Julie Andrews and Carrie Underwood may have enjoyed raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, and brown paper packages tied up with string when they reflected on their favorite things. For me, though these don’t rhyme, I love the mountains, I am addicted to skiing, and am crazy about sushi. Since the combination can be found at Yama Sushi at Montage Deer Valley, this restaurant is officially one of my favorite things.
My husband Jay and I pulled up to the resort to the complimentary valet parking, walked through the lobby and we made our way to Yama Sushi. The restaurant is nestled along the windows over looking ski runs and the expansive deck with a roaring outdoor fire pit.
I have to admit we started with a sesame wings appetizer with chili and peanuts because we just couldn’t resist them – we decided it isn’t a “first date” item to order. Since we’ve been married for 19 years, we were safe! We weren’t worried about getting any sauce on our chins. Besides, we were kindly provided with a warm towel for quick clean up, so we started our sushi night in wing heaven.
Our server Brittany was full of good advice and since we love trying new things, we decided to try the local favorite “Wasatch Roll” with Montage Mountain Ale battered shrimp, spicy tuna, salmon, cucumber, avocado, chipotle aioli, and tobiko. After trying, the lemony Yama Roll with spicy tuna, cucumber, avocado, yuzu-shisito pepper “pesto” suzuki, lemon and micro shiso, my husband now has a new favorite roll!
Since I am normally more of a wine lover than a sake aficionado, I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and try the sake flight. As a sake novice, in the past I had only tried warm sake. To keep up with my quest to try something new every single week of my life, I decided to try three different cold sakes. I won’t tell you which was my favorite. You’ll just have to check them out for yourself and maybe you’ll find that Yama Sushi becomes one of your favorite things, too.
For a sample menu, click here.
More information on Yama Sushi, click here.
In the early days of winter it is easy to cope with the darkness and bitter temperatures through the wonders of powder skiing. After not skiing for so many months early bedtimes are no problem, the rest welcome and satisfying. We dine and sing our way through the holidays, all the while dreaming of February face shots and seamless groomers. Mid-winter finds us celebrating the milestones of our favorite future ski champions. Your child’s first true carve, and their exuberant laughter as they veer off trail for every powder patch they see mark the days of January. By the time of late February storm cycles our legs are strong, our spirits sated, and imaginations nearly refilled for another season.
Then the most magical experience in all of life begins; the tulip and Lily of the Valley bulbs stir just beneath the surface of the soil, the sun warms the breeze as trout begin to rise and swirl more often, and the familiar scents of spring flow through long shuttered windows.
Skiing in the sunshine of spring is not a continuation of the previous three months, not the same thread that wove our lives together in mittens and heavy coats. It is a new skin worn under sleeveless vests and sunglasses, embellished with cold beverages and decks filled with people randomly looking at the mountain, at the sun, and smiling.
Spring at Deer Valley is the time to stand atop the Champion bump course across from your lifelong buddy, like two teenagers in ’69 Camaros revving your engines at the same stoplight. Both of you looking all the way down the street to the deck of the EBS Lounge, knowing that somewhere down there a pretty girl is briefly looking up the hill, knowing you have only this one shot at glory.
And when the light turns green you both drop, accelerating through the same bumps that Brad Wilson burned down on his way to his first career World Cup podium in February. Your rhythm is just right, your pole plants just right, and in the back of your mind you already hear the sound of après applause from the EBS deck – just before leaning back ever so slightly.
Spring at Deer Valley, on the deck of the EBS, is a time and a place to give cheers to your best friends, to rub your knees and look back up the mountain at the bump line you almost had. To smile in the sunshine and wistfully hope for a few more face shots before summer, before next year when those high fives from fellow skiers on the deck will be yours.
~ I think I was supposed to be writing a bit more specifically about the menu and atmosphere of the EBS, but an hour basking on its deck last week caused my overactive imagination to free float through the crowd, and imagine what their day and winter must have been like. With live music on the weekends and an outstanding drink menu, including a simple yet delectable martini created by founder Edgar B. Stern, be assured you can satisfy your après spirit in comfort and style this spring. Cheers!
