her at a comedy club, after I put her through 30 workouts in as many days! But I wasn’t convinced that eschewing the other passions in the name of work was being my best self.
And in March 2001, that question loomed large overhead as we skied more interesting and challenging terrain in Park City than we’d ever seen at our “home” mountains, Killington (his) and Pico (mine—it’s a local thing), in Vermont. We realized how much we missed skiing. “I don’t want to ski five days a year,” I said. “I want to ski five days a week!” The sport was something we’d both done since childhood, but had taken a backseat to our New York life, leaving us to pipedream about returning to my hometown. But we spied something that Park City had—a nearby major city and airport—that Rutland, Vermont never would. It opened up a world of possibilities—over and above the fact that I’d become a spoiled-rotten foodie in New York, and gotten used to the ability to buy anything on demand. A city meant industry, which meant my husband had a business community in which to build his marketing company. The airport meant assignments on location at a movie set in LA, for instance, were no big deal to accommodate.
And we had a hunch it would be a great place to raise the family we longed for. I’d been wrestling with what our life would look like in New York–would we stay in the city? Could I picture myself in the ‘burbs? It all seemed, well, hard to picture. But Park City was familiar enough to my small-town eyes that I instantly “got” it. I could see the afternoons, stealing two runs with my kids between the end of school and the last chair. I could see myself stealing out for the kind of “nooner” only a skier understands. And, so, we came back a month later, looked at 40 houses in a weekend, and picked one. We were homeowners by June, and proud Utahns by August. Instantly, we were recipients of a warm welcome—everyone here is a transplant, so they get the “newbie” thing. Socializing happened at the boot fitting chairs in Surefoot, the chairlifts at Deer Valley and on the hiking trails near our home. In fact, we’d lived here a year before we shared a meal with a woman who’d become a close friend on the trails of local mountains. In New York, all socializing happened at restaurants, or the rare apartment dinner party. Here, we were like socially enhanced action figures. Meals were beside the point. By May, we’d gotten wise to the locals’ favorite quip “People come for the winters and stay for the summers.” So committed was I to making the most of the move, I found ways to cram hiking, biking and golf into what I came to call my “triathlon” days. I wasn’t good at any of these things, but in Park City, there are guides, pros and instructors at the ready—coaxing me through a better golf swing, up and down slightly more challenging single track bike trails, and teaching me to “slalom hike” down the face of a ski run that hadn’t been cut for hiking. That summer, I flew back to New York for some meetings at Self Magazine, proudly showing off my bruised and scraped legs by wearing a skirt and no tights. I had earned my bragging rights, free and clear.
Ten years, three dogs, and two kids later, we haven’t looked back. And we’ve delighted in sharing our life here—which is equal parts family/school volunteering/skiing and hiking—with our formerly doubting pals.
I may not be terribly interesting, but my life is.