Remembering 2015 Summer Camps in Park City

Every year, I promise myself I’m not going to over schedule my kids’ summer. And every year the options for great camps in Park City expands to include even more fun options than ever before. I manage to fail miserably at finding them a few, measly unscheduled hours. So much fun is to be had in our great town’s amazing camp offerings, that if you’re  not careful, your kids can breeze through summer without a single chore or mind bending math problem. Sadly, for my kids, their mother is careful by nature.

So in that spirit this summer my family experimented with a mixture of camps and Camp Mom. Camp Mom weeks may include tennis, pool time, bike rides and something I call “skill building.” Select skill building seminars cover topics, including, “Mechanical Devices: The Vacuum Is Your Friend” and “Arts and Crafts: Laundry Origami.” I’ll report back on this special curriculum.

Luckily for my kids, their parents take fun, enriching experiences very seriously. We  alternated “Camp Mom,” with several fun, engaging camps. We’ve had some excellent summer experiences, beginning with my kids’ earliest summers, at Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp.

I thought I’d give you a glimpse into some of the other offerings that my boys (Seth is 8 and Lance is 12) savored this summer:



The Park City Municipal Golf Course offered three week-long camps, half-days Mondays through Thursdays, where students learn golf etiquette, rules and basic skills. Thursday is game day and parents who drive the carts get to see, first hand, what their kids learned in four days’ time. I view driving as a chore. But driving a golf cart and “caddying” for these “pros”? A total treat. Just eavesdropping on their discussion of the rules, requests for Mulligans, and desire to coach each other into hitting straight (or, shall we say, attempting to coach each other into hitting straight), was all the entertainment I needed.


The Bobby Lawrence Karate Studio offered several no-experience-necessary camps for children ages 3-12. Each week is a different theme, with a Survivor week, a Ninja Warrior Week and a Spy Kids week. For beginners, it is a fun intro to martial arts. For current students, it can be an opportunity to fit a month’s worth of lessons into a few days, and become eligible to move up a belt rank. (Brown belt with green stripe: CHECK!)


My kids can’t get enough of these STEM Camps (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Offering everything from programming to grade-level math (and beyond), Lego Robotics to Chess, this Redstone-based learning center is staffed by young, energized counselors with a passion for STEM.

YOUTHEATRE at Egyptian Theatre Company

By the time my kids got to this camp in early July, I kept thinking how much fun it is to be a child in this town. Gangs of excited, creative children descend on Miner’s Hospital for a variety of camps—my older son chose Filmmaking camp and his little brother chose Puppetry. Lance’s film class wrote, directed and produced a “Ninja Western” mashup that was out-of-this-world funny and creative. Seth and his camp pals made puppets and then acted out “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” with Seth starring as … you guessed it, the Headless Horseman. The talented staff kept the kids on-task while encouraging creativity and expression. The weekly camps culminated in a showcase performance/screening of the week’s work. Lance loved the film camp so much, he is spent another week there in August.

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The Park City MARC’s weekly tennis camps were offered in two, three and five-day packages, with drop-ins on a space-available basis. My kids have attended this camp for several years, and finish each session stronger than when they started.


Snyderville Basin Recreation District ran a series a fantastically fun summer day camps, with Summer Blast as the centerpiece. With daily swimming at the Ecker Hill pool, tons of sports, games and arts-and-crafts, it’s a guaranteed day (or week) of fun.



YMCA CAMP ROGER, which operated eight five-day sessions (you can link two together, if you choose), is located just about a half hour from Park City, about 15 miles up Mirror Lake Highway, outside of Kamas, UT. Lance had such a great time there last summer that Seth wanted in on the fun. So, for five nights, they get a vacation from “Mom’s Special Summer Curriculum,” in exchange for archery, hiking, campfire cooking, and mountain biking. Not to mention, the opportunity to eat spaghetti without benefit of utensils. With a skilled staff hailing from several continents, the kids are exposed to lots of different cultures and ideas, and the chance to make some new friends.

And…a couple we still have on our to-do list for next year.

