Jack of all trades hits the slopes
by Allie Anderson
Jack Czapiga is a welcome anomaly at Dominion Energy Utah. With his thick Staten Island accent, colorful tattoos and quick wit, Jack is a breath of fresh East Coast air in an Intermountain West office.
Jack’s parents, Bobby and Elizabeth, emigrated from Poland to New York where they met and married. Bobby worked in commercial printing while Elizabeth stayed home with Jack, an only child.
“I’m glad I grew up in New York,” Jack says. “I had amazing food, culture and history everywhere I looked. I learned a lot by just being part of the city.”
While the Big Apple provided him a diverse cultural experience, at home his Polish roots prevailed.
“My parents would, and still do, speak Polish to each other,” Jack explains. “I can’t speak it very well, but I can understand it.”
Indeed, throughout his childhood, summer breaks consisted of traveling to Poland. “As a kid, Poland didn’t seem that exciting to me, but looking back it was cool to learn about where I come from by experiencing it myself.”
From Poland in the summer to Salt Lake in the winter, the Czapigas made several trips to Utah to enjoy its famed “Greatest Snow on Earth.”
“The first time I visited Utah I was 9,” Jack recalls. “I remember it was super overcast when we flew in, and you couldn’t see mountains anywhere. The next morning the sky was clear, and I couldn’t believe how close and big the mountains were. It was amazing.”
After graduating from high school, Jack applied to only two universities: The University of Utah and New York University. This plan was strategic: “I was either going to be skiing or staying in New York.”
Jack was accepted to both universities. But after realizing how expensive NYU would be, he opted for “the U,” where he studied marketing and later earned his MBA.
“All my friends thought I was nuts,” Jack says. “I just thought I would come to Utah for four years, ski, graduate, and then go back to New York.”
A decade later, Jack is still a Utah resident. And since he recently purchased a home in the Salt Lake area, it doesn’t look like that will be changing anytime soon. Jack’s parents also moved to Utah to be closer to their only child.
“In New York it takes four hours to get to a ski resort,” Jack says. “I feel like Utah is the only place you can have a professional job and ski every day in the winter.”
Jack started as an intern for Dominion Energy Utah and currently works as a Gas Business Development Manager for Dominion Energy Questar Pipeline.
“My favorite thing about my job is that it’s something different every day,” Jack explains. “Every project is like learning something new. It’s just so fun deep-diving into a new subject with each new assignment. I’d have a hard time doing the same thing every day.”
During the winter, you will often find Jack on the slopes. His favorite resort is Snowbird, where he skis and snowboards. “I love the sense of freedom,” Jack says. “You just feel like you’re flying. It’s like surfing on the side of a mountain.”
Jack also enjoys backcountry skiing, especially on Mount Superior which is just across from Snowbird. “It’s insanely steep, tons of cliffs, not one tree on it,” he explains. “It’s just an adrenaline rush. If I’m going to do backcountry it has to be something I can’t do at a resort, so it better be super steep or narrow.”
But for Jack, the thing he loves most about skiing is spending time with his dad.
“My dad had stage 4 cancer and did chemo and radiation,” Jack explains. “He then suffered from cardiac arrest and was in the ICU for four months. They didn’t think he would live.
“Almost losing him has made me value our time together even more. He’ll come every weekend with me and my friends. He’s like a big kid—I just love hanging out with him. It’s just like I’m hanging out with my best friend.”
In addition to his passion for skiing and snowboarding, Jack is a skilled artist and musician. Self-described as “insanely stubborn,” Jack taught himself how to play the guitar, piano and harmonica. “If you just have enough patience, you can learn anything,” he says.
He’s applied this same mindset to art, where his portraits and landscapes rival those of seasoned artists. “I usually paint things for other people,” Jack says. “It’s fun to create something you know your friends will love.”