One of Ben’s and my goals for the year is to take more personal trips together. While I often travel on my own for work, it’s rarer that we take a vacation with just the two of us. When I asked Ben where he wanted to go first, he shot me a slow, skeptical eyebrow raise that clearly implied, Do you even need to ask?
SKIING AT DEER VALLEY!
I’ve had the incredible good fortune to ski at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, the past several winters, and last year, Ben joined me for the first time. I suspected that he would like downhill skiing.
As it turns out, I created a slope monster. He is obsessed. The moment we arrived back home from that first trip, he bought his own pair of ski boots. Our first trip of 2018 would be to break them in.
We considered a few different ski resorts, but after more research, we ended right back where we started: Deer Valley. It has everything we are after in a ski vacation. The runs are beautiful and well maintained, the ski school is excellent, and, because it’s only a 45-minute shuttle ride from a major airport (Salt Lake City) and the resort provides guests with on-site transportation, we don’t even need to rent a car when we visit.
Oh, and, of course, the major must-have on any vacation we take: the food is exceptional.
So exceptional, in fact, that we managed to have a great time, even though this is what Ben looked like…
The week before our trip, Ben sustained an ankle injury and wasn’t able to ski. Despite this serious blow to our plans, thanks to Deer Valley’s gorgeous accommodations, service, and cuisine, we still had a fun, relaxing weekend getaway.
Here are the highlights!
Winter Weekend at Deer Valley in Park City, Utah
I am not being self deprecating when I say that I am not athletically coordinated. Before I strapped on a pair of skis three years ago, I assumed that I’d be terrible and end up hating it.
I could not have been more wrong!
Thanks to Deer Valley’s ski school, I picked it up quickly and now am overjoyed to have an athletic activity that I actually enjoy and that Ben and I can do together. This season marked my very first black (expert)-level run (!!!), and I’m excited to go back and try more next season.
For beginning skiers, Deer Valley has a good assortment of green and blue runs, so you will by no means feel like you need to stick to the same bunny hill over and over. Advanced skiers, you have plenty of options too. First-time skiers? Ben and I both were too, and now we love it!
Deer Valley is known for its exceptional snow grooming, and this season was no different. The runs are beautifully maintained. Even on days when it doesn’t snow, Deer Valley makes plenty, so you never lose a day on the mountain.
Truth time: I ski at Deer Valley so that I can eat at Deer Valley. You truly cannot go wrong with any of the outstanding dining options, both formal and casual. Here’s where we ate this trip.
Royal Street Cafe. I can’t imagine visiting Deer Valley without having lunch at Royal Street Cafe. From the outrageously fresh seafood to the stellar cocktails to the bright, laid-back atmosphere, Royal Street knocks it out of the park every single time.
Goldener Hirsch. European Alpine-inspired fine dining in a cozy, intimate setting. Listen to your server’s advice and order the fondue. Every element of our meal was beautifully presented and delicious. If you are looking for an intimate dinner with your sweetie or a special night out with friends, this would be a perfect fit.
The Brass Tag. Locally inspired brick oven fare. The wine list is fab, the chimichurri chips are not to be missed, and I think Ben would fly back to Deer Valley just for the avocado fries. The menu reflects a focus on local ingredients, and it’s my favorite for a dinner that’s a little less formal but still feels special.
Empire Canyon Grill. I could eat lunch here every day. This on-the-mountain “cafeteria” has everything from pulled pork sandwiches to beautifully grilled salmon to the best turkey chili you’ll ever try. I put “cafeteria” in quotes because although it’s certainly less formal and the perfect place to stop in for lunch in the middle of your ski day (no need to remove your boots), the food is anything but standard. Don’t forget to end your meal with a slice of carrot cake. You’ll thank me for this advice.
Deer Valley offers a wide range of lodging options for any size party. Ben and I stayed at the Silver Baron Lodge for the first time, and I loved it! Our condo was absolutely lovely. Since it was harder for him to get out and about on crutches, I was especially appreciative of having such a welcoming, comfortable place to relax.
Our stay included a fabulous mountain breakfast, transportation to and from the slopes (the trip takes all of three minutes), as well as a car service that brought us both around the resort and anywhere in Park City we wanted to visit.
In addition to the amenities, one of the best parts of staying at Deer Valley is the service. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the staff. They were always there to give me a hand with my skis and help Ben with his crutches, and one day they even found us a wheelchair so that we could explore Park City more easily.
Note on the wheelchair: We made it four blocks before I called it and we stopped at a bar. It turned out pushing a full-grown man up a steep incline was more difficult than I thought!
Exploring Park City
If you visit Deer Valley, it’s absolutely worth building in a little extra time (and by “time” I mean “meals”) to explore Park City, especially historic main street, located a short 10-minute drive from the resort. It’s filled with charming shops and great restaurants.
We ended our trip with dinner at Tupelo. SO GOOD. I’m still thinking about the fluffy, buttery biscuits…and OK, my cocktail, the crab fritters, fish, and steak too.
In addition to outstanding eats, Tupelo is owned by the most caring couple who is known for being involved with and supportive of the local community. If you want to eat well and know your business is supporting a great organization, be sure to enjoy a meal here.
For those who follow ski news, you may have heard that Deer Valley recently changed management. As someone who has had the pleasure to visit the resort a number of times through the years, I can report first hand that the experience is as exceptional as it has always been. Whether your are visiting for your first or your fifteenth time (and you’ll meet plenty of people who’ve been visiting Deer Valley for even longer!), you’ll be delighted by the “Deer Valley difference.”
Thank you so much for reliving this adventure with me! Is there anywhere you are hoping to visit this year? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!
I’m so grateful to Deer Valley for hosting us for another wonderful stay. We selected Deer Valley for our vacation on our own, and I was not obligated to write this post. I have genuinely loved my Deer Valley experiences and enjoy sharing them with you.