On November 30th, 2023 big mountain skier Michelle Parker delivered an extraordinary Winter Speaker Series season kickoff show to a packed house. Despite what you might have expected, her show, titled "A Shift in Perspective", highlighted her new approach to her life and successful ski career, cherishing the “in-between moments”. After the show, we heard many people describing her presentation as "The Best Ever" and we don't disagree.
This was also one of our most charitable events ever, raising $14,500 for local nonprofit, TAMBA. While there is no substitute for witnessing her story live, we're excited to share some of our favorite moments from Michelle's talk.
A season unlike any other
Michelle Parker has been a professional skier for 22 years. That's 22 years of chasing contests, video parts, and deep snow across the globe. In her mind 2022 was going to be no different, as she geared up for another busy season by pitching a film project and expedition that her sponsors were ready to fund.
In the end, Michelle spent most of the 2022/23 season at home in Tahoe, something she hadn’t done since she first stepped onto the scene as a 15 year old racer and contest skier. Despite this reality, the season delivered. Most appreciably, Michelle gained an incredible new perspective. It was a bonus that it translated directly into a successful ski film and expedition.
In Michelle's words, this season was described as “…one of the most formative seasons of my entire life, a year I will always remember.”
An unexpected diagnosis
You could hear a pin drop when Michelle shared with the audience that her father had been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. Her father, Greg, is a community member and friend of many. For those of us who haven’t had the fortune of meeting him, Michelle painted the picture of his character and his immense role in her life and development.
A beautiful new perspective
As you might have guessed, Michelle spent her winter caring for her dad. Through her show, she gave the audience a peek into her father’s battle with dementia, and her subsequent role as his caretaker, to share insight into her new perspective with humility and laughter. She found herself on the pickleball court more than the skintrack. And while it'd be easy to find frustration in that, instead she found a new appreciation for all of the little moments that make up most of our lives.
She says it best →
Watch the full video
There's so much more to Michelle’s talk than we could ever summarize here. She continues to tell the epic tale of her human-powered Alaskan expedition, and describes how she completed her film project, all while reflecting on how these accomplishments were enhanced as a result of the lessons she learned while caring for her dad. Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your story.