Deer Valley has a reputation as being full of people dressed in Prada, skiing over-groomed slopes. I have to say, I drove to the resort to meet up with friends - this reputation had meant that I had initially overlooked it as an option on our week long trip - and when we pulled up to the resort car park, I was suprized to see how attractive it was.
The first thing that struck me was the expense of the tickets. It was the most expensive ticket we purchased all week, at $102 for an adult pass. I now realize that if I had purchased the ticket from a SLC ski shop, I could have lowered this to $80, which would still have it as the most expensive place to ski, but only just.
We met up with friends who had been skiing Deer Valley all week, as they had family who worked there. This played into our hands because it meant we didn't really need to explore - after all, that had been done for us already. The thing you realise straight away about Deer Valley is the pistes are immaculate - they feel very grippy indeed and I couldn't wait to get up the mountain to really put them to the test. As I traveled up the Silver Lake express lift, I suddenly realized why the pistes were in such good condition - there are no snowboarders! Now don't see this as a anti-snowboarder rant, but I skied two areas where they are banned in my week in Utah; Alta and Deer Valley, and the pistes in BOTH were immaculate. No hardpack, just lovely, grippy snow.
From the top of Silver Lake Express I lapped the Solid Muldoon run a few times. Its a lovely, wide leg burning run - great for getting your legs warmed up before heading out to the rest of the mountain - along with Big Stick, it would be my favourite run in this part of the resort.
From Bald Eagle Mountain, we proceeded over to Empire Canyon Lodge which we used as our base for the rest of the day (incidentaly the Turkey Chilli is AWESOME - try it). From here you can access a number of green tree lined runs which the kids loved. You know the type of things, you stay on the trail, steadily building speed up on the faint incline whilst avoiding the whooping, screaming kids launching themselves out of the trees on each side... Of course, that isnt what I was looking for so, having had a good look at the trail map and secured myself some brand new S3's to try out (there is a great demo center at the lodge) I made my way up the Empire Express lift to ski some of the harder terrain that it served.
I should mention that by the time I made it up the Empire Express lift, the skies had opened and deposited about 2 inches of fresh powder all over the mountain - it made for some fun skiing and I had a great time skiing the bumps of Conviction and Solace whilst traversing over to Orion to get into the trees. I looked across to the Daly bowl and Chutes and considered moving over there, but 2 inches of powder just wasnt enough to make me make the journey across (a friend had skied it earlier in the day and intimated that it was pretty bumped up) I can imagine that it would be a blast after good snow though.
The rest of our day was spent with the kids around this area and I'm sorry to say I missed a LOT of the rest of the resort. Following a couple more laps of Big Stick, I was done for the day and enjoyed the awesome service that Deer Valley provides by taking advantage of the free Ski store and the awesome apres ski bar!
All in all, a great day out. Deer Valley turned out to be one of the kids favorite days skiing and it certainly ranked up there on mine. A really nice resort which should definately be visited.