David Smalis’ Deer Valley Difference™

David Smalis manages a lodging reservation team whose job it is to paint a vivid picture of a winter vacation home that will perfectly match the needs of its guests. Every piece of the puzzle needs to fit and this requires superior listening abilities, tireless research and absolute integrity during the entire process. David began working for Deer Valley Resort as an intern during the 2007-2008 ski season and is now the Assistant Manager of Deer Valley Resort Lodging and Reservations; he shares with us the essence of his experience.

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JF: David, what exactly are your responsibilities with Deer Valley Resort?

David: I supervise a team of Vacation Planners, that’s what we call our reservations agents. Our team fluctuates from about five individuals during the summer to around 10 in the winter.

JF: How do your Vacation Planners work with guests?

David: Mostly over the phone; they take in-bound calls related to lodging reservations and associated activities, when needed.

JF: What did you do prior to your employment with Deer Valley Resort?

David: I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and lived there until I was 24. I went to college at Arizona State University. I was already familiar with Park City since my family used to vacation here. I decided to come to Utah while in college, just to do something different; since I really liked the ski industry, I applied to work at Deer Valley Resort.

JF: What was your job at the time?

David: I began with an internship on the mountain with the Race Department and came back to start as a Vacation Planner the next summer. 

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JF: What specifically attracted you to Deer Valley Resort?

David: I was already familiar with the resort and that’s what brought me to my internship. Later, having worked with a travel agency during college, I had the skills required for the Vacation Planner position.

JF: What did you expect as you started your internship?

David: Since my internship counted for credits during my last semester in college, I expected to have fun skiing, get credits for my work and then come home. At that time, I didn’t expect to be here full-time!

JF: What made you change your mind?

David: Once I came back home after my internship, I realized that I wasn’t tied down to anything since I was finished with college. I still needed to get a job, so I came back to Deer Valley Resort.

JF: What were your key motivations for returning?

David: Skiing has been a passion of mine since a very young age, and not just skiing, but also the general atmosphere surrounding the sport; since I was familiar with this area, it seemed like a natural choice. I have been a life-long golfer as well, so with the best of both worlds within easy reach, skiing in winter and golf in summer, I couldn’t be happier.

JF: The perfect confluence.

David: Exactly! In college I majored in communication and I felt that I could go in many directions with it. The fact that I was able to find a job up here I could enjoy as well helped to seal the deal. I found something that I enjoyed doing in a place where I enjoyed being!

JF: Compared to your previous jobs, what has your Deer Valley work experience been like?

David: I worked through college at a travel agency in Tempe, Arizona, which gave me some valuable experience as it relates to the travel industry. This said, the company I worked for was neither too organized nor the most professional, and I found a stark difference when I joined Deer Valley Resort. Here, people stay employed for years and years, something I haven’t seen in other companies!

JF: What impressed you the most at Deer Valley?

David: The executives really set some great examples conducive to cementing a strong team spirit. They’re not above helping employees when the need arises. I’ve seen the president of the resort taking skis at the ski corral during a busy time, just because there was a need. Likewise, I’ve seen other executives clearing tables during Christmas and these kinds of situations go a long way towards creating a unique and wholesome work climate.

JF: How much support did you get along the way?

David: I found that Deer Valley has a culture of promoting from within whenever possible. This helps a lot when you start from a ground-level position and can see that possibility. But you need to have the motivation to move up the ranks. I had it and I’ve always received all the support I needed from my superiors.

JF: Would you like to share some advice for people looking for employment with Deer Valley?

David: I have had nothing but good experiences at Deer Valley. It’s a great place to work and the company treats people very well, but it’s not a job where you can just come in and go through the motions. You must care a lot and be intensely driven in making a real difference to our guests.

JF: A real difference? Is that what defines the “Deer Valley Difference™”?

David: The easiest way to answer is by using the three circle model, “Take care of the guest, take care of the company, and take care of each other.” If you do all three and have them in mind whenever you are making a decision on the job, you are making that Deer Valley Difference™ a reality.

JF: Would that difference influence your making a lifelong career with Deer Valley Resort?

David: When I look at the resort’s master plan and what is going on at the moment in town, I’m truly excited for the future. So to answer your question, I would love to work for Deer Valley for the rest of my career; that would be an ideal scenario for me!

