Kaylin’s Sundance Recap
Every January it seems that the two coasts descend onto Park City and take residence for eleven days. Celebrities, concerts, functions of every kind… oh yeah, and films. The Sundance Film Festival is great for two reasons: there is a buzz throughout town unlike anything else all year and the slopes thin out so that in between the glitz and glamor you can get some of the best skiing of the season.
Sundance began for me with the 13th Annual Powder Awards, the freeskiing world’s answer to the Oscars. The focus of the ceremony is to recognize the best in ski film cinematography. After being held in Aspen the last nine years, it seems fitting for the Powder Awards to be held on the opening day of Sundance. Park City’s devotion to the skiing lifestyle and film culture perfectly reflects what the event is about. As I walked in I was met with the who’s who of freeskiing with Sean Pettit to my left and Ingrid Backstrom to my right among many others. It was a pretty cool scene to have that many people that absolutely love skiing under one roof. Level 1 Productions, Sunny, was named Movie of the Year, but the biggest winner of the night was definitely Candide Thovex and his film, Few Words, taking home Best Cinematography, Best Documentary, and Best Male Performance. What Candide did athletically was amazing, but what he did artistically set his film apart. As the program wrapped up, the room quickly transitioned into a rowdy party and after a drink and some seriously entertaining people-watching I bid farewell to the freeskiing elite and got home–there was skiing to be had and Canyons was looking better than ever.
I also had the amazing opportunity of giving Extra TV a tour of Canyons Resort. It was great to catch up with my friend Jerry Penacoli, who I met during Sundance last year. Jerry and I went snowshoeing, skiing, and got to talk all about what makes this resort so awesome. See our segment above!
The next morning I was out early with some wonderful people, and although there were no face shots, there was that magically carvable hero snow. With the majority of people in town on their way to dark screening rooms, there were whole runs completely vacant. I was able to channel my old racing days as I ripped down Lookout Ridge without another person in sight. After lapping a few runs I had the chance to get my own little moment of Sundance glory when I walked into the Grand Summit lobby to be interviewed by Interview Magazine, a very hip publication that was founded in 1969 by Andy Warhol as a platform for intimate conversations between creative thinkers. I was being profiled on their website in their “Consumption” segment. After a quick blurb the topi (in this case me) lists off the ten things they cannot live without. I was in good company, others that have been included are rapper Lil Wayne, designer Christian Louboutin, and actor James Van Der Beek (yes, of Dawson’s Creek fame). After a 20 minute conversation about skiing, Canyons, and my personal philosophies the journalist said she had enough material. I felt it had gone well and since we technically still had 10 minutes I started asking her about her own Sundance experience so far. “Who else have you been talking to,” I asked… She had just met with Gael Garcia Bernal and was headed to a lunch with Naomi Watts. Nice. Gotta love Sundance.
My most incredible Sundance experience to date began with taking Adriane Schwartz of Star Magazine skiing. As effervescent and personable as an individual can get, it is slightly confounding that she makes her living writing about celebrities when she is far more interesting than most of her subjects. A great skier and a great storyteller, we had a great morning together before she was off on duties of fabulousness no doubt. That afternoon as I was walking to meet a friend for coffee on Main Street I came across Jane Lynch, of Christopher Guest films and Glee fame. I hate to bother celebrities, but I am a huge fan of hers and mustered the courage to ask for a picture. She graciously explained that she was rushing to meet someone and with a smile hurried on her way. Kicking myself for bothering her at all, I continued on my way. Later that day I was swept into the Cover Girl Suite; karma has a way of working things out and as I was getting my makeup done, who is next up but the one and only Jennifer Coolidge. Best In Show is one of my favorite movies and I never could have imagined coming across two of its stars in the span of two hours. Popularly known for playing Stifler’s Mom, she is an amazing improviser and comedienne that I have admired for years. Accompanying her was Jim Rash, actor and Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Descendants. I managed to open a conversation with them and they were both lovely. Low and behold, Jennifer is a skier. I gave her my contact info and an open invitation to come ski Canyons anytime, but unfortunately it appears Sundance was too busy for her to get in some turns. Fingers crossed, maybe I’ll hear from her next year.
From there I went straight to the Everest Mansion. To celebrate their newly launched app, Everest, they decided to throw THE shindig of Sundance. Everest is an app that provides the tools and support for you to reach your personal goals and live your dreams. As I walked in, it was as if I had dropped into Hollywood. James Franco was holding court on one corner and Paris Hilton was working the room. It was bizarre until I found my friend and COO of Everest, Katherine Krug. I had been witnessing something peculiar and she explained: I had just watched someone give Adrien Grenier, (Vince from Entourage) their autograph, unsolicited by Mr Grenier. Katherine explained that they had created custom fortune cookies with fortunes like, “Challenge: say yes to everything today.” One of the fortunes was this: “Give your autograph to a celebrity.” Classic.
Upon leaving Everest I found myself with a prominent group of incredibly fascinating people from NYC and we dropped in on a Club Freddy concert. The highlight of the evening was watching/listening to Steve Stevens, Billy Idol’s longtime lead guitarist, play Rebel Yell, which he also wrote. He is no spring chicken, but the dude can play. After they finished their set we headed to Tao to hear Nas. As we walked down the stairs into the main room, we more or less entered a club in Manhattan. The entire crowd’s fists were pumping in unison to Nas’ rapping, I looked around and thought, “This is pretty amazing.” Then I yawned.
The next day I was standing on top of Ninety-Nine 90, admittedly more than a little tired, and marveled at the beauty and silence of the Wasatch Range. As incredible as Sundance is, I am glad it comes just once a year. I really, really like visiting LA and NYC, but I absolutely love living in PC.