There's no getting around it. A family ski vacation takes two things: money and planning. It's likely one of the most expensive trips a family can take and there is a LOT of gear involved in the packing. Execution isn't easy. Here at Momtrends, we want you to spend your time and money wisely. That is why I'm leading off this review saying. You will feel fantastic about investing in a Deer Valley vacation. Money well spent. Memories well made.
If you are new to this website, let me fill you in: we are HUGE ski fans. We've been to over a dozen resorts over the years--all with the hopes to bringing you all the best in family ski coverage. Without a doubt, I can report that Deer Valley is the most relaxing family ski experience I've ever had. The lease amount of planning went into the trip for the maximum amount of fun.
Like you, I'm incredibly busy. Kids, husband, work, friends, church...you get the picture. Spending tons of time planning the perfect winter holiday takes time away from all these things. We want to travel, but we don't want hassles. Deer Valley cuts the hassle out of the equation--from lodging to lessons to activities, they have the staff available to take the stress out of planning and execution. Yes, there are other fantastic mountains to ski and other posh resorts to visit. But at Deer Valley the staffing makes the difference. Everyone at Deer Valley appears to have been meticulously trained, because every interaction was perfection.
Top three reasons I love skiing Deer Valley.
1.) Pure skiing. While I love snowboarding in theory, in practice the few times I've been taken out from behind while skiing have been by snowboarders.
2.) Groomed trails. The grooming team at Deer Valley is incomparable.
3.) Happy kids. Picking up grumpy kids from ski school stinks.
Ready to book your holiday trip? Good. Now let's walk through the details of our stay in Utah to give you ideas on how to fill your days at Deer Valley. Let's break it down by category.
Lodging.We stayed in The Lodges. It's easy to access the slopes and the restaurants via a free shuttle. Our lodge room was HUMONGOUS. We hosted a few other families for apres ski drinks just to show off the space. There are tons of lodging options for families, each lodge has a swimming pool and a gym. I advise working with a Deer Valley agent to walk you through the options, but I can highly recommend The Lodges. Head here to see all the lodging options.
The skiing.Made up of six mountains, Deer Valley has plenty of terrain to keep you occupied for a week. Bald Mountain has the highest elevation--9400ft. My favorite runs were off the Wasatch Express Lift: Stein's way (a groomed black diamond) and Legal Tender. If you loved groomed trails you are going to be so, so happy here.
My kids pick Last Chance as a favorite run, the houses along the blue trail have playful sculptures on them like soaring eagles and climbing bears (see feature photo at top).
Ski School. The ski school is right off the main entrance to Deer Valley. The staff is so competent, caring and qualified that parents are constantly dazzled. Forget about the drop-off tears, long lines and chaos one often associates with ski school. This is sunshine, roses and unicorns. We forgot sunscreen one day--of course they had it. Another day we had an issue with a lost pole. They found it. Let me stress this though RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED WELL IN ADVANCE. Lessons book up months out. Be organized and as soon as you book flights, get your lessons. Lessons are small 3:1 student to teacher ratio and your child is almost guaranteed to get better with each day. Our little one came back with a "reindeer progress report" every day complete with feedback from the instructors like: "She is working on leaning forward when she skis. Arms in front will help remind her."
If your kids don't want to ski (baffles the mind), there is also a licensed children's center with care available from 8:30-4:30. Get details here.
Ski valet. I loved this check in for the skis and poles. Right by the entrance of the mountain (where you get your lift tickets) you can drop your skis at the end of the day so you don't have to lug them back to your room and secure them in a dingy locker. This area was always well-staffed and very organized. A must for families to make life easier. And it's free.
Racing.Race against the NASTAR pacesetter, Heidi Voelker. Every Saturday she zooms down the course and sets the pace. Then Deer Valley uses her times to set Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. There's also participant medals if you're slow like I am! This was a HUGE hit with our girls and Mr. Momtrends. It's $10 for two runs (and two chances to medal).
Dining.We had breakfast at home every day. We like to start with a huge skier breakfast and since our kitchen was both enormous and amazing we had plenty to work with. Just a few miles away there's a well-stocked grocery store. Lunch was had on the mountain as was dinner. Notable meals were the lunch we had at the Goldener Hirsch Restaurant and the fireside dinner at the Empire Canyon Lodge. At the Goldener Hirsch there's a few traditions you won't want to miss--one the fries cooked with crispy bacon with parmesan cheese sauce and putting your helmet on the stairs of the hotel. The meal was hearty and delicious. MT Travel tip: Reservations recommended--best to go without the kids.
The Empire dinner was a real treat. After the ride we enjoyed the dishes from five stone fireplaces. Bring a healthy appetite! Definitely opt for the carriage ride with your dinner when making a reservation. See more about that experience in our YouTube video.
What else? There's some shopping to be done. But mostly it's all about heading to the hot tub and pool after skiing and swapping favorite runs and epic falls. This is the type of trip where mom can relax and everyone can enjoy skiing together or upping the ante and getting lessons. Whether it's your first time on skis or your family's annual trip, you know investing in Deer Valley will pay off.
This is not a sponsored post. Deer Valley supplied lift tickets and lodging. We paid for air fare and all the other expenses. We ski a lot, we really like ski families so trust my opinions on these resorts.