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’s President Receives S. Joseph Quinney Award

Deer Valley Resort’s President and General Manager, Bob Wheaton, is the 2014 S. Joseph Quinney Award Honoree from the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library. Named for the late Utah lawyer, businessman, state legislator, ski visionary and founder of Alta Ski Resort, who is often referred to as “the father of Utah’s ski industry,” the Quinney Award is presented each year to an individual or organization exhibiting the same public-spirited attributes and contributions to winter sports as its namesake.

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Quinney Award recipient, Bob Wheaton, joined Deer Valley Resort in 1980 and worked his way up to resort president in 1997. With Wheaton at the helm, Deer Valley Resort has held the distinction of being rated by readers of SKI Magazine as the number one resort in North America seven times, five of those years consecutively, and has ranked among the top three resorts in North America for the past 16 years. For 2015, Deer Valley was ranked the number two resort in North America and the number one resort in the United States. In 2013 the resort was awarded the United States’ Best Ski Resort award at the inaugural World Ski Awards.

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“To receive the S. Joseph Quinney Award, that pays homage to a man I revere, and be included among peers who have all played a vital role in furthering Utah’s ski history, is such an honor,” said Wheaton. “For the past 45 years, the ski industry has been a cornerstone of my life. I will continue to do what I can to keep it a mainstay of Utah’s future.”

Wheaton’s extensive public service work and contributions to winter sports are aligned with the legacy of S. Joseph Quinney. He is a past president of the board of directors of both the Park City Chamber and Visitor’s Bureau and the Intermountain Ski Areas Association. Currently, he serves on Ski Utah’s executive committee and is a two-time past president and has served on the board of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. Wheaton is also on the boards of the Utah Symphony and Opera, the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and the National Ski Area Operators Association.

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Wheaton is a recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award from the Intermountain Ski Areas Association, the Park City Rotary Club’s Professional Citizen of the Year Award and Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year. He was inducted into the Utah Tourism Hall of Fame and worked closely with the organizing committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, for which Deer Valley hosted the freestyle mogul and aerial events, along with the alpine slalom competitions.

Wheaton received the Quinney Award at the 24th annual Ski Affair, a fun- and nostalgia-filled fundraising dinner presented by the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library’s Ski Archives, held at Little America in downtown Salt Lake City on Wednesday, November 5, 2014. The Ski Archives house the largest cache of skiing and snow sports history in the country.

#DeerValleySummer Concerts

This year marks my first summer in Park City. After the ski season, I thought that the town would slow down. Friends and family would ask, “What do you do when the ski season ends.” Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. Numerous people told me that summer in Park City is just as fun as winter. I was told stories of outdoor concerts, hiking, mountain biking, standup paddleboarding and all of the other activities the #DeerValleySummer had to offer. I was excited to see for myself what all of the talk was about.

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To kick off the summer, we planned to attend the first concert of the season at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, The Bacon Brothers. My girlfriend and I are huge Kevin Bacon (the actor) fans and when we learned he would be performing at Deer Valley Resort, we had to be there. We didn’t know that Kevin Bacon played in a band; we later found out that Kevin and Michael Bacon had been playing music together since they were small boys and as The Bacon Brothers since 1995.

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I was told that to truly get the full experience, you should order a Deer Valley Gourmet Picnic Basket. I made sure to order the basket 24 hours in advance as per the ordering instructions online. We had the choice of salmon or beef entrèes and of course, Kourtni and I had to go with both. The salmon was lightly smoked with marinated cucumber ribbons and dill caper aioli. The beef was a chilled petit fillet with caramelized onions and horseradish cream. The Gourmet Picnic Basket also came with steamed artichokes, aioli, imported olives, Deer Valley’s housemade Tuscan salami, slow roasted tomatoes, baby heirloom tomatoes and fresh arugula, Deer Valley Artisan Meadowlark double cream brie with freshly baked baguette, an apple, grapes and two salted caramel chocolate brownie pops. We also added on a bottle of Ceago Chardonnay.

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You would think after all of that food, we would have had enough. A little girl walked by with a Deer Valley cookie that was bigger than her head. I realized Kourtni had never had one so we decided that one cookie couldn’t hurt. We made a quick stop by the concession stand and picked up a delicious chocolate chip cookie. Kourtni was very impressed and even sent a snapchat to all of her friends with it. I told her you could buy the mix online or from the Deer Valley Grocery~Café and make them at home. She bought the mix a few days later. The music was great, but for us the food stole the show.

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The Bacon Brothers ended the night with Footloose and had the entire crowd standing up and singing with them. Our seats were fantastic