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TR: Deer Valley and Alta, 2/19 - 2/21

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Don’t think I’ve seen a formal Deer Valley TR so thought I’d post one.
Drove over from the Sacramento Area to sample boarder-less skiing and check out Utah’s self-proclaimed ‘greatest snow on earth". Stayed in the Midvale Homewood Suites to have reasonable access to both resorts - nice and clean, reasonably priced, and included both breakfast and dinner.

DEER VALLEY:
As expected, Deer Valley was pretty high-end with outstanding facilities and service. Liked the super friendly and helpful staff - especially the on-mountain guides stationed at the big trail maps at the top of many of the lifts. The huge slope side homes (even at mid-mountain) were unexpected and detracted from the skiing experience. We’d probably feel differently if we lived in one :-) The other skiers seemed pretty normal to me - about like you’d find at Heavenly or North Star. To be fair, though, my Wife thought some of them were a bit aloof - different perspectives I guess. Tried the Turkey Chili and it was good - but not as good as the Vegetarian Chili at Sugar Bowl. Thought the lift layout was a bit confusing, but that’s probably because it was our first visit. Found it interesting that every lift we rode had both a safety bar and foot rest. Didn’t get to sample any powder as we were between storms, so mostly skied groomed runs. The grooming was as perfect as the DV pictures and it skied nice, though there was some firm packed powder beneath it. Bottom line - interesting place to ski but we’re in no hurry to return.

ALTA:
Alta in many was the opposite of Deer Valley - no homes, simple facilities, less staff, more interesting terrain, few lifts and a simple lay-out. What staff there was, though, was friendly and helpful. For a low-tech place, they interestingly use high-tech RFID lift tickets that scan through your clothing. The skiing was great while it lasted - nice runs with just a bit of powder from the overnight flurries. Opposite of DV, none of the lifts we rode had safety bars - that took a little getting used to. We unfortunately only skied the Collins and Wildcat lifts before the clouds and snow set in making for scary flat light. So we did the logical thing and had an early lunch at the Collins Grill at the top of the mid-mountain Watson Shelter. The food was excellent, and even included slippers so we could get out of our boots for a while - kind of what might be expected at Deer Valley rather than Alta! Really, really wanted to take their All Mountain workshop but the weather didn't cooperate. Bottom line - Alta reminded us of Sugar Bowl and we'd like to take another shot at it.

Enjoy, rickp
post #2 of 16
so where you skiing on straight skis? because you should of been.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
so where you skiing on straight skis? because you should of been.
Absolutely. How'd you know? rickp
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
so where you skiing on straight skis? because you should of been.
That went over my head. They'll come to Bird next time...watch out...

Pretty straight up take on DV. The grooming is so relentless that it can recreate New England polished marble out of Utah powder...the whole big- house-on-piste deal is pretty off-putting- I go skiing to get closer to nature, not farther away... but it has it's charms, you can drop your skis with the valet, put the kids in ski school, have a nice breakfast in the lodge while watching them getting on the lift, ski some groomers, have a latte, repeat, eat, get a massage, ski a little more, have a latte, and then have a nice dinner that costs more than your first car.
Alta's pretty much the real deal. Once you know your way around, (and get some fat skis and good goggles) you'll want to ski the storms- the more snow the better.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Crab View Post
That went over my head. They'll come to Bird next time...watch out... .
I thought it was just me :-)
DV and Alta both had their charms.
On the whole, though, we're happy to be back in CA.
Squaw and Sugar Bowl were awesome Monday and Tuesday.
I'm guessing you Utah folks had some nice new snow as well.
Take care, rickp
post #6 of 16
thanks for the nice report rick!
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Crab View Post
That went over my head. They'll come to Bird next time...watch out...

