If you’ve never visited Deer Valley Resort, it might be easy to conclude that these posh Park City-area pistes—where porters run to unload your skis from your car, celebs can regularly be spotted catching rays at the Silver Lake base area ski beach and lift operators are armed with tissues and smiles at all times—may not be necessarily family focused. Au contraire! In fact, that same white-glove, “Deer Valley Difference” service this renowned ski resort’s staff bestows upon their adult guests is wholeheartedly extended to their pint-sized patrons as well. And it is done with a huge dose of fun.
Following are our multi-generational recommends for making the most of a ski getaway at Deer Valley Resort, from places to stay that are stacked with family-focused amenities and our favorite on-mountain noshes to 411 on how to get to those whoop-de-doo trails kids love and fun things to do away from the slopes.
When it’s time for a warm up or to take a break, head up to Snowshoe Tommy’s (at the Bald Mountain summit) or Cushing’s Cabin (at the top of Flagstaff Mountain) for a hot chocolate and huge housemade Deer Valley chocolate chip or oatmeal cookie. At the end of the day, Quincy’s Frozen Yogurt (inside Snow Park Lodge) is the place to be for a definitively kid-focused après-ski experience. If you happen to ski your fill before your kids do, head upstairs at Snow Park Lodge to the EBS Lounge deck where you can watch your youngsters make laps on Wide West while you sit back and sip a famous Deer Valley Blueberry Mojito.
For dinner, the menus at The Brass Tag (located inside the Lodges at Deer Valley) and Royal Street Café (Silver Lake Park Lodge) appeal to adults and kids in equal measure—The Brass Tag’s oven fired chimichurri chips and pizettes and Royal Street Café’s fish tacos and bulgogi sandwich are tried-and-true crowd pleasers. The Seafood Buffet (Snow Park Lodge) and Fireside Dining (Empire Canyon Lodge) both offer fun, interactive dining experiences where, because of each’s food station format, kids can acceptably get up and down from their seat at will. And while both the Seafood Buffet and Fireside Dining have fixed menus, chefs at each are happy to reasonably accommodate picky eaters—just ask the wait staff for assistance.
Grab a Children’s Adventure Area Map at the ticket windows and let them lead you to Quincy’s Cabin, a tiny rough-hewn log cabin where kids can peek in the windows to see the teddy bear tea party going on inside (located in the trees off the Silver Buck run between the run and the chairlift). Be sure to also check out the winding trails and mini-jumps in Oompa Loompa Land (in the 'triangle of trees' below the Gemini/Star Gazer intersection), Bucky's Bumps (at the Dew Drop/Last Chance/Success intersection) and the Enchanted Forest (straight ahead once you get off of Red Cloud Lift).
When skiing with your kids, set them up for success by letting them lead—even if it’s dumping and you’re itching to go off-piste, let them choose where they’d like to ski. It also doesn’t hurt to carry treats like M&Ms or a granola bar in your pocket to smooth over rough patches. And always end on a high note, i.e. when their still having fun versus when they are dropping from exhaustion.
A super-special experience for families with kids age 7 and up is Ski With a Champion, a half- or full-day of exploring Deer Valley with a former Olympic snowsport athlete. Other on-mountain things to do include NASTAR racing, skiing around with the Deer Valley mascots and special events from the World Championships freestyle competition (February 1 – 10, 2019), Santa on the Slopes and more. Pick up a copy of the Inside Edge newsletter at the Snow Park and Silver Lake Lodge information desks for the latest event info.
When the lifts stop running for the day, indulge in a fairytale-like sleigh ride before having dinner at Fireside Dining (book in conjunction with dinner reservations). Or check out the mountain after dark by your own steam with a Snowshoe and S’mores tour; a short snowshoe hike to a campfire to make s’mores with ingredients from the Deer Valley Bakery through All Seasons Adventures.
On your rest day—and every weeklong ski vacation should include at least one—you can wander Park City’s Historic Main Street, visit the Utah Olympic Park or head off the beaten path to the Garff Ranch for a day of exploring the backcountry by way of a snowmobile, open to children age 8 and older (drivers must be age 16 or older). Call Summit Meadow Adventures at 888.896.7669 for reservations.
Words by Melissa Fields
Sponsored by Deer Valley Resort