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If you like your ski experience upscale and without the crowds, then Deer Valley, Utah, is your kind of resort. Part of the larger Park City ski area, it’s only 36 miles from Salt Lake City, which is well served by both national and international airlines. It’s also only a few minutes' drive from the shops and restaurants of Main Street, Park City, a charming historic area of 19th-century buildings that tell of the town’s beginnings as a silver mining outpost, and today are known for housing gourmet dining, elegant boutiques and, in January, Robert Redford’s world-famous Sundance Film Festival. If you don’t feel like driving in the snow, it’s good to know that there’s a free transport system of shuttles to get you around the neighboring slopes and resort centers.
Deer Valley gets an average of 300 inches of snow each season, and to give its skiers the best experience it both limits the number of passes sold per day and has a no-snowboards policy. There are 101 ski runs to choose from, and more than 20 chairlifts – uphill lift capacity is over 50% more than at neighboring resorts, so you’ll never have to stand too long in line, wasting precious time you could be skiing downhill instead.
Service is outstanding, with complimentary parking for day skiers, complimentary overnight ski storage, an on-site licensed childcare facility and one of the largest ski schools in the country with more than 500 instructors. Another genius service available is that of the Mountain Hosts – these smiling, green-jacketed experts are available to take you on a free ski tour, showing you the best runs for your ability level, filling you in on the day’s conditions and oftentimes even giving you a little history lesson on the way.
Deer Valley served as the site of several events for the 2002 Winter Olympics, including moguls, aerial, and alpine slalom, and just off Interstate 80 at Kimball Junction you’ll find the Olympics’ lasting gift to the Park City area: the Utah Olympic Park. Still an official training site for Olympic athletes, the park is nonetheless open to the public and holds a variety of Olympic, ski, and sports-related attractions for the whole family to enjoy. Admission is free, and you’ll have access to the Alf Engen Ski Museum (which contains memorabilia related to the legendary skier), the Eccles Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum (where you’ll find Olympic medals and athletic equipment used during the games), the Discovery Zone obstacles course, the Mountain Challenge course and a number of hiking trails.
Paid-for activities include climbing and ropes courses, a zipline and a guided tour that visits the world's highest Nordic ski jumps, but the big one is “The Comet” – the track that saw Olympic bobsled, skeleton, and luge competitors shoot down at speed in 2002, and now gives you the chance to experience that thrill for yourself. It’s one of the longest slides in the world, at over 3,000 feet, and a professional driver will take up to three passengers at a time for the ride of their lives, reaching speeds up to 60 mph in less than a minute. In summer, the bobsleds are modified to roll on the track’s concrete surface, so no need to miss out on the adrenaline rush if there’s no snow in town.
Adrenaline junkies are well catered for on a vacation in these Utah mountains: Besides the Olympic runs, ropes and climbs, there are a whole host of other activities to fulfil your need for speed. How about the Park City Mountain Resort Alpine Coaster for starters? Hop in a toboggan car to race down an elevated track that takes you through more than a mile of scenic curves, bends, twists and loops. Pulled down the mountain by gravity’s unstoppable force, you’re in total control of your own vehicle and there are breaks to slow you down, but why not let her rip and hit that 30mph mark?
If you’ve got little daredevils in tow, as well as tiny tykes who might not yet be ready for the big kids’ fun ’n’ games, then Gorgoza Park is a good bet. There are seven tube lanes, open till 8 pm – four for more advanced tubers and three for beginners. But the park’s big draw card if you’ve brought your littlest ones along is its Fort Frosty play area for children aged 6 and younger, where you’ll find a carousel, mini snowmobiles, and a small hill for mini tubers.
So you’re ready to hit the slopes, ride the bobsled run, and take in a little tubing action? Our ski cabins in Deer Valley offer the perfect warm and welcoming retreat when you return home ready to shake off the snow. With properties ranging from two bedrooms all the way up to seven, we have the ideal vacation home for you whether you just want to take the kids or join up with a big group of friends for a week of white-weather fun. Many of our rentals offer the ease of ski-in, ski-out access, with boot rooms where you can leave all your gear, and boot and glove warmers so that you can slip back into toasty-warm togs in the morning.
Gorgeous views are pretty much a given, and there are villas with access to a steaming hot tub in which to soak your weary muscles after all that non-stop activity. In the evenings, grab a bottle of red and set yourself up in front of the fire with a DVD or perhaps Apple TV, before finally flopping into a big bed swathed in snowy linen, soft as any mountain drift.