A Day at Deer Valley

A Great Day of Skiing at Deer Valley Ski Resort

Copyright Mike Doyle
Now that I got past meeting Stein Eriksen and telling him about the vintage poster that I received last Christmas, I will tell you about the real joys of skiing Deer Valley.

Deer Valley Ski Resort

Deer Valley Ski Resort covers over 2,000 acres, spanning six mountains. Mother Nature covers all that with an average of over 350” of snow. The stats say the terrain total is 27% easy, 41% intermediate, and 32% advanced and I found corresponding terrain on all of the six mountains.

So, you can tour the entire resort, using all the lifts and know that there will be a trail that will either keep you comfortable, make you a little winded, or really challenge your ability. Destination skiers will delight in the fact that you can relax on a chair, converse with your skiing partners or watch the magnificent scenery without wondering if you'll have to ski a difficult trail that's way over your head.

Deer Valley Mountain Tours

There are free 2 hour Mountain Tours that shows you Deer Valley as the locals know it. The tours are divided into "Expert" or "Intermediate" abilities and offered in both the morning and afternoon. There are two Mountain Hosts to further break down the groups into comfort levels, so skiers can choose if they want to ski on more relaxed terrain or ski more aggressively on challenging trails.

I opted for a morning tour on the advanced-intermediate terrain and was part of a group of about ten, which was hosted by Tom Merrill.

Tom was very outgoing and his years of experience and skiing ability made everyone comfortable. For over two hours, we toured the resort from top to bottom and end to end. Tom took us to every peak and on every peak he guided the group to areas where we could all be comfortable following him down. Aside from detailing the magnificent scenery, he also provided tidbits of history and interest and pointed out improvements made over Deer Valley’s twenty eight years.

The Steep and Deep

I think it’s important to understand that you can enjoy Deer Valley without doing the steep and deep, but believe me, the steep and deep are certainly available if you find yourself wishing for more challenging terrain. However, the best example of choices I saw was when our host Tom loaded us on the Empire Express and headed up Empire Canyon.

Empire Canyon is home of some of skiing’s most written about terrain - steep, rock-lined chutes and the Daly Bowl. Tom pointed a line that brought you through some trees and out onto the lower part of Daly Bowl, but you also had the option of staying on a more user friendly trail called Orion. The choice was ours and Tom, of course, guided the more adventurous through the trees and down the bowl where everyone met at the Ruby Express chair.

Deer Valley's Legendary Customer Service

Deer Valley’s service to customers is, of course, world famous, but don’t think that service is only for the rich and famous. When Tom Merrill took us to the Jordanelle Express Gondola, we were met by smiling lift attendants who cheerfully took our skis and secured them in the gondola boxes for us – definitely not a common practice in the industry. Oh, they also brought the skis out to the snow at the top of the lift!

Here is where we met Stein Eriksen. He was riding up in the gondola behind us and when he exited, Tom asked him to join us for some photos and a chat. Tom introduced me and urged me to tell Stein about my poster. Stein joked about me calling his picture "extreme angulation" and offered to sign it for me, but of course I didn’t have it. However, it was a very gracious offer indeed, from a remarkable man who was influential in bringing skiing to the attention of people of all means and abilities.

Deer Valley has smiling employees all over the mountain starting with parking and locker area attendants up through restaurant service personell who are there to make your day trip, or your vacation a pleasure. If you have a question as to anything - where you are, where to ski, eat, where to get a drink of water - ask someone in a green Deer Valley coat and they are always more than happy to help you find an answer.

To give you an example as to how Deer Valley goes all out to accommodate the customers, I met up with our morning Mountain Tour host Tom Merill after lunch. Where? He was standing sans skis at the top of Mt. Baldy in his Deer Valley green, still smiling, answering questions, giving directions for scenery and for safety. That was his post for the afternoon and he seemed as happy as the skiers.

The Sterling Express Quad

Also, if you're heading to, or returning to Deer Valley anytime soon, make sure to try the new high speed detachable Sterling Express quad that replaced the old triple chair. Look for more glade skiing off the Sultan lift, too.

Lady Morgan Express

The Lady Morgan Express, a new high-speed detachable quad chairlift, in the Empire Canyon area includes over 200 new skiable acres, including 65 acres of gladed skiing, and nine new ski runs.

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary lift tickets for the purpose of reviewing those services. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.