All New Gondola Cars Sitting in a Row!

By Lea Hartley Team
Oct 07, 2015

Snow Hut Progress!

By Lea Hartley Team
Aug 13, 2015


Mountain Bike Park City: The Bucket List

By Lea Hartley Team
Jun 02, 2015

park_city_photos4Rallying through the signature wallride at Trailside Bike Park with the rest of Park City's 400 miles of trails in the background. Jon Grinney photo.

The speed is getting faster now as I head down Park City’s Spiro trail. The red snake of the trail whips in wild arcs ahead, requiring exacting concentration despite the fact that water is now streaming out the side of my eye sockets. I dip my bars into a sharp corner, trying to hang on to this giddy pace, and hear the machine gun-paced “Whap! Whap! Whap!” as leaves on the inside of the corner slap my hands. It’s an exposure to pure cheek-flapping trail speed that's only registered a handful of times in my years on a bike.

When I pop out a few minutes later on Three Kings Drive, barely three blocks from the house I’m staying at and where this whole ride started, I'm a bit overwhelmed. I grew up riding your average backwoods trail system, with an unmarked dirt lot off some quiet road leading to a smattering of rarely-marked trails. I grew up assuming towns were not supposed to be organized around your weird hobby, and that biking took place only in the dark, woody fringes.

Full article courtesy of

From suits to the slopes: Retiree becomes a ski instructor!

By Lea Hartley Team
Mar 31, 2015


Just days after turning 66, Craig Watson traded in a 40-year career in the credit card industry for a job teaching four-, five- and six- year olds how to ski at the Deer Valley ski resort in Park City, Utah.

Overnight, he went from earning a six-figure salary to raking in $12 an hour -- and he couldn't be happier about it.

"I carry skis instead of a briefcase. My office is outside. And I'm surrounded by other passionate people," said Watson, who started his new job on Dec. 27th, the day after he retired.

Watson's plan has been in the works for years.

He spent most of his career working for the credit card divisions of American Express, MasterCard and GE Capital. Later, he returned to Utah to run corporate cards and travel for Rio Tinto, a large multinational mining company.

Throughout his career, Watson always put away between 6% and 16% of his salary in his 401(k). But he also built up an impressive nest egg through a series of smart real estate transactions.

Some of his investments weren't as successful, however. In the 1990s, he decided to experiment and trade investments in his IRA. He had some big wins with tech stocks. But, when the market tanked in 2000, he had some big losses as well.

"I lost 75% of my gains in the market, and I was lucky it wasn't more," Watson said. "I went from a very speculative/high-risk trader to the most conservative."

He quit trading on his own and, with the help of a broker, steered his portfolio into a healthy mix of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities and some real-estate investment trusts.

Full article

Sundance Film Festival: A survival guide for non-celebrities

By Lea Hartley Team
Jan 27, 2015

By Blane Bachelor

Published January 27, 2015

For 10 days every winter, the Sundance Film Festival charges into Park City, Utah — transforming a charming ski mecca into a nonstop whirlwind of movie premieres and parties. But for the average festivalgoer — those of us who fall outside the coveted circles of filmmakers, actors and their entourages — it can feel like your name is the only one missing from the guest list.

But that doesn’t mean stage fright should get the best of you, especially if you’re attending your first Sundance. The festival kicked off on Thursday and runs until Feb. 1, and whether you’re going this year or are already looking ahead to 2016, here are some insider tips on learning how to Sundance as a non-celebrity. See you at the movies!

Have a plan. Don’t fret if you don’t have one of those coveted all-access passes (or even tickets ahead of time). A little pre-festival strategizing can go a long way. Often, the simplest way to score tickets is via the waitlist, a process that has been exponentially easier since the handy online option, which is available on smartphones, was introduced in 2014. Also, early birds can take advantage of films that begin at 8 or 8:30 a.m., when the partygoers are still sleeping it off.

A good starting point is to figure out which movies are your must-sees, keeping in mind that the bigger-name films are likely to make their way to your local theater or Netflix. Allow for at least two hours between films, and get familiar with the layout of the venues, which are spread out across the city and as far as Ogden and Salt Lake City. And don’t forget about traffic, especially on weekends and around 4 p.m., when ski resorts close.

Stay flexible. Snarled traffic and too-long lines can wreak havoc on even the best-laid plans. The best strategy? Stay open to the serendipity of Sundance, which is half the fun of the festival. Meet someone who makes you their plus-one for a rocking after-party; do some celebrity-watching on the street; love a movie you hadn’t even planned on seeing.

“Don’t set your mind on just one event or idea, because at Sundance things can change on a minute-by-minute basis,” said Rob Lea, a Park City native who has attended approximately 20 Sundance festivals. “If you’re flexible, you can always find something fun to do.”

Take advantage of the free transit.Sure, a black Escalade with tinted windows is the transportation of choice for A-listers. But the free Sundance shuttle deserves two thumbs up for dependable — and free! — service between venues. Cabs may be a quicker option, but ask for an approximate fare before you climb in, as some cabbies don’t use meters. Finally, don’t rely on car services like Uber, which are constantly in peak service mode.

