The torch we carry: Skiing Deer Valley with Olympian Heidi Voelker
For a few seconds there — and there is video proof of this, mind you — I was matching turns with Heidi Voelker.
… it’s like the lady has afterburners on her skis.
She took off with JJ and Swede in chase. I did what I could not to keep them waiting too long at the bottom of the run.
But those few seconds — I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget that.
I’ll also never forget this:
“My goal today,” I told Heidi, a three-time Olympian and former giant slalom national champion, “is to not fall in front of you.”
“Oh, that’s not going to be a problem,” she said. “Because you’ll always be behind me.”
But here’s the thing: I got to ski with Heidi Voelker — a woman so synonymous with “Ski Utah” that they put her on our license plates. On. Our. License. Plates.
And no, I didn’t come close to keeping up.
Swede came a bit closer. “But there was just no way,” the former ski patroller said. “And it doesn’t seem like she was trying all that hard.”
JJ came a bit closer than that. “And I had to go all in,” the former high school ski racer said. “But she made going down double blacks look like she was cutting through butter. And I was just trying not to bite it.”
I’m close to the point where I’m not constantly embarrassing myself on skis. JJ and Swede are much better. Heidi is simply out of our league.
But we all got to ski together. Because of Deer Valley.
“As a beginning skier or intermediate skier,” Heidi said, “you can get up onto the top of the mountain and still really feel part of the skiing family. You can get to the top of the mountain, almost 10,000 feet, and still get to a green or a blue run.”
Which meant I got to ski with an Olympian. And feel like one — for a few seconds.
Next stop: Beaver Mountain.
Matthew D. LaPlante is skiing and boarding all of Utah’s 14 skis resorts — in seven days— with fellow powderhounds Jared “JJ” Jones and Erik “Swede” Price. Follow their trip on Twitter: @SkiAllOfUtah.