FUNDamentals Camp at Utah Olympic Park

Before he was ten years old, my son Lance learned how to ski jump into the very same training pool used by Olympic athletes from all over the world. He also got to try out “street luge,” mixed in with gymnastics, tennis, swimming and golf. His younger brother is on deck to try it next year, and it’s quite possibly the most comprehensive sports-skills camp I have ever seen. The camp’s curriculum is focused on fostering a well-rounded appreciation of all sports rather than specializing in one specific sport. Plus, each day includes team-building activities and arts and crafts. And if you do as much recreational reading about “hyperspecialized” kid athletes, the existence of camps like this is the perfect fit.


The Park City Sailing Club has Learn-to-Sail Camps all summer long on the Jordanelle Reservoir. Sailing skills are taught from beginner through advanced, with mini-regattas throughout the summer. The club also hosts open sailing evening potlucks all summer long.


Basin Recreation’s super-popular water-fun camp is actually a week full of field trips to water parks and attractions all over the greater Salt Lake City area.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 9

Carry a Tool Kit
Whenever you’re out riding it’s important to carry at least a basic tool kit. Whether it’s in a saddle bag or in your backpack, having some basic tools can mean the difference between rolling/riding or walking home. At the very minimum consider carrying:

• Multi-tool (with a chain breaker, Allen set, and torx)
• Inner tube
• Micro pump or CO2 cartridges
• Cell Phone
A larger tool kit can include the items listed above as well as:
• First aid kit
• Windbreaker/rain jacket or extra layers
• Food
• Extra tubes
• Patch kit
• Any frequently used tools not on your multi-tool (ie. small Allen wrenches)
• Sunscreen


It can be dangerous when things on your bike become loose. Having a multi-tool to be able to tighten up your seat, handle bars and suspension bolts can be the difference in keeping your ride going or ending it on a sore note.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

Tidal Wave: A Trail is Born!


Deer Valley Resort offers great lift-served access to its hiking and mountain bike trails. Every season has seen continued maintenance, upgrades and additions to the network of trails that crisscross its mountains.

For the first fifteen years all of the trails were built by hand during the spring and summer seasons. While the work quality was outstanding, the trail crew didn’t have the luxury of moving large obstacles around to create an ideal path; instead, they often had to adapt to the whims of the terrain by going around rocks, stumps or whatever got in their way. More recently, small machinery began to make a huge difference, but still couldn’t always achieve the vision that some trail designers already had in mind.

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About one and a half years ago, the resort felt that it was time for a more radical trail update to bring new elements that would reflect current riding trends and new mountain bike technology. Enter Gravity Logic. Deer Valley asked the Canadian based consulting company to make a general assessment of the resort’s trails, conduct a feasibility study for new ones and then deliver a master plan of what should be done in terms of upgrade and new trail creation. Last fall the overall plan was reviewed and the resort decided on a course of improvements that would help with the trail system’s most pressing needs.


The project began in May of 2015. Gravity Logic came to Deer Valley for two weeks, during which time plans were formulated for the creation of “Tidal Wave,” a brand new intermediate flow style trail. Chris Erkkila, assistant mountain biking manager recalls, “We broke ground on June 1st and we wanted to have some product to show on opening day. On June 19 we had the upper section of Tidal Wave ready for our season opening. Since that time sections have been added and we’re hoping that in early September the entire trail is completed.”


The new Tidal Wave trail was created with “riders from five to 65 years of age with varied mountain bike abilities” in mind as Chris puts it. This is not a beginner trail per se, but a “blue-flow” trail designed so that riders from new-intermediates through pro level can all enjoy it. Even though I’m slightly over the above-stated age limit, I recently rode it. I admit I was intimidated when I came face to face with the trail’s very first sweeping turn. However, the fun thing about Tidal Wave is that it’s been designed to be ridden at various speeds and still be fun. So fun in fact, that it duplicates the feeling of being on a roller coaster while riding a bike. What’s remarkable is that slow riders can co-exist on this trail with faster downhill pros.


Gravity Logic has worked on on a wide variety of mountain bike trails for many years and has learned what works and what doesn’t. For example, there are “hubs” built into their designs. These hubs allow riders to stop more frequently, relax, take a break or just let faster riders pass them before continuing their descent. Some of these “hubs” existed in the past, but from now on, they’ll be more ubiquitous. Also, the modern trail design is wider and provides more room to pass.

