Stephanie-Johnson,-Deer-Val

I’ve been hanging at home this winter catching up on the latest Ina Garten recipes but couldn’t resist a trip out west with friends to ski.  I’m an Aspen girl but jumped at the chance to give Utah a try.  They say Deer Valley is for the pampered set so my expectations were high.  After five days of comparing every last detail to Aspen/Snowmass, I’m pretty sure my traveling companions wanted to throw me off the high speed quad.  Truth is:  it took me about five days to really appreciate what Deer Valley has to offer.

STAY

We rented an amazing townhouse at the base of the mountain.  We shared with friends, cooking most dinners at home with a glass of wine in hand, a fire roaring and children underfoot.  Wearing my pjs and reading by the light of the fire is my ski trip fantasy.

I checked out The Montage, The St. Regis and The Stein Eriksen Lodge.  I would stay at any of these fab resorts.  Ski-in, ski-out, each serves a delicious skiers’ buffet lunch and is nestled into the mountain.  As a rule, Deer Valley is more accessible than Aspen via direct flights into Salt Lake City and therefore makes it a perfect weekend destination.  Despite a great kids ski school and a family friendly reputation, DV felt more like a lovers’ long weekend retreat.  Any of these hotels will do the trick.

EAT

Fireside Dining was worth the hype but the accompanying optional sleigh ride wasn’t.  If it’s a sleigh ride you want, try Sun Valley or Aspen as this short ten minute ride around the parking lot will likely disappoint.  The dining, however, was superb.  Imagine a starter course of raclette cheese melted by an open fire with cornichon, fruit and charcuterie.  Followed by short ribs, trout, lamb and rosti potatoes. The fondue dessert came three ways:  dark chocolate, white chocolate Grand Marnier, and caramel with a buffet of fruit and cakes to dip.

Although the service should have been better at this Four Diamond restaurant, the burger was one of the best I’ve had at the Goldener Hirsch.  A favorite for fondue and a busy evening spot, try a relaxing lunch between runs on Bald Eagle Mountain.  You will feel as if you’ve been transported to an Austrian village no matter what you order.

Stephanie-Johnson,-Deer-Val

Pop into the St. Regis après ski for quite possibly the best hot chocolate bar EVER.  I think the secret is in the whipped cream.  And did I mention it’s free?

DO

Well, ski, of course!  Deer Valley has the requisite ski valet on mountain and great dining options, but what makes this mountain special is the fact they groom nearly 100% of their terrain nightly.  Die hards will argue that the snow is drier in Utah than Colorado and they may have a point.  Deer Valley also doesn’t allow snow boarders on mountain.

SHOP

No post about DV would be complete without including a little plug for one of our fave SJ retailers, Splendor, located at the Redstone Town Center in Park City.  A cozy apothecary stocking high-end beauty products and boasting a skin bar offering a full menu of treatments, Splendor has been carrying Stephanie Johnson products for years, and is a must-stop if you ever find yourself in Park City!

SPA

All of the above-mentioned Deer Valley luxury resorts have great spa options, so indulge in a massage after a day on the bumps.

Deer Valley had me wanting for Snowmass’ wide slopes, mountain maps on every chairlift, and the temperature display at every chair download.  However missed these small perks were, I still would hop the four hour flight to SLC for a weekend of guaranteed groomed trails and a greater likelihood of snow. After all it’s about the skiing, right?

Stephanie-Johnson,-Deer-Val