Finding Perspective in the Mountains

Thanksgiving offers pause, a time of reflection, where we find ourselves counting the blessings we’ve been afforded. The time spent with family and friends, reminiscing over the past year and looking to the future with anticipation is one which we all look forward to. Perspective provides the opportunity for gratitude, and reminds us of how lucky we are. Obstacles arise throughout the year, but when viewed as opportunities rather than setbacks, growth and discovery occur…

Hurricane Maria Started It All

The story of Yolanda and John Barski’s family is one that exemplifies the power of perspective and the strength developed through adversity. Two months ago, disaster swept through Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria hit the island with the relentless force of sustained 185mph winds. After spending 36 hours under cover, the Barski family emerged to find everything destroyed. What once was a lush, green, and lively area, was now dark and desolate. Their bed and breakfast Dos Angeles Del Mar (named after their two daughters) also succumbed to Maria’s wrath.

The Climate Changing Move

When Pam and Robbie Williams, residents of Carbondale, Colorado, heard the news about their previous hosts and now friends (Pam and Robbie were wed at Dos Angeles Del Mar), they were quick in offering a place to stay, hoping to add a bit of normality into the family’s newly unstable life. Grateful for the opportunity, Yolanda, her daughter KiKi, and son Dylan accepted the offer and were among few of the fortunate residents to leave the island. Yolanda’s husband John and their daughter Ivana are still living on the island, but looking to be reunited with the rest of the family soon.

Finding an Opportunity

With Thanksgiving nearing, the Williamses headed to their vacation home in Driggs, excited to get some skiing in at Grand Targhee, and naturally, they insisted their guests join them. Yesterday, Dylan, an energetic surfer and skateboarder, and KiKi, a Junior Olympic tennis player, took to skiing for the first time. They partnered with Grand Targhee’s Ski & Snowboard School instructors Beth Miller and Dylan Fait, who helped them learn the ropes and embrace the snowy environment.

Left to Right: Beth, KiKi, Dylan B and Dylan F

Left to Right: Beth Miller, KiKi Barski, Dylan Barski, and Dylan Fait: Smiling after Dylan recently exclaimed “I just like to go fast!”

The Power Of Perspective

At lunch the kids shared what they’d learned thus far, and laughed at the feeling of walking in ski boots for the first time. Yolanda expressed the happiness she felt knowing they were enjoying themselves, and simply being kids. Both John and Yolanda are New Jersey natives, and growing up John spent his winters skiing Vermont, so he was ecstatic knowing that Dylan and KiKi will get a sense of the wonder that the mountains hold.

Throughout our conversation, the importance of perspective rang through. With uncertainty prominent right now, they spoke of the hardships they are facing, yet the kindness they’ve encountered within the mountain community has renewed their spirits. They remain grateful for good friends, safety, and adventure.

We all know that the mountains hold a bit of magic, and we are happy to share this magic with the Barskis during this transitional time. We thank them for reminding us of the importance of having the right perspective, and choosing to be grateful, no matter the circumstance.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday!


Emily joined Grand Targhee’s team after making the decision to move across the country in search of a place where she’d be able to fuse her passion, work, and love for the mountains into one. She’s decided, life at Targhee definitely beats the rat race she came from.