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Christmas Week at Deer Valley - Family of 5 from New England

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello - 

I have been trying to read up on SLC area, especially from comments here. Would anyone be kind enough to please offer suggestions for a New England family of 5, 2 adults, 3 children (11, 9 & 7)? We generally ski a very groomed Loon Mtn in New Hampshire, packed powder base (only skied powder once years ago). Children and adults are all beginner to intermediate, but we enjoy skiing as a family down the green trails. 


This is the trip of the lifetime, don't know if we can actually go, and if we do, it may be the only time we go to the Rockies. Leaning towards Utah for the reduced drive time to the mountains. Really don't know about the resorts/mountains around the area. Briefly looked at Deer Valley web page, not in detail.


Our trip lodging would hopefully be ski in/out or very close (shuttle) because we will still be working while there, and never know when we have to head back to the laptop. So daytrips to other mountains/resorts would probably not happen.  


Any help is appreciated, this research/planning process is a bit overwhelming. 




post #2 of 8

Utah has many great places to ski. There should be good enough snow around Christmas but that is upto higher authorities!


The places with pure ski-in/ski-out in Utah that I know of:

Deer Valley is a great place to ski, long, broad runs, many of them are groomed, good place for family, but it also is the most expensive generally - but not completely. Alta is a great place to ski with kids but its definitely harder, not as much grooming. Snowbird is also a great mountain but generally steeper as per experts. Finally Solitude is quite nice, smaller than the three above but quieter and there is Brighton right around the corner. All four of these places have pure ski-in/ski-out accommodations (we prefer that too, my son and I) and I would say on the whole Deer Valley would generally be the most expensive, then Alta, though the lodges include breakfast and dinner in Alta in the room charge, then Solitude(condos or Inn at Solitude) and finally Snowbird, especially since at Snowbird there are often deals to be found.


We know Deer Valley, Alta and Solitude well, and to enjoy Alta, and Solitude, famous for powder, that's what they are famous for and also for creativity, i.e. making your own ski trails, whereas Deer Valley is more organized, and for the middle-aged intermediate Dad, its quite good, especially when steep runs are groomed! Snowbird is also powder-country and is definitely steeper all around, if folks are beginners to low-intermediates, I would have to lean towards Deer Valley, then Solitude(its a bit smaller than Alta, or Snowbird or DV, or felt that way, nice purpose built-village though, car-free, and great kids club for all visitors, so apres-ski, kids can have a blast!) and then Alta (Alta lodge has a great kids program post skiing, we stayed there twice in 2010!), and finally Snowbird, but really to enjoy Snowbird or Alta, one's skiing has to be pretty good. Alta is known for its traverses, all true.


Enjoy, all nice and all 4 have ski-in/ski out.


Comments on Lodging:

1. Deer Valley, Goldener Hirsch Inn: Great place, great staff, management, very good food, Austrian style

2. Inn at Solitude: Young staff, enthusiastic, Kids club very popular with my son.

3. Alta Lodge: Excellent, great staff, great for kids and just an old-world, classic experience.


There is also Park City Mtn Resort and the Canyons, but have not skiied there.


Look on the site, do a search, others have reviewed and look via search function, there are wikis on them too I think.


If interested, here are a few video links of Deer Valley, Solitude and Alta for a good visual feel for the terrain :


1. Deer Valley Blue Run:



2. Deer Valley Longer Blue-Black Run:


3. Solitude: First real snow day, double diamond Trail into Honeycomb Canyon:



4. Alta: as seen by a 6 year old..:



5. Alta Powder:



6. Alta Powder 2:


Edited by dustyfog - 8/16/10 at 2:57pm
post #3 of 8

Wherever you go, Ski in and out xmas week will be spendy. Given your criteria,your two best options are Deer Valley and Alta. No where else is really set-up to handle beginners and intermediates quite so well as those two. 


Deer valley has the most numerous trails available to  the true beginner and intermediate.  As a bonus you will be very close to diversions in park city if anyone wants to do something else. Deer Valley is well know for its manicured slopes. There are compared to other UT skii areas relatively few areas are left un-groomed. But there is some good off trail skiing to be had at Deer Valley, just not as much as other places.


Alta is also a good place for beginners to learn and offters much much more to the adventurous intermediate than Deer Valley. This is one of the best places to learn to ski off trail due to the excellent snow conditions and cornucopia of mellow blue terrain. As the youngster above gladly demonstrates.

Edited by tromano - 8/17/10 at 10:43am
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks very much for your quick responses. I appreciate it. I will also look into Alta and the other resorts mentioned. 