According to Erkkila, the public’s reaction to the completed upper section of Tidal Wave has been extremely encouraging, “We’ve looked at was being posted on social media. All of the comments have been very positive. We wanted to offer something that wouldn’t be too intimidating and yet provide thrills for everyone.” What’s coming out clearly is that Deer Valley now has a product unique to Utah, that can welcome a wide range of riding skills while addressing what the market demands. Bike technology has been a major driver for this. Chris adds: “Just in the last 10 years bikes have become significantly lighter, with better suspensions and more powerful brakes. These days, as bikes change, so do trails!”


As it promises to change the way riders appreciate Deer Valley’s mountain bike trails, Tidal Wave might be the first step in a transformation that may sweep the entire resort in the upcoming years.

The future master plan is likely to be a green flow-style trail, more adapted to beginners needs. “While Tidal Wave was laid out at an average grade of 8 percent, the future green trail would only be sloped between 5 to 6 percent,” explains Chris Erkkila, “It still would be a downhill bike trail, but it would be tamer, not as steep, offering a much easier starting level and a smoother progression for learners.”

This new development bodes well for the future of mountain biking at Deer Valley. Since summer isn’t over yet, make sure to try the open sections of Tidal Wave soon! There’s no need to wait until its completion at the end of the month to understand and appreciate the shape and thrills of this type of trail design!

Share your Tidal Wave photos with #DeerValleySummer on Twitter and Instagram.

Summer Adventure Camp

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I love Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp. I’m not just saying this because on a recent day,when I had the chance to visit camp, I was declared the winner of Four Corners, a fantastic running-around game that took place on the stage of the Deer Valley Amphitheater. (Seriously, the very same stage that has featured the likes of Grace Potter, Kristin Chenoweth, and countless other superstars serves as a play area for the campers!). So, yeah, I achieved rock-star status, in the eyes of a bunch of four-and-five year olds, on that very stage. And, really, I can’t think of a group of people better qualified to confer such status.

There’s a special magic to Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp. I can say this, with authority, because it was the camp that turned my kids on to the idea of summer camp, in general, the one that planted the seeds for all the cool camps they have attended both in town and in the mountains, for the last eleven summers. The day I visited was rainy and cool—yet the dedicated staff turned every possible corner of the Snow Park Lodge area into a fun-filled playground.

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There was some cool game called Shark Attack being played by a group of older kids in the locker room. You can’t really appreciate how big the room is, until you see it used by 20 kids, instead of a hundred or more skiers. (Oh, so that’s why it never feels crowded: it’s huge!)

Prior to that, a group of over 20 kids and five staffers sat in a circle in one of the home-base camp rooms, sharing their names and favorite animals. For the kids, it was a chance to come up with the most unusual choices they could think of—and see if the counselors could top it. When one child said her favorite was the hammerhead shark, Will, a counselor, said, “Oh, that was mine!” and then proceeded to tell the circle that his second favorite animal is a platypus. Cue the huge laugh from the peanut gallery. As the game went on, and chatter started to creep in, the counselors had the opportunity to remind everyone about taking turns listening and sharing, it was the kind of learning-through-play that really works, and also helps keep order in a larger group of kids.

“This has been our busiest season, ever,” says Kelly Witter, Summer Camp Supervisor for the 5-6 and 7-12 year-old campers. “People like that we change it up every day. The parents like that we are electronics-free, and that their kids are always trying new things.”

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Another bonus? “We are well under the state’s ratio for staff,” she says. “With our 5-6 year-olds, we have 6:1, and with our 7-12, it’s 8:1. And our staff is engaged all the time with the kids.

The low ratios allow for plenty of exploration in the greater Park City community. “We have our own vans, so we can pick up and take the kids to the Utah Olympic Park museum on a rainy day—they’re out there, having fun, and moving around and they don’t even realize they are learning something, too!”

The camp staff works hard to make the camp feel like a community. “The kids who are here for ski school in the winter, and camp in the summer, they really feel part of something,” Kelly says. “And we work to make it so they are aware of the larger community, too.”

