There are ski mountains, and then there are ski resorts, and of those, only a few ski resorts bring about nearly universal expressions of joy and satisfaction like Deer Valley. In a nutshell, that is the “Deer Valley Difference.”
Conde’ Nast readers agree! Deer Valley recently garnered a top spot (narrowly edged out by Snowmass for the #1 title) in the Conde’ Nast Traveler Readers Choice 2023 Awards for Top Ski Resort in the US!
Deer Valley is where you’re treated like a guest, not just a customer. In this article we’ll give you our Concierge Review from arriving to the parking lot in the morning to your pillow at night, and show you why Deer Valley is consistently rated among the top ski resorts for customer experience.
As guests at the Lodges at Deer Valley, we took advantage of their free ski shuttle to Snow Park Lodge in the morning. However, Deer Valley Resort offers complimentary parking at five base area parking lots and a shuttle to Snow Park Lodge for all guests.
Plus, three of the four base areas are reachable by free transit, including Empire Canyon Lodge (homebase to Daly Chutes, the super-efficient Lady Morgan Express Lift, and groomed greens where you might find stealth wind-blown powder). Only, I don’t know what you’ll do with your car in Park City….They might want to reconsider that name if you know what I’m saying…lol!
After 28 years as a professional skier, I’m a bit of a gear snob. The Deer Valley ski rental gear was all new and meticulously kept. Thanks to a partnership with Rossignol, you will have a wide section of skis for a variety of skill levels and types of terrain. If you are a solid intermediate+ skier looking to try a different pair of boards, you can skip the rental shop and head to the Demo Shack at the top of the race hill. Regardless of your skill level, there is a ski package you’ll enjoy waiting for you at Deer Valley.
Here’s the real kicker that makes the rental experience so different at Deer Valley, there’s a complimentary ski check upstairs. That way, you’ll be ready for some first-chair action if you’re so inclined, or at least avoid some lines. Another thing to note is that complimentary ski check means people hold onto their gear throughout their trip, so the rental lines will tend to be less congested.
Another thing contributing to the quality of lines throughout Deer Valley Resort is a meaningful cap on lift tickets. So yes, you should book early, especially on holiday weekends, but you will not have to wait too long (compared to many other resorts) on any lift. Or at the rental counter or restaurants, for that matter.
During our most recent visit I skied onto the lifts more often than not. Even after joining the Ikon Pass, Deer Valley has some of the shortest lift lines in the industry.
Deer Valley is the Cadillac of corduroy carpet, the grand goombah of grooming. It’s what they’re known for. It’s what they do. And they do it oh, so well! Deer Valley is for you if you’re a zoomer on groomers, a connoisseur of coiffed cruisers, or just appreciate well-groomed snow.
Deer Valley has a 3,000-foot vertical drop and over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain across six mountains. Twenty-one lifts service 103 runs, with many beginner or intermediate runs. Combine that with over 300 inches of Utah’s best powder and meticulous grooming, and you can see how Deer Valley earned its (former) nickname “Bambi-Basin.” Live it. Love it. Embrace it. There are green routes off every lift (except Empire Express), and beginners can tour the entire resort!
Don’t let this fool you, there’s some wicked good terrain in Deer Valley. Gladed tree pods comprise 45% of the resort, leading to legendary lines like the Triangle Trees and X Files.
The addition of the Lady Morgan Express Lift has really increased expert-level gladed vertical with a shockingly short chair ride. If you’re into steeps of the more exposed variety, maybe even hankering to huck a cornice, the Daly Chutes off Empire is worth the short traverse. The resort’s emphasis on accessibility leaves these runs underutilized and pristine for longer than you might expect after it dumps.
Of course, Deer Valley offers a complete selection of children’s classes divided into five age groups. However, it is their adult lessons that really make the “Deer Valley Difference.”
They cap adult group lessons at a maximum of four students. You can also book private lessons for all skill levels, whether you want to master getting off the lift or pick the best lines down the Daly Chutes.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Deer Valley has substantive lift pass caps. They’re set not by the service capacity of the on-mountain restaurants. So lunch isn’t something to keep you from going hungry but an integral part of the Deer Valley experience.
