I am now the Communications Manager for Make-A-Wish Utah. The experience has been an interesting one to say the least. The organization is amazing and the mission is one that I fully support and believe in, but it has not been easy. I have a long list of responsibilities in my new position and work a lot of hours. This has resulted in me doing less writing and ultimately coming to terms with the loss that I feel over not being a part of IN anymore.
I do continue to freelance for the Salt Lake Tribune for their Nightlife section. Currently, I focus on reviewing bars. It is not my dream assignment, but I am grateful to be out there writing and am especially grateful that I get to continue to write for the Tribune.
As the new year begins and I prepare for another year at Sundance, I find myself in the same place I am every January during the Sundance Film Festival. I feel like I am not where I should be in my writing career. I feel like I should not be living in Utah if I want to accomplish the goals that I set for myself so long ago. I feel like now in my 30's, I have waited too long to try and get to where I want to be. It's a lot of self doubt and a lot of questioning of myself and why I never left Utah to pursue my dreams in writing.
In a weird way, I kind of like this annual identity crisis because the self doubt results in a yearning to be more. To try harder. Now that I have settled in to my day job a little, I can focus on putting myself out there again. The rejection letters will start coming my way but that means that I am actually trying to get to where I want to be. So, in that sense, I look forward to them. I hope that an acceptance letter or two makes its way to me as well though.
I am excited to be up at Sundance again this year to meet fellow writers who are living what I perceive as "the dream." Working full-time on the red carpet, interviewing glamorous stars and getting that adrenaline rush that can only come with the buzz of a crowded movie premiere.
I will keep you posted on my efforts. In the meantime, check out my most recent article for the Salt Lake Tribune.
Bar Exam: Pizza, beer and celebrity sightings at Canyon Inn
Bar exam » Rustic Canyon Inn remains favorite with skiers, snowboarders.
By Autumn Thatcher
| Special to The Tribune
After a day of shredding fresh powder at Salt Lake area resorts, local skiers — and superstars, too — like to stop at the Canyon Inn for affordable pizza and beer.
The bar at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon opened in 1948 and ultimately became a popular hangout known for its burlap-covered walls, dark atmosphere and nightly fights.
Jim Stojack purchased the business 22 years ago and has worked to change the image while preserving the venue’s rustic heritage. Take, for instance, the brick arches that were once a solid wall. Now, they lead to a room with five pool tables, another bar and the wall-mounted breathalyzer. The machine, which takes a credit card for its $2 fee, tells you if you’re over the legal limit. Then you can "hit the button and it calls a cab for you," Stojack explained.
Canyon Inn has become a favorite stop for skiers and snowboarders, and was named by International Ski magazine as one of the Top 25 bars in America.
During the winter, it’s common to see top athletes such as Shaun White, Stevie Bell, Mark Frank Montoya and Tommy Moe unwinding after a day of riding. "At the end of the Dew Tour season, all the top snowboarders in the world are in here," Stojack said.
Because of its snow-loving clientele, the Canyon Inn makes every Thursday a ski and snowboard industry night. Occasionally, rails and ramps are set up in the parking lot for riders to show off their stunts. Inside, patrons can watch video clips and win prizes.
But the bar caters to others, too, with its theme nights. On Monday nights, there’s a sports theme, while Extreme Tuesdays features a live DJ and has become a favorite for the college-aged crowd. Canyon Inn offers $2-$3 whiskey shots on Wednesdays and live local music on Fridays and Saturdays.
No matter the night — or the outside temperature — a favorite spot to sit and sip a beer is the large outdoor fire pit. In the summer, the bar’s horseshoes pits are also popular.
"It has always been a fun place to come hang out and grab a pitcher of beer, play pool and relax," said Natalie Carroll, who stops by with her husband regularly.
Food is another draw. The Canyon Inn serves pizza with a unique crust, made with a combination of rice and wheat flours. "You can eat and not feel bloated," Stojack said.
But the bar’s signature dish is the Popper Pie — pizza dough stuffed with jalapeño peppers, cream cheese, pineapple and five cheeses, and served with marinara and ranch dipping sauces. Small and large sizes ($7 and $11) are available. A small is big enough to share and the heat of the peppers will get your nose running. Manager Zak Hurst calls it a "one-of-a-kind Canyon Inn item."
The bar draws regulars for similar reasons. "It’s off the beaten path," Hurst said.
Original story here.
Find photos for this article by Kim Raff here.