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Clinton Admits Skiing Not His Sport

February 27, 1998

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) _ He’ll be sleeping this weekend just off the slopes in the state that boasts the ``Greatest Snow on Earth,″ but President Clinton won’t be strapping on skis this weekend.

``I’m going to stay in the cabin and read,″ Clinton told reporters. The avid golfer and jogger said he learned the hard way that skiing isn’t his sport.

On the eve of his arrival here, the president recounted his only ski adventure, 14 years ago in Sun Valley, Idaho, where he took repeated tumbles and finished the day with torn ligaments in his left knee. (It was the right knee that Clinton injured in a fall in Florida last year.)

Talking to reporters, Clinton described his ski instructor back then as ``a 20-year-old blonde Adonis.″

``I hated that guy,″ he said.

At the end of the day, Clinton said, the ski instructor asked what he did for a living and was surprised to learn the man who toughed out so many falls was the governor of Arkansas. ``I thought you were a steel worker,″ the instructor told him.

Clinton headed to Deer Valley Resort, about 25 miles east of Salt Lake City, Thursday night after spending the day in San Francisco meeting with flood victims and talking about disaster aid. First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and daughter Chelsea arrived in the mountains earlier this week to celebrate Chelsea’s 18th birthday on Friday.

A White House spokesman said the Clintons would stay at the home of Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, who has several intermediate ski runs just off his back yard.

Katzenberg’s home is in The Bald Eagle Club, where properties sell for $4 million to $10 million, said club manager Bud Matheson.

Katzenberg, co-partner with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen in DreamWorks SKG, is a big donor to Clinton and other Democrats. The former Walt Disney Co. studio chief is a frequent guest at the White House and last November, the president stayed at his Malibu home during a fund-raising swing through California.

The 18-year-old resort caters to the wealthy, with valet parking at the main lodge and gourmet dining at restaurants scattered over the mountain. There are 14 chairlifts and 68 ski runs at Deer Valley, which will be the site of the slalom and freestyle competitions during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Even if the president sits this one out, the 4 feet of fresh powder that fell this week won’t be wasted on the Clintons. ``My girls can ski,″ he said.

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