Skiing in Utah

Wow what a refreshing experience, fluffy light powder, beautifully groomed and wide open tree-lined slopes, so much space and so well organised. This was my first time skiing in the Rocky Mountains of Utah following years of ski trips in Europe, restricted by school holidays. I am now free to explore again and this was a perfect trip for that.

From right to left, skiing with Heidi, me and colleagues Felix and SimonHow lucky were our small group to kick off with a tour of Deer Valley with the resort’s Ambassador Heidi Voelker, three time Olympian. We didn’t cover all six mountains that morning, but she introduced the unique ski only resort beautifully and left us thirsty to explore more after lunch. Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Olympics and there was plenty to do and see.  In our party there was independent disabled skier Felix who was perfectly assisted at each of the lifts and enjoyed the experience just as much as we did.

Deer Valley is only a 35 minute transfer from Salt Lake City. Not only is it restricted to skiers and not snowboarders, but they also restrict the number of skiers to give that tip top experience of uncrowded pistes and ample lunch time seating in the various ski lodges and mountain restaurants where you can eat an array of food with with five star service. Nothing’s too much trouble, free water is available at the table, there are snacks, a la carte and in some cases like at the Stein Eriksen lodge a tremendous skier’s buffet. At the top of each mountain there are facilities which include a water refilling station, wash rooms with hand cream and tissues, and maps and hosts to assist in any way.

A mountain hostess at Deer Valley ski resortBack out on the slopes the mountain hosts offer a tour of the mountain setting off at 9.30am and 10am should you like to join a group and discover the domain and its silver mining history, which is no longer in operation, but certain buildings are still in evidence and gives the resort a certain charm. There is an award winning ski school and a designated slow skiing area. Plenty of slopes to accommodate all levels, the green runs for the beginners, then progressing to blues and finally blacks. There are no red runs as in Europe, they are more like their double blues, and then the double diamond blacks are for experts. The whole resort is overseen by friendly ski patrollers who are happy to offer advice and emergency assistance should you need it, and are in evidence in their red uniforms. There is no problem about going off piste, because so long as you are in the ski domain that is safe and patrolled. And each of the six mountains are linked by green runs so the whole resort is accessible to all levels.

Next door to Deer Valley and linked with a free shuttle service is the largest resort in the States, Park City. In 2015 a gondola joined it to Canyon Village and now there are 17 mountain peaks, over 330 slopes all between 6,800ft and 10,026ft. View from Deer Valley ski resortOnce again there are complimentary mountain guides who set off at 10am and 1pm. They will tell you all about the mountain’s legendary history, and where best to ski or snowboard, while you admire the views over the Rockies and occasionally down into the valley.

When I arrived at Salt Lake City airport it was teaming with rain, but up in Park City the snow was falling and throughout my 4 days skiing the snow remained so light and fluffy. It was delightful, as was the 40 minute transfer to Park City, regular shuttle buses and taxis operate a slick service, and there is an array of accommodation from hotels to condominiums all mostly ski in ski out. There is complimentary ski storage in both resorts at the foot of the slopes if you would rather not take your boots and skis back to your lodgings.

Should you discover skiing in Park City or Deer Valley or both as I did, you will be amazed by the facilities, space and friendliness. Whether with friends or alone I wouldn’t hesitate to return because everything is so convenient and everyone is so hospitable.

You may also find interesting:

Winter adventuring in Park City and Deer Valley, Utah

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Jane Pendered

Adventurous traveller, triathlon competitor, French teacher & vegetable grower

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