How to Navigate Deer Valley

By Travel Tips and Deals Mar 22, 2018
Deer Valley has so much to offer, from corduroy groomed runs to delectable food. Here's how to make the most of your first visit to Deer Valley.
How to Navigate Deer Valley

This post is part of a series on how to navigate a new ski area for the first time. For all of my general tips, read my first post, How to Navigate a New Mountain

Deer Valley Resort is known for its hospitality, service, perfectly groomed runs, and lovely powder stashed trees. Oh and food – they have delicious food! Like any mountain, finding your way around Deer Valley has a learning curve. As the name implies – it has valleys and there are some tricks to getting around.

When visiting for the first time, you’ll want to make sure you get the whole experience without wasting too much time learning your way. The best option to do this is starting with either a lesson or a complimentary mountain host tour.

Ski lessons are a great option if you haven’t skied in a while, or want to level-up your skills. Most instructors will not only teach you to ski better, they will also share the “best of” the mountain, such as best intermediate runs, best place for a fast bite, and how to find your way around the lift system.

If you prefer something more casual (and free), a mountain host tour is the way to go. This way you’ll get a local’s view of the mountain, score insider tips on the best food and après ski spots and learn a little about the history of the Park City area. Another great benefit are the people you will meet. “We’ve had people meet on a tour and get along so well they book their vacations together now,” shared one of our hosts on the lift ride to our first run.

I’d visited Deer Valley for the FIS Freestyle World Cup and to mountain bike during the summer, but I’d never skied there until this month. My family and I ski throughout the winter, so a tour was the logical option. At just before 10 am, we met at the base of Carpenter Express Lift where a sign marked the spot. Soon two guides and few other guests joined us and we got a quick briefing before loading up the chairs.

The tour was so helpful! 

The tour was so helpful! In just two hours we knew our way around and had lots of tips and suggestions to make the most of our day. If you're planning your first visit to Deer Valley, or haven't been in awhile, these tips will get you started. However, I still suggest skiing with an instructor or host who can personally show you around!

Starting the Deer Valley Mountain Host Tour

Tips for a Perfect Day at Deer Valley


Of course, you need fuel to ski all day so that was one of the first things I asked about. Our host had lots of great suggestions!

Breakfast: Snow Park Restaurant. “It’s worth getting up early for!” shared Jennie. From the Natural Breakfast Buffet to the made-to-order specialties such as fluffy Belgian Waffles, it will start your day off right.

A speedy bite between runs: Cushing’s Cabin (top of Flagstaff Mountain) and Snowshoe Tommy’s (top of Bald Mountain) offer hot drinks, snacks, muffins, and hot turkey chili. It’s a great way to fill up without slowing down.

Lunch on a crowded day: Head back down to the Snow Park. Most skiers rush to mid-mountain restaurants and forget about the base. Enjoy a long run down and skip the crowds.

Meal not to miss: Bald Mountain Pho (located mid-mountain in the Silver Lake Lodge) or the Turkey Chili (it’s a crowd favorite) at multiple locations.

Great mid-mountain Eats: The Silver Lake Village has four restaurants to choose from (including the Pho). For a casual meal, opt for the Silver Lake Restaurant or Bald Mountain Pho. For table service, the Royal Street Cafe is a great pick (the Dungeness Crab Tower is a local favorite). Foodies may want to sample the fare at the Goldener Hirsch, Recipient of the AAA-Four Diamond Award and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, which also offers an après ski menu.

Dinner: Hands down the Seafood Buffet and Fireside Dining are two dinners you guests should experience during their stay.

Learning the Mountains on the Deer Valley Mountain Host Tour


Parent Hacks

Young kids are a handful, then add that skiing is a gear intensive sport and it’s a challenge for guests with young children. Here’s your hack…take advantage of all the skier services.

Ski Valet: Look for these awesome helpers dressed in green when you pull up to the Snow Park Lodge. They will help unload and re-load your gear.

Ski Storage: This is a huge help on multi-day visits because they will stash your gear overnight, or just for lunch. This means you don’t have to haul everything, plus the kids, each day! Ski storage service is available at the Snow Park Lodge and Jordanelle Express Gondola for day/overnight, and daytime only at Empire Canyon.

Accessory/Gear Storage: Perfect for all of the extra bags of stuff you may need throughout the day. For a small fee you can utilize either the attended basket check or Silver Lake or Snow Park Lodges. While there are also self-service lockers available at both lodges and the Jordanelle Express Gondola, I suggest the basket check because you can access your things as much as needed during the day.

Skier services are a life saver when visiting with kids!

Children’s Adventure Area: Download the Children’s Adventure Area Map ahead of time to get kids excited about their visit.

Say “hi” to the Avalanche Dogs: Ask early if any of the “avy” dogs will be available for visits during the day. I’m also told a special flag is flown outside the ski patrol huts when visits are welcomed. Just please don’t approach the dogs on skis if you see them out and about. Stand still and ask for the dog’s safety.

More Than a TourWe Had Fun Deer Valley Mountain Host Tour


Insider Tips to Make a Good Day Great

Grooming Report: Every morning a grooming report is published telling when each run was groomed and which is the “groomer’s pick.” Grab one on the way to the lift.

View Lift Status and Grooming Reports Online: I love advance information. Deer Valley updates the lift status and current trail conditions promptly on their website so you can know where to start your day.

Buy Tickets in Advance: One of the top features of Deer Valley is that tickets are limited to a set number daily. This means it sometimes sells out. Avoid disappointment by buying a day in advance.

Demo Rossignol Skis: Demo the latest in Rossignol skis at the Rossignol High Performance Test Center, located adjacent to the Empire Canyon Lodge.

Trails for All

No matter your ability there is something for you at Deer Valley. Here are a few ideas to get you going!

Beginners: Snow Park Lodge is a good place to start if you’re still getting your ski legs. All of the green runs at Deer Valley are slow zones so you don’t have to worry about being plowed over by an over zealous speed demon. You can warm up on Wide West before exploring green runs further up. For sweeping views and a long cruiser run, head to the top of Bald Mountain to catch Homeward Bound. On Flagstaff check out Onterio and Bandana.

Intermediate: Bald Mountain and Flagstaff Mountain offer a bunch of blue options also with great views. On Bald Mountain, check out Nabob, and Keno. On Flagstaff Mountain, Bluebell is popular along with Sidewinder.

Advanced: The black and double black runs off of Bald Mountain are a good pick for advanced skiers, including the Ruins of Pompeii, Perseverance Bowl, and Mayflower Bowl. For more challenging terrain, head over to Empire. If trees are your pleasure, Centennial Trees off of Lady Morgan Express may be the ticket.

Our Mountain Host Jennie Leading the Way - Deer Valley Mountain Host Tour 

Two hours well spent!

Over the course of two hours with our expert Mountain Host, we’d traveled a huge chunk of the resort and knew our way around far better than we would have in a day or two un-guided. We’d also learned about all of the skier services, some history, and where to grab a bite. With tummies grumbling, we said our goodbyes and headed in for steamy bowls of Pho. Two hours well spent!

Deer Valley offers four complimentary Mountain Host tours each day. They depart from the Snow Park and Silver Lake Lodges and are geared toward intermediate and expert skiers. More information may be found on the Deer Valley website under “winter activities,” or click HERE.