The cultural significance of soccer in the Latinx community

Story and photo gallery by TYSON ALDRIDGE

Soccer, or futbol as it is called in Latin America, is the most popular sport in the Latinx community. Children from the time they are born are given a soccer ball to play with, or share a couch with a loved one to watch a game. That is why the love of soccer is so deep, it is firmly implanted in their day-to-day family lives.

Carlos Deschapelles of Univision Communications INC. explained in a 2016 article that Latinx communities have a love for soccer. “Look at the numbers: a whopping 84% of Hispanics follow the sport, compared to 47% of non-hispanics.” Deschapelles also said that 76 percent of kids and teens who watched the Copa America Centenario on Univision did so with an adult.

Grant Barnes, sports editor for the Tulane Hullabaloo, said in his 2018 article, “In 2017, Latinx people accounted for 68 percent of soccer viewership in the U.S. alone. Univision has estimated that approximately 84 percent of Latinx people follow the sport, and that they watch approximately three times as much soccer as non-Latinxs.”

It is no surprise that Latinx people in the U.S. are responsible for most of the soccer viewership in the U.S. because as Deschapelles said, “Based on U.S. census data, approximately 75% of U.S. Hispanics will find their country of origin represented by one of the teams at the Gold Cup in the Summer.” This gives the Latinx community here in the U.S. a sense of pride and excitement when their team is represented at the Gold Cup.

The U.S. does a great job of trying to keep the Latinx culture involved by hosting foreign tournaments in the U.S. Deschapelles explained, “By keeping Hispanics connected to their culture and their home country through tournaments that take place in the U.S. — like the 2016 Copa America Centenario and 2017 Gold Cup — soccer allows them to acknowledge and thrive in their duality.”

Dominic Militello is the head coach of the Cottonwood High School soccer team. Just watching the practice, it is easy to tell that these players absolutely have a burning passion for the game. Senior defender Josue Calderon said, “We were born with it, we basically grew up with our parents playing it and showing us the ways and their love for it.”

The great thing about this connection to the sport that the Latinx community has is that it brings them closer together as family and as friends. Whether it is through their local school team or club, or even recreational leagues that they play in on the weekends, they love the sense of family and community the sport brings them.

Christian Alfero, a sophomore midfielder, said that soccer has been a huge component for him and his family his whole life. He said, “I grew up watching the game and seeing the professionals on TV, and once the games were over my family would go outside and have 5 vs. 5 games.”

Brandon Morales, a sophomore defender, said, “I think it’s more like a family. It makes you act like you are actually a part of a family. You can relate to each other better because we are all Hispanic, and having that similarity with our culture makes us like each other more.”

Each of the players stressed family as the main component of their love for soccer. Sophomore forward Kody Flores said, “Ever since I was little my first toy was a ball. When you’re playing soccer it makes you feel at home.”

The Cottonwood High players’ faces lit up when talking about the competitiveness that soccer brings them within their community. Senior defender Calderon said, “We have a lot of Mexican league teams that we have friends and family playing on, and you look forward to playing against your friends.”

Soccer also brings this community a sense of pride. Morales, the sophomore defender,  said, “Mexico has always been good at soccer. It is one of the things that they are really good at and have a ton of talent when it comes to soccer. Just showing it off and displaying it feels good.”

The Cottonwood High School soccer team puts a tremendous effort toward getting better daily. They practice from 3 in the afternoon until 4:30 Monday through Friday, with games mixed in on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The team has Latinx representation, and as result, spectators can see the passion go from them to the rest of the team. Coach Militello pushes his team to succeed. And that is shown through constant instruction and coaching to ensure each player is doing their best. Sophomore defender Alejandro Barahona, said, “Being on this team and playing soccer makes us more like a family, and brings us closer together as a team.”

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Redefining service in a spirit of kindness and empowerment

Story and slideshow by HANNAH CHRISTENSEN

Pacific Islanders (PI) believe that what is best for the village is best for the individual. This value system instills a spirit of empathy, generosity and kindness. This is particularly evident in the types of service we see from local members of the PI community. These individuals redefine service through the work that they do as a way of life.

