Fireside dining and a sleigh ride at Deer Valley

By Mountain Mama Mar 13, 2012
Ski by day, sleigh ride by night. Empire Lodge at Deer Valley has a fireside dining option that is delicious and family friendly. And you can do a sleigh ride right outside the lodge which the kids will love!
Fireside dining and a sleigh ride at Deer Valley

It's amazing after you've skied all day that you're exhausted, however, your kids still have tons of energy.  So, now what to do?  Fireside dining is a great option for families at Deer Valley.  It takes place at Empire Canyon Lodge.  It is one of the day lodges at Deer Valley, but Wedneday through Saturday evenings it transforms into a yummy place for dinner.  It is especially family friendly, so no need for your best formal dress outfit and worrying if your kids are going to be too loud and disturb others...that's what it is about.  Everywhere you go around Deer Valley you are greeted with the beautiful wooden lodges and the smell of fire burning.  I rarely drive up to Deer Valley in the evening, so it was a treat for us to head up on a Wednesday and under a full moon!  The drive up to Empire Canyon Lodge is beautiful in itself since it has winding roads with spectacular views as you arrive at 8,300'!  Once you arrive, there is parking or if you don't want to drive, you can take shuttles from Park City.

You do have to remember that it is evening, you are at 8,300' and it's winter; dress accordingly.  The highlight heading into the evening is the promise of a sleigh ride.  I don't know what it is about ski resorts, horses and twinkling stars...but they all fit together.  It's amazing how you can drive just a little ways away and see the beautiful night sky.  We've signed up for the sleigh ride at 6 PM.  They run in 15 minute time periods.  Emily loves horses!  She is saving her money to buy a horse (we've got a long way to go!)  I have everyone bundled up like we're heading to the North Pole (as usual) so we're toasty warm.  If you don't have all these clothes on, don't worry, there are blankets provided in the sleigh to cuddle up in.  We watch as others take their rides and then Em greets the horses, Chub and Grub, as they wait for us to load up.  Justin, our driver, gets us all snuggled in with lots of giggles and away we go.  The ride takes you around the base at Empire.  2 lifts are in the area, Empire and Ruby.  We cruise around and enjoy the beautiful views.  At the end, Justin does some "horse doughnuts".  We spin around in quick circles which brings smiles and lots of laughs!  We're also told that in the summer, the horses do trail rides at Sundance.  Emily's eyes almost popped out of her head.  Guess we'll have that on our "to do" list!

With our rosy cheeks, we head indoors for dinner.  There are 4 fireplaces burning in various rooms and each room has a theme.  The lighting, the smells and the ambience are so "Deer Valley".  You know what I mean if you've been there.  Classy, but so warm and inviting.  Our server explains how the the evening works.  She'll take drink orders which includes everything from milk for the kids to wine and beer for the adults and you serve yourself by walking to each fireplace station.  Starting with a Swiss Raclette Cheese plate collected at the first fireplace, you move on to a station filled with all kinds of foods to accompany the cheese plate.  The kids love that they walk up to the station at the fireplace as the cheese is melted on plates and are handed their own plate and to move on and choose what they want.  Normally, I plop down a plate and say eat!  This is a treat, they can pick and choose different breads, potatoes, meats and Em's favorite-strawberry chutney.

Next fireplace station; husbands favorite was the beef short ribs and Emily loved the trout!  Me; wild mushroom stew. Bren...about anything goes.  There is a selection of salads and vegetarian items as well.

Last entree: leg of lamb hanging over the fireplace.  I'll admit...I didn't try it, but kids and Dad loved it!

And the most awaited fireplace....DESSERTS!  I love how they were strategically placed at the fireplace at the front when you walk in.  You must parade the kids by the chocolate fondue, berries, cookies...  But, it works well as an incentive.  "If you eat all of this on your plate, we can get dessert".  They know what "dessert" is and will gobble their food to get the big ending!  Bren finishes first, no surprise, and heads over to the fondue.  You have white and dark chocolate and carmel!  You can get 1 or all in separate cups and then pick out a plate of treats to dip.  Lots of different fruits, cakes, meringue (my favorite and Em's too).

After way too much food, we're in a food coma and now time to head home.  Since it's so beautiful, we run around outside under a full moon with stars and trees twinkling with Christmas lights and hope to do it again soon.  In fact, as we load up the car and are driving back to Salt Lake City, Emily says "When can we do that again?"

Now it's off to another event.  Brennan turning 5!  Tha'ts next..a tale of a snowboard obsessed little boy!

Check out the deals on Ski' N See.  Emily is getting her own skis in the next couple of weeks and she is excited!!