Don’t get me wrong. I love starting my ski days in Deer Valley’s Snow Park Lodge.
When you drive up, you drop off your skis and poles with a friendly ski valet and then attendants in green jackets direct you to your parking place. You can jump on one of the frequent parking lot shuttles to drop you right at the lodge where you pick up your boots (stored overnight in the “basket check”) and greet your friends in the spacious locker room. The Snow Park Lodge Restaurant is upstairs so you can grab a cup of coffee, a bowl of oatmeal or a made-to-order omelet with a side of bacon while sitting by the fireplace.
There is nothing like it!
However, it’s nice to have alternatives.
I recently discovered another great “start-your-ski-day” option – Mayflower! The Jordanelle Ticket office at the Mayflower exit on Highway (adjacent to the Jordanelle Reservoir). This little gem might be one of the best kept ski secrets at Deer Valley Resort.
First of all, it’s a gondola!
You step in with a few other skiers and sit on the padded seat while your friendly Deer Valley gondola operators place your skis in the slots outside of the door. The views of the Jordanelle Reservoir and the Uinta Mountain Range are amazing from this side of Deer Valley. You can experience their beauty free from any wind or snow from inside the little gondola car.
There are parking spots, of course, which are perpendicular to the windy road leading to the gondola. A shuttle bus runs you down to the lift and back up to your car. But it’s smaller in size and scope which can be nice.
The amenities are there, too.
There are two boot warmers, overnight ski storage and lockers for your valuables.
It’s easily accessible.
It’s right off of the highway across from the Jordanelle Reservoir. I mean right off of the highway. If you are looking for quick access to skiing for folks staying in Midway, Heber City, at the Jordanelle or even in Kimball Junction, you have another great option.
Take the Jordanelle Gondola, instead. During the Sundance Film Festival or other times when events are happening in Park City, you can access the runs easily from this lift instead of driving into town.
All levels can ski Mayflower.
Last year Deer Valley added Gnats Eye ski run which is a green run that connects you to Deer Hollow (my all time favorite green ski run!). Intermediates have plenty of runs to play on at this mountain with Mountaineer Express chairlift and the Jordanelle Gondola. Advanced skiers may find some bumps on Dynamite ski run and then take Little Stick (an intermediate) ski run as a “connector” to take them to other mountains.
**brand newbies should head to Snow Park for lessons first, of course.
You can take a break at the St. Regis.
If you’d like to rest, relax or simply take a break, the St. Regis has everything you need. There are Adirondack chairs set up outside to enjoy the gorgeous views. You can grab a quick bite to eat at the Terrace Cafe or grab lunch at J&G Grill with floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the view.
The folks are friendly.
Though I am not so sure how to test “friendliness” because it is subjective, I noticed how friendly EVERYONE was the last two times I started my day at the Jordanelle Gondola. Deer Valley is a happy place always but it is possible that the patrons of this lift are smiling because Mayflower is their best kept secret. (Until now, of course.)
Where do you start your ski day at Deer Valley? If you start it at the Jordanelle Ticket office off of Mayflower, shhh!
Let’s keep this Deer Valley’s best kept ski secret.