Puna Fatanitavake is a former teacher at Mana Academy Charter School, where she enjoyed teaching second graders. Previously she taught at Liahona High School in Tonga. Fatanitavake moved to Utah in 2015 with two young children and a third on the way to be closer to her mother and pursue more education.

Because of her service to her students, religion and family, Fatanitavake feels that her life is blessed. “Serving helps me be the strong woman I am right now. The love I had for these kids and the good I could do for them, I didn’t expect anything in return because I knew that God would bless me,” she said.

Fatanitavake also explained how every decision she has ever made was for others — the people in her Tongan village, her children, her mother, her former students and current community. She participates in local service through her religion which allows her to serve while also educating and empowering children on how they can be successful and follow their dreams like she is currently doing by attending LDS Business College.

Ulysses Tongaonevai has also dedicated his career to serving youth in his community. Tongaonevai is a conduct hearing officer for The Office of the Dean of Students at the University of Utah where he also instructs courses for PI students as an adjunct professor. Before working at the university, Tongaonevai worked for local government with youth from at-risk homes.

“I’m here to advocate for these individuals or groups,” he explained. “I’ve done things in the community from cultural awareness, higher ed awareness, I’ve created programs to help young people graduate high school and connect with resources.”

Tongaonevai grew up in the inland empire of Southern California in a single-parent household and did not always know where to turn for help. “Because of where I’ve been and what I’ve experienced, I feel like I need to give back because I’ve been given much,” he said.

One of these programs that Tongaonevai created with his wife, Kalo, is called Teine Malohi, a competitive fast pitch softball program for PI girls. They chose this name because “Teine” is Samoan for “girl” and “Malohi” is Tongan for “strong.”

This girl power program was founded in 2016 and has been sponsored by Royal Outreach, West High School Softball, Uplift Foundation Inc. and the University of Utah Neighborhood Partners. They practice and hold events for the teams at The Sorenson Unity Center in Salt Lake City.

Teine Malohi softball has participants from all over the Salt Lake Valley, including: West Valley, Glendale, Poplar Grove, Rose Park, Herriman, West Jordan, South Jordan, Murray, Taylorsville, Salt Lake City, Bountiful, North Salt Lake and Centerville. There are 53 girls total who participate in three separate age-grouped teams ranging from age 8-14.

Teine Malohi provides an opportunity to be physically active while interacting with the community. It also focuses on affordability (scholarships and equipment), player development, academics, culture, empowerment, student-athlete experiences and college prep.

“We also include a community aspect, not only just within the Pacific islander community, but we encourage the players to do some type of voluntary service in the neighborhoods that they live in, and for them to also connect to their legislative representatives,” Tongaonevai said.

With the goal of empowering young women, the Tongaonevais have been able to create this thriving program that teaches young women from all over the Salt Lake Valley how they can serve their communities. “When I first went to school, I didn’t have the understanding of those resources or how to look for them, I didn’t know they existed,” Tongaonevai recalled. As a result, he has spent his entire adulthood advocating for youth and connecting them to resources.

The PI view is that we are all connected and so it’s important that everyone helps each other to find happiness and success. Community activist Susi Feltch-Malohifo’ou co-founded an organization called Pacific Island Knowledge 2 Action Resources (PIK2AR). “All of our goals encompass helping, educating and empowering,” Feltch-Malohifo’ou said. PIK2AR focuses on economics, cultural preservation and domestic violence.

Feltch-Malohifo’ou seeks to provide services for people of PI background because of her childhood, where she felt disconnected from her roots. By providing knowledge, connection and empowerment to the community, Feltch-Malohifo’ou is able to help orchestrate support groups, a business alliance and cultural community events.

Fatanitavake, Tongaonevai and Feltch-Malohifo’ou each described service as part of everyday life. They don’t separate service into a task to accomplish, or some way to balance the scales. Service is organic, it is a way of life.

