Deer Valley Historical Hike With Michael O’Malley

Who knew that the popular beginner run, Ontario, was named after the deepest and most prolific mine in Park City (and last to close in 1981) not a province in Canada?  Who knew that Flagstaff mountain was not named after a city in Arizona but after a mining claim from three soldiers at Ft. Douglas- a pine bough stuck in the ground with a bandana tied around it?    Well everyone who took the Deer Valley guided historical hike, that’s who.  My husband, Jay and I met the group of hikers at the base of the Sterling Express Lift at the Silver Lake Lodge to join the hike led by Deer Valley mountain host, Michael O’Malley.

Photo By T.J. Lenahan

After our first history lesson and introductions all around, we grabbed some ski poles to use as walking sticks and headed up the trail —at a brisk pace I might add.  I was a little nervous that this group would leave me in the dust but I found out later our leader was doing a “level check” to see how we stayed together.  Michael said he starts out with a “New York attitude” to gauge the group and sets his pace accordingly. I guess we all possessed some of that attitude because we ended up staying together as a group really well (probably helped by a couple from Long Island on their first visit to Deer Valley.)

Michael has been leading the Deer Valley Historical Hikes, which are free to the public, for about four years now. He shared a bit about his experience with me:

Photo by T.J. Lenahan

How did you get started as a historical tour guide?

I have to blame the women in my life!  I got volunteered.  More than 10 years ago my wife volunteered me to help Hal Compton, resident historian with the Park City Museum,  http://www.parkcityhistory.org/   for a season when he injured his shoulder. I’ve been doing it ever since.  I model my tours after Hal’s.  He is 83 years old now and still leads great tours.

Then four years ago, I got volunteered again! Jennifer Franklin with Deer Valley mountain hosts who serves on the Park City Recreation Advisory board volunteered me when the board wanted to offer free public hikes. So here I am.

What is your favorite history tidbit?

One of the most common questions I get is, “Do they still mine in Park City?” The answer is –yes! but it is not what you think. The mine shafts are drain tunnels that carry water to treatment facilities at the Jordenelle which produce the “new silver” —  water.

The route we took through the aspen groves and then on the ridge was beautiful  – is that the route you always take?

We actually have several routes — well a half dozen — we choose them based on the weather conditions.  Last year the route we just took had snow on it.  A couple of the guides and I go out the day before to check the trail conditions. Changing keeps it interesting, too. Besides we have a group of regulars (“repeat offenders” as Michael calls them) so we like to mix it up.

Which hike is your favorite?

I like hiking Guardsman’s pass past the Xfiles to the Daily chute.  It is a beautiful and peaceful hike.

What is your favorite season for hiking?

The second week in October is really great. Last year the foliage was amazing with the deep red and bright yellow colors. It is also cooler then and we don’t encounter as many mountain bikers which opens up more possibilities for the group hike.

Favorite thing about being a host?

I really enjoy showing the out-of-towners our mountain but I really love to hear when a local takes a hike and says, “I never knew that!”

Fun mining fact?

Michael showed us an “adit” then he laughingly said if you ever need a four letter word for entrance to mine shaft in the New York Times Crossword, you have it now.

We learned a lot, saw beautiful vistas and got some great exercise.  I will now look at the mountain as more than simply nature’s playground to enjoy but with a new depth that knowing the history provides.  Historical hikes are the second Sunday of the month until October 14th.  Here is a link for more information.

If you want to enjoy the beauty but don’t feel like hiking up, pick up a ticket and ride the chairlift to Bald Mountain – ride down or hike down.  We love to enjoy lunch on the deck of the Royal Street Cafe at Silver Lake Lodge afterwards — open for lunch from 11:30 to 2:30 between June 15th and Labor Day.

One Response

  1. Patti says:

    Just moved to Park City and looking to go on hikes with others.

Leave your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook Feed

Deer Valley Resort's Global Athlete Ambassador, Ted Ligety, is back on skis after 10 weeks of recovering from microdiscectomy surgery. Welcome back Ted! | #DeerValleyMoment ... See MoreSee Less

Besmir Ajeti, Chris Scarce and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Eric HandMore impressed by the steady camera work of whoever was following him

4 hours ago   ·  7
Avatar

Matthew LivingstonShredd!! You're the best. Same run I fractured my tibial plateau on last year. Glad to see you're back. Hope I can do the same next year.

2 hours ago
Avatar

Mitch MannWe wore the same color jacket and skied DV today as well, but our skiing form was a tad different.

5 hours ago
Avatar

Tess TeurlingsTyler Teurlings they finally got around to posting this video of me from spring break

3 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Stephen PohlmanWizard

5 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Ron ReillySmooth

1 hour ago
Avatar

Kelly DetweilerLooks good to me ☺

5 hours ago
Avatar

Max ScottPaul Stu Herlan you guys just missed ripping some runs with Ted

2 hours ago   ·  1

1 Reply

Avatar

Larry WeiderThat's what I look like in my head when I ski. It's better I never know what I actually look like.