Fresh Tracks Kitchen at the Snow Park Lodge services skiers who want to maximize their turn time to their eating time. Empire Canyon Grill (Empire Canyon Lodge) and Silver Lake Restaurant (Silver Lake Lodge) offer upscale, cafeteria-style dining. The mid-mountain Silver Lake Lodge also offers full-service dining at the Royal Street Cafe because sometimes you need to sit down and have a waiter serve you a freshly grilled bison burger with aged white cheddar cheese and a fancy milkshake before making another turn.
The Veuve Clicquot Après Ski Lounge by Montage Deer Valley Hotel is distinctly Deer Valley with a champagne and caviar après-ski, but they close at 4:00 so you can ski out, which sounds like a milieu ski to me.
Fresh Tracks by Snow Park is a great option to drop your skis at the check counter and enjoy the views from the oversize deck. Or, put the fun in funicular and head up the tracks to the St Regis to enjoy The Vintage Room’s 30-foot wooden bar.
If you want, stash your boots back in your room and take the easy shuttle ride into downtown Park City. The No Name Saloon is a whiskey lover’s dream, and there’s no shame in taking the shuttle back from No Name.
New for 2023 – The second level of Royal Street Café is being transformed into a 21+ apres-ski bar called Royal Street Café Bar.
We’ve written a full post on Deer Valley dining experiences, but the short story is that the dining options are as creative and customer-forward as the skiing. The Silver Lake Lodge metamorphoses into The Mariposa in the evening with a multi-course tasting menu. Empire Canyon Lodge turns into Fireside Dining, an homage to the European Alps with four fireside dining stations: raclette cheese, soups, carvery, and dessert fondue. There’s also a plethora of restaurant choices in downtown Park City, just a mile or two from Deer Valley.
Several restaurants require advanced reservations, like Mariposa and Fireside Dining. Others, like Royal Street Café, take reservations during certain times of the year. The best way to make reservations is through the Deer Valley dining booking link or the Deer Valley App.
New for 2023 – The seafood buffet will make its triumphant return this winter at Snow Park Lodge! The restaurant is officially called: Cast & Cut | Seafood Dining.
The app more than just a convenience. It’s like having a concierge in your pocket. In the morning, it will tell you the grooming report and parking situation. During the day, you can track your ski routes and keep in touch with your peeps (like Find a Friend on the slopes). At night you can make your dinner reservations and check the weather forecast. It’s just another part of the “Deer Valley difference.”
The Lodges of Deer Valley offer easy access to Snow Park Lodge and breakfast at the Brass Tag is included, but there are plenty of Deer Valley Lodging options.
Expert skiers might consider renting near Empire Pass for first chair action on the most challenging runs (hint – check out Argent, it just opened in 2022 and is super flash!). You can also look for ski-in / ski-out options or full-house rentals.
Remember – all guests of Deer Valley Lodging have access to the free ride-share app for Deer Valley Lodging guests only!
When you’re treated as a guest of the resort and not just another skier on the mountain, that’s the “Deer Valley Difference,” and the difference is in the details. It felt like there was always a ski host when we needed one, from providing directions at the front steps or the top of many lifts. Even the restrooms were called lounges and were not only clean but contained amenities that, as a girl, I could uniquely appreciate. There are also abundant water fill stations that include paper cups by almost every “lounge,” making it easy to stay hydrated.
The lodges have complimentary boot / glove dryers in the locker rooms. There’s nothing better than warm, dry boots in the morning.
Time and time again, when I wished I had something, I found it waiting for me at Deer Valley. When I was a Training Coach at Ritz Carlton, we called that our 6th Diamond – Mystique – where we anticipated the guest’s spoken and unspoken needs. Here, it’s the “Deer Valley Difference.”
Deer Valley elevated both our experience and our expectations with superior service, maintained from start to finish. Everywhere I looked, from delicious food to unexpected offerings, like complimentary mountain host tours, the more I discovered to try “next time.”
Their service consistently exceeded the price point and truly made us feel like guests. Plus, the Ikon Pass makes it an even better value if you’re staying for five days or more. There’s no way you’ll even come close to exhausting the on or off mountain dining experiences Deer Valley / Park City offer!
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