Sundance, the Resort: Log cabin-style lodging, skiing or full-moon mountain biking, craft and glassblowing classes, fabulous food, decadent spa activities, and maybe one of those artsy-type movies in the lounge. What I got instead was a rather spontaneous announcement that we had a place to stay -- in Park City. During THAT Sundance.
I'm certainly not one to turn down adventure and opportunity like this. We scrapped some last-minute flights and took off for a long weekend.
Turns out that the Sundance Movie Festival in Park City is... well it's a little insane. I studied up on how to get last-minute tickets, but that involved showing up two hours early, getting a lottery number (first come was not first served), then being back a half-hour before, and maybe MAYBE getting a seat. The high profile films were a wash; parking was non-existent, every restaurant had 45+ minute waits. It seemed overly complicated and frustrating, standing around in the snow and cold for hours with no certain payoff.
So: we hit the mountains instead. Staying in the Canyons, a wee outside the craziness of downtown, we were able to ski on and off the chairlift to our room. The snow was beyond legendary: we had one day of white-out conditions, reports of "an inch an hour" piling up around us, flakes stinging any patch of exposed skin, cars sliding off the roads. Two more days greeted us with waist-high patches the consistency of mashed potatoes. I got stuck on an expert black diamond route, enveloped by trees and moguls, and had to shimmy down while sweating and whimpering. But otherwise, the legends were all true about Utah Powder. Epic was had.
In the evenings, we attended Sundance parties. Elbow to elbow with Hollywood body-types, dancing to acoustic music, sipping on soda water and surviving on passed appetizers. You couldn't help but look around and wonder who was somebody famous; I'm sure they took one look at my hair and did the same. Michael Cera, Ludacris, and Kevin Sorbo were all spotted. The crowds in their designer shoes, big hair, or giant earrings held the attention every glance.
So close and yet so far; darn it, we're here, we're going to DO THIS! I finally got up the nerve to try and brave the waitlist process, but in Salt Lake City rather than the zoo of Park City. We were able to squeak into Beasts of the Southern Wild, seats together in the absolute front and center. There was a Q&A with the director and several of the actors after the movie, which was really cool (if a little jarring to see them out of character so suddenly). The movie was, of course, amazing, but it tore my soul apart a little bit; to be honest, I'm not sure if I could handle multiple moody flicks like this back-to-back as the festival prescribes. Still, we checked it off the list of things to do in life, and I'm pretty glad we did.