Part three of my series of employee interviews inspired by Deer Valley’s National ad campaign…
Eliza Morris never imagined, as a child growing up in Boston, that her family’s vacations to ski at Deer Valley would result in her move to Utah to work for the company. Nor did she imagine she’d one day work with her very first Fawn Program Instructor. Something about it, though, seems predestined—as it turns out, her dad skied the resort’s opening weekend 31 years ago, and never looked back, bringing his family year after year. Eliza never had a fighting chance—and, she told me, she wouldn’t have it any other way. Now married to a DV ski instructor, and the mother of an almost one-year-old boy, Eliza says her Deer Valley is any day she finds herself in the company of her husband or her father on the hill—with a piece of carrot cake in front of her at lunch. In our recent chat, she and I bonded over our shared (and newfound) love for the trees. Read on to get her take on what separates the locals from the tourists. (Sorry—it may leave you rethinking your ski wardrobe!)
Employee Communications & Training Coordinator
Years at Deer Valley: 7
Hometown Boston, MA
I came to Deer Valley—when I finished college, to work as a ski instructor. Eventually, I became a ski school supervisor—and found myself working as colleagues with my very first instructor, Marion Blazer, from when I was in the Fawn program as a child. My family took our vacations here for many years, but I never imagined I’d live here.
If it takes me till noon to get out of the house…I am not going skiing. Ideally, I’m heading to the hill around 9.
My perfect ski day means…I’m skiing with my husband, Ben. He’s a ski instructor in his 11th year at Deer Valley, and it’s rare that we get a whole day together. Some days, I want him to give me pointers—other days I just want to enjoy my husband, not the instructor. We’ve been married for five years, and our son Grayson was born last January; so now ski days are really at a premium.
We love to eat lunch…at Empire. It gives us a little goal to work our way over there. If it’s a Salad Bar day, then I’ll try to stick it out and ski till 3:30. But if it’s baked potato and carrot cake day, then it’s easy runs home right after lunch.
My other favorite DV day is spent with my dad. He and my mom moved out here three years ago, following me from Boston. We’ll start around 10:30, do the Northside blues, cruise around, and then he likes to stop for coffee and a cookie at Cushing’s Cabin. Then we go to Empire for lunch and work our way down. My dad is 68 skies 100 days a year, 10-2, some days that’s exactly perfect; it’s what I want to do.
My must-have treat is…the carrot cake. Its gotta be the carrot cake. It’s a rare treat, but whenever someone visits, that’s the first thing we say, and look for a piece that’s heavy on the frosting.
The trails I can’t ski enough are…Big Stick, in the morning—I don’t like it in the afternoon. The other place I have to go is Lady Morgan. I was afraid to ski in trees and Ben has been making me get over it, taking me to Centennial Trees a lot, When you ski there, it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere. I finally got the message when my friends saw me skiing toward the trees—“Stop looking at them, look between them,” they said. “You are staring at them like they are coming to get you, no wonder you are skiing toward them!”
When I really want to push myself I go to Son of Rattler—it’s the trees next to Rattler off the Wasatch chair. Rattler is a tough mogul run that Ben loves, and for me, I have to endure skiing bumps under a chairlift, but it is good practice.
My ski day is over when The chairlift seems like a welcome break. My legs are my clue— when I am skiing down and every turn is harder than the last, I know it’s time to go.
My worst mistake on the hill was the first winter I lived here. My sister Lauren came to visit and we got dressed to ski in our “ski clothes.” It was a sunny day in March, and we decided to ski Mayflower—and by the time we got to the bottom, it looked like we’d just gotten out of the pool. Of course, we were dressed “to ski,” in our fleeces, neck gaiters, warm jackets. We get to the lodge and we see people dressed appropriately in a T-Shirt and maybe a little hat. We realized we needed to reassess the “ski clothes” thing. I am proud to say, my husband finally convinced me that warm days are meant to be skied without a base layer under the ski pants. I get it now.