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For instance, each summer, campers create artwork that is displayed in a show throughout the Children’s Center lobby and the Snow Park Lodge hallways. The art is sold with the proceeds going to a local non-profit. “This year, we are donating the proceeds to Recycle Utah’s glass recycling program,” says Deer Valley Resort’s Children’s Programs Manager, Mya Frantti.

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Which may explain why I spied Kelly spraying a multicolored picnic table, at one point. “The kids and I colored this with chalk, for the art show,” she explained. “So now I’m sealing it—which, it turns out, can only be done with hair spray!”

See? Even the adults learn things at camp, in the name of having fun.

How to Weekend: Park Silly Sunday Market

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Now, why are you looking at her like that? Maybe because that’s exactly the point. Welcome to the Park Silly Sunday Market on historic Main Street. It’s time to get your silly on.

Park City is one of the most unique towns in Utah with its dwellers beating to their own drum, often at the envy of those who don’t live close within its radius. But that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the sights, sounds and eco-friendly weekend every local can.

Park City’s Main Street is well known for it’s annual Arts Festival where artisans and vendors from around the world display and sell their handmade art and wares. But with the festival happening only once a year, and with more demand from shoppers wanting to purchase local art/crafts/goods/food in a festival-like environment, Park City saw an opportunity to create a weekly destination, an event in its own right. And Park Silly was born.

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The street fair is held every weekend from June through September with up to 30,000 visitors each Sunday, many of those coming to the mountain to escape the heat of the Salt Lake Valley below. But don’t let the thought of crowds keep you away, this is an event and one you want to be part of. Some vendors change from week to week, and some are nearly permanent fixtures, so variety is always happening. The booths extend from the bottom portion of Main Street at 9ᵗʰ to mid Main at Heber Avenue (map here) and are intermixed with food, art, clothing and even DIY crafts like building with alabaster for the kids.

Roads are closed to accommodate a steady stream of patrons from every walk of society, baby strollers, dogs on leashes and even stilt walkers eating chocolate covered bananas towering above the masses.

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Want to adopt a duck? You can do that. Chickens too.

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A changing line-up of bands play each Sunday keeping the crowd lively and on their feet. Or like in this photo, in the rings.

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At the bottom of Main Street is the famous Bloody Mary Bar. Self serve cocktails are sold to those 21 and older with a killer display of additions to add to your locally distilled Five Wives Vodka cup. It’s like tomato salad in a boozy cup. That’s my kind of Mary. If you’re not into bloody mary’s, local beers and cocktails like Huckleberry Vodka Lemonade are also available and extremely sippable.


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Park City’s craft chocolatier Ritual Chocolate lured me into with the brownies. How could I not?

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Hungy? This cinnamon roll from Utah’s Own Backyard Bakeries that is LITERALLY the size of your head should do.

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Tongue in cheek art is easily purchased from The Hive Gallery and Boutique with a frozen banana from one of the multiple food vendors.

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What were you doing when you were 18 years old? This guy is designing jewlery like this! His booth had me captivated. And buying. I’ll be coming back to KGEK Design soon to do more damage to my credit card. Love.

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Another purchase of the day was this leather cross body bag from Sash Bags. I’m loving it still.

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After trolling up and down Main Street and receiving some much needed retail therapy, a rest was in order. We ponied up to a table under the tents and took in the sounds of locals Herban Empire. A little reggae/rock for Sunday never hurt anybody in my book.

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And how could we pass up this big old puppers looking for a new home. Oh if only we could…maybe next week?

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Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 7 – September 20

Visit their website here.

Follow them on Facebook here.

Heidi Larsen is the creator of, the blog and online magazine featuring family friendly recipes and inspiring photography. She also photographs Deer Valley Resort’s food and fine dining when not enjoying quality time on the ski hill with her husband and 11 year old daughter. See more of what she’s crushing on at Facebook and Instagram.


#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 8

One Finger On The Brakes

Last week we talked about the merits of learning to use both your front and rear brake together. This week we’d like to remind you to use only one finger on the lever while braking. Just like you wouldn’t use two feet to brake in your car, you don’t need that much lever pressure to slow your bike. Braking with one finger allows for better modulation and allows you to brake smoothly without locking up your wheels. With today’s bike technology and hydraulic disc brakes, you’ll have better braking sensitivity using only one finger. The key to feeling comfortable using only one finger is to move your levers in so that your one finger lines up on the end of the lever. This creates maximum leverage, giving you the confidence and power to use only one finger.