Pretty straight up take on DV. The grooming is so relentless that it can recreate New England polished marble out of Utah powder...the whole big- house-on-piste deal is pretty off-putting- I go skiing to get closer to nature, not farther away... but it has it's charms, you can drop your skis with the valet, put the kids in ski school, have a nice breakfast in the lodge while watching them getting on the lift, ski some groomers, have a latte, repeat, eat, get a massage, ski a little more, have a latte, and then have a nice dinner that costs more than your first car.
Alta's pretty much the real deal. Once you know your way around, (and get some fat skis and good goggles) you'll want to ski the storms- the more snow the better.
the straightski comment because someone who skis only at resort that dont allow snowboard should be on equipment that wasnt spawned from snowboard technology.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
the straightski comment because someone who skis only at resort that dont allow snowboard should be on equipment that wasnt spawned from snowboard technology.
Now I get it - thanks for the clarification BnPA.

And I can understand how you'd get that impression of us from the TR.
The reality is that we've been skiing for ten years, have always been around boarders before this trip, and were curious about their impact. While actually at DV and Alta, the fact that they were skier-only didn't matter much - resort details were far more important. So our curiosity is satisfied and we're back to sharing the slopes - it's all good. And we love our shaped skis.

Cheers, rickp
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by rick p View Post
Don’t think I’ve seen a formal Deer Valley TR so thought I’d post one.
Drove over from the Sacramento Area to sample boarder-less skiing and check out Utah’s self-proclaimed ‘greatest snow on earth". Stayed in the Midvale Homewood Suites to have reasonable access to both resorts - nice and clean, reasonably priced, and included both breakfast and dinner.

DEER VALLEY:
As expected, Deer Valley was pretty high-end with outstanding facilities and service. Liked the super friendly and helpful staff - especially the on-mountain guides stationed at the big trail maps at the top of many of the lifts. The huge slope side homes (even at mid-mountain) were unexpected and detracted from the skiing experience. We’d probably feel differently if we lived in one :-) The other skiers seemed pretty normal to me - about like you’d find at Heavenly or North Star. To be fair, though, my Wife thought some of them were a bit aloof - different perspectives I guess. Tried the Turkey Chili and it was good - but not as good as the Vegetarian Chili at Sugar Bowl. Thought the lift layout was a bit confusing, but that’s probably because it was our first visit. Found it interesting that every lift we rode had both a safety bar and foot rest. Didn’t get to sample any powder as we were between storms, so mostly skied groomed runs. The grooming was as perfect as the DV pictures and it skied nice, though there was some firm packed powder beneath it. Bottom line - interesting place to ski but we’re in no hurry to return.

ALTA:
Alta in many was the opposite of Deer Valley - no homes, simple facilities, less staff, more interesting terrain, few lifts and a simple lay-out. What staff there was, though, was friendly and helpful. For a low-tech place, they interestingly use high-tech RFID lift tickets that scan through your clothing. The skiing was great while it lasted - nice runs with just a bit of powder from the overnight flurries. Opposite of DV, none of the lifts we rode had safety bars - that took a little getting used to. We unfortunately only skied the Collins and Wildcat lifts before the clouds and snow set in making for scary flat light. So we did the logical thing and had an early lunch at the Collins Grill at the top of the mid-mountain Watson Shelter. The food was excellent, and even included slippers so we could get out of our boots for a while - kind of what might be expected at Deer Valley rather than Alta! Really, really wanted to take their All Mountain workshop but the weather didn't cooperate. Bottom line - Alta reminded us of Sugar Bowl and we'd like to take another shot at it.

