If you're looking for a first-class experience in every way, this is the spot for you. Unquestionably Utah's most elegant and sophisticated resort, Deer Valley, P.O. Box 889, Park City, UT 84060 (tel. 800/424-3337 or 435/649-1000, or 649-2000 for snow conditions; www.deervalley.com), offers perfectly manicured slopes, guest service attendants, heated sidewalks, and some of the state's finest dining and lodging. Along with all this, you get fantastic skiing -- especially if you crave long, smooth, perfectly groomed cruising runs that let you enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery around you. Although half of the terrain is rated intermediate, beginners love Success, a long run that gives them the feeling they're actually getting somewhere. In addition, much of the intermediate terrain is fit for advancing novices, as the entire mountain is kept very skiable. Experts will find some steep, exhilarating-enough trails on top, through majestic aspen and evergreen glades, plus plenty of woodsy terrain to explore. Deer Valley is primarily a pampering resort experience, meant for cruising the wide lanes of impeccably groomed snow all day, then hobnobbing all evening with the rich -- and often famous -- over gourmet meals in the plush lodges.
Six bowls and 100 runs are spread over Empire Canyon, Deer Crest, Flagstaff, Bald, and Bald Eagle mountains, served by a total of 21 chairlifts -- 11 high-speed quad lifts, a high-speed gondola, two fixed-grip quads, five triples, and two double chairs. The base is at 6,570 feet with the summit at 9,570 feet, yielding a 3,000-foot vertical drop. The ski season generally runs from early December to mid-April, with lifts operating daily from 9am to 4:15pm. The 2,026 skiable acres are rated 15% beginner, 50% intermediate, and 35% advanced. Deer Valley has snow-making over 560 acres.
Getting There -- From Utah 224, head southeast on Deer Valley Drive to the resort.
Lift Tickets -- All-day lift tickets cost $86 for adults ($90 during holidays), $53 for children 4 to 12, $21 for children 3 and under, and $62 for seniors 65 and older. Half-day and multi-day packages are available.
Lessons & Programs -- The ski school (tel. 435/645-6648) at Deer Valley offers private and group lessons, workshops, and clinics. Group lessons for 3 hours cost about $135 for adults (not including lift ticket); private lessons are also available.
The licensed child-care center, open daily from 8:30am to 4:30pm, costs $104 per day for kids ages 2 months to 12 years, and includes lunch.
Where to Dine on the Mountain
Snow Park Lodge (tel. 435/645-6632), at the base, has a bakery, two restaurants, and a lounge. The Seafood Buffet, open Monday through Saturday evenings, offers hearty hot meals, a salad and seafood buffet, and fancy desserts. Snow Park Lounge serves hors d'oeuvres after 3:30pm.
Silver Lake Lodge (tel. 435/645-6715), midway up the mountain, serves a variety of quick-and-easy food all day, including continental breakfasts (with fresh-baked pastries), salads, grilled fare, and pizzas. You can also choose from two fine-dining rooms, the Mariposa, open evenings only, and Royal Street Café, open for lunch, après-ski, and dinner. Fireside Dining at Empire Canyon Lodge (tel. 435/645-6632) is a unique alpine dining room offering Continental lunch and dinner menus, while also serving as a base for moonlight sleigh rides and snowshoe treks.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.