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Monday, December 21, 2015

Deer Valley Resort

Utah is home to 13 ski resorts.  Yep, you read that right, thirteen.  I have been to Alta, Brighton, Deer Valley, Snowbasin, Solitude, Snowbird and Canyons.  Seven of the most popular ones aint so bad.

 I have not had the chance to visit Park City (now merged with Canyons), Beaver Mountain, Brian Head, Eagle Point, Nordic Valley, Powder Mountain or Sundance.  Bottom line is if you like to ski, Utah is an amazing place.  Not only do we have so many resorts sprinkled all over this state (within 30 minutes to 1 hour from the city), but we are home to "The Best Snow On Earth".  Yes that is trademarked and you can read all about that here. 

The problem with trying to visit Utah's ski mountains is that it is a very expensive hobby.  Even though I own all my own gear, and the mountains are close and gas is cheap, lift tickets are quit expensive.  I usually bring a lunch but by the time you throw in a lift ticket, an expensive lunch at the lodge, and a post ski beer, its about $100-$150 to throw yourself down a mountain and eat lunch.

Deer Valley is one of the most expensive ski resorts in Utah.  Not only does it have a large price tag, but it comes with a reputation.  One of old money and privilege.  A full day lift ticket to ski Deer Valley is $120 and exclusivity is the name of the game (and lets not forget a season pass will cost you $2,400 dollars).  It is a skiers ONLY mountain so if you like to snowboard, you will have to learn to ski if you want to visit Deer Valley.  They also limit the amount of passes they sell each day.  The resort often reaches capacity during the holidays and long weekends so its best to pre-purchase your tickets online.  

Normally, you would not find me at Deer Valley.  But as a skier, living in Utah, I figured I had to join the big leaguers just once to experience Deer Valley.  Located in Park City, just 40 minutes from my apartment, I really needed to see what the hype was all about, and see if the women really wore fur muffs.  When my friend Lauren had Gold Passes (read free lift tickets) through her work we packed up and went to Deer Valley.  Gold Passes are the holy grail of Utah skiing, a transferable pass that gives you 50 days at each ski resort (100 at Park City) for $4,300 for the season.

Everything I heard about Deer Valley was swanky, upscale classy broads in fur muffs, with egos the sizes of their wallets, and something about the famous Stein Eriksen Lodge (Worlds best ski resort, 5 star of course).  I hate to sound so awful but thats really all I hear about the place.  Nothing about the snow, the resort, the lifts, the trails, nada.  

So let me share my first impressions.  
  1. Deer Valley is gigantic.  2,000 acres of skiable terrain and 21 chair lifts.  This place is huge and with limited tickets sold, and skiers only it is never crowded.  Check out their trail map here.  
  2. There were more employees out than skiers.  I have never seen so many staff at one resort.  There were staff everywhere.  At least 3 standing around the map incase you have any questions.  I mean, I can read a map, I have eyes but if some handsome man wants to read it for me, sure! 
  3. The mountain is empty after noon.  We skied the afternoon and there were times we had the entire trail to ourself.  
  4. No one was wearing fur.  I was pretty bummed about this.... I wanted to see some 70 year olds in fur muffs.  However, if you go to their site here, they even post pictures of women in fur.  So this is a thing.  But not as stereotypical as I thought. 

  1. The facilities are over the top.  We walked out of the parking lot to see some shiny fancy car on display in the parking lot.  I can't even remember what kind.  Why not right?
  2. The people who ski here are in a (financial) league of their own.  We ran into a gentleman on the lift who told us he skied Deer Valley every day, loved to go to his member only meetings, hit up the gym and have lunch and dinner at some of the amazing Deer Valley facilities. I didn't tell him I usually ski with a squashed PB&J in my pack.
  3. I have never seen so much on-mountain lodging in my life.  There are condos and cabins e v e r y w h e r e. Google the prices if you want to see some sticker shock.
  4. Wide and perfectly groomed trailed.  A lot of trails were still closed but Deer Valley was home to perfectly groomed wide runs, leisure skiing at its finest. 
  5. The views are insanely beautiful.  Sitting above Park City, Deer Valley is a gorgeous resort, especially with a foot of fresh snow. 
  6. Great mountain for someone learning to ski.  Because of the wide groomed trails, this is a great mountain for anyone just learning.  Lauren was new to skiing and she really enjoyed the wide groomed trails on the mountain.

Deer Valley is also home to some of the 2002 Olympic Ski Events.  It was fun to see the signs around the mountains showing the spots of the moguls and slalom events. Overall, we had a great time skiing at Deer Valley.  A huge mountain with great groomed trails.  Not somewhere I would ski for the full price, but a great mountain if you can find yourself a free or discounted ticket.  Or a great mountain if you don't mind the expensive lift tickets and the culture that brings. 

The culture is very different than your typical ski mountain.  While Snowbird is one of my favorite Utah Mountains, it is about as opposite in culture as you can find.  If you ski with a rowdier crowd, then Deer Valley is not for you.  But if you are already on skis, and want to visit one of Utah's most exclusive mountains, then Deer Valley is a great place to say you have been once. 

Another Utah mountain on the list.  
Check back in a few days as I share my day at Alta!

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