LawyerCon2015: Snowbird, Utah — Part I

Or, The Year My Wife Tried to Kill Me — Twice


This year the Forty-Second Annual National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks, hereinafter referred to as LawyerCon, took place the first week of August in Snowbird, Utah. We stayed at The Cliffs, a ski lodge up in the mountains. I’m not a skier but it was August so it didn’t matter.

The good news was we had scored a direct flight to Salt Lake City and from there it was a 45 minute drive up the mountain to our hotel. The better news was that I would not be the one driving up and down the mountain. I love mountains, but mostly from a distance, and definitely not from the driver’s seat of an automobile.

While we were looking forward to getting out of Dodge, there were some concerns. Andrew has taken to having small, let’s call them ‘anxiety attacks,’ where he begins to vocalize loudly and get very stressed. Did I mention how living with an autistic person is like living with a time bomb that you’re never sure when — or if — it’s going to go off? Yeah, makes life fun. Not.

Day One 

Arrived at the airport in plenty of time. Boarded flight in plenty of time. Voice on intercom says there’s a problem with communications with the tower so they’re going to turn everything off and reboot.

Isn’t that what they did in “Jurassic Park?” How did that turn out?

The lights go out, it’s getting warmer (did I mention it’s August in St. Louis?) I’m having nightmare scenarios about people trapped in planes on the tarmac for hours. Thirty minutes later we are cleared for takeoff.

As is always my luck, I wind up in the seat behind the asshole who feels the need to lean his seat back the entire flight. Why? Why do airplanes make chairs that lean back? I have no leg room to begin with. I decide I’m not going to let this jackass get any sleep anyway and proceed to kick the back of his chair on a regular, and frequent basis. He doesn’t get the hint. But he also doesn’t get any sleep, so small victory for me I guess.

 The descent was surprisingly painless, and as you know that’s a big deal for me. We boarded the van to take us up Snowbird Mountain, or whatever it’s called. The driver is friendly and tells us to drink lots of water or we’ll get nosebleeds and altitude sickness and I’m like, whoa– this wasn’t in the brochure. Granted, I don’t read the brochures but still, you’d think my wife would’ve warned me about all the dangers we were heading into. I just thought high altitude meant your ears popped.

Got to our hotel and our room was on the third floor. Same floor as the outdoor pool and three hot tubs. Good. At the end of the hall, right across from the ice machine. Even better. Checked out the television. HBO and HBO Family. Not great but good enough.

It was a much nicer view before the rain. Shouldv'e taken this photo on Day One.

It was a much nicer view before the rain.
Shouldv’e taken this photo on Day One.

The view out the giant window that was our far wall was outstanding. Usually hotel room views suck, but this was not the case for a change.  Second order of business after checking out the TV was using the bathroom. I go inside and notice there’s a giant mirror next to the shower so that I can see what’s going on in the main room. “That’s odd,” I thought. “Why would they put a 1-way mirror like that in the bathroom? Why would I want to spy on my family as I’m using the bathroom?” Still, it felt like I was outside the interrogation room at a police office, so that was cool.

utahBI get out of the bathroom and come back into the living area and realize that it’s not a 1-way mirror. It’s just a giant window. Laura and Andrew can look in on me as easily as I can look in on them. A giant window in the bathroom, next to the shower. Why, Utah, why? Is this a Mormon thing? Fortunately there was a curtain you could pull closed, but now I’m kinda creeped out.

We’re hungry by now so we decided to walk down the hill to Snowbird Center — where the action is. Now, the problem when you go to conventions where you’re at a ski lodge or a golf course is there isn’t a lot to do. You’re basically stuck in one spot for a week and wind up spending all your free time at the pool because that’s all there is to do. Great for Andrew, not so great for me.

058Snowbird Center was supposed to be the ‘get away from it all’ place on the mountain — restaurants, shops, etc. In reality it was one large building with a half-dozen expensive (and usually not open) restaurants and a half-dozen shops that sold (a) souvenirs and (b) ski supplies. At least there’s a pool. And Free HBO.

Did I mention the food was expensive? Like $13 for a hot dog? I guess if you’re stupid enough to spend the kind of money it takes to be a skier, money is not an issue. We had a nice dinner and saw all there was to see at Snowbird Center. It didn’t take long. There were a half-dozen rides that I was never going to ride. A couple of them were one-person rides which meant Andrew couldn’t ride them. We wound up not taking advantage of the amusement park nature of Snowbird Center.

There was live music that night which was nice. Walking up the hill back to the hotel was unbelievably hard. It wasn’t that steep or big a hill but I was gasping for breath every time I climbed it. That night I got no sleep because I couldn’t stop listening to myself breathe. Just making sure.

Tomorrow: No pool. No free HBO. But…Dinosaurs! 


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