Beware the “Sundance flu.” Many festivalgoers leave with great memories but less-than-great health, thanks to too much partying, too little sleep and frequent glad-handing that passes on germs. A few tricks of savvy Sundancers: stocking up on hand sanitizer and over-the-counter remedies like Emergen-C.

Skip pricey hotels and rent a house. Traditionally, visitors who didn’t book hotels — at spiked prices — months in advance or have a friend’s couch to crash on used to be out of luck at Sundance. But in recent years, home-rental options such as AirBnb have opened up hundreds of lodging options at a variety of price points, depending on where you want to stay. For example, during the festival’s midweek, there were more than 300 Park City-area rentals available on AirBnB, starting at around $105 for a private room and bathroom. By contrast, the Yarrow Hotel, one of the official Sundance properties, had midweek rates starting at $359, and the swanky St. Regis started at $975.

Work the door wisely. Some of the best people-watching at Sundance happens at the doors to the hottest parties, where seemingly normal people morph into self-entitled egomaniacs when their demands of “Don’t you know who I am?” raise nary an eyebrow. Indeed, there’s a fine art to working one’s way into a fabulous fete without an invite — and it doesn’t involve being rude to the doorman.

“People come up to us all the time and say they’re a producer or a director and just expect us to let them in,” said a doorman named Matt, who gave only his first name. “There are fire codes and bosses, and if I let in everyone who wanted to get in I’d get fired.

“But if I’m going to let someone in without an invite, you can bet they’ll be the nice person who smiles and is gracious instead of the [jerk] screaming at me.”

Enjoy solitude on the slopes.There’s a reason savvy snowhounds pick Sundance week to hit the slopes around Park City: Resorts see a fraction of their normal traffic, especially midweek. At Park City Mountain Resort, attendance can drop to just 25 percent of usual numbers, communications manager Andy Miller said. That may be depressing news for management, but it’s great news for skiers who love empty slopes and nearly nonexistent lift lines.

Dress the part. Fashion magazines and blogs are bursting with the latest looks for Sundance. But you don’t have to drop mad cash to look like an A-lister. Wear a black jacket and you’ll blend in with the Sundance “PIBs,” or “People in Black,” as Hollywood types are sometimes known among locals.

“When Sundance comes to town, it seems like everyone is wearing a black jacket,” Lea says. “I don’t wear my black leather jacket very much, but I usually wear it for Sundance because it looks like I belong in the Hollywood scene, and that can make getting into places easier.”

In Salt Lake City, a Proposal to Link Ski Trails

By Lea Hartley Team
Jan 14, 2015

By Christopher Solomon of the New York Times


Photo by Brian Thurber with the Associated Press

Perhaps the biggest news lately in North American skiing has been the announcement in 2014 that seven ski resorts perched high aboveSalt Lake City hope to join hands to create the largest megaresort in North America. OneWasatch, as it’s being billed, would be a colossus, with one ski pass linking more than 100 lifts across Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, more than double the acreage of Whistler-Blackcomb in Canada, currently the continent’s largest ski resort. Its backers say OneWasatch would offer an experience akin to Europe’s linked valley-to-valley ski systems like Arlberg in Switzerland or Trois Vallées in France.

The idea is ambitious. It’s sexy. It’s also hugely controversial. Opponents say linking the resorts isn’t right for the mountains, or for the people who play in them or who rely on them.

Most of the ski resorts that operate in the meringue of mountains above Salt Lake City are so tightly clustered that only a ridgeline separates some of them; others are already joined. Adding as few as five more chairlifts could create a vast, interconnected ski world. (Park City Mountain Resort andDeer Valley Resort already sit shoulder-to-shoulder, so they would simply need to drop a boundary rope.)

The vision of weaving together the resorts has been kicked around for half a century. But the idea now has more momentum than ever: In the last few months, Deer Valley’s owner bought Solitude Mountain Resort, across the mountains, and Colorado’s Vail Resorts bought Park City Mountain Resort after a long and nasty legal dispute. (Vail Resorts already runs Park City’s neighbor, Canyons Resort, for another owner, and has announced it will install a gondola lift between the two for next winter.) Supporters of OneWasatch say all seven resorts could be linked for roughly $30 million in private money.

Why do it? “It’s a huge marketing draw,” said Nathan Rafferty, president and chief executive of Ski Utah, which markets the state’s ski resorts. “It would simply create a ski experience in Utah that no one else in North American has, or could have.”

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Amazing jump - of a different sort.

By Lea Hartley Team
Nov 11, 2014

A jump for the record books, Robbie “Maddo” Maddison also known as the modern-day Evel Kneviel attempts yet another death defying aerial feat-as he takes over the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.



Happy Halloween from Park City, Utah!

By Lea Hartley Team
Nov 03, 2014

Thank you to our colleague Keven Murray with Berkshire Hathaway Utah Properties for putting together this great slide show!


Jim Lea goes hang gliding!

By Lea Hartley Team
Jun 18, 2014

Planking for joy!

By Lea Hartley Team
Jun 05, 2014

Jim Lea, Deb Hartley, and Rob Lea celebrate the transition to Berkshire Hathaway Home Services! Jim Lea, Deb Hartley, and Rob Lea celebrate the transition to Berkshire Hathaway Home Services!

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