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 shared SKI Magazine's Ski Test 2018 - The Stoke Reel.

SKI Magazine
... See MoreSee Less

In celebration of the 2018 Gear Guide being released online, here is some footage from the ski test at Deer Valley Resort. We promise testing skis is much more work than this might show... See more f...

Carmen Malina Mendoza, Stacey Wooten Peer and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Pete AndelmanYour video doesn't play. What's it about ?

10 hours ago
Avatar

Paul FisherI want this job.

1 day ago
Avatar

Patricia Van Sickle StokesIt's a tough job - somebody's got to do it! 😉

3 hours ago
Avatar

Pat NortheimerAahh! Deer Valley! 😊

6 hours ago
Avatar

Jenny Love MeyerAwesome - can't wait for ski season!

16 hours ago
Avatar

Craig ChiesaLet them snowboard

18 hours ago

2 Replies

Avatar

Douglas BrocconeSign me up

1 day ago
Avatar

Debra L Bruno-ThomsenSoon......

16 hours ago
Avatar

Mark RichinsAmy Wexler Kaminski ⛷🎿

23 hours ago
Avatar

Eric JensenKaren Balasek Simonds

15 hours ago
Avatar

Kirk HoffmanNathan Hoffman

1 day ago
Avatar

Comment on Facebook

Rain today, ride tomorrow at Deer Valley Resort. Join us for closing weekend of summer operations. (9-16/17) ... See MoreSee Less

Rain today, ride tomorrow at Deer Valley Resort. Join us for closing weekend of summer operations. (9-16/17)

Gloria de Costanzo, Dean Reeves and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Mike McAuleyWhat are the hours of operation for the final day?

3 days ago

2 Replies

Avatar

Mike McAuleyI just discovered you this summer. I'll be back multiple times next year!! And I'm bringing friends!!

4 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Brett TischlerTime for some Brown Pow

4 days ago   ·  2
Avatar

Johnny DownardJordan Steele Dustin Eaquinto dirt is gonna be prime time!

4 days ago   ·  3
Avatar

Christopher David CollingHilary Rebolledo

4 days ago   ·  3
Avatar

Dianne TownsendSee you soon.....but not soon enough!

4 days ago
Avatar

Comment on Facebook

@steezygiese765 following @dcasto2 @demetri_t @kelleymtb @joeymtb @jeremiahstarkey and @boyerkevin at Deer Valley Resort. ... See MoreSee Less

Chris Roberts, Susan Daniel and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Trevor HooperNever thought I'd see someone with double arm tattoo sleeves on a DV promotion! Keep killing it with the trails and reaching out to new demos guys! 🤘🤘

4 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Jackson MadduxWhen we used to live in Utah, the Tour De Suds was a great way to go UPhill at deer valley (not that the downhill was bad, but it did lead to many scrapes and cuts). link: mountaintrails.org/event-race-mtf/tour-des-suds/

4 days ago
Avatar

Charles ThomasGreat time on Wednesday nights $20/summertime fun!!

5 days ago
Avatar

Don Elsastell me the recording isnt speeded up..lol

4 days ago
Avatar

Janice PotempaIs one of these guys Brian!

4 days ago
Avatar

Sammy MilburnWant

4 days ago
Avatar

Michael Huguet😲

4 days ago
Avatar

Lily StevensJennifer Beecroft Whitehead

3 days ago
Avatar

Katie RansomePeter Ransome check this out

4 days ago   ·  1

3 Replies

Avatar

Montana Olmore JohnsonJesse Hall Tristan Chad Prisbrey Stephen Zitting this is that resort up north

4 days ago
Avatar

Nic McMillanKevin Boyer!!!

5 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Dana McCraw WalchekMatt Kozler

4 days ago
Avatar

Derek HarrymanDan Sportel

4 days ago
Avatar

Rob TurnerEric Turner

4 days ago
Avatar

Connor J MartinekDavid Freund

4 days ago   ·  1

1 Reply

Avatar

Comment on Facebook

Twitter Feed @Deer_Valley