These Utahn Pacific Islander leaders each seek not only to serve, but to empower others. Empowering others teaches them to take control of their lives, enabling them to be their best selves. This is the Pacific Island way, believing that we are all in this journey together and the success of one, is the success of all.


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Use of haka as pre-game ritual may be appropriation

Story and pictures by SHAELYN BARBER



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The haka dance, originally performed by the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand, has become a staple of world wide rugby culture, often performed before important games by sports teams across the globe.

“Haka can be a war dance, but it can also be a way to show love and a way to show support,” Te Anu Tonga said. She was born in New Zealand, but moved to the U.S. with her family when she was a young child.

“To be Maori is to connect, to connect with the people around you, connect with your environment,” Tonga said. Maori value spirituality, family and genealogy, and that is reflected in their haka dances.

In addition to a war dance, hakas are often performed at weddings, graduations or other celebrations. The dance is a way to show love.

“One of the things that does bother Maori is that haka is being used without permission and without knowledge of the stories behind it, the meaning behind it, what tribe it comes from,” Tonga said. “They’re mimicking things that they don’t understand.”

The haka was first brought into rugby by the New Zealand All Blacks, the country’s national rugby team.

“They were kind of the epitome of the rugby culture, still are,” said Nate Fairbanks, assistant coach for the Highland rugby club. “If you know about rugby, you know about the New Zealand All Blacks.”

Fairbanks, a former Highland rugby player himself, recently began his position as assistant coach of the team. While Highland once performed a haka before every game, Fairbanks said that during his time as a player the team reserved it for special or important occasions.

“You know, a bunch of high school kids, everyone was joking, making light of everything, but that was something that it was never appropriate to joke about,” Fairbanks said.

Larry Gelwix, the first coach of the Highland rugby team, introduced the dance as a pre-game ritual.

“He [Gelwix] had a lot of respect for the Polynesian culture, he had a lot of love for the people and wanted to make sure that his love for it didn’t become irreverent,” Fairbanks said.

“We don’t do the haka because we want to be cute or different … We did the haka because we believed it,” Gelwix said in a phone interview.

“It wasn’t that we just took it. We had the tribes and the tribal elders’ blessing and permission to do the haka on certain occasions,” Gelwix said. The team was given permission by one Maori tribe, who even wrote them a haka to perform.

“Larry [Gelwix] was really the one who drove the use of the haka,” coach Dan Berg said. Berg and his two older brothers were former players on the team under Gelwix.

Berg later became an assistant coach and, when Gelwix retired, took on his position as head coach.

As more sports teams picked up the traditional haka dance as their pre-game challenge, Berg began to feel that they weren’t doing it for the right reasons.

Berg said he doesn’t question other teams’ uses of the haka, because each team is doing it for a different reason.

“Under the right circumstances we would consider doing it again,” Berg said. “The boys ask about it all the time.”

The Highland rugby team consists of about 45 players ranging from eighth grade to 12th grade.

Michael Pakofe is currently a senior at Highland High School and one of the team’s starter players. He grew up in Hawaii, where the performance of the haka is a common practice before most sports games.

“When I started this program I thought they did the haka and when I found out they didn’t I was just hurt,” Pakofe said. ““I feel like it just starts with us players. We got to get together and just learn it.”

Highland Rugby player Kaufusa Pakofe said, “It gets you, like, pumped up and kind of intimidating or scared our opponents.”

However, not all the players feel the same.

“It’s very cultural so I would want to make sure it’s a certain group, does that make sense? Let’s put it this way, Italian teams should not do the haka,” Highland rugby player Alexander Whitmore said, voicing his concerns about the appropriation of the dance.

“I’m not really convinced that most teams who perform haka here in the United States understand sort of the deep spiritual and cultural significance of the haka,” said Toanui Tawa, lecturer of English at Southern Utah University, in a phone interview. “I think they view it simply as something that’s ‘cool.’”

Tawa was born and raised in New Zealand and moved to Hawaii to pursue an education at Brigham Young University, Hawaii. He completed his degree in English education at Southern Utah University.

