Ok, I understand what might be going through your head right now… “bunny hill”… i sort of thought so as well before spending a long weekend there. Deer Valley is truly a place for those who enjoy getting pampered… i mean they will literally blow your nose for you (ok, maybe not literally, but they do have good looking/well dressed people standing all over the place offering you a Kleenex or offering other things that can make your life a little bit more convenient).
Let’s start with a little bit of background; Deer Valley is about a driver nine-iron from Park City Utah, based in the Wasatch Range. The resort is one of a number of downhill ski areas that are within driving distance of Salt Lake City, including Park City Resort, The Canyons, Alta, Snowbird, and others. The resort dates back to the 1930’s when the first trails were cut and the location was the host of a Winter Carnival. Robert Burns and Otto Carpenter arrived about a decade later and built the first ski lift at Deer Valley Resort, in 1946. Frankly, at the time, merely having a ski lift was thought of as a total luxury, and so it’s safe to say that Deer Valley has been catering to the elite for many decades. It’s also good to keep in mind that one of the draws to skiing in the Wasatch Range is the consistently dry and fluffy snow, and the consistent annual snowfall of 400+ inches (501 inches/ year on average at Alta!).
Fast forward to today; Deer Valley includes just over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain and 3,000 feet of vertical. The resort continues to expand it’s footprint, adding the Lady Morgan peak (it’s sixth mountain) just 3 years ago. The resort has an uphill lift capacity of ~46,500 people per hour, which sounds like quite a lot (and sounds like there could easily be too many people on the slopes!), but Deer Valley has an answer for that: limiting ticket sales to 6,500 per day. When I talk about amenities, I mean things like free ski-valet at the base for anyone returning to ski the next day; free shuttles all around the resort, 5-Star slopeside dining, and uniformed hosts all over the place, eager to help in any way.
Now, the skiing; yes, there are lots of beautifully groomed blue squares (and a set of “double-blue-squares”) which are great for leisurely skiing and fast cruising. The resort also has some steeps, trees, and bowls, offering quite a bit more challenging terrain for those interested. I found that most of the guests prefer the groomers, which meant that I could fine freshies up on the bowl even 24 hours after our 12″ dump!
Deer Valley has also been the recipient of numerous awards over the years, including its listing in the top-American ski resorts for many years running. In 2002, Deer Valley was even awarded with the privilege of hosting the Olympic moguls, aerials, and alpine slalom events!
It’s tough to call fault to anything at Deer Valley, because I truly did have a great time there, but I would say that over the years the resort has sold and developed a ton of real estate that is truly “slopeside”… spanning from the new St. Regis at the base, to Stein Erickson’s in the middle of the mountain, to the hundreds and hundreds of private homes that dot the trails, and manage to get 90% of the way up the mountain. What that means is that you can be plowing through fresh powder, listening to the birds chirp in the trees, and feel the gentle mix of sun and breeze on your face… but then you can look left and see a family in a Suburban pulling in to a private drive. In my view, Deer Valley has developed the land too much.
Enjoy your next trip to Utah and if you are in the mood for some serious pampering, you should really consider Deer Valley.