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.
Related: 10 States Where Kids Ski Free
Why You Should Ski Deer Valley
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.
Deer Valley also does a great job of crowd control. On busy days, they literally CAP the number of skiers they will allow on the mountain. This means you’ll spend more time on your skis and lest time in lines. They also have a fantastic system of high-speed lifts (and very few cat tracks) to get you exactly where you want to be. Deer Valley has 21 chairlifts, including 12 high speed detachable quads and an enclosed 4-passenger gondola. That’s a lot of hardware to keep folks moving.
Top three reasons I love skiing Deer Valley
- 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.
- Groomed trails. The grooming team at Deer Valley is incomparable.
- 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 at Deer Valley
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.
Deer Valley is located in the Wasatch Range, located about 35 miles from of Salt Lake City. There are many direct flights to Deer Valley (including Delta, my carrier of choice). If you get an early flight from NYC, you can be skiing in the afternoon. Unlike Colorado, the drive to the mountains is a breeze with relatively little traffic to contend with.
The Skiing at Deer Valley
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.
Don't miss skiing on Bald Eagle Mountain--in 2002 this was the site for freestyle skiing and moguls. Download the Deer Valley to track and plan your day.
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).
Deer Valley 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.
On the BUSIEST day, Deer Valley ski school has 1000 guests registered. But they are ready with a staff of 550 instructors.
Mountain Host Tours
Every day Deer Valley offers free ski tours. It's one of the best values on the mountain. Join a Mountain Host (those guys and girls in green jackets) for a ski tour of Deer Valley Resort. You'll learn about the resort's terrain, history and trivia while discovering new runs and secret powder stashes with the locals who ski them. Four complimentary Mountain Host tours are offered each day, departing from the top of Carpenter Express chairlift and are available to skiers of intermediate and expert abilities. Tour capacity is limited and tours will depart promptly at the times listed below.
TIP: Talk to the greeters. You’ll see these friendly folks all over in green jackets. They are a wealth of information on conditions, dining ideas and stories. Many of them are retirees and they know their stuff.
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Ski with a Champion
There are a lot of Olympic athletes living in Utah. Deer Valley has put them to work. They have a unique ski experience called "Ski with a Champion" where guests can ski with one of six Olympic snowsport athletes. This experience can be booked for an individual or a whole families (the maximum group size is six people). But note, this isn't a lesson, it's more of a really awesome guided tour.
Ski with a Champion includes access to the Ski School lane at all chairlifts. The experience is not a lesson. Participants must be at least 7 years of age; children 12 and under are required to be accompanied by an adult. Lift tickets are not included. Some skiing experience is required.Pricing: Full-day: $2,400 | Half-day: $1,400
Deer Valley 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.
It's best to take care of your skis before you arrive. I highly recommend Ski Butlers. They bring the gear to your condo or hotel and take the hassle out of the equation.
Deer Valley NASTAR
Race against the NASTAR pacesetter, picked by Deer Valley. They often use Olympians! Then Deer Valley uses the time 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).
Deer Valley Dining Highlights
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.
For a little couples time, head Fresh Tracks in Snow Park Lodge. They have seating outdoors (with heaters) and indoors (where you can hear live music!). After the host seats your party, place your order using the QR code at your leisure. Of course you'll want to try the Champion Margarita and don't miss the Deer Valley chili nachos. Made-to-order selections are sent directly to our kitchen and delivered to your table as soon as they are ready.
And for even more adult fun, try the Après Lounge just outside the Montage resort. You can't miss the big orange yurt! Located in Empire Village, directly behind the resort with direct access to Ruby, Empire and Lady Morgan ski lifts, The Après Lounge makes for a true skiers’ delight.
Designed to pair perfectly with the champagne, The Après Lounge features a menu with select gourmet bites including caviar, local cheeses & charcuterie, smoked fish and more created by Montage Deer Valley’s expert culinary team. There's cozy decor and fun music as you sip some bubbly and celebrate a terrific ski day.
More Reasons to Love Deer Valley
What else? You won't need a rental car. I recommend taking the Snow Country Limo's to the property and skipping the car. If you want to venture into Park City to shop or dine, use the Deer Valley shuttle. Guests staying in Deer Valley are offered complimentary in-town transportation, provided by Cadillac.
Little things like free glove dryers at the on-mountain restaurants, sun screen in the bathrooms (and tampons too!) illustrate that Deer Valley is heavily invested in the brand experience.
Yes, Park City is fun, but mostly the apres-ski family fun is 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.
MORE SKI FEATURES FROM MOMTRENDS
- Rent your kids ski outfits this year with Kit Lender
- Listen to the Ski Moms Fun Podcast
- 12 Ways to Recycle and Resell Old Ski Gear
Use Pinterest to save your favorite family travel features. Be sure to follow our Ski Moms Pinterest Board.
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.