“It’s more than just a form of entertainment, it is a way in which we are able to keep the stories and legends of our communities alive,” Tawa said. “It’s a way to honor the memory and lives of ancestors who have since passed on. It’s a medium through which we are able to communicate our belief systems and attitudes.”

Tawa is hesitant about the use of the haka in the world of sports.

“I believe there’s only a place for haka in sports only if the people who are performing it truly understand it,” Tawa said.

Starting all four years

By Sarah Mecham


Growing up Tony Trabert, the No. 1 tennis player in the world during the 1950s, as her grandfather and family being full of tennis professionals, one would assume Megan Trabert would be a collegiate tennis player.

But that’s not the case.

At a very young age Megan Trabert had a passion and competiveness for soccer. It became something she wanted to pursue at the collegiate level.

Trabert began her soccer career on a recreational soccer team just a few blocks south of the University of Utah. The team was called Leopards Lair. After playing a few seasons a year up, coaches recognized Trabert was ready for a challenge. She found what she called a perfect fit with club team Utah Avalanche. This team gave Trabert the skills, abilities, and exposure to land her many opportunities to play collegiate soccer across the country.

In a Utah Soccer Profile video, Trabert talks about how she never wanted to go to school in the state of Utah. But as she got to know what her situation would be at the U, she said it was the perfect fit and she wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Trabert just completed her college soccer career, starting every single game the past four years and spent the past two as captain of the team.

“Being captain was one of the most difficult but most rewarding things of my collegiate career and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Trabert said. Teammates Hannah Hyde and Sammi Swan agree that Trabert excelled as a leader because she led by example.

“She isn’t the kind of teammate or captain to boss people around, she always does the right thing and people follow her example,” Hyde said.

“Megan’s number one quality as a player and as a person is that she is very caring and always looks out for others. As a teammate, she is always looking for ways to help make our team better. She made sure everyone felt important. That is why she was made captain,” Swan said.

Trabert tallies up her statistics of her career at 23 goals. Not only was Trabert a success on the playing field, but she also succeeded academically. During the 2012 season Trabert made Honor Roll and Dean’s List. In 2013 she made second team Pac-12 All-Academic selection. In 2014, she made both CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and first Team Pac-12 All-Academic choice. This was a major challenge according to Trabert.

“The biggest challenge of being a collegiate athlete has been balancing everything and managing your time. During fall season, soccer takes up a significant part of my time, which makes it more challenging to stay on top of all my schoolwork,” Trabert said.

Trabert will graduate in the summer of 2016 with a degree in Entrepreneurship. As she transitions away from soccer, Trabert says she has learned valuable lessons on the field she plans to take to real life.

“No matter what circumstances you face, never give up and always work hard,” she said.


Swim Utah offers athletes opportunities to train and master elite skills

Story and photos by SYDNEY BULL

Swim Utah has had a reputation for being small but mighty ever since 1990 when the club was founded.

The nonprofit USA swimming club offers year-round professional coaching and technique instruction for youth of all ages and abilities, which prepares athletes for every level of competition, including Olympic trials where swimmers qualify for the USA Olympic Team. In Salt Lake City, the team practices at two pool locations, the University of Utah HPER Natatorium and the Steiner Aquatic Center at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex, adjacent to Utah’s campus.

Swim Utah’s ultimate goal is to inspire and enable its members to achieve excellence in the sport of swimming and life.

Swim Utah’s ultimate goal is to inspire and enable its members to achieve excellence in the sport of swimming and life.

Coaches, parents and club board members commonly say, “It is important for kids to enjoy the sport.” That phrase meshes well with the mission of Swim Utah, which consists of many satisfied members.

Amy Barefield, a University of Utah swim team alumna and assistant swim coach, brings a wide range of experience to the club.

“We do not do a ton of marketing to be honest,” Barefield said. “I know there’s been a lot of debate back and forth. Our intent is to grow strategically; we can’t just do a ton of marketing without having the facilities in place. And the lanes are getting pretty full, so there’s just not enough space at least to get a good quality workout in if we bring in more people. We’ve spent some time purposefully not growing because we do not want to bring new kids in and just frustrate the ones we do have. We want to give everyone a quality experience.”