Dan Howard has been Director of Public Relations for the Montage Deer Valley, located in Empire Canyon, ever since the establishment opened up to the public three years ago. We wanted to know more about the Montage’s Après-Ski options that are made available to its guests and day-visitors, and we asked Dan to provide us with an update of what happens at his hotel when the ski day comes to an end…
What is the meaning of Après-Ski at Montage?
It means everything to us. Montage was recently named the number one family-friendly hotel of any resort in the world, and our Après-Ski program is one of the reasons we have been recognized in that way.
Are you saying an “Après-Ski Program?”
Yes, we have eight activities that really fall into that category at Montage. Again, we’re a family-oriented, multi-generational resort. The family generally skis together and Après-Ski together at Montage and all of these activities are geared to everyone, from the youngest to the oldest.
Can you start with traditional Après-Ski that includes food and beverages?
Although Après-Ski isn’t limited to food and wine, I will start with that category and introduce the Apex Restaurant that is easily accessible from the mountain. It’s located directly above Compass Sports and features a large wrap-around terrace, perfect for blue-bird days, with Adirondack chairs circling a large fire-pit. We have some wonderful foods available including a lunch menu until 3 p.m. followed by a bar menu that runs until 5:30 p.m. when the dinner menu begins. To accompany our delicious bar menu we have two beers that are brewed for us locally by Wasatch Brew Pub, the Montage Mountain Ale, on tap, and the Monty Belgian White Ale, in bottles, that is named after Monty, our Bernese mountain dog. We also offer our extended wine list and local whiskey.
What else is available?
Right below Apex near Compass Sports, we’ve added a new popular option, the Beach Haus, that is also a children favorite. There, we’re grilling bratwursts, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, right on the mountain, and people can ski-in and stay in their ski boots while making just a fast stop if they wish to still keep skiing.
What happens if some guests, not staying at Montage, have so much fun that they miss the last Ruby Express chair at 4 p.m.?
If guests are enjoying Après-Ski so much and find themselves still with us at 6 or 7 p.m., on the “wrong” side of the mountain from where they’re staying, we’ll gladly take them home. We have complimentary transportation, and we’ll take them to Silver Lake, Snow Park or even Main Street, wherever they came from, within Park City, we’ll take them there.
Is there live music available anywhere at your hotel?
Yes, we do! It begins in the Apex from 12 to 4 p.m. and we have speakers for those outside on the patio can also enjoy the music. At 4 p.m., it moves into the Vista Lounge. (Here’s a tip: the Lounge fills up between 5 and 7 p.m.) The Lounge features a roaring fireplace and live music, the menu is Asian entrees, served in a relaxed lounge setting with a huge variety of signature drinks. Vista is wonderful because it’s a true family gathering place, a giant living room; it’s our largest space and the classic Après-Ski lounge.
Is there a place where guests can get light fare?
Yama-Sushi near the Vista Lounge is perfect for that. It opens as early as 4 p.m. It’s another great option for Après-Ski that offers signature rolls, nigiri, Japanese beers and sake pairings. As you probably know, “Yama” means mountain in Japanese. Then from 4 until 5 p.m. each day, we offer complimentary marshmallow s’mores for guests staying at the hotel and everyone can roast the s’mores on the open fire-pit, next to the Vista Lounge.
Do you have outdoor Après-Ski activities too?
Yes, we have the Powder Park, our own tubing park. Even though it starts at 11 a.m. it is another after ski favorite. Access to the park is complimentary to our hotel guests. It’s a fun Après-Ski option for kids who still want to play in the snow and it’s always a perfect complement to roasting s’mores at the end of the ski day.
What else is there for kids and their families?
The other family gathering place is the Daly’s Pub and Rec, on the lower floor of the resort. There, we offer four bowling lanes, billiards, English darts, a nostalgic video game arcade and the more modern, Wii Lounge. Fresh pizzas made from scratch and other pop foods are served and are perfect for families that choose to hang out in what is the most popular section of the whole hotel.
