From Pro Skier to Screenwriter: Why One Park City Local Decided To Pen A Christmas Film

Apr 8, 2021

Credit Mike Schirf

Kaylin Richardson is known in the skiing world as a champion alpine racer and 2-time Olympic competitor. But the Park City local has made a somewhat unexpected career shift. 

Kaylin Richardson wears many hats: she’s a pro-skier, broadcaster, new mom and her most recent role is penning a Christmas film. 

Her movie, Mistletoe Mix-up will follow a hardworking, hustler, who’s looking for love. Richardson said it’ll have themes like love, family and togetherness - commonly found in Christmas movies. She even kept with the holiday spirit when she named the main character Holly. 

"This is definitely coming from the place in my heart of just full hopeless romantic, wanting the silly tropes, where I will completely admit that I am not reinventing the wheel," Richardson said. "Even reading my scripts sometimes I’m like is this too cheesy? Because there's some things where I feel like I can have some depth in my writing, but this was not necessarily where that was coming out." 

Richardson is a Christmas fanatic, she sayid she loves holiday movies including the likes of National Lampoon’s Vacation and Home Alone - but she said her all time favorites like Family Stone and Love Actually fall into a different subcategory. 

"I love romantic comedies like, I'm a huge fan of cheesiness, and I'm a sucker for happy endings," she said. "So just little snippets and elements from each movie. But I think that in Mistletoe Mixup it’s even even more the sort of romantic comedy where Christmas is this really fun magical backdrop because I love Christmas time. And I think it's such a fun time of year where people just tend to be smiling, and I love how kids get excited for it."

While skiing champion to holiday film maker isn’t the most traditional career transition, Richardson has previous experience in the moviemaking world. She starred in a number of Warren Miller films, and she has experience from broadcasting in Los Angeles during skiing offseasons.

She said making a comedy is a different beast though. But when everything shut down due to the pandemic, it gave her the perfect opportunity to get to work. 

"So I moved to Park City permanently in 2012," she said. "But having had those couple years in Los Angeles without kind of kind of at the my back to the back of my mind that it'd be fun to do something and how it all kind of came to be COVID-19 and being on lockdown and I'll find a new mom and there was a lot of time last summer to sort of put pen to paper or I guess fingers to keyboard."

Richardson said she hopes the film will be available to stream or on TV, but it hasn’t been picked up by any distributors yet. 

"This is a super low budget, passion project for everyone, like my friends that are going to be here in Utah … it's because they believe in the project," she said. "There's no guarantee that we're gonna be a huge moneymaker. One of my best friends says ‘we're just playing dress up and make believe, and hopefully we bring some joy into people’s hearts.’ That's the goal."


Richardson said because it’s a smaller production she'll be able to work closely on set and continue to have some creative license throughout production. 

She said filming will begin mid-April. Even though they won’t be filming in the snow, Richardson said they have plenty of B-roll from the winter months to show off Utah’s sweeping mountain. 

"Utah is the perfect backdrop. It's what I had my eyes on," she said. "So I'm really thrilled that it's going to happen here. Yes, we're going to be shooting when it's not as wintry by any means, but I think that there'll be ways that we can make it so that it's not completely clear that it wasn’t done in the winter. And it's one of the things where maybe in the future, I can write my big epic Christmas movie and we can shoot it right in the heart of winter. But we're off to a great start."

Film production will take place through mid-September according to the Utah Film Commission website. Richardson is hoping to wrap up the film in time for the holidays.