Nothing in this world gets me more excited than chasing powder. I’ll go just about anywhere. But, when it dumps in your own backyard, there’s no place I’d rather ski than Deer Valley Resort.
This resort often gets overlooked when it comes to skiing pow, and I have a few theories as to why. For many years, Deer Valley® has been known for four things; grooming, service, food and lodging. Back in the 80s and 90s, even the early 2000s, skiing powder was pretty much reserved for extreme skiers. But over the past 15 years, the powder ski has evolved, making the sport more accessible to all skiers. With the right equipment, pretty much anyone can ski like a pro. And the best part: no powder panic at Deer Valley! Powder panic is the term I use when everyone on the planet shows up for a powder day and just jams up a good time.
Deer Valley picked up on that change, and they’ve created an awesome experience. An awesome experience that many skiers around the country have recognized, thus the readers of SKI magazine ranked Deer Valley the #1 ski resort in all of North America this year. Watch some of my videos and you’ll see it for yourself. DV cuts no corners, and now, adds fantastic powder skiing to its long list of accolades.
Here’s my typical routine: I get to Deer Valley at 8:45 a.m. and put my boots on in the parking lot. I personally skip the Snow Park parking shuttle because I enjoy walking through the parking lot; it gets the blood moving. Don't forget though, that Deer Valley offers complimentary ski valet at the doorstep of Snow Park Lodge. Next, I head right to Silver Lake Village; it has a ton of early morning powder options. Most skiers will head for the long runs off the Wasatch Express chairlift like Legal Tender and Wizard. However, I make a right turn into the trees off the Reward ski run and enter the Triangle Trees. It has an awesome mini-bowl with well-spaced trees and a great roll-over for deep pow shots.
MY PRO TIP: Here’s where my plan really diverts from everyone else. Most skiers will rush over to the Empire Express chairlift once it opens. I hold off and wait for the Mayflower chairlift. It’s almost always empty and the runs at the top have the longest vertical drop on the mountain. My favorites runs are Morning Star and Fortune Teller. They go on forever, total leg burners!
By this time of day, I start getting hungry. On those super cold, windy pow days, something warm usually hits the spot, so I head over to Silver Lake Lodge for some Pho (Vietnamese Noodle soup.)
If you’re on the other side of the mountain, I absolutely love the Specialty Grill at Empire Canyon Grill. My current favorite is the Korean BBQ Steak Wrap.
Once lunch is over, most of the locals leave the mountain and head off to work. Now the mountain is pretty much yours. This is when I make my way over to Empire Canyon, but I do it slowly. If I’m leaving Silver Lake, I’ll head to the Quincy Express chairlift and Ontario Bowl. The main bowl will likely be pretty skied out, but I prefer the northwest facing side of the bowl anyway. The lines are usually a bit shorter and the snow is always colder and deeper in those huge, old growth pines. That’s where we shot this photo last year, and it was probably my favorite of the season.
It takes a little while to get familiar with this area so don’t be afraid to explore. To access it without hiking, take the Hidden Treasure trail and stay high right on the traverse into the old growth pines. I only recommend skiing this terrain when it’s snowed at least a foot or more. Those pines can hold tons of snow above your head so you really want it to be deep.
After I’ve had my fill of Ontario, I finally head over to Empire. I like the Daly Chutes after they’ve been tracked out a bit. The Shots are steep, short and fun. There are a ton of obstacles, like rocks and little cliffs that I find fun, and I can see exactly what I’m getting myself into. Let someone else be your crash test dummy.
At the end of a DV powder day, I almost always find some short untracked lines in the Lady Morgan Bowl. While the Bowl will almost certainly be tracked out, the traverse on the way out, towards Pearl trail always holds some powder stashes. Late in the afternoon, that’s where you’ll find the Powder Posse, nabbing thigh deep powder shots. Getting out of there does require a little skate skiing but the powder is worth it!
So that’s an average Deer Valley powder day. One advantage of skiing powder at a resort like DV is that the vertical isn’t that long. Most laps are about 1200–1500 vertical feet. This gives your legs plenty of time to rest on the chairs. On DV pow days, I ski bell to bell!
Ok, this has nothing to do with powder skiing, but I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you about Seafood Buffet. As a restauranteur, I love the concept but the name gives some visitors pause. Don’t let it! As the owner of a sushi restaurant (Yuki Yama Sushi on Main Street, come stop by) I know good seafood. Trust me, the product at the Seafood Buffet is top notch! I recommend it to nearly everyone who walks through our door. Seriously, unlimited Snow Crab, Dungeness Crab, and mountains of Pacific White Shrimp. All. You. Can. Eat. And don’t be that guy who asks “How does all this seafood get here fresh?” The answer is simple: the same way you got here, on a plane. And it only takes a few hours.
So from the first chair to your final meal on a powder day, Deer Valley has you covered. You can thank me after you try it out yourself!
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