Gearing up!

“Do the boots fit? Have they outgrown their skis? Will their goggles cover their foreheads, or have they outgrown those too? What about mittens? We never seem to have enough mittens.”

These are the conversations that preoccupy my family’s fall weekends. We dig through ski bags. We try on helmets. And as being the beneficiaries of some pretty sweet hand-me-down jackets and pants, we have the kids try on the pieces that seem closest to their sizes.

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This year Lance is 11 which means that on his next birthday he will officially complete the annual rental contract at Utah Ski and Golf, he started at age three. Since enrolling he has upgraded to the front-entry boots. He has gone up to a ski length that is closer-than-ever to my own ski length. (Just as his bike is but one size smaller than mine.) We’ll be taking Seth to Surefoot and Jans to see where he falls on the trade-in scale—certainly he’s up at least a size in boots at least a size in skis. I thought recently, “there is nothing quite so humbling as marking the passage of time in outgrown ski gear.”

I am also humbled by the leaps in maturity, too. Lance turned the “boot corner” this year. The minute he slipped his feet into his new boots, he announced, “These feel great!” No drama, no discussion about how they “should feel.” He’s a skier. They felt right. He knew.

Lance turned another corner. When the tech asked about his ski level, we didn’t hedge. Our instincts and experience told us that he is, officially, a great skier. He attacked terrain with a different confidence last season, and he had the look—the one that says, “I can’t wait to attack it again.”

Share with me how you are gearing up your family for this season on Twitter   or @Deer_Valley. See you on the slopes!

Learning to Ski at 65: First Day 2014 – 2015 Season

People are often surprised when I share that my husband Jay who is over 65 is learning to ski. When you think about it though, it makes perfect sense. Your mid-sixties is a great time to learn a new sport, like skiing!

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Sometimes going back to an old sport can be frustrating. When Jay was in high school he was a scratch golfer. Then he didn’t play for many years.  When he did rekindle his desire to play golf it didn’t go so well for him.

In his “mind’s eye” he saw himself as his younger self who hit the ball far, straight down the fairway or curved on demand.  He was an excellent chipper and read the greens fully expecting to make his putts.

Sometimes in real life, when you haven’t played a sport in a long time and you are 15 years older, you don’t live up to the mental picture from your youth. When Jay shot an 80, he became frustrated and disappointed.

He was completely supportive of me when all I did was hit the ball in the air 50 yards at a time.

“Great shot” he’d say (when it really wasn’t so great).

Once we were playing with my father who remarked, “That was a terrible shot [Nancy made]. Why did you say it was good?”

Jay said, “She got it up in the air.”  (Implying that I’d been essentially rolling the ball on the ground 20 yards at a time in previous shots.)

I was excited since I was making progress even though the ball was not even close to my target.  When Jay would hit a drive four times as far as me and then grumble under his breath, I couldn’t understand.  The shot sure looked fantastic to me!

Skiing is different.

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Since Jay had never strapped on a pair of skis until two years ago, he didn’t have a high performance mental picture in his head to live up to.  He had an appropriate expectation — gain some skills, build on them and have a ton of fun.  While the grandkids are young, learn to ski to be able to be on the slopes with them. Create memories that will last a lifetime.

To reinforce his skills and set him up for a successful ski season, he started the season with a Max 4 lesson. One thing Jay did learn from golf, was to take lessons early and often in order to improve quickly.

Here’s what he said about his Max 4 Ski Lesson at Deer Valley Resort.

“What I love about skiing is you can become relatively competent pretty quickly.”

“I can get good enough to enjoy myself and have fun – skiing is essentially sliding in the snow, right? Sliding down the hill is fun.”

“Skiing is an individual sport so no matter your level, you can have a great time.”

Jay’s instructor reinforced what he’d learned last year and focused on the fundamentals. She also gave him some skills to practice to improve his control.  He is excited, having fun and making progress. Who could ask for more?

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Jay’s instructor also reinforced the idea that Jay is exactly where he needs to be in his skiing skills development and he should enjoy every step of his skiing journey.

