As one of the oldest ski resorts in the nation, Utah’s Deer Valley is a storied skiers-only destination known for its top-flight amenities, all-inclusive atmosphere, and 5-star cuisine. It also doesn’t hurt that this part of the Wasatch Mountains averages over 300 inches of light powder each winter season.
However, it’s been a long time since the founders constructed the first chairlifts out of local lodgepole pine trunks (true story). These days, perfectly placed, high-speed quads allow skiers to seamlessly traverse this uncrowded resort, covering terrain that includes some of the best tree and groomed skiing in all of North America.
The resort, which is broken into three unique villages called “lodges,” offers a little bit of something for everyone. If you’re looking to live it up in high style while retaining an element of exclusive privacy, then the accommodations at Empire Canyon Lodge, including the Montage Deer Valley are sure to please. On the other side of the coin, the lodging around Snow Park tends to be more affordable while still offering first-class access to the mountain.
In between, there’s a lot to cover and we’ll do our best to touch on all that Deer Valley Resort has to offer in terms of skiing, lodging, activities, and lest we forget all-you-can-eat lobster that’s flown in daily.
The Ski.com Guide to Deer Valley Resort
The history at Deer Valley Resort runs as deep as the snowpack. The first ski trails on the mountain were constructed in 1937 as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and in 1946 the first chairlifts were constructed. Many of the first lift towers were actually fashioned from lodgepole pines!
In 1981, Edgar Stern brought the resort into the modern age by investing large sums in capital improvements across the ski domain including top-flight base lodges and chairlifts. Ultimately the legendary skier and Olympic gold medalist, Stein Eriksen was attracted to the Wasatch Mountains by the incredible skiing and subsequently signed on as the ski school director for Deer Valley Resort. He served as the director until the time of his death in 2015.
Throughout the 90’s and 00’s, Deer Valley continued to undergo major improvements and terrain expansions, ultimately claiming a top spot among the world’s most revered luxury mountain destinations. At the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Deer Valley played host to the freestyle aerial and moguls as well as the alpine slalom events.
Deer Valley Resort is a skier’s paradise, plain and simple. What separates this Utah resort from its neighbors is its lack of crowds and plethora of incredible ski terrain that includes the best grooming in the entire world. But it’s not all about dreamy cruisers. Incredible tree skiing, cliffs, and pillows provide plenty of fun for the expert-minded skier too. Deer Valley also sports one of the best ski schools in the United States and to this day, serves as the home resort for countless Winter Olympians, including Lindsey Vonn.
27% of the terrain is Beginner
The best beginner terrain is accessed via Silver Lake and Snow Park Lodges. What makes Deer Valley such a great learner resort is how skiers are given the option to start slow with very short, friendly slopes and once they’re ready, conquer lengthy meandering greens without ever feeling out of their element.
Go-To Trail: Success
41% of the terrain is Intermediate
There are loads of intermediate terrain options at Deer Valley off virtually every lift. Meaning, it’s hard to go wrong as long as you avoid the expert Mayflower lift. If you’re looking for consistently smooth, long intermediate runs, head to the sunny slopes directly under the Northside Express and Sterling lifts.
Go-To Trail: Bird’s Eye
32% of the terrain is Expert
The best expert terrain for powderhounds looking for deep snow can be found off the Mayflower, Sultan, and Empire Express chairs. If you’re a bumpaholic, Mayflower will be your go-to while first-chair enthusiasts will love the powdery options off Empire Express such as Empire Bowl and the hike-to Daly Chutes.
Go-To Trail: Empire Bowl
- Average Annual Snowfall – 300 inches
- Vertical Drop – 3,000 feet
- Base Elevation – 6,570 feet above sea level
- Summit Elevation – 9,570′ feet above sea level
- Trails – 103
- Chairlifts – 24
Silver Lake Lodge
The largest lodge as well as the centerpiece base area of the Deer Valley Resort complex, Silver Lake Lodge is located roughly at mid mountain and offers guests ski-in ski-out access to the slopes as well as boutique shopping, 5-star dining, and top-rated spas.
Empire Canyon Lodge
A more secluded and private option, Empire Canyon Lodge is the most exclusive of the lodges with 5-star accommodation such as the lavish Montage Deer Valley occupying a large corner of the base area. This lodge is also home to the long-standing favorite Fireside Dining (see below) which can incorporate a sunset sleigh ride.
Snow Park Lodge
Snow Park Lodge offers guests more budget-friendly options while not skimping on the finer things. For those in search of luxury, the St. Regis Deer Valley is located conveniently next to the Deer Hollow ski trail, offering guests ski-in ski-out access.
In search of a cozy, romantic dinner? Look no further than Fireside Dining, which is located inside the Empire Lodge. This unique culinary experience is rooted in classic alpine fare with a strong focus on cheese – lots of it. So if your ideal dining experience means enjoying raclette or fondue with a glass of red or white wine in hand, then this is the place for you.
Having received the AAA-Four Diamond Award for excellence in dining, The Goldener Hirsch is Deer Valley’s newest top-rated restaurant. The menu is known to seamlessly blend mountain cuisine with refreshing contemporary fusions.
Perhaps the longest-running and most popular culinary experience in Deer Valley is Seafood Dining in Snow Park Lodge. Every day, fresh fish and lobster are flown in for the nightly feast, which is an unlimited seafood buffet. The only thing holding you back from eating as many lobster tails as your heart desires is the size of your stomach.
The nightlife in nearby Park City is some of the best in ski country. From wine bars to local distilleries to dance clubs, it’s hard to get bored with the many options available once the sun sets on the slopes. Deer Valley guests are offered complimentary shuttle services into Park City.
Both Deer Valley Resort and nearby Park City offer a plethora of brand-name and boutique shopping options. If that means buying a new coat for winter weather or just something to remember Deer Valley by, you’ll be happy to find plenty of options in the area.
Are you interested in giving skiing a rest and viewing the mountains from a different perspective? Snowmobiling can be great fun for the whole family and offers guests an accessible way to see remote areas of the stunning Wasatch Mountains.
Now that you’re armed with some insight on how to have an unforgettable first ski vacation at Deer Valley Resort, book your trip to make it a reality. Our Mountain Travel Experts are standing by at 800-610-8911. Or you can tell us about the ideal vacation experience you’re looking for, and we’ll match you with the perfect Ski.com Mountain Travel Expert to turn your dreams into a reality.