Summit Stories

By Kristen Gould Case June 22, 2016

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Zane Dekoff

Metal Head Zane Dekoff

A lifelong Parkite, Zane Dekoff has always been a kid ahead of his time. At 15, he’s the youngest junior at Park City High School, and even though he doesn’t yet have a driver’s license, he’s already navigating his way toward running a successful creative welding business.

You may have seen some of Dekoff’s work around town: his size-200 high heel Steeletto resides in the Kimball Art Center; and his 9.5-foot-tall ski flower made from scrap skis stands sentry in front of RAMP Sports.

Dekoff’s love for art started early. “I was always doodling on my papers in elementary school—I’d hide them when the teachers walked around the classroom,” he says. “In eighth grade, I got into the Young Artists Academy at Kimball Art Center. When we had a welding class, I was hooked. It wasn’t so much the actual welding as the plasma cutting that got me so excited. It’s a high-pressure torch that cuts through metal. I decided I would put some of my savings into buying equipment, and with some help from my parents, I set up in our garage. We don’t get to put cars in there anymore. I’ve taken it over.”

Dekoff’s very first project, The Hand, won first place at the Utah State Fair. More recently, Voyager, a sheet metal paper airplane-inspired sculpture, was selected for permanent installation in Coalville as part of Summit County’s Artscape People’s Choice Awards.

Dekoff is a lifelong skier who gets more than 60 days a year on the slopes and trained through the Park City Ski Team and Wasatch and Axis freestyle programs. He also mountain-bikes, dirt-bikes, and rides motorcycles. “Most people think of art as feminine,” he explains, “but welding is a strong art form, so I can still retain my masculinity.”
Any downside to his fiery craft? “It’s hot,” says Dekoff. “I’ve burned myself way too many times.”

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Steve Chin

Soul Man Steve Chin

It’s not often that the guy with a mind for numbers is also the one with the smile that lights up the room. But such is the case with longtime local Steve Chin.

The native Californian first visited Park City in the ’70s while working for a Los Angeles–based CPA firm that handled the then-named Park City Ski Area’s audit and taxes. Since Chin and Val, his wife of 42 years, loved to ski, it wasn’t long before the couple decided to take a winter sabbatical here. That first winter, the Chins held down various service jobs including bellman, housekeeper, and car rental agent. “We each made $450 a month, had a season pass, and lived at Homestake Condos. We had no TV. We’d rent a 16 mm projector, put up a sheet outside, and watch movies. We’d get food the tourists left behind through our housekeeping job, so we always had 10 jars of ketchup and an occasional prime rib that we’d share. We drove a ’66 VW Bug with a ‘Ski Bug’ license plate. I never went back to the accounting firm.”

In 1976, Chin began working in property management and then real estate, which he’s enjoyed for the past 30 years, eventually forming the team of Chin, MacQuoid, Fleming, and Harris. He says his favorite part of the job is “the art of the deal. Problem-solving is challenging and satisfying in the end. And helping young people become first-time buyers.” The Chins raised their two sons, now in their 30s, here in Park City. Josh is a Wall Street Journal news editor in Beijing, and Cameron is the conditioning coach for the Russian women’s alpine ski team.

Outside of work, Chin’s passions are many. He’s performed in countless local musicals and plays (“I can’t remember lines, so they don’t give me many”), and he loves to dance. “Val let me set up a fog machine and disco lights in our living room for years, even though it was ugly,” he says. “I had to give my bubble machine away, though, because the bubble stuff got on the furniture.” Over the years, Chin has served on the boards of KPCW, the Kimball Art Center, and the Egyptian Theatre. The Chins are also co-owners of Napa-based Parallel Winery. “Ironically,” Chin laughs, “I don’t drink because I’m Asian—my system can’t handle it. But I love the business.”

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Lynn Ware Peak

The Voice Lynn Ware Peak

Lynn Ware Peek has a marvelously curious mind. She puts it to good use as a reporter for KPCW, where perhaps it helps ease the pain of the job’s logistics, chiefly the fact that sleeping in means staying in bed until 5:30 a.m.

“My parents moved us from California to Jackson Hole when I was 7,” Peek says. “They divorced, Mom remarried a Marlboro-type man—a great swing dancer—and we moved to Driggs and then Blackfoot, Idaho. I spent my adolescence in a middle-America-small-potato-farming-four-wheeler-Mormon environment. I feel like I’ve been trying to live that down for the rest of my life,” Peek laughs. “But it gave me good roots. My family is pretty conservative. I turned ‘liberal’ here in Park City. I think understanding varying viewpoints has informed how I go through the world, hopefully with the ability to see both sides of things.”

Peek moved to Park City in 1986 and has waited tables; taught skiing; earned a graduate degree in linguistics at the University of Utah; taught Spanish; been a massage therapist; and cofounded Girlfriends Go, a company that led all-women tours to Italy and Costa Rica, mostly centered around biking, hiking, and yoga.

Her radio career was jump-started through the Park City Toastmasters Club, a local writing, public speaking, and networking group. “After my sons were born, I was the stay-at-home mom who felt like she couldn’t finish a sentence,” she explains. “Toastmasters got me writing and giving speeches.” She created KPCW’s Tales from the Wasatch Back, which led to hosting The Mountain Life and Cool Science Radio shows. “Having a conversation with, say, the head of the physics department at Harvard, and then deciphering it and making it something that everyone can relate to in some way, is so satisfying,” she says.

Pursuing adventure also defines Peek’s spirit. “Sometimes it gets me into trouble,” she laughs. Peek sits on the executive board of Mountain Trails Foundation and is an avid mountain biker and Nordic skier. She’s competed in the Boulder Mountain Tour, the Park City Point2Point, and LoToJa. This year she has registered for the Crusher in the Tushar, a “crazy mountain-bike race with about 12,000 feet of vertical.”

“Park City is the perfect place for me with the trails, the snow, and the mountains,” says Peek. “I’ve found my place. I’m home.”

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