Meet Park City Locals
Brad Olch and Whitney Olch Bishop
Boston native Brad Olch (65) moved to Park City in 1976 to work in real estate. He immersed himself in the community, serving on the planning commission and city council before spending 12 years as mayor (1990–2002). Brad was also pivotal in Utah’s quest to host the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, serving 10 years on the bid committee and then the organizing committee. He’s most proud of his time as mayor for his fierce pursuit of open space acquisitions (like the Osguthorpe Farm) and historic preservation (turning the Carl Winters Building into the public library). “There were excellent people working at the city,” he says. “We were never afraid to do things that were controversial or stick our necks out to do what was right for the community.
“I remember Whitney (now 35) coming with me to ‘Take Your Daughter to Work Day.’ She ran a city council meeting sitting on my lap. Now she’s on all of these boards, doing great work.”
Whitney is now a broker with Summit Sotheby’s Realty and along with business partner Shane Herbert, was Utah’s No. 1 producer last year. She’s served on the boards of the Park City Institute, KPCW, and Park City Community Foundation and chairs Sotheby’s Cares, wherein agents donate a portion of their profits to charities. “Growing up, my dad was so philanthropic and involved, so maybe it’s a learned behavior,” she says. “I feel it’s my social responsibility to give, and honestly, our younger generation, which is tech savvy and world savvy, needs to step up now.”
Park City was “such a safe, healthy place to grow up. Our parents dropped us off at the ski area at 9 and picked us up at 5, after we’d skied, bought candy at Cookie Bear, ice skated, and ridden the bus. My family encouraged us to travel [she’s been to 30 countries], and I liked the combination of being raised by East Coast parents in a Western town. I feel just as comfortable shopping in New York City as I do sleeping in a tent for a week.” She and husband George are happily raising their own brood here (daughter Blythe, 2, and newborn son, Tucker). “You don’t realize quite how good you had it until you leave and come back.”
Gordon Strachan and Lauren Strachan
Gordon (72) and wife Kristine moved to Park City in 1973 after Gordon worked for a Wall Street law firm and then President Nixon’s White House staff. Daughter Lauren (44) was only 2 then. Gordon would pick her up at Montessori at noon and drive her up to Snowbird “because they had childcare and I could go skiing!”
Gordon was managing partner at a Salt Lake City law office before opening his own firm in Park City 30 years ago (Strachan, Strachan and Simon, where son Adam, 40, is now a partner). He represented many of Utah’s mountain resorts and is general counsel to USSA. He’s also served on or led countless community boards and committees including KPCW, Rotary Club, the Chamber/Bureau, Ski Utah, Utah Athletic Foundation, and the 2002 Olympic Winter Games Organizing Committee. “We all raised each others’ kids then,” he recalls. “We did a ton of camping, mountain biking, and picnicking on Sunday afternoons on the ski slopes.” Now Gordon has “hit the grandparent lottery.” “We have three granddaughters living in town, and we love spending time with them,” he says. “Lauren’s generation of young people is amazing, and it’s time for them to be in charge.”
Lauren Strachan is an academic and self-described “nerd” who laughs, “I come from a family of lawyers, so that was the last thing I wanted to do. But if you want to get a word in edgewise, you’d better have a voice and be able to defend your argument!” She graduated from Brown, “jumped off the moving walkway of life” for a few years and traveled, waited tables, and taught skiing. Then she got her PhD in neurobiology and anatomy from the University of Utah and did her post-doc at University of California San Francisco (concentrating in stem cell research). She and husband Josh lived in San Francisco for seven years, working for start-ups and the pharmaceutical industry in Silicon Valley, then returned to Park City to raise their family.
“There are a lot of smart, interesting young people in this town, a generation of techies just under the radar who are fostering a love of science in our kids,” Lauren says. While she runs a pediatric neurobiology project at the University of Utah, daughter Claire (6) attends McPolin Elementary’s dual immersion program. “My daughter is growing up in a safe community, experiencing another language and culture, and enjoying having her grandparents and cousins nearby,” Lauren says.
Marny Schlopy and Erik Schlopy
Marny Schlopy (70) and husband Kent came to Park City in 1992 after careers in teaching and the ski industry in Vermont. “We always knew we wanted to live out West,” she says. “Our nephew lived here in Park City, and he urged us to visit. We fell in love with it. It’s like Vermont except with sunshine and better snow!”
Son Erik (43) was 19 when his parents moved here and already fully immersed in his career as a US Ski Team racer. All told, he spent 18 years on the team, competing in three Olympics. When he broke his back at the 1993 World Championships, he came to Park City to recuperate and recover. “The town had already adopted me like I’d grown up here. It was fantastic,” he recalls. “I bought a place on Park Avenue in 1994. Park City just kept growing on me. I loved skiing at America’s Opening in front of a hometown crowd. I had one of the best races of my life here in 2000. I wasn’t just coming home to my parents, I was coming home to the whole town.” Erik married Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders in 2003, and the couple is now raising daughter Skye (10) and son Spider (8) here.
After retiring from ski racing in 2009, Erik joined Team Schlopy at Summit Sotheby’s Realty, including Kent, brother-in-law Kevin, and Marny, who got her license in 1993 (Erik remembers her proudly posting it on the front door of their home the day she got it). Even Erik’s kids get into the act, with Skye baking cookies for open houses. Marny focuses on listings, and Erik loves showing people around, bragging about Park City and all it has to offer. “My kids have everything here—arts, sports, great schools—and there are no traffic jams getting there,” he says. Erik is a charter member of Park City Education Foundation’s Men4Ed, and he plays in a men’s ice hockey league. Marny enjoys entertaining friends and family, traveling for service trips, and taking care of her four grandchildren (daughter Keri also lives in town with her two children).
“I don’t think many people in this world can work with their family in harmony,” Erik notes. “I feel really lucky that we can. For a lot of people, it would be a challenging dynamic. For us, it’s a natural dynamic.”