As a nonprofit organization, Swim Utah relies wholly on fundraisers and donations from outside sources. However, word of mouth serves to market the fundraisers rather well. Besides the general payments from parents that cover the pool fees and the coaches’ salaries, the team relies on fundraising to make sure it has enough in reserve to cover operating costs for about six to three months.

"Swimming has taught me how to live life as a reliable and hard working person with integrity and discipline," Patrick Nordstrom said.

“Swimming has taught me how to live life as a reliable and hard working person with integrity and discipline,” Patrick Nordstrom said.

Patrick Nordstrom, a 17-year-old sprinter for Swim Utah, hopes to swim for the U after graduation. But he agrees that he loves the small size of the club because of his great relationship with his coach.

“Swim Utah is not a very big club which is something I really like about it,” Nordstrom said. “Everybody knows everybody. It’s nice to know everyone on a deeper level other than just swimming. You become very closely knit and it’s like we’re all family.”

Swim Utah does not actively market the club mainly because members appreciate the small size. That ensures the quality of coaching each swimmer receives due to the coach-to-swimmer ratio and maintains the best possible environment to improve the current swimmers’ performance.

But the locations at which the swimmers practice also limit the club’s ability to expand. Lane space availability is Swim Utah’s biggest challenge. It is difficult to fit the entire team in one pool, so the more advanced athletes practice at the Natatorium, while the beginner-level groups practice at the Aquatic Center.

Another challenge is the cost of practicing at a college facility. HPER Natatorium is very expensive compared to other facilities, such as high school pools, because it has higher operating fees, limited time slots and prioritizes University needs.

Although Swim Utah faces a few challenges regarding location and size, it does not struggle with maintaining an excellent coaching staff. Head Coach Mark Gray has had a heavy influence on the club’s successes.

“Coach Mark is my high school coach too, and he’s definitely the right coach for me,” Patrick Nordstrom said. “He’s very polite and he understands all of us. He knows what he’s doing, he’s a very experienced, intelligent and awesome coach.”

“I coach because it’s really fun, I  like to help my swimmers reach their goals and watch them grow.” says Coach Amy Barefield

“I coach because it’s really fun. I like to help my swimmers reach their goals and watch them grow,” says Coach Amy Barefield.

Coach Amy Barefield said, “Our head coach is a genius. He’s very knowledgeable and very well-read. He is very particular about technique and patient with his swimmers,” she said. “He has led many individuals to the National level too. It’s great to have a passionate group of coaches who have a lot to contribute to the team.”

The Board of Trustees, currently led by Susan Winter, operates Swim Utah. As its president, she takes care of all the fiduciary needs of the organization. Winter is in charge of organizing local meets and fundraising events, supporting the coaches and administering the board. She also manages Swim Utah’s bylaws as they’re written out and helps communicate them to members in regards to how the club operates and what decisions need to be made with the other board members.

A lot of the clubs here in Utah have to work extra hard to catch up with other states that have more investment with the sport because they are a lot faster and more competitive. There are a number of meets that occur throughout the season to help swimmers qualify for the next level of competition and Utah’s time standards have actually gotten faster this year so that they can be more exposed to those faster swimmers outside of the state.

“With the time standards getting faster and faster, a lot of the kids here in Utah are working extra hard to catch up with the other states that are around us,” Winter said. “We have very competitive teams in Arizona and California they have much bigger bases, they have much more significant investment in the sport. One of the things we’re presented with here in Utah is that for kids to really be competitive in this sport they need to be exposed to fast swimmers. You need a large base of swimmers to compete against in order to improve your speeds and recognize improvement. One of the challenges here has been the availability of pool space in order to increase those numbers of swimmers participating.”

The LSC, Local Swimming Committee for Utah, recognized that it wants to increase the Utah state time standards and continue to increase them until Utah is in line with the other states around them.