Which is a lot more than he can say for his golf game. For more information on Deer Valley’s Max 4 Ski Lessons – click here.

 

Deer Valley Resort’s Summit Meadows Adventures 2014-2015 Winter Season

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Deer Valley owned and operated Summit Meadows Adventures guided snowmobile tours take place on the Garff Ranch, located a short five-mile, 10-minute drive from Park City’s Main Street, on Brown’s Canyon Road (off Highway 248). Summit Meadows Adventures has access to 7,000 acres of pristine open lands on which to snowmobile. Beautiful scenic views of the Wasatch Mountains make this an adventure you won’t want to miss. Complimentary transportation from Park City is available. For more information or reservations please call 888-896-7669 or 435-645-7669. Guided tours use single or double capacity machines.

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One or two hour guided tours are available daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., conditions permitting. Private tours are also available with a two-hour minimum.

A one-hour guided tour costs $109 per person, with a passenger rate of $20. A two-hour guided tour costs $149 per person, with a passenger rate of $30. Private tours are $125 per person/per hour with a two hour and two-person minimum.

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For more information, please visit http://www.deervalley.com/WhatToDo/Winter/Snowmobiling

Shabbat on the Slopes

One of my favorite winter traditions is the Friday afternoon Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath) service in Sunset Cabin, at Deer Valley Resort. Affectionately referred to by members of Temple Har Shalom in Park City as “Ski Schule.” The service is informal and fun, it feels a little bit like camp, and a lot like one of the coolest ways to practice religion I have ever encountered. That is saying something, I have prayed on top of Masada in Israel, and once, my family and I led a service on a cruise ship.

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By the way, I’m uniquely qualified to  assess “cool ways to practice religion,” because I spent one summer at a camp called USY on Wheels, which is a motor-coach tour of the United States. USY is a youth group for Jewish teens, and the purpose of the trip wasn’t just to show several busloads of children the amazing cities and national parks, small towns and stretches of highway that make up our country, but to allow us to experience the idea that you can practice Judaism anywhere. We held services at the Grand Canyon, in picnic areas in Yellowstone, in hotel conference rooms, at highway rest stops. (My husband and I met on this trip, in fact, but that’s another story, altogether.)

Ski Schule has become a tradition for my family. The service is led by members of Temple Har Shalom, often by a rabbi, but frequently by a layperson, in addition to the regular Friday night services in the synagogue, itself. Members and visitors alike, delight in the bragging rights to what may be North America’s only ski-in-ski-out Shabbat service. One recent Friday, I was asked to lead the service. I jumped at the chance, and so did Seth, whose half-day Friday schedule made it easy for him to come help me. So, loaded up with a (homemade-by-me) challah, some grape juice and the key to the cabin, in a backpack, we headed for the hill.

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Every bit of the experience thrilled Seth and me. Setting up was a hoot, Seth found all the “secret compartments” where supplies were stashed. Quickly we gathered supplies, and unloaded the contents of the backpack, then hung the Israeli flag on the pegs outside the door of the cabin.

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Welcoming guests was a blast. Everyone was excited to be there. On this day, it was all locals—which made sense, since the majority of holiday guests were en route or just checking in for the winter break. Helmets were removed, friendly faces revealed—happily, my friends Sue and Ethan, also enjoying a mother-son ski outing, were among them. “I wanted to surprise you,” she said with an impish grin—acknowledging that she had made a zillion excuses as to why she could not join me, just two days earlier. Another guest invited her Mahre Camp coach to join us—something I’m sure he didn’t expect when he clicked into his bindings that morning. A family of three arrived, parents rejoicing in their daughter’s half-day of school, so they could share some turns and the service, together.

Soon, we sang some opening songs and then got down to business. The service is a complete, but abbreviated version of the Reform Jewish “Welcoming the Sabbath” service, held in synagogues around the world on Friday nights. Seth actually stepped up to lead a prayer (making his Jewish mother, who also teaches Hebrew School—kvell) and then, in the tradition of seven year olds, everywhere, grew antsy. “I’m hungry!” He announced just loudly enough that a fellow worshipper heard, and responded by producing a mini Kit Kat from his pocket. (Yes, dear reader, it was the rare candy-free ski day, and I won’t make that mistake again, anytime soon.)

