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First Ski Trip and More at Salt Lake City

March 15, 2009

Quote of the day: “Welcome, guys”—Peter Corroon, Mayor of Salt Lake County, to Darius and the crew.

Next up on DGW’s epic six-week stretch was Salt Lake City, Utah.

Allyson Jackson organized the stop. Allyson’s sister Joan Borick led our stay in Clemson, after their sister Margie Shedd showed them both the movie last summer. So we knew going in that we were in good hands.

First up, Allyson had organized a press conference, where we showed clips of the film to the media and talked about the year-long, million-DVD goal.

Also at the press conference was Peter Corroon, mayor of Salt Lake County.

The honorable mayor declared February 27 Darius Weems Day, and the week of February 27 through March 5 Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Week.

Then, Mr. Corroon pledged to buy a copy of Darius Goes West for every Salt Lake County library, as well as one for each of the county’s student council representatives. What an honor! Way to go, Salt Lake!

Afterward, Allyson, Dan Hayes, and a couple of their co-workers showed us around Salt Palace Convention Center, where they manage staff that prepares for Salt Lake City’s conventions through SMG, a venue management company. They also hooked us up with some awesome motor-scooters to get around.

We were glad that they had the scooters, because the Salt Palace is around 700,000 square feet in area. (Plus, after six weeks on the road, some of the guys were pretty out of shape.)

After the tour came lunch at one of the Salt Palace’s rooms, hooked up by Robert “Sullie” Sullivan, owner and chef of Utah Food Services. All of it was good; the steaks were fantastic.

Later on, we met up with Chris Bylund, his mom Cindy, Jaron McDougal, and youth leader Willy Donahoo, who had come across the movie a while ago. With the help of his mom and his father, Willy, Chris showed Darius Goes West to 100 of his friends.

Chris is a cool guy, and the Donahoos are an awesome family. We’re really glad we were able to hang out with them.

At the dinner itself, we got to meet our chef, Sullie. Sullie surprised us with a serenade of “King of the Road”. Then, he promised to pack the RV’s freezer with the steaks he had cooked at lunch.

Sullie also gave Darius a medal.

Sullie had been really moved by the scene in Darius Goes West when Darius is on the phone with his mom, Jamie, who talks about wishing she had the chance to be at the beach with him.

So, in another grand gesture, he gave Darius and Jamie a week-long vacation at the beach! Great gift, Sullie: Darius is still grinning about it, and he can’t wait to go!

The screening went great. Crew-member Andrew’s cousin, Missy, had made the trip up from BYU with some friends to see Andrew, Darius, and the crew.

Like almost all of the places we go, Salt Lake City was full of incredibly generous people. We loved the chance to screen there, and we look forward to a continued partnership.

The screening done, Allyson had some serious fun planned for us the next day. First up: Darius’s first time skiing, at the beautiful and renowned Solitude Mountain Resort set up by Allyson with the help pf Solitude’s owner, Gary DeSeelhorst.

Darius is a big guy, and his mobility is limited, so he was skeptical about skiing…

until he saw the huge Snowcat that was his ride.

With one of Solitude’s snow groomers as the pilot (and photographer Kevin squished in the back to get these photos)…

D rode the slopes like a skiing champ. One of the resort’s most epic runs was closed to skiers for ski lift maintenance, so they steered the Snowcat up the steep mountain.

They got as high as 9,989 feet before making their way down the adrenaline-pumping slopes.

We had a blast at Solitude. Thanks Gary and Solitude!

That night it was back to downtown Salt Lake City to catch the Jazz play Sacramento. Allyson lined up fantastic seats.

The Jazz won in an awesome game.

Basketball is Darius’s favorite sport—especially pro basketball—but he had never been to an NBA game before Salt Lake City. Thanks to Allyson, that’s one more unforgettable experience Darius and the crew have had.

We said goodbye to Allyson and headed on for Norman, Oklahoma. We were a bit colder and a lot more tired than when we had come in, but were happy for all the excitement and hospitality Salt Lake City had afforded.

Thank you, Allyson, Gary, Dan, Mayor Corroon, Donahoo family, Sullie, Missy, Jaron, and everyone at SMG, Salt Lake County government, Solitude, and Salt Lake City!

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3 Responses to “First Ski Trip and More at Salt Lake City”

  1. On March 15th, 2009, Joan Borick said:

    This looks like it was a really fun stop….but I am sure during all of this you were really missing the rain and fun we provided in Clemson last October! Who needs snow when we can drag you around in 8 inches of rain!
    Glad you made it to the Jazz game….my sister has some great connections this little sis can’t compete with!!
    Stay cool…and dry!!!
    Love,
    Joan

  2. On March 15th, 2009, Willy Donahoo said:

    Thanks for visiting SLC - come back again soon. you are welcome at our camp fire any time!!!!

    love your guts,

    Willy Donahoo

  3. On March 16th, 2009, Logan said:

    Am I sensing some sister rivalry Joan?

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