Deer Valley personifies luxury skiing: valet parking, marble countertops in the bathrooms, phenomenal on-mountain dining, ample high-end ski-in/ski-out lodging, an amiable staff, plentiful signage, tissue dispensers at every lift and no trickster snowboarders.
Most of the terrain also embraces that luxurious ease, with some of the best groomed runs and snowmaking in the country. You can cruise on gentle corduroy for days without encountering a divot or drop to shake your steady descent. Of course, all this ease also comes at a price. Deer Valley has one of the highest lift ticket prices in the area.
The resort is nestled into a gentle fold in the Wasatch Mountains, a few minutes’ drive from the snow globe-perfect mountain town of Park City, a place that matches Deer Valley’s high-end standards with a host of award-winning restaurants and nightlife. Better still, it’s a short drive (45 minutes, weather depending) from the Salt Lake City Airport, meaning you can collect your bags in the late morning and be skiing by early afternoon.
Spread across six distinct mountains – Little Baldy, Bald, Flagstaff, Bald Eagle, Empire and Lady Morgan – Deer Valley offers an impressive 2,026 skiable acres, with access points anchored to most lodging hubs. The centrally located Silver Lake Lodge may be the easiest entry point, while day-trippers can park at Snow Park Lodge and take either the Carpenter or Silver Lake lifts to the top of 8,400-foot Bald Eagle Mountain, where you can ply the runs off that peak or hop a chair and head out into the other slopes.
Much of Deer Valley’s luxe rep dutifully originates from its impeccable manicuring. Long blue runs on Flagstaff Mountain and Little Baldy Peak will let you embrace the resort’s blissful ease. Or head to the highest point of the mountain by hopping the Empire Express, and disembark at 9,570 feet with your choice of blue, double-blue, and black runs. Better still – provided you’ve secured your ticket – they limit the number of skiers each day, meaning the resort never gets as crazy-crowded as its neighbor resort Park City Mountain.
Yet perhaps Deer Valley’s best-kept secret belies this easy-skiing identity. In truth, only 60 percent of the resort’s runs are groomed. This keeps those looking for mellow runs in a pure state of bliss, and lets the more adventurous seek out the caches of powder that often stay untracked days after one of the region’s big storms.
To drop into Utah’s famed champagne powder at Deer Valley, head for the Lady Morgan lift, which accesses 200-plus skiable acres, including the snow-choked, 65-acre Centennial Glades as well as nine labelled runs. Bald Mountain, sitting high at 9,400 feet, also boasts challenging chutes and double-black runs that prove Deer Valley can take all comers.
As you’d expect from a place that prides itself on customer service, the resort offers an arsenal of different ski classes, including private and small-group lessons for kids and adults. You can also arrange to ski with one of the resort’s seven on-staff Olympic athletes.
Non-ski activities include snowmobile tours, sleigh rides, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and a local bowling center with arcade games, billiards and (naturally) bowling – and all of it is wrapped in warm, fur-lined hospitality.
Deer Valley offers an impressive array of ski-in/out lodging, from private home rentals to the St. Regis. But to truly embrace the resort’s luxe culture without the white-glove treatment, the Montage is tops. Positioned mid-mountain atop Empire Pass, this high-end resort includes a 35,000-square-foot spa facility, on-site restaurants, a ski shop that valets your ski gear and warms your boots to a toasty 90 degrees and complimentary shuttle service throughout the resort and Park City.
Better still, the casual atmosphere makes you feel appropriately dressed while stomping around in ski gear after a long day on the mountain. And the collection of bourbons – the largest in the state – and the aptly-named Burgers and Bourbon should tempt you far beyond last call.
Centrally located at Silver Lake Lodge, The Mariposa offers a masterful blend of classic and contemporary cuisine with an extensive menu – fresh seafood, sumptuous game dishes and sinful desserts. The dishes can be paired with house-selected wines, or you can order a bottle or glass of your preferred vintage from their impressive list. The crackling fireplace perfects the cozy, ski-lodge atmosphere.