Have a great day.

post #5 of 8



I read your description and I can tell you that you will absolutely love Deer Valley.  Don't think twice about Alta.  Its waaaaaayyy too advanced/expert leaning and they have no where near the amenities that DV has.  Not even close.  Trust me on this, I'm a humble midwesterner who loves to ski all terrain from green to double black and I can tell you that the Deer Valley experience is incredible for early intermediates and beginners.  I have taken my non-skiing friends out there twice and we sampled a bunch of the Utah resorts.  DV and The Canyons were the two best for the rookie crowd.  I'll give you specifics.  Grab your DV trail map and find Bald Mountain on the map.  Off the top you will see a green run called "Homeward Bound".  It is a long sweeping scenic green run with incredible views of the mountains off the back of the resort.  That run alone is worth choosing Deer Valley.  Most big western mountains do not have top to bottom greens the way DV does.  You will notice on the next mountain over, Flagstaff Mountain, there is another long green off the top.  For early intermediates, one of the very best is right off the top gondola at Deer Crest Mountain called Jordanelle.  Its a really memorable long ridge run down to the gondola.  At the beginning of the run you go past a handful of unbelieveable "if I had 20 million dollars I'd buy that house" houses.  One of the houses has their own ski run and lift.  Its pretty neat.  Further along these scenic lines, there is a mountain called Bald Eagle mountain. On the green off the top of that one there are all of these interesting carved statues of raccoons and bears in the trees and on houses as if they were real.  Its interesting and artistic and makes a run like that a lot of fun for site seeing and just enjoying the skiing slow style.  Further, Deer Valley is loaded with blue and double blue runs if you seek more challenge.  And eventually, if you want to really challenge yourself you can do the Empire Canyon stuff.  The chilli is awesome- its one of the few mountains where I'll actually stop and enjoy lunch because they make it so nice with lots of outdoor deck seating and a number of on-mountain dining.  The only thing Deer Valley lacks is sheer vertical feet (instead you ski different mountains where each one is about 1500-1800 ft), and a lot of expert terrain ( they do have a few really tough runs called the Daly Chutes- tough for anyone who doesn't ski 50 times a year, at least).


Like I said above, the other place I'd tell you to go in Utah is called The Canyons.  It has much of what you are looking for and is quite large and expansive.  The best thing is, you can ski them both and even hit Park City Mountain Resort because all 3 world class mountains are literally 10 minutes apart- and PCMR and DV touch each other.  Its a 2 mile drive from Park City to DV.  On top of all that- if you rent a chalet/condo on the side of the mountain in Park City (get one with an outdoor deck hot tub) you will have the most breath taking night time view overlooking the town. Its got to be the best ski environment in the US in terms of ease of location (1/2 hour from the airport), scenery, quality of skiing (3 major ski resorts), great town and dining options, plenty of off-hill activities.  There's no downside for a family vacation except cost.


Just for disclaimers, I am planning a trip this year to either Telluride or Big Sky.  Never been to either.  I've skied a number of Colorado resorts, and some other places, and while I think Colorado is better in terms of top to bottom ski mountains (for vertical feet, tree skiing, big mountain feel), Utah, and specifically the three great ones in the Park City area, offers pretty much the entire package all in one convenient location, and the snow quality is a guarantee out there- which I can attest is a big thing when you get about 1 trip per year.

post #6 of 8

Deer Valley is definitely a fantastic place to bring the family! If you are looking for ski-in/ski-out lodging complete with family-friendly services, please consider Resorts West. We offer a Private Concierge to assist with all the details of your vacation, including ski school arrangements, rentals and even grocery delivery. Call us at 1-877-773-1117. We'd love to help!

post #7 of 8

Look into the condos at Solitude - immensely immensely family friendly for a family with kids your age.   We've been there multiple times - very nice condos, easy lift access, good ski school, pedestrian village with skating, heated outdoor pool. No night life to speak of but it seems your family is not at the nightlife moment anyway!

post #8 of 8

Deer Valley and PCMR (Park City Mountain Resorts) would probably be your best bets in Utah. Park City is a great town for the down time because face it, you've got kids and a wife (or husband) to entertain, and mountain 24/7 probably won't do it. I love the cottonwood canyon resorts, but with kids, you'll appreciate being able to do something other than sit in the condo/hotel/whatever.


Park City has tremendously easy access to all three areas there and all 3 have easier terrain than those you'll find in big/little cottonwood canyon.


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