I was very excited to read an article this morning by Scott Iwasaki of the The Park Record: Kathryn Kemp Guylay’s Mountain Mantras inspired by skiing and athletes.
When wellness facilitator and former management consultant Kathryn Kemp Guylay moved from Chicago, Illinois, to Sun Valley, Idaho, four years ago, she and her family felt the culture shock.They were no longer in the midst of hustle and concrete. They were in the great outdoors.
“It was a culture shock that we welcomed,” Guylay told The Park Record during a phone call from Idaho. “We were making a conscious decision to move out of the fast lane and become more mindful of ourselves and slow down.”
That decision was the basis of Guylay’s new book, “Mountain Mantras: Wellness and Life Lessons from the Slopes,” which she will sign at Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St., on Friday, Dec. 11, from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. She will also give a presentation at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m.
“Mountain Mantras” is a documentation of Guylay’s experiences while learning to ski and interacting with winter-sports athletes.
“Living in Sun Valley, I started to see, just like Park City, that we had a huge population of elite athletes who have been in the Olympics and the X-Games,” Guylay said. “Of course, I was afraid of them because I felt I couldn’t go skiing with them. But then I started to realize that they were normal people who have done extraordinary things and had such incredible lessons to share.”
Guylay, who had worked for 10 years as a managing consultant for Fortune 500 companies, also found that, in many ways, these athletes were way ahead of any of the CEOs that she had worked with.
“When I interviewed people like [cross-country skier] Kikkan Randall and [Nordic skier] Liz Stephen, who is a Park City resident, I expected them to talk about how they are constantly training or on the go,” Guylay said. “What I learned was very different. I learned that it was OK to slow down, and they talked about the importance of rest.”
That was an important reminder to Guylay, who decided the book would also be about slowing down.
“So, the inspiration behind the book was to tell a hopefully funny story about how I learned how to ski as an adult, which was terrifying, and about overcoming fear and getting the most out of life,” she said.
The topic resonates with Guylay because there are so many people these days who are trying to maneuver through their busy and sometimes tragic lives.
“It’s so important to share inspirational stories that people can follow,” she said. “When I decided to do this, I didn’t see many books that had these stories that were tied together with snow sports or these athletes and that also included wellness.”
This tied into Guylay’s current work as founder of Healthy Solutions of Sun Valley, which works with corporations on wellness topics, and the nonprofit Nurture, an organization that focuses on the health and nutrition of low-income families.
“The book had percolated in my mind for the past four years,” Guylay said. “When I would go out skiing with Muffy Ritz or other incredible skiers, I would record with my phone these nuggets of wisdom they would give me.”
The writing itself went relatively fast.
“I did a draft over an intense, three-month period and then worked another six months with my editing team,” Guylay said. “It was like putting a puzzle together. As I charted it out, I saw there was so much that related to my years in management consulting, my years in wellness education and what I was doing through learning a new sport and interviewing these athletes.
The author knew that the more topics she could address, the more universal the book would become.
“There was a lot of stickiness with the project, meaning that someone may pick it up because of the athletes, but someone who would never have picked up a leadership or wellness book,” she said. “There may be some unique people that this book may reach.”
The event at Dolly’s will not just be a book signing, Guylay promised.
“Since this is a festive location, I want to make it a festive time for people who will visit,” she said. “It will last until 7:30 p.m., but I will stay as long as folks want to talk with me and I’ll hand out some free prizes and tell some fun stories.”
Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St., will present author and wellness manager Kathryn Kemp Guylay, on Friday, Dec. 11, from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. She will also give a short presentation on Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.makewellnessfun.com/speaking.