Swim Utah holds an annual USA Swimming sanctioned fundraiser known as Swim-A-Thon where participants earn money for Swim Utah by swimming as many lengths of the pool in a two-hour period. Participants get pledges from businesses, family members, neighbors and friends before the event and swim the amount of lengths based off how much money they raised. Or swimmers can receive pledges per length and collect the money after the Swim-A-Thon is over. Many people from the community get involved. Even the U swimmers volunteer at the event. The minimum obligation for each family is to raise $150 but usually the club members go over and beyond that.

Swim Utah manages to run an organized practice in a rather crowded pool.

The swimmers work hard during practice at HPER Natatorium in its rather crowded pool.

Cindy Nordstrom is a board member in charge of events, fundraisers and activities.

“Pool rental is premium in this state,” she said. “Basically all the money we raise goes to pay for pool rental here (HPER) and at Steiner.”

To help Swim Utah this year, the public is welcome to donate money to help the club meet operating expenses. This year the Swim-A-Thon will take place May 13, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“In regards to Swim-A-Thon,” Winter said, “our goal this year is to raise $20,000. That seems like a huge amount, however, our team has exceeded that last year. We’re looking for partnerships and donors within the community and appreciate all donations.”


Body Buddies, a Salt Lake City fitness company, changes lives

Story and photos by DAVID FISHER

Working at a desk in an investment firm office was the last thing Kristy Jo Hunt wanted to do for the rest of her life. She decided to take one of the biggest risks she has ever been faced with. Hunt, 28, created her own independently-run nutrition and fitness business known as Body Buddies, without any prior experience in the field of business.

In addition, Hunt was not always a fitness guru.

Three years ago, Hunt was overweight and a victim of binge eating. She also suffers from severe scoliosis. Orthopedic doctors had told her that by age 40 she could be in a wheel chair if she did not change her eating habits and stay active because of her deformed back.

Kristy Jo Hunt poses in the gym after working with a client.

Kristy Jo Hunt poses in the gym after working with a client.

However, she conquered her struggles, gained a newfound interest in the field of health and wellness and worked toward her goals of becoming a professional dancer and fitness instructor.

This new interest eventually motivated Hunt to become a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She made drastic changes to her lifestyle, and wanted to help others make lifestyle changes as well. Thus, Body Buddies was launched in January 2014.

Hunt put together a business plan through watching multiple business startup podcasts, attending start-up business conferences and seeking advice from friends and family. She had to make some personal sacrifices along the way, including quitting her full-time job and learning to live off of $20,000 a year.

Those sacrifices underscored her commitment to seeing the success of her clients and independent business.

“Body Buddies is first a people thing, then secondly a business,” Hunt says.

Education is an important aspect of her business model.

Hunt provides weekly coaching calls and meal plans for clients in Utah. The coaching includes a fat loss and muscle gaining workout regime that clients follow on a six-days-a-week basis for 12 weeks. Each workout plan is individualized based on a survey clients fill out at the beginning of this lifestyle change. Questions include food preferences, any kind of physical ailments and a daily schedule.

Clients who pay a base fee of $50 also have access to 250 power food recipes that are full of protein, replace unwanted fats and increase energy levels. Every recipe is taken from her own published cookbook, The Power Foods Lifestyle.

An example of a power foods recipe is Hunt’s chicken ranch slaw burritos. These are a healthy alternative to any kind of processed burrito that is often found in the grocery store. Many of her recipes are healthy replacements to microwaveable freezer meals.

Chicken ranch slaw burritos are one of the many available recipes Hunt provides in her cookbook

Chicken ranch slaw burritos are one of the many available recipes Hunt provides in her cookbook.

“You are the master of yourself,” Hunt explains. “I provide the base, and you create the results.”

Body Buddies originally started with only 50 clients. It now has more than 1,000 clients. Hunt manages multiple client binders, calendars and daily scheduled emails and lists. She even has clients from around the globe in places such as Africa and Europe.