We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

Creepy Crawlies at Camp

I’ve done plenty of celebrity interviews in my time. I have even attended the Emmy Awards, and more than one red carpet. But never have I seen a crowd so thrilled to see a celebrity than the day Kim’s Cold Blooded Creatures visited Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp!


Kim, a Park City local for about seven years, has numerous snakes, spiders, tortoises, turtles and lizards that she and her family keep as pets. She makes it clear that the real stars of the show are her pets. She spends many days a week traveling to schools, camps and birthday parties for an interactive educational presentation, through which she educates kids (and any adults in the room, for that matter) about each creatures habits, habitats and defense mechanisms.

She is so popular around Park City, that when she brought out a baby Bell Python, a child called out, “You got a new snake!” prompting Kim to ask when the child had seen her last. “In June? Yes, you’re right this snake is about a month old!”


Her passion for such creatures started early. “I had an older brother who used to take me hunting for frogs and lizards when we were kids,” she said. “He passed away at 13 from leukemia so having these pets and learning about them, and now teaching about them, has been a way for me to stay connected to him and to honor him.”


And her educational business is a family affair. “These are all our pets, and they live at home with us,” she said. “I do this so people aren’t scared of insects and snakes when they might come across them in nature.” Assisting her on this day were her adult son, Alex, and his girlfriend, Kennedy (who initially had a snake wrapped around her head, prompting a camper, age five, to call out, “You’re Medusa!!”). “None of my animals are dangerous or I wouldn’t let you hold them,” Kim explained. “After all, I let my own son hold them, so you know you’re safe.” She also gently, but firmly, reminded the campers how to keep the animals safe by touching them gently.


The children sat as she brought out a variety of creatures, promising along the way, that there would be opportunities to hold them. “You don’t have to hold anything or touch anything,” she assured her audience. “None of my animals have ever bit or stung a person.”

Over the course of an hour, we learned that no one has ever died from a tarantula bite, that tarantulas will kick off hairs from their abdomen to irritate and scare off a predator, and that if you want to find scorpions, you can go out at night with an inexpensive blue light and the scorpions will glow under the light. We also learned that the Australian Prickly Stick insect, which are harmless (Alex was wearing one on his face at one point in the presentation), were used as doubles for poisonous scorpions in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.


“It’s a very cool insect, and it hangs on really well,” Kim quipped.

We met a Madagascar hissing cockroach and a Peppered Roach, both of which serve as “nature’s recyclers,” eating dead plants, some animal carcasses and helping to create holes in the vegetation canopies in the jungle, so that sunlight can reach the lower plants.

We also met a Crested Gecko named Pop Tart, whose tail or lack thereof, proved cautionary (the pun is mine—apologies to Kim!) to the kids. “Someone wasn’t gentle enough with her at a birthday party, and her defense mechanism was to shed her tail,” Kim explained. “Dropping the tail distracts predators, but it doesn’t ever grow back.”


As she introduced a bearded dragon and various breeds of non-venomous snakes, Kim took the opportunity to educate kids on what it means to take responsibility for a pet. “You shouldn’t go to a pet store until you and your parents have done some research on exactly how big the pet will grow, and what kind of care they need,” she said. “Some people think if it doesn’t work out, the pets can go to live at a zoo. But zoos don’t want our pets, and pets need a forever home. So you need to be responsible about adopting pets.”

After all of the introductions were made, kids lined up to meet the pets, some wearing snakes, others holding tortoises, lizards and yes, even the tarantula. And, I daresay, they were gentler with the stars of this show than most adults are with human celebrities.


“This has been our most successful guest speaker, yet,” said Kurt Hammel, childrens programs assistant manager at Deer Valley’s Summer Adventure Camp. “I’ve never seen the kids so engaged.” (Word to the wise: I noticed Kurt snagging Kim’s card—so don’t be surprised if you bump into Kim and her Cold Blooded Creatures someday during the winter season, too!)


Park Silly Market Passed The “Kid Test”

On Sundays in the summer, I look forward to going to lower Main Street in Park City for the “Park Silly Market.” Everything is there for you to enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon.