Enjoy, rickp
IMHO Deer Valley is ruining itself with overdevelopment. While the food and service are second to none, the development of every available acre will be DV's downfall. Although snowboarders are banned, it is not a "skiers mountain". Skiers will go to Snowbird or Alta for the challenging skiing. The only area(Empire Canyon) that was minimally developed is undergoing major changes. Too bad.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cuff46 View Post
IMHO Deer Valley is ruining itself with overdevelopment. While the food and service are second to none, the development of every available acre will be DV's downfall. Although snowboarders are banned, it is not a "skiers mountain". Skiers will go to Snowbird or Alta for the challenging skiing. The only area(Empire Canyon) that was minimally developed is undergoing major changes. Too bad.
You may well be right - the development was certainly a turn-off for us. Next trip to Utah we'll sample other resorts. Regards, rickp
post #11 of 16
I'm wondering if someday Deer Valley might become a private resort like the Yellowstone Club- only accessable to the homeowners that live there. But then again, probably not. Nobody lives in those homes, ever. Very rich people buy them and never go there, like the Van Goghs locked in their vaults that no one sees. I did once see a lady on a balcony as I skied by. Very startling- thought she was a ghost, but she waved back. Never saw any living person in that entire neighborhood again -Bald Eagle- and we ski through there a lot as it's the home run from some of the better terrain. Lately, us locol proles have taken to poaching the powder through the back yards. It's kind of like urban backcountry sort of.
post #12 of 16
My wife and I just skied at DV for the first time. It was interesting. The valet service at the gondala was a trip. The gondola ride with the two older German ladies was funny too. We found the staff friendly and helpful. Although I am not fashion consious, I am very glad that I don't teach there and wear the fugly green on green uniform. I also found the lift layout to be confusing and the houses to be gross and ugly. The food was expensive and not any better than the food at JH. Most of the terrain was fun but unchallenging. There was some fun tree skiing and the top few turn in the Daily chutes were very steep. I liked the Mayflower lift. I didn't ski Lady Morgan which is too bad as I heard its pretty good. Next time I will call ahead and see if one of the patrollers or instructors that I know from misc training events will show us around. I know that there are some cool lines that I didn't find. My wife, the ski snob, was laughing at the skill level of the other skiers and the number of one piece suits. Your not in Jackson anymore honey. I just like to see people having a good time. Most of the folks I saw and talked to were.
post #13 of 16
One thing is that a lot of the long time Park City locals work there teaching or in the office jobs. The employee retention is forever, so they must treat 'em right. Everyone is pretty nice too. I know career instructors there, sort of like Alta- lifers... The other thing is that this is a company town, and that company isn't skiing, it's real estate. So many of the ski bums who migrated here in the seventies, like Ted Ligity's parents, sold houses, served on planning commissions, etc. Others started construction companies, money poured in from all over the world, and the rest is history. What becomes of this town from here on out really depends on wise stewardship. The good news is that there are a lot of those ol' ski bums at the levers of power, starting with the mayor, Dana Williams, who still plays Dead covers in his band on holidays...There's been some good stuff done- open space, strict zoning. This housing recession doesn't hurt one bit, from an overdevelopment standpoint. Hey! If you want to see good skiers- go to AltaBird. I'm always amazed. Have yet to visit Jackson, that's on the to do list...
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cuff46 View Post
IMHO Deer Valley is ruining itself with overdevelopment. While the food and service are second to none, the development of every available acre will be DV's downfall. Although snowboarders are banned, it is not a "skiers mountain". Skiers will go to Snowbird or Alta for the challenging skiing. The only area(Empire Canyon) that was minimally developed is undergoing major changes. Too bad.
Couldn't have said it better myself. DV over development is toxic. Now that Talisker (the DV developers) own The Canyons, it will be just as bad. PCMR owners are on record stating that they will not develop their mountain with these starter castles and they will continue to get my season pass business.
post #15 of 16
The lifty on the Mayflower lift had the smoothest bump ever. He would pull the chair forward as it came around the wheel. Then is rocked back and came forward again at just the right time and speed. It was cool! Nothing like the chick at Sundance the day before who pretended to touch the chair. She crushed me 3 times before I was bumping the chair myself.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post
The lifty on the Mayflower lift had the smoothest bump ever. He would pull the chair forward as it came around the wheel. Then is rocked back and came forward again at just the right time and speed. It was cool! Nothing like the chick at Sundance the day before who pretended to touch the chair. She crushed me 3 times before I was bumping the chair myself.
Spoken like a true DV patron!

Now those two resorts have opposite values in every way...
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