Hunt provides daily coaching calls to her clients. This is where they truly open up about themselves and achieve the results they want to see. She speaks to the individual over the phone and finds out what is and isn’t keeping them motivated. If clients have any questions about their diet, workouts, or life in general. Hunt is available to provide answers.

Some of the best results Hunt has ever seen came from her client, Amy Bellamy, in Salt Lake City. Bellamy has been a client of Hunt’s for almost a year, and has stuck with the Power foods lifestyle the entire time. Hunt explains that Bellamy was constantly motivated to achieve her goals of having a bikini body.

Amy's amazing body transformation from following Hunt's coaching

Amy Bellamy was able to transform her body by following Hunt’s coaching. Photo courtesy of BodBuds Instagram.

Hunt filmed and produced 100 instructional workout videos for her Body Buddies YouTube channel. It was through this channel that many of her clients discovered her business. These videos create an easy and accessible way for clients to understand how to successfully utilize all of their muscles while working out in the gym. For example, clients learn how to successfully perform a seated row weight lift to activate muscles both in their back and in their arms.

Through Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, Hunt has created a successful way to market to a wide audience of clients.  Hunt has more than 7,000 followers on social media.

Instagram is her main method of gaining followers. She posts workout videos, before-and-after result photos of her clients and motivational quotes every day. It is a quick way to instantly communicate to her followers. However, these posts are only previews of what can come from the full Body Buddies experience.

"The Power Foods Lifestyle" is available for purchase on Hunt's website.

“The Power Foods Lifestyle” is available for purchase on Hunt’s website. Image courtesy of Hunt.

By using hashtags such as #FitFan, #CleanEats and #WeightLossJourney, Hunt has gained public attention of her Instagram posts. These are hashtags that people wanting to start their own fitness journey investigate. Clients see her social media posts and then reach out to her to receive her coaching to start their own fitness journeys. She wants to be the person to help change clients’ lifestyles and make them love their bodies.

Instagram user Tyler Griffin, 23, a student at the University of Utah who uses the handle TGriff08, is a client and one of Hunt’s many followers. “Although I finished my 12-week program with Kristy back in September of 2014 as part of a reshaping of my body during the summer, I still follow her to seek constant new ways to work out, discover new recipes and see the success of many other of her clients who went through the same process that I did,” he says.
Griffin had lost more than 15 pounds during the 12-week process and gained a tremendous amount of muscle to his body. When grocery shopping, he is more aware of the foods that are beneficial to his lifestyle so he can maintain that muscle build that he worked for. 
“There were times when I felt like I wasn’t going to stick to this intense 12- week program,” Griffin says. “But Kristy provided a constant motivational push to keep working for my final goal — and I reached that goal, and I felt like a completely new person when I started my final fall semester.”
Griffin has referred multiple family members and friends to Body Buddies so they could achieve the same lifestyle changes that he accomplished with Hunt’s help.
One such friend was Brooke Legeman, 19, of Salt Lake City who started working with Hunt two weeks ago in hopes of removing the freshman 15 that she gained this past year.
“Being a part of the Body Buddies program is something that I want to commit myself towards to start a completely new health lifestyle,” Legeman said in a phone interview. “Kristy is helping me balance school, work and my fitness goals so that I can achieve the success that I want to achieve. I feel like I am in control of my body and making it back into the shape that I once had … or maybe in even better shape.”
Legeman finds herself going to the gym almost every day now, and avoiding all of the fast food that she was guilty of eating during her freshman year.

Hunt has started her own motivational seminars that she calls “Girls Night Out.” These empowering presentations are held at Salt Lake City gyms. Hunt wants to change the way clients think about themselves, and have their bodies reflect the changes that they can see.

“I’m not a feminist, I’m an empowerist,” Hunt says. “Integrity is the name of the game for people in life. Know where your integrity is at, and never let it crumble.”

Ski ‘N See not bothered by lack of snow

Story and photo by BRANDON RISLEY

People normally think of hot summers and national parks in southern Utah and cold winters with lots of skiing in the northern part of the state. But that has not been the case during the winter of 2014-2015.