There are booths with all kinds of unique items to peruse and purchase. Music fills the air and you can enjoy a burger and a beer or a Pad Thai bowl and juice in a giant pineapple.


This past Sunday was the first time I went to Park Silly with a kid, our silly 5 year old granddaughter. Enjoying the market through the eyes of a child was enchanting.


When the cowboy on stilts came by, she said, “How did he get so tall?” But when he invited her to help with a trick, she shyly ducked behind me.  Before I could explain his extremely long legs,  we were off to look at a bubble machine and puppets.

Her culinary choice for lunch was cheese pizza, though she was adventurous enough to try the piece of basil on top, it didn’t pass the “kid test” and was spit out into my hand.

What passed the “kid test?”

A lot!

The Jump House sponsored by Bobby Lawrence Karate was a big hit. They let a few kids in at a time so each one of the children could have a safe and fun experience. Our girl had three turns.


The Rock Climbing Wall “easy” side was still a challenge for her and she made it three quarters of the way to the top.


Note her “climbing gear” which included her new bracelet and a rose hair clip.


Motherlode Canyon Band was performing on the Main Stage.  We grabbed a chair and sat in the shade to watch and listen to the band.

A bubblegum snow cone was her choice for a treat. I guess it had the right mix of super sweet sugar and cold. Fortunately, no brain freeze was involved.


After all the jumping and climbing, she was worn out and needed a piggy back ride back up to catch the trolley to our car. She slept all the way home.


Park Silly Market is a fun afternoon for anyone but it’s especially a silly good time for kids.

For more information on Park Silly Market, click here.

For more information who is playing where and when in Park City, through Mountain Town Music, click here.

Deer Valley Grocery~Café Summer Menu

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

Anyone who has heard the slightest whisper about Deer Valley Resort has learned it is synonymous with quality. But quality doesn’t always mean pricey, precious or pretentious.

The folks at Deer Valley know their guests well, and when it comes to dining, they know that it isn’t always about sipping champagne and cracking crab legs. Even though that is always welcome in my book. It’s about simple, delicious food served by some of the most attentive staff you’ll find in the U.S. of A. The world even.

So of course food served in a grocery store would be held to the same standards. Really? A grocery store?

Simple. Fresh. Inventive. Deer Valley nails it every time at Park City’s best kept dining secret: Grocery~Café.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

The Deer Valley Grocery~Café was originally concepted as an easy stop for lodging guests or concert goers to pop in and gather prepared take-away meals and essentials like morning coffees while staying in the nearby condos and lodging. It has morphed into my go-to dining destination thanks to crave-worthy breakfast, lunch and now dinner eats.

While the food at Grocery~Café is amazing, the views are just as stunning.

Guests are welcome to sit indoors, or out on the large deck that overlooks ducks and standup paddleboarders coexisting in the large lake at the Deer Valley base. It’s my daughter’s favorite pastime as you’ll see in this post.

But take my advice, when the weather warrants, outside is where it’s at.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

I had the opportunity to sit down to a menu tasting at Deer Valley’s Grocery~Café to sample their summer dinner menu. This is a big perk of my job and I relish every bite of it.

Our dinner started with homemade beet hummus and a tequila and orange cocktail. Have you tried beet hummus? This one is made in house (naturally) and is a combination of garbanzo beans, roasted beets and tahini. A perfect starter, it’s served with Deer Valley’s famous flaxseed crackers and sugar snap peas. Those crackers…so addictive.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

Next, we sampled three newly refined items on the menu.

First, the Green Goddess Grilled Cheese with fresh mozzarella, cabot white cheddar, herb pesto and fresh arugula grilled on toasty housemade sourdough bread. I love a good grilled cheese and this one is tops as a perfect combo of cheese and flavor, still retaining it’s grilled cheese status rather than an overstuffed sandwich.

Next, the Garden Gazpacho. Heirloom tomatoes are blended with more veggies, spices and then topped with cilantro oil and sautéed shrimp. Slightly vinegar-ed bites of freshness come with each spoonful, and the garlic scape as an accents was an earthy touch.

