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?

Deer Valley Mountain


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…

Lodges Lobby at Deer Valley. Couple with man on crutches


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

The Slopes

Beautiful Mountain Sky at Deer Valley Resort 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!

Erin Clarke in skis on a mountain top

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!

Skis on lift at Deer Valley Resort

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.

The Eats

Deer Valley Resort Dining

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.

The Accommodations

Silver Baron Lodge Deer Valley

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.

Deer Valley Resort Lodging at Silver Baron Lodge

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.

Skiing at Deer Valley

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.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Sounds like a great trip, Erin! I typically take warmer weather vacations since I live in Alberta, Canada, and we get winter for so long haha. I used to love skiing (we’re pretty close to the mountains with Banff and Jasper and such), but I haven’t been in years. I’ve always wanted to visit Utah. I’ve always thought I’d visit during summer, but who knows. I do love all the apres-ski type activities even if I don’t end up going on the slopes. ;)

    1. Natasha, I always felt the same way (I live in Wisconsin so I thought, why would I go somewhere that’s still cold?) but it is so different and so special. I highly recommend it. And I’d love to go sometime in the summer too!

  2. Erin, while I have enjoyed skiing at Deer Valley on occasion from the 80’s til a few years ago, may I suggest you try Sun Valley, ID, America’s first ski resort. Sun Valley was found and planned by Avril Harriman in the 1930s for the Benefit of the employees of the Union Pacific Railroad. Yes, it’s not as convenient to get to, especially for us East Coasters, but that is one of its beauties…hardly a lift line anywhere on the mountain. I can personally say, having skies there since the mid-70s, going top to bottom in a single run, by the time you’re back up top, your legs have hardly had enough time to recover!

    I remember a time I went to dinner with my fly fishing guide and we came across a table where Tom Hank, Sting and Bruce Springsteen were sitting. My fly fishing guide only said, “wow, imagine the net worth at that table”.

    And then there was the time I was with my four year old at the bottom of Dollar Mountain when she tugged on my arm to say, “Dad, the mom from Freaky Friday is standing nest to you”.  Yes, Jamie Lee Curris’ son was down on the slope and needed help, and she was concerned. Her mother has a run named after her on Bald Mountain. 

    I highly recommend the horse-drawn sleigh ride to a yurt for a fabulous dinner! The chefs in the Valley provide exquisite meals and the travel from Boise or Salt Lake City, is well worth the drive! Even with three young kids (who are now in college/grad school)!


    1. Art, everything you described sounds magical. What wonderful memories! Thank you so much for sharing. I’d love to go to Sun Valley one day!

  3. I love Park City! My sister used to live in Ogden and then Idaho. I lived in Idaho for a while and would go down to Park City to ski. It really is a beautiful place isn’t it?

  4. What an awesome trip! Last trip I made out to Utah to snowboard, I twisted my knee the first day and was out for the rest of the trip. But I had great fun sitting in the hot tub staring out at the slopes and watching the skiiers.

    I’m actually pretty sure I’ve eaten at Tupelo if I remember correctly. If I’m right, the food was amazing!

  5. I went skiing only one time and that was up in northern Wisconsin near where we went to college. I remember hating the tow rope but loved the chair lift. I also decided that I liked the trails much better than racing straight down a hill at 50 mph (probably less!) but I do have to admit that I spent a good share of the time on my backside. However, it was exhilarating to be out in the cold and sunshine. A great day was had by all – especially the drinks around the fireplace afterwards! These are gorgeous pictures.

    1. Chris, I don’t know that I ever went that fast, even if it felt like it sometimes! We haven’t gone skiing in Northern WI yet, but it’s on the list. I love the drinks around the fireplace after too :)

  6. Poor Ben! I was cheerfully reading along and then I see the crutches pictures. What??? Glad you both still had fun.

  7. My first time skiing in DV, I hated the experience.  It was hard to walk in boots, I wasn’t good at skiing, and I was fearful of heights with the lifts.  Fast forward a few years, and I LOVE skiing. So much in fact, we bought a place in Deer Valley and go back every winter.  It’s the best.  Sorry you didn’t have much snow during your visit! 

    1. Ali, what an incredible story! I’m so happy you love skiing now and can’t imagine a place I’d rather spend my winter. How wonderful to have a place there! Please eat an extra slice of carrot cake for me :)