3 hours ago
Avatar

Dennis BressGreat run and great camera work. :-) Kerry Rutherford

4 hours ago
Avatar

Octavio BarreraEmilio Fernandez our next level of skiing for next winter 💪🏽

2 hours ago
Avatar

John TredentTrue carve turn, Ted is one of the best in the world.

3 hours ago
Avatar

Scott DillmanGo Ted. I am sure it feels really good to be carving some turns. Enjoy your regained freedom.

2 hours ago
Avatar

James EvansBoth Ted and the snow conditions look great . .

3 hours ago
Avatar

Dan LudwigDude is flyin...

5 hours ago
Avatar

Jon T FruendLegity split!

2 hours ago
Avatar

Mehrnaz ZuieYousef Zuie this is where I want to go!

2 hours ago

2 Replies

Avatar

Shanna RidnerLikes this picture

3 hours ago
Avatar

Effie BaramSo nice

2 hours ago
Avatar

Jon Blumbergbautiful skier

4 hours ago
Avatar

Wesley MillerDan Duncan Corey Baumgartner definitely gotta make it happen

5 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Tzachi AlmogNadavo Ha. מזכיר אותך

4 hours ago
Avatar

Matt ShawDamian Leopard those lines.

3 hours ago
Avatar

Lauren SaulAlana Saul

5 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Comment on Facebook

Sunday, March 26, 2017
Deer Valley Resort has recieved over 400 inches of snow this season and still has a 101" base. You can only #SkiTheDifference for three more weeks. | Skier: Jillian Vogtli Video: Chris Morgan / Two Sherpas LLC on Sunday, March 26, 2017.
... See MoreSee Less

Kirsten Curtis, Veronica Christensen and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Rose JutrasGo Jillian!! What an Ambassador!!

13 hours ago   ·  1

1 Reply

Avatar

Dennis WillisYep, only $1.28 per inch for that base. Or $15.52 per hour if you ski from opening to closing.

7 hours ago
Avatar

Adi DeOltManon Mbd she has the same color equipment like me. And I skied there. Could it be me? 😂😂😂

10 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Claine CowdrickWhy end the season if there is still enough snow to ski on? Extend the season maximize profits

8 hours ago
Avatar

Marcela MrugalaIt was a fantastic day of skiing yesterday!

13 hours ago
Avatar

Brandon BenallyCute but can she ski MOGULS as fast?

24 hours ago
Avatar

Steve ZebrowskiSure didn't look anywhere near 101 inch base Saturday

9 hours ago
Avatar

Nic ReneeAwesome skiing this year

20 hours ago
Avatar

Lou KaltensteinWatched her cut her teeth at Holiday Valley! Go girl!

4 hours ago
Avatar

Elaine Lawrencer u having a good time

17 hours ago
Avatar

Indy BaileyVery cool!!

16 hours ago
Avatar

Tai RobinsonYeah Jillian Vogtli!

22 hours ago   ·  1

1 Reply

Avatar

Comment on Facebook

Today's #DeerValleyMoment | Photo Credit: Emily Summers ... See MoreSee Less

Todays #DeerValleyMoment  | Photo Credit: Emily Summers

Alan Ford, Sungjin Joseph Yoon and 1165 others like this

View previous comments

Stephen HelmI thought that was Upper Stein, I have a shot real similar to that one

3 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Joyce GriffinBeautiful photo, Emily Summers! It makes me want to be there making the first tracks down.

3 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Brian ParkerIf I squint, I can just barely see my old house!

3 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Randy CarterBeautiful and my acrophobia will dissipate as the thrill of downhill takes over.

2 days ago
Avatar

George LadnerI was there 2 weeks ago and loved it. Nearly as good as the Swiss alps/Zermatt¿¡¡

3 days ago
Avatar

Eric LongabardiNice shot Emily Summers! :) I can see Heber!

2 days ago
Avatar

Todd RameyTop of Steins, just past Sultan .

3 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Alma WeldeLovely

2 days ago
Avatar

Francis GougeonWith this view you can pretend you are an astronaut.⛷

3 days ago
Avatar

Ariana B. AlvarezI want to be the first one down!

3 days ago
Avatar

Janis Bauer FullmerBeautiful!

3 days ago
Avatar

Rafael TorresWHAT A SHOT!

2 days ago
Avatar

Gerry FeherCorduroy....yea baby !!

2 days ago
Avatar

Will WilliamsDebbie Riley-Williams favorite place to ski in the USA 😎

2 days ago
Avatar

MaryEllen ProctorBarb and Karen, wish we were there.

2 days ago
Avatar

Drew DealIs this the run to the gondola?

3 days ago
Avatar

Linda Glore-SewardI must get my knees in shape so I can ski that again!

2 days ago

1 Reply

Avatar

Holly EtlinStein's Way, nice!

3 days ago
Avatar

Charlotte StrackBeautiful!

3 days ago
Avatar

Paul Stu HerlanRipped that yesterday...thanks Stein!

2 days ago
Avatar

Alan HorganI want to there now! Pity our £ is so cheap...

2 days ago
Avatar

Carolyn MacherBeautiful...

3 days ago
Avatar

Lisa AntellJordanelle run?

3 days ago

1 Reply

Avatar

Comment on Facebook

Twitter Feed @Deer_Valley