I knew that Utah's Deer Valley Resort had a reputation for being luxurious, but I wasn't sure exactly what to expect when I went there for the first time this morning. But it was apparent right away — when my husband was dropping me off with our skis so he could go park the car (we decided to drive from the condo where we're staying in the heart of Park City), a valet approached us and carried the skis to the rack for me. Way to make a good first impression! Amazingly, that level of impeccable service was demonstrated by all of the Deer Valley staff we encountered (information desk, lift operators, mountain hosts).
When I skied at Park City Mountain Resort earlier in the week, I was all about the powder. But today there wasn't much in the way of fresh snow at Deer Valley because it hadn't snowed in the area for the last few days — despite the forecast having promised heavy snowfall for the past 48 hours. (Deer Valley's excellent grooming did make up for that, as much of the snow seemed to be man-made but was very even, etc.) So I decided to make my day all about having a luxurious experience, and I certainly didn't have to try very hard.
We arrived in the Snow Park area, but took the Silver Lake Express lift over to Flagstaff mountain to play on the greens and blues. Deer Valley doesn't allow snowboaders, which as I skier I thought was just terrific. I definitely prefer being on the slopes with just skiers, but had never had the opportunity before. Looking around and seeing only skiers made me feel like I was in a vintage ski poster, as did the blue skies and breathtaking scenery.
The Silver Lake Lodge, at the base of Flagstaff Mountain, has the popular Royal Street Cafe, but as soon as I heard that I could take the Viking lift to have lunch at the 5-star Stein Erikensen Lodge, I knew where I was going. Named for the Norwegian Olympic gold medalist, the Lodge has a very Old-World European feel, as though you're in the Alps. It looks like a fabulous place to stay (the photo at top is taken outside of the hotel), and I was glad I got the chance to see it. We ate at the Giltretind restaurant, opting against the lavish buffet ($34 per person) in favor of the a la carte menu. It's pricey — my husband's burger was $18 — but ski resort food tends to expensive anyway and at least this was excellent food in a world-renown setting.
After our late lunch, my husband did two of the more challenging blues and I hung around the lobby area, exploring the shops and people-watching. Then it was time for me to venture out again. I wanted something easy in hopes of finishing my ski vacation on an injury-free note (and I did!) so we chose Homeward Bound, which is the most scenic trail I've ever been on. Whether you're looking for a warm-up or you're skiing with someone who wants something fairly flat, try Homeward Bound for incredible views (pictured above right). Then, we took the Success trail down to the Snow Park Lodge, where we had began the day. It was time for a hot chocolate at the new St. Regis Deer Crest Resort…
Comped but never compromised: I received complimentary lift tickets from Deer Valley Resort but I am free to write whatever I like.