The famous Utah slopes have been bare for the most part due to the outrageously high temperatures the state has experienced this winter. In February alone, according to, Utah has exceeded 60 degrees on numerous occasions and has been nearly 16 degrees warmer than the average February weather. February in Salt Lake City normally averages around 43 degrees with about 1.37 inches of precipitation. With March’s first weekend coming to an end, Utah has gotten record high temperatures as well as an astonishing accumulation of 0.17 inches of precipitation.

Utah's lack of snow showing on its mountains.

Utah’s lack of snow showing on its mountains.

One of the main parts of Utah that might have struggled due to this weather was the ski shops. The state has a wide variety that are known for getting very good business.

In an interview with Mark Johnson, the manager of the Ski ‘N See shop in downtown Salt Lake City, he talked about how the weather hasn’t been affecting his shop much because there will always be sales.

“You know it hasn’t been as bad as you’d think,” Johnson said. “Yes we’ve had fewer sales with out-of-towners but at the same time people still want to ski and it’s not like it won’t get cold at the mountain. I think our Park City shops have struggled a little more but we’re definitely making due.”

He said the Park City shops haven’t done as well because Park City is a huge tourist city. And, he said, out-of-town people aren’t traveling there as much this winter because of the lack of snow.

“Most of the people that live in Park City already have equipment because they ski more frequently than people that may live in other parts of the state,” Johnson said. “Without the tourists flocking to ski [in Park City] our sales drop around 10 to 15 percent.”

With multiple locations across the state set up near most of the major resorts, Ski ‘N See is one of the premiere shops for purchasing ski and snow board equipment. From inexpensive beginner gear to pricier items for more experienced riders, Ski ‘N See has it all.

Derek Evans, a Salt Lake City resident and loyal customer of the downtown Salt Lake City store, said his experience with Ski ‘N See over the years has been great.

“The numerous times I’ve been there have been awesome and I would definitely recommend it for anyone,” Evans said. “One of the things I love about this place is the fact that you can rent equipment for cheaper than the actual mountains will charge you. My first experience I rented because I didn’t quite know what I wanted to buy yet and the staff were very helpful and showed me exactly what I needed.”

In 2003 Ski ‘N See struck up a partnership with ARCS Ski and Board. ARCS Ski and Board is now owned by Ski ‘N See and they have expanded from one store in Park City to four others in Deer Valley, Cottonwood Heights and Sandy.

In a 2012 press release, Ski ‘N See owner Roy Ostendorf said that expanding his business was more about optimizing website searches than anything. “Ski ‘N See was created in 1987, well before the internet or the need for your company name to be so descriptive of what is offered inside your doors,” said Ostendorf in the release. “Ski ‘N See is near the bottom of the alphabet, but we don’t want to abandon the name completely. The new shops gave us the chance to grow while taking the internet into account.”

Johnson, manager of the Salt Lake City location, said that another bonus of the partnership was to expand Ski ‘N See’s reach in Utah as well as give people more leeway in returning their equipment.

“One of the great things about the partnership is that people could rent their equipment in one place and then return it to any of the Ski ‘N See or ARCS locations,” Johnson said. “This has made our customers very happy.”

With 12 Ski ‘N See and ARCS locations, both Ostendorf and Johnson haven’t feared the lack of snow very much. “We’re not really worried about it to be honest,” Ostendorf said. “We survived the critical months of December through February and it really didn’t drop off that much. We have been able to open [12] stores because people have been coming to us for nearly 30 years. People still want to ski in this beautiful state and they will still flock to buy and rent gear when necessary.”

Johnson reiterated those exact thoughts saying, “We made it through the winter with minimal casualties. The diehards still came in to get their gear fixed up and the people new to skiing still needed equipment. We’re going to be fine.”

With reasonable prices and highly rated gear, Ski ‘N See hasn’t been affected much by the snow drought in Utah. The tourists haven’t been coming in at usual rates, but the diehard skiers and snow boarders of Utah have not let them down.