Ski Deer Valley like a local

PARK CITY, Utah — Ski like a local! It sounds like a bumper sticker— it probably is. But what it means to the folks who live and breathe skiing is: what not to miss; where to avoid; when to go; and tips and tricks to make the most of your ski season at Deer Valley.

Utah sets skier visitation records seemingly every season, but there are still plenty of opportunities to score first tracks and fresh powder. Many locals find plenty of elbow room by simply skiing during the week. Since most ski traffic is condensed on weekends and holidays, there is nary a lift line in sight Monday through Thursday. You don’t have to be retired or “fun-employed” to ski midweek. Sneak out before or after work, or for some lunch laps, and rack up significant vert in just a couple of hours. 

Photo: Deer Valley Resort.

Making the deal even sweeter, Deer Valley encourages locals to take advantage of these slower days with lower-priced pass options. In addition to the Midweek Season pass, the Deer Valley Locals Only Pass is another great pass for those who can’t commit to skiing an entire season. These “5 pack” options are available with both weekend and weekday options. The deerlocals.com website does a great job of comparing the different pass options available.

Parking is a hot topic these days. Personal cars are a convenient transportation tool (as well as a gear locker or even home on wheels for some) until it’s time to find a place to park. Several large transit lots are within and on the outskirts of town, making it incredibly convenient to park your wheels and either grab a free bus ride or carpool. Carpoolers are rewarded with reserved parking closest to the lifts on weekends and holidays. A big advantage for buses: they use dedicated lanes on the highway, zipping right by cars queuing up along the access roads hoping there will be spots left when they arrive. Deer Valley has lockers and bag checks available at Snow Park Lodge for those who pack heavily.

When it comes to the actual skiing, Deer Valley is expansive. There is much to explore, with over 2,000 acres, 21 chairlifts, 103 ski runs, and six bowls. However, the layout of the runs and lifts makes it easy to get from one side of the resort to the other. Skiers can get pretty much anywhere on the mountain in two (at most, three) high-speed lift rides, making the skiing feel very accessible. Mountain Hosts are posted at the top of many lifts and offer free guided daily tours based on ability levels. These tours are a great way to meet other skiers of similar ability and discover suitable terrain.

Photo: Deer Valley Resort.

Deer Valley has always been known for its standout dining, and rightfully so. Exciting food and wine events and new restaurants typically grab a lot of the headlines, but the food and beverage team also pays attention to the details. Skiers who make their way to the Jordanelle area this season will appreciate the addition of hot chocolate and coffee at the gondola base. A warm drink and a gondola ride will take the bite out of any cold winter day.

It would be remiss not to mention turkey chili when talking about food at Deer Valley. It is no superlative to say “world-famous” when it comes to the revered bowl of black beans, corn, red pepper, and of course, turkey. This tried-and-true dish never gets old; try it smothered over a plate of french fries for an interesting spin.

Wise diners make reservations well in advance (as in, now) for some of the more popular restaurants such as Fireside Dining, Cast & Cut, and The Mariposa. Booking in advance is generally a good call, especially during holiday periods for ski school lessons, and even lift tickets for days the resort sells out. Keep an eye on resort social media channels to know if the following day may be a sellout to purchase lift tickets in advance.

Locals here pay it forward, as many came from outside Park City once upon a time. Visitors shouldn’t be shy about asking for directions or recommendations from local Parkites, who treat newcomers to our town with the welcoming spirit for which Utah is known.

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