Smitten with the Lady

For many years, I’ve held the opinion that Deer Valley’s most challenging skiing was found around Bald Mountain, and accessible through the Wasatch, Sultan and Mayflower lifts. I liked that terrain and have spent hours exploring and discovering this entire side of the mountain. My paradigm only began to shift when Empire arrived on the scene and the Daly Chutes ( which I covered extensively last season in this blog) opened up some new horizons and seriously cranked up the “inclinometer.” More recently however, I have spent a greater amount of “quality time” skiing around the Lady Morgan Express chairlift and I am beginning to renege on my previous loves while furthering my appreciation for the very high performance skiing Deer Valley has to offer. That’s right, there’s so much to love about Lady Morgan.

To begin with, that chair is rocket-fast. In about three and a half minute it whisks you to the top of the hill and if you are willing and able to ski as hard as is humanly possible, you might get a full ten laps within the hour. But raw power is only one small part of the story. Variety of options is actually what makes that section of the mountain quite unique. If your friends or significant other aren’t nearly as good as you on skis, they have the choice, from the top of that same lift, to go their merry way on a green run and meet you again at the bottom without any angst and might even have to wait for you at the bottom! All they need to do is comfortably follow “Pearl” and “Webster” and may even elect to make an unscheduled stopover at the Empire Canyon Lodge, that stands right on their path, and indulge on a snack, an early lunch or a warm cocoa while you wrestle with the mountain. This one is the easiest way.

The next choice is “Magnet” and while impressive at the top, this one-diamond run is quite manageable as it’s often groomed, and since it’s still a good distance away from the lift, it’s not quite as steep as “Argus,” the next main run, also a one-diamond, which depending on conditions, is often my favorite way down the mountain. This run is steep and relentless. On it, it’s hard to fake anything as it demands your undivided attention and good legs if you don’t want to stop every six turns. On a new powder day, I’ll stay on this run for the duration; when snow is a few days old, I generally cut over to “Hillside,” on skier’s left that brings me right under the chair and keeps me out of the short section of Webster and its slower skiers. It’s clear that for the best among us, staying close to the lift is where the most fun resides at Lady Morgan.

Then further to the skier’s left from the top of the chair, there is the double-diamond “Centennial” and its wonderful tree skiing, surprising relief and changing terrain. From the day Lady Morgan opened up in December of 2007, that run was already packed with excitement. This season, more glading has made this section of the mountain a tree-skier’s paradise. Just enough evergreens to make the experience intense, but the extra spacing brings much more wiggle room and adds loads of fun to the package. This pretty much sums up the marked runs.

Then there are all the possible combinations between all these runs and this is precisely where Lady Morgan unleashes her irresistible attraction. Cliffs, steeps, trees, all can be mixed to create a smorgasbord of fantastic skiing in a very compact setting. I personally love to stay under the lift and negotiate the steep chutes that are half-way down the hill from the skier’s left and continue all the way down under the towers.

Most skiers can spend a full day venturing into a brand new line as long as they remain in shape for the challenge. That’s right, at the end, what always counts is your legs ability to withstand the punishment, but always keep in mind that Empire Canyon Lodge and its soothing rewards stands vigil just a few turns away!

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