Just Playing at Deer Valley
by Paul Maraschiello


On all my other visits to Deer Valley, I was on assignment covering major FIS Freestyle events. This time, Paul Maraschiello was just there to play. Tex had never skied Deer Valley and I wanted him to see how the "rich and famous" skied. I would rate Deer Valley really high on the totem pole when it comes to customer service and the mountain isn't too shabby ether. In the past, I have kiddingly called Deer Valley the best four-star restaurant with skiing in America but that really under-rates the skiing. They have an entire mountain that can humble the most avid skiers, including myself. Not to mention bump runs, chutes and other runs that could tax the ability of the best skiers. Don't think that all Deer Vally has is groomers for the pampered rich, they have a lot of kick-ass runs for the hardcore, too.

When we got to Park City, we checked in at the Treasure Mountain Inn on Main St. and we really lucked out because they put us in a 2-bedroom condo behind the Inn on Park Ave. It was a really nice and fully equipped. We had a full kitchen, bath with laundry facilities, large livingroom with cable TV. In short, we had everything we needed for a very comfortable few days. There was even a chess set just in case we were feeling in an intellectual mood. We were only a block off Main St., where all the action is in Park City. Rates run from $125 for a studio (law season) to $245 for a 2-bedroom (early season) to $415 (regular season) and as high as $550 during the Sundance Film Festival. For reservations call: (800) 344-2460 or (435) 655-4501.

Although I had skied at Deer Valley before, Tex had never been there. I had the pleasure of introducing him to one of the finest ski areas in America. Everything at Deer Valley is top-notch. The service is excellent and they really try to make sure you have a really GREAT ski experience. With four mountains, 21 lifts, 90 runs and 6 bowls, we had our work cut out for us if we wanted to ski everything.

The guys at the rental shop fixed us up with their best high-performance skis. We both had Rossignol skis. Mine were the Zenith model, a stiff pair of carving skis with lifter plates which were perfect for high-speed groomers. Tex demoed a pair of fatter skis that were more suitable for powder. After trying to catch me all day, her turned them in for a pair of Zenith Z9s and he also really liked them. The next day, he didn't have to work to keep up with me. These skis were excellent at long and short-radius turns and really liked to go fast. They weren't too shabby in the bumps ether.

The sun was shining and it was a picture-perfect day on the slopes. It was around 30 degrees on the mountain and it was a great day. We warmed up with a few runs on Wizard and then made our way over to Stein's Way, one of my favorite trails at Deer Valley. It was meticulously groomed and as steep as ever. We shifted into overdrive and zoomed up and down that trail several times, hitting the bumps on the edge on top and riding up the Mayflower chair. We liked that run a lot and the view was spectacular. We ventured over to the Sultan Express a couple of times and took a couple of runs down Perseverance. As the morning wore on, we worked our way Empire Canyon, hitting the more interesting blues and easier blacks on the way.

We found some interesting bumps on Square Deal and made it over the Empire Canyon for a few runs before lunch. I wanted to try the salad bar at the Silver Lake Lodge, so we headed over there for lunch. It was sunny, so we ate our lunch basking in the sun on the porch . . . LIFE IS GOOD!

After lunch, we took it easy and hit some of the trails we had found earlier and really liked. We quit around 3 PM and headed back to our condo with that really great tired feeling that comes from a great day on the snow.

The next day, were on the snow early and had another really great day. We followed the sun, Skiing Bald Mt. And riding the Mayflower chair, just like the day before. I was a little windy and the Mayflower chair was much more protected than the Wasatch Express or the Sultan Express, so we spent the morning skiing the trails off the Mayflower.

As the day progressed, we worked our way over to Empire Canyon again. The day before, I saw someone who had ordered a Panchetta sandwich that really looked delicious and I really wanted to try one. If I haven't mentioned it before, the food is REALLY good at Deer Valley. It's not cheap but you get what you pay for. My roast beef Panchetta and spring salad was very tasty.

After lunch, we were back on Empire testing the snow on Orion, Buckeye, Supreme and even found some off-peste powder in Lady Morgan Bowl. We also had time to play in the bumps on Square deal under the chair on Flagstaff Mt. and ended the day in the bumps on Big Stick and Champion. We took a couple of runs down Solid Muldoon and hit the bumps on Little Kate too.

We did a pretty good job checking out all the trails at Deer Valley. We didn't ski every trail but we did a pretty good job. We would have needed more time to ski them all but we managed to rack up a fair amount of vertical miles.