So, who’s a skier out there? Who’s going this year, but not sure where to go? Well, I thought I’d share with you our favorite ski area and resort – Deer Valley Utah and the Montage Deer Valley Resort.
My trihubby and I both used to ski in our “youth” and then had been only once about 10 years ago for a conference in Vail. In 2013, he took a “pause” from triathlons and decided he REALLY wanted to go skiing again. This left it up to me to find a resort that was easy to get to, could accommodate our different levels – one’s an expert and one’s an advanced beginner on a good day – guess which one’s which – and for me, had a great ski school, and I was thinking a little ski-in/ski-out. Hey, I’m far from an expert skier, hadn’t been in 10 years, had “aged up” during this time, and had some knee issues…
My husband had been to Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley before, but with someone else – ahem, not staying there – but loved both. I had been to Colorado and Sun Valley and couldn’t really find ski-in/ski-out where I wanted to stay. Friends also have a home in Deer Valley and really talked it up, plus it’s where the Sundance Film Festival is held and there are easy, direct flights to Salt Lake City from JFK. So, with the location decision made, that just left the resort. My travel agent at Valerie Wilson Travel gave me options, but it didn’t take long to make my choice – the Montage.
My travel agent booked our trip through Ski.com and the package included:
- hotel accommodations
- transportation to and from the airport
- lift tickets
- a complete ski package for rental equipment, including a helmet if needed (we rented the first year and bought our own the next)
Seriously, this trip was the epitome of ease. Essentially, everything but dinner reservations was done for us and either sent before or ready for us when we got there. I even booked my lessons on-line after filling out a profile.
Skiing in Deer Valley was a dream for me and my expert skier hubby didn’t feel cheated at all, even though he skied with me on the less difficult slopes much of the time. They limit the number of skiers, so there’s no long chair lift lines, there’s no snowboarding, and the slopes are well-groomed and easy to navigate – I never got off on a Black Diamond slope, which I have done in Colorado. If you really want to snowboard, you can mosey over to nearby Park City.
I chose to take lessons several days on both trips and that proved to be the correct decision for me. I just feel more comfortable being with a small group and a professional! They help you up when you fall or at least walk you through getting up, which is really the worst – so don’t fall!! Carl even took a private lesson to go into the deep powder in the trees, which made ME just a bit nervous, but not him.
THE MONTAGE DEER VALLEY
I seriously can’t think of any negatives about the Montage, perhaps the cost. In fact, we liked it so much, we went back in 2014 and if we can manage, will be going again this winter. The rooms are uber spacious and comfy – we had a peak view room with a king-sized bed and all the amenities. Maintaining an exercise program for my triathlete was easy, besides getting the cross-training benefits of skiing. They have indoor and outdoor pools – trihubby swam in the heated outdoor pool (triathletes are tough you know) – and a gym and spa. They even offer a shuttle into Park City and to the Deer Valley resort for lessons or other lifts, if you don’t want to actually ski over from the Montage. So, no car is needed during your stay.
There are several restaurants on site, including the very nice Apex and a pub. What makes skiing so convenient is the Compass Sports shop where you get all of your ski equipment, keep it stored, and where you walk out the door and it’s waiting for you, right in front of the lifts. They offer a great children’s program with both indoor and outdoor activities, including a tubing chute (we tried and a lot of fun), a bowling alley, and hot chocolate every afternoon out by a fire.
PARK CITY RESTAURANTS/SHOPPING
The town of Park City has one Main Street filled with REALLY good restaurants and okay shopping. We did buy a sculpture for our anniversary called Together (seemed appropriate) at Gallery Mar, which had some really nice artists exhibited. Our friends gave us their favorite places to eat before we left and I booked them all on Open Table. We ended up liking them so much the first year, that we just went back to most the next year. Our favorites are:
- Talisker on Main – This is probably our favorite. It is a small, super friendly, comfort food restaurant, yet with an upscale ambience. I’m a vegetarian and their vegetable risotto was the best I’ve ever had, plus I love their sustainable living philosophy and they have a rooftop garden and use local farmers to boot. My husband swears by their fried chicken and biscuit. We even met two of the nicest couples sitting next to us…
- The Riverhorse on Main – This is a really lovely restaurant that offers a vegetarian menu, so I was in heaven. It is upstairs of a storefront. There are several dining rooms and a small bar, with live entertainment in the larger room.
- Silver Star Cafe – This restaurant is an intimate, upscale, rustic cafe serving regional food described as “Roots Cuisine”. They also offer live music and a brunch on weekends. It’s a small place so dinner reservations are recommended.
- Our friends also recommended Reef’s for Mediterranean, Chimayo for Mexican, Shabu for Asian, and Log Haven, which is located about 45 minutes away in the Wasatch National Forest.
I can’t think of any other ski resort we would go to for a ski trip. Deer Valley, the Montage, and Park City have everything we need to make it the perfect ski vacation. Whether you are a couple or a family, the area has something to offer everyone. My big recommendation would be to check when the Sundance Film Festival is on and NOT go around that time – this came from the staff.
We next want to try going in the summer. Literally, every single person we spoke with said we had to come back in the summer, that this was the best season with so much to do. Problem is trying to take a non-triathlon related vacation in the summer (sigh)….