Does your famous Spa also participate in Après-Ski activities?
As you perhaps know, ours is the largest spa in Utah. It’s also a place where guests can enjoy their Après-Ski experience with food and wine served right in this indoor, mosaic spa pool. Lots of people are looking to this unique spa experience after a long day on the slopes. Guests can pick between the whirlpool, the swimming pool or even book a spa treatment. While our spa doesn’t offer family hours during the day, our guests’ families are always welcome from 6 to 8 p.m. in the spa pool.
Any other Après-Ski options?
Oh yes, I almost forgot; there’s Buzz, our coffee, hot-chocolate and tea quick-stop. There, you can find homemade sweets from our pastry kitchen and it’s where our resident beekeeper offers his honey production that is available along with some hand-made gelato. Buzz is located alongside the retail promenade, a wonderful shopping area complete with designer jewelry and extraordinary fashions which completes in high-style the Après-Ski cornucopia at Montage.
What happens to Après-Ski at Montage when winter is over?
When the ski chairlifts close, Montage becomes a family camp as the days grow longer. One of the first things that changes is that s’more-time goes from 4 and 5 p.m., to 8 and 9 p.m. in the summer months around our camp fires that remain a daily, year-round routine, and then Compass Sports converts from ski shop into a mountain bike shop. We’re the only official demo center from BMC Swiss mountain bikes and guest can try them all on Deer Valley’s trails.
What other activities do you offer outside of winter?
Compass Sports becomes the recreation hub for 30 different activities that are offered to families in the summer and in the fall as long as the sun is up. Activities cover soccer, croquet, badminton, complimentary archery lessons on the front lawn, now that the tubing park has long melted. When the sun goes down we also offer star-gazing, a non-winter activity, that gives the opportunity to urban guests to discover a sky and some constellations that are almost impossible to observe from any large metro areas.
So, are you magically turning Après-Ski into Après-Sports as soon as the snow melts?
Absolutely, you can say it; the end-of-day fun never stops at Montage!
Not real skiing!
This is why we should ski hard and till the end. Tire our legs out so we can reward ourselves. Once again I’ll tell you about some of my favorite spots:
I usually enjoy heading to Edgar’s Beers & Spirits (EBS) Lounge at the end of the day. This is at the base of the mountain in Snow Park Lodge and named after our founder Edgar B. Stern. There is a lot of history about him and his family and the development of Deer Valley. Also, you’re at the base of the mountain so if you get to comfortable there’s no worry about making the last chair. And it’s easy to get comfortable here because there is a big screen TV which usually has the hottest football game or some sort of World Cup ski event playing. On weekends, there is live entertainment. Here you can find something for everyone’s taste. If you’ve skied hard enough, try Edgar’s favorite drink, the Edgartini! Just one though! You still need to get back to the hot tub.
Another spot is the BEACH at Silver Lake. This is at mid-mountain and directly outside the Silver Lake Lodge. You know you’re at the beach when you collapse into one of the white beach chairs. Of course this spot is better on some days more than others. When it’s a bluebird day it’s a perfect spot no matter the temperature. (Well, maybe as long as it’s not below zero!) The sunshine is beating down on you and you are looking up Bald Mountain watching other skiers and seeing the runs you have just conquered. Not a bad view! I have made this spot a tradition for closing day. Grab a beer from the Silver Lake Restaurant and toast to the mountain for a great season or day.
If you don’t want to be outside, Royal Street Café is also located at mid-mountain inside Silver Lake Lodge. Here you can enjoy all sorts of nice drinks including the most popular one on the mountain, Deer Valley’s Blueberry Mojito. Remember though, you at mid-mountain, so if you started at Snow Park you’ll need to make sure you get on the chair by 4:15. But if you’re staying at mid-mountain than you’re almost home!
Your probably wondering what my favorite après drink is, I have to go with my regular Chardonnay. Those of you who know me I’m sure you’re laughing. I don’t change too much or shy away from my regulars; Skiing, Tuna Tacos, Chardonnay! I know I’m boring!!
Cheers and See you on the slopes!