Finally, Grocery~Café’s signature Salmon Tacos, one of the most popular dishes on the menu and rightfully so. A generous portion of salmon tops corn tortillas. It’s then topped with a tangy grilled scallion citrus slaw and roasted poblano guacamole. A little crunch comes in thanks to a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds.

And this was just the beginning.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

You may have noticed a supremely stunning caprese salad at the beginning of this post. The table just about fell silent when this was presented. This salad has been served at Deer Valley Grocery~Café for a number of years but only recently was reimagined by Chef Kristine Thorslund in a stunningly new, minimalist presentation. When you have ingredients this gorgeous, why over do it? The salad is composed of local Copper Moose Farm heirloom tomatoes, sweet basil, marinated baby mozzarella, lemon mosto oil, aged balsamic pearls (I know! Molecular cooking is crazy and here’s how they do it) and blackberry tar.

Then my main course: Seared Salmon. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Okay, I finished the whole thing. How could I not?

A perfectly cooked filet of King salmon that flaked at each forkful rested on a bed of chilled sugar snap pea salad, micro greens and pickled onion and was topped with green goddess pesto, crispy quinoa and more delicate micro greens. The drizzle of olive oil left the dish feeling homemade rather than pretentious. Just my style of eating.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

A new menu item was the vegetarian Cauliflower and Quinoa Fritters and in short order was deemed a new favorite by all at the table. Ground cauliflower and quinoa are mixed with fresh herbs, Spanish red onion and lightly fried, the set on arugula and microgreens to be dressed with a lemon yogurt. If you’re watching what you eat, watch yourself easily consume this.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

Newly appointed Food and Beverage Director Jodie Rogers was center stage at the table, sharing behind the scene stories and the ingredient list of each dish for those of us wishing to know the secrets behind the dishes. Even so, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to remake these dishes at home.

But then, why would I when I can come here and not have to do the dishes?

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

A welcome surprise dessert was served in the form of popsicles. After enjoying a rather large tasting, the cool pops were more than welcome as a light finish to the night. However, don’t think they weren’t full of flavor too.

Strawberry and Black Pepper mingled in one set of pops while Coconut Lime and Pineapple were easily licked as the other. True to Deer Valley form, the pops were served on a tray of frozen fruit and flowers worthy of any Pinterest board.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

Chef Jodie Rogers, Chef Jodie Paris and Chef Kirstine Thorslund are busy creating a name for Grocery Café, and with food prepared and presented like this, it won’t be long before this spot isn’t much of a secret anymore.

Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, Park City, UT

Deer Valley~Grocery Café

Menus: breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • Location: Snow Park Village – base area
  • Address: 1375 Deer Valley Drive South
  • Telephone Number: 435-615-2400
  • Dining Type: Café/Deli/Bakery
  • Business Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m., daily

Heidi Larsen is the creator of, the blog and online magazine featuring family friendly recipes and inspiring photography. She also photographs Deer Valley Resort’s food and fine dining when not enjoying quality time on the ski hill with her husband and 11 year old daughter. See more of what she’s crushing on at Facebook and Instagram.


#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 7

Don’t Fear Your Front Brake

Maybe you’ve come out of a corner, overusing your front brake, and washed out. Maybe you’ve had the dreaded “over the bars” crash – you decided then and there to never touch your front brake again. It might be tempting to rely solely on your back brake for stopping power. However, not utilizing 100% of your stopping power can create an out of control sensation and encourages skidding. Your front brake accounts for approximately 70% of your bike’s stopping power. If you’re only using the back brake, you’re not taking full advantage of all of the control that your bike has to offer. The key is using both brakes together with a smooth touch as well as making sure to shift your hips and bottom back under braking. By moving back under braking you make it safe to use the front brake and make the back brake work better. Practice this out on the street and down gentle hills to get more comfortable and then start trying it on your favorite trails.

LB2015.08.13.frontbrake1Many riders fear the front brake

LB2015.08.13.frontbrake2However, if you learn to use your front brake together with your back brake, your bike (and riding) will thank you.


Doug demonstrates riding back under braking. This position provides a secure place from which to counter the stopping power of your front brake. Practice getting here from cruising in neutral position by slowly applying pressure to both brakes and bringing your hips and bottom back.


You’ll feel the same after mastering this simple and powerful skill

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.