Whenever I’m nervous to try something new, this is the image that I picture and I feel my nerves return again:
Downhill skiing. I’d barely strapped on a ski before I was in my late 20s. I’m generally uncoordinated, was the kid who got picked last in gym class, and other than running, there’s not an athletic activity I’ve truly relished. I also considered myself a “beach girl” and didn’t understand why someone would take a vacation to a cold weather location.
For the first time, I truly enjoyed winter. I found that (with the help of a few handy ski lessons), I could make it down runs with confidence. I was stunned both by the beauty of the mountains AND by the fact that I, a categorically athletically uncoordinated adult, could learn and enjoy a new physical activity.
The next year, returned to Deer Valley with Ben, who had never downhill skied in his life. He fell in love with it immediately, and now returning to Deer Valley has become a near annual tradition that we look forward to every year.
I’m certainly not an amazing skier—I stick to blue (intermediate) or green (beginner) runs, and I have my share of spills—but another thing I love about skiing is that you don’t have to be a pro to have a fantastic time.
Since learning to ski, Ben and I have both been to a few different places, including Colorado and California, and we both agree that Utah (and specifically Deer Valley) is our favorite.
If you’ve never skied before, OR if you do ski but have never done so in Park City, I truly hope you’ll try it someday soon.
Why Ski in Park City
- Accessibility. Unless you are chartering a private plane directly into a ski town, you cannot beat the accessibility of Park City. It’s only 45 minutes from Salt Lake City airport, and there are multiple car and shuttle services that can pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel. We don’t even rent a car! If you’ve battled the I-70 corridor trying to get from Denver to any of the ski towns around it, you know that this is a MEGA benefit.
- The Town is Adorable and Historical. Park City was originally a mining town, and it retains much of the Western charm. Downtown Main Street is lined with restaurants and shops and is a fun place to hang out.
- Deer Valley is There. I’ll always have a soft spot for Deer Valley as the place where I fell in love with skiing, but even if you put all of that nostalgia aside, it is a remarkable, one-of-a-kind place to spend a vacation.
Why Ski at Deer Valley
- Location, Location, Location! Deer Valley is a five-minute drive from Main Street in Park City (see above “Accessibility” for more about why Park City is the place to be).
- Service. Every single member of the Deer Valley team cares about its guests. Someone always seemed to be on hand to answer a question about how to get around the mountain, help me with my skis, drive us to and from Park City or another part of Deer Valley—even the lift operators are warm and caring. We met so many people who’ve worked at Deer Valley for years, and you can sense the positivity and loyalty in the service that the Deer Valley staff provides.
- FOOD. OMG THE FOOD AT DEER VALLEY. It is so outstanding, I had to give it its own section (see below).
- Lodging. Deer Valley has a variety of different lodging options. We love to stay at Lodges. It’s lovely and offers conveniences big and small. There’s a stellar restaurant that serves breakfast as a part of your stay as well as dinner, a ski rental shop on site (I literally walked downstairs in my socks to pick up my skis), a little market store where you can pick up essentials (ahem, coffee, wine, and cheese), and a buffet of cookies and hot chocolate to welcome you home after your day on the mountain. It’s just five minutes from the base of the mountain, and a shuttle runs every five minutes to transport skiers back and forth.
- It Makes Your Life Fantastically Easy. Once you show up at Deer Valley, you basically don’t need to worry about anything else. From restaurant reservations, to picking up equipment, to finding your way around, you’ll be able to get what you need. The resort even has a fleet of Cadillacs that will drive you anywhere within Deer Valley or the Park City area that you need to go. (Another reason we don’t rent a car.)
- Mix of Terrain. I’m happiest on intermediate (blue) terrain. Ben’s into the expert terrain (blacks and double blacks—no thanks!! at least not yet). Despite our different abilities, we’re able to find a good mix of runs and areas of the mountain to ski together.
- Ski School. I want to hug every ski instructor I’ve ever had at Deer Valley. I’ve done a number of lessons at Deer Valley through the years; I always walk away a better skier, and I’ve truly enjoyed spending time with every instructor I’ve had. All have been patient, helpful, positive, and people I’d love to connect with again in the future.
Deer Valley Dining
If you are the kind of person who travels to eat (or eats to travel), Deer Valley has it nailed. Even their on-mountain “cafeterias” are incredible! From casual to fine-dining, there’s a variety of options for different tastes at each meal of the day. Here are the spots we hit up on our most recent trip.
- Fireside Dining. Alpine-inspired dining where food is cooked at a variety of stations, all of which are in front of an open fire. If the melting wheel of raclette doesn’t sell you on this place (do you have a pulse?), then the slow roasted meats and stews, gorgeous selection of vegetables, and dessert fondue station will. It’s cozy and beautiful, and the food is outstanding. Come super duper hungry.
- Royal Street Café. My favorite spot for a special lunch. Get the crab tower and a great big salad or the fish tacos. Wash it down with a blueberry mojito.
- The Brass Tag. Located inside of Lodges and serving up the skier’s breakfast buffet. Making a daily waffle there before hitting the slopes is one of my favorite parts of the trip. The Brass Tag also serves a yummy dinner menu.
- Snow Park Lodge, Empire Canyon Grill, and Silver Lake Grill. To call these on-mountain dining spots “cafeterias” does not do justice to the level of food they serve. From freshly cooked pulled pork tacos, to pizza and burgers, to an impressive (and filling!) gourmet salad bar, to the legendary Deer Valley Turkey Chili, to the best slice of carrot cake you’ve ever eaten, you will not leave hungry.
Two others we didn’t visit this trip but that I adore are Mariposa (we are actually talking about going back for our wedding anniversary) and Seafood Buffet (HEAVEN for seafood lovers). I also love grabbing a casual, healthy breakfast at Deer Valley Grocery Café.
Every time I visit Deer Valley, I feel hugged and spoiled in the best possible way. My heart is filled with memories of our trip. I feel proud for challenging myself to do something new, and I’m already looking forward to our return…which may be as soon as this April—there are a few end-of-season specials we might not be able to resist!
Thanks for following along with our travel adventures, and thank you to Deer Valley for hosting us during our stay. As always, all opinions are my own.