The Ski Mountain
With a well-earned reputation one of the most luxurious ski resorts in the West, many perceive Deer Valley as a tame and predictable mountain, but don’t be fooled. Hair-raising spines and serious moguls exist amongst the resort’s impeccable grooming, lift system and mountain amenities.
Unlike many resorts that have one or two base areas which fan out to service the rest of the mountain and lifts, Deer Valley has several starting points and summits among its six mountain areas. Of the resort’s 101 trails, the amount of beginner, intermediate and advanced/expert terrain is fairly evenly distributed over 2,026 skiable acres with the advanced/expert runs getting the slightly larger share (28% beginner, 31% intermediate and 42% advanced/expert). And, nearly every peak has a place to hang your helmet at run’s end while you enjoy Deer Valley’s famed turkey chili.
But Boarder Beware: Deer Valley is one of the three ski areas in the country where snowboarding is prohibited.
The Mountain Experience
After only a few hours at Deer Valley, you’ll understand why the resort has earned a reputation for guest service par excellence and why skiers return year after year. Here, guest satisfaction trumps all. The staff is a mix of dedicated service-oriented veterans that open doors, alter gourmet efforts to please you and bend over backwards for your every desire. If you’re not happy, then they’re not fulfilling their motto, “The Deer Valley Difference.”
The resort sees more families and well-to-do couples than it does daytrippers and ski bums. Skiers looking for more daring terrain are likely to feed their adrenaline high at nearby resorts in Little Cottonwood Canyon. This isn’t to say Deer Valley doesn’t have steeps and chutes, it just takes a bit more searching and insider knowledge to find the rush. Plus, the lavish amenities, reputation for impeccably groomed runs, and arguably high-priced lift tickets may cause budget-friendly, young adults or college kids to look elsewhere.
Deer Valley Ski Terrain
• Beginner: Beginner trails are found off every summit aside from Empire. Most of the mountain’s beginner runs are long and scenic with mellow pitches. The extensive life system (21 lifts including one gondola and 12 high-speed quads) make it easy for beginners to explore the mountain without finding themselves on terrain above their ability. Novices like to cut their teeth on the trails accessed from the Carpenter Express before stepping up to runs descending from Flagstaff Mountain.
Current Snow Conditions
• Intermediate: Skiers can find intermediate runs on every one of the mountain’s peaks. Mt. Baldy features the most blue runs as well as a few double blue runs. Wasatch and Sterling Express are great lifts for lapping the many fun blues on Mt. Baldy. Trails located on Flagstaff Mountain are popular among beginners and intermediates, and while the resort hardly sees long lift lines, steer clear to avoid choppy terrain left by other skiers. Orion is a fun and challenging blue located off Empire Summit starting with an open powder bowl followed by a scenic run through a tunnel of trees.
• Advanced: Advanced and easily accessible terrain is found on Mt. Baldy. The large variety of terrain including bowls, chutes, tight trees and glades keep even the most seasoned skiers occupied. On Empire Peak, ski upper Orion’s as far skier’s right as possible and then boot pack to the Daly Bowl and Chutes for expert turns in the steep and deep powder for which Utah is famous. Your prowess and extra effort will reward you with untracked snow and deep stashes.
Around the Mountain
• Terrain Park: Sorry big air skiers, you won’t find a terrain park at Deer Valley.
If you plan to buy your tickets the day of, get to the ticket window early! Deer Valley limits the number of lift tickets it sells per day, and once the resort reaches its cap, you’re out of luck…oversleeping is not allowed. Ordering your tickets online and in advance safeguards you from being turned away on a powder day.
Insider knowledge: Depending on weather conditions and the number of staff on hand, the resort may change the number of tickets it plans to sell that day. If you’re unsure, call the ticket office and see if they’ve decided to allow a few more passengers on the lift.
Enjoy a cold beer at EBS Lounge as you unbuckle your boots and watch your favorite sports team on the big screen. More than the simple après cocktail, Deer Valley is known for its fine dining. Learn about three of the resort’s best dining options below:
Many ski resort restaurants and lodges are analogous, but Fireside Dining in the Empire Canyon Lodge renders an experience you won’t find elsewhere in Utah. In this cozy, European-style setting, move between stone fireplaces for a four-course gourmet meal featuring appetizers, entrees and fondue desserts.
If you’ve done any research on Deer Valley, you likely have heard of the famous Sunday brunch at Stein Eriksen Lodge. True to the common Deer Valley theme, it exceeds expectations. An exquisite buffet brimming with exotic dishes, in-house made pastries and traditional breakfast options draw guests from outside the resort.
Warning: Overindulging is a common occurrence so don’t expect your legs to jet to the lift after you clean your plate.
The Mariposa is the paramount of fine dining at Deer Valley. Utilize the Small Plates menu to sample rotating creations from highly acclaimed chefs and give credence to the many awards the restaurant has hailed from travel/cuisine publications.
Historic mining town, now with restaurants and culture, home to three resorts offering near unlimited ski terrain.
Eleven different lodges and condominium complexes sit on the base, mid and upper sections of the mountain for ski-in/ski-out accessibility. Sojourn at one of the Stag Lodge’s luxurious condos and enjoy easy access to the lifts in the Silver Lake area. At the Snow Park base area, soak in your own private hot tub or warm up by the fireplace at the Trails End Lodge. Many lodging packages are offered at different times throughout the season.
Use the “Explore Deer Valley’s Best Ski Lodging Deals” box above and right to find your best Lodging choices.
Skiing with Kids
Deer Valley is extremely family friendly, and your kids will love following in the tracks (literally) of the resort’s mascots on the Adventure Trails. Several ski school and private lesson packages for a range of ages (as young as three) keep kids happy and entertained while learning necessary skills to become a better skier. It’s typical of families to book their favorite ski instructor during each stay, adding to the legitimacy of the resort’s expert instructors. Childcare is available for tots as young as two months at the Children’s Center.
Lift Tickets and Season Pass Cost
By Amanda Markert