As we concluded the service, I marveled at this amazing blend of communities—guests from all over the world will come to Sunset Cabin, all winter, to be among other worshippers. If you ask them, they will surely tell you the experience enhances, rather than interrupts, their ski day.

To me, Ski Schule (as well as the non-denominational Christian service, held in the same cabin on Sundays at 2 p.m.) is one of those experience that helps define the Deer Valley Difference. It provides a gathering spot for like-minded people to share an experience that is unique and gratifying, social and spiritual. Come to think of it, that’s how I often define a great day on the hill at Deer Valley. How about you?

Would you like more information about services at Sunset Cabin? Send me a Tweet   or @Deer_Valley.

Deer Valley Resort Rings in Its Holiday Festivities

Holiday magic is happening at the resort recently awarded United States’ Best Ski Resort by the 2014 World Ski Awards. Deer Valley Resort’s holiday events have become beloved annual traditions for visiting guests, the entire Park City community and locals alike.

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To celebrate Christmas, Santa Claus will visit Deer Valley on Wednesday, December 24, 2014. The jolly old man will first jingle around the Snow Park Lodge area at the resort base from 9 to 11 a.m., and then from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Silver Lake Lodge (mid-mountain) area. Guests are invited to bring a camera and have their picture taken with St. Nick during his visit.

Another highlight of Deer Valley’s holiday season is the annual Torchlight Parade. The parade takes place Tuesday, December 30, 2014, at dusk (approximately 6 p.m.). The resort’s renowned ski school will dazzle guests with torches, synchronized skiing and incredible “illuminating” moves. The parade descends down Big Stick ski run on Bald Eagle Mountain and is best viewed from the plaza area of Snow Park Lodge, where complimentary hot cider and cookies will be served from 5:45- 6 p.m. New this year, the Snow Park Restaurant will remain open during the event and offer a full menu.

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Deer Valley Resort has guests covered when it comes to gift ideas for everyone on the list, which can be conveniently purchased at resort retail stores or ordered online. From the youngest to the oldest on the list, guests will find merchandise for any age and style at Deer Valley Signatures, Deer Valley Etc., Shades of Deer Valley, and NextGen DV offering skiing apparel and accessories for the next generation of Deer Valley skiers: toddlers to teens. For those who savor Deer Valley’s award-winning cuisine, perfect gift ideas include food items, such as the resort’s famed Turkey Chili Mix, Jumbo Cookie mix or housemade mustards and marinades. The top-selling resort cookbook Chocolate Snowball: and Other Fabulous Pastries From Deer Valley Bakery (now in its second printing in paperback) is a must-have for the bakers on the list. Also available are gift items such as fleece vests, stylish Deer Valley coffee mugs, plush toys, ornaments, jewelry, wine glasses and top quality sunglasses, goggles, clothing and accessories.

Guests may shop at Signatures in person at three locations: 625 Main Street, Park City (open daily 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. year-round); Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Village (open daily 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during ski season); and Deer Valley’s Snow Park Lodge (open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during ski season). Signatures items can be ordered online at deervalley.com or via phone at (800) 833-2002. Deer Valley Etc., Shades of Deer Valley and NextGen DV are all open daily during ski season in Snow Park Lodge.

The Deer Valley Gift Card is also a fabulous and flexible holiday gift idea. The Gift Card can be used at any of Deer Valley’s operations for lift tickets, Ski School, restaurants, Signatures Stores, Shades of Deer Valley, NextGen DV, child care or ski rentals. Cards can be purchased for any amount, and are reduced by the amount of each purchase until all money has been used. Cards may be used while at Deer Valley Resort, or for phone orders for Signatures merchandise. Gift cards can be purchased online at deervalley.com or in person at Deer Valley Signatures.

As the holiday season is all about entertaining, Deer Valley has 12 restaurants open during the holidays with options perfect for either an intimate dining experience or large-group fun. See the resort website for full descriptions of cuisine and restaurant hours. Happy Holidays from Deer Valley Resort! For more information or a complete schedule of holiday events and festivities, please log on to deervalley.com.

Deer Valley Resort Named United States’ Best Ski Resort

For the second year running, Deer Valley Resort has been awarded United States’ Best Ski Resort by the World Ski Awards. Following a year-long voting process from leading ski tourism professionals worldwide, as well hundreds of thousands of ski consumers from 127 countries, Deer Valley Resort won the distinction among a short list of USA finalists during the 2014 World Ski Awards the weekend of November 21-23, 2014, in Kitzbühel, Austria.

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The World Ski Awards serves to celebrate and reward excellence in ski tourism and focuses on the leading 20 nations who are shaping the future of the ski industry. Deer Valley Resort’s win comes after a record number of more than a million votes were cast across the globe for the competing resorts. Votes were cast by leading ski tourism professionals worldwide—senior executives, travel buyers, tour operators, agents and media—as well as thousands of luxury travel consumers via worldskiawards.com and World Ski Awards’ Facebook page.

Deer Valley Resort had been invited to attend the 2014 Ski Oscar’s formal announcement and presentation taking place in the legendary winter sports destinations of Kitzbühel, Austria—the home of skiing and home of the World Ski Awards.

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“Deer Valley Resort has a time-honored commitment to excellence,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort. “This accolade further cements our determination to be a worldwide industry leader. We are thrilled to have earned the distinction for two consecutive years.”

The World Ski Awards is part of World Travel Awards, serving as “the Oscars of the travel industry” for the past 21 years.

About World Ski Awards

Launched in 2012 as the sister event to the World Travel Awards, World Ski Awards is the first ever global initiative to celebrate and reward excellence in the ski hospitality industry. World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Today, the WTA brand is recognized globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire. The World Travel Award’s annual program is renowned as the most prestigious and comprehensive in the travel and tourism industry. 

Deer Valley Resort Locals Only Pass Purchase Deadline Lifted

Available exclusively to Utah residents, Deer Valley’s Locals Only Passes offer savings of up to 45% on Deer Valley Resort lift tickets. Deer Valley® is pleased to announce there will no longer be a pre-season purchase deadline. Guests who would like to participate in our Locals Only Pass program for the first time may purchase at any time this winter season, with proof of current Utah residency.

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Deer Valley 2014-2015 Locals Only Pass program benefits include:

  • Up to 45% savings on lift tickets
  • Buddy Passes – one Buddy Pass with each Five Pass or two Buddy Passes with each Ten Pass purchase
  • Ability to join the Snow Park Restaurant Lunch Card program, offering 20% savings on lunch
  • Two qualifying Utah residents may share one Ten Pass. Same age categories apply. Five Pass option may not be shared
  • One-year subscription to SKI Magazine
  • One complimentary all-day lift ticket, per 2014/2015 Locals Only Pass, for our 2015 summer chairlift operation

Each season, current documentation of one of the following is required to participate in the Locals Only program: Utah driver’s license; Utah property tax bill; Utah utility bill; Utah business paycheck stub with a photo ID.

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Deer Valley Locals Only Passes are available for purchase at our Snow Park Ticket Desk, open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving Day), online at deerlocals.com, by phone at 435-645-6626 or email at ticketdesk@deervalley.com.

For more information on Deer Valley’s Season Passes, please visit the resort’s website at deerlocals.com.To follow resort happenings on social media, use #SkiTheDifference.

Deer Valley Resort #SkiTheDifference

Deer Valley Resort is honored to be ranked the #1 ski resort in the United States by the readers of SKI Magazine in 2015 and to be voted #1 in the categories of Access, Guest Service, Family Programs, Dining, On-mountain Food, Lodging and Grooming.

Deer Valley Resort revolutionized the ski industry by providing the first-class service one would receive at a five-star hotel. The resort offers 21 chairlifts, 101 ski runs, six bowls, 12 restaurants, 300 annual inches of powder, three elegant day lodges, 2,026 acres of alpine skiing, hundreds of luxury accommodations and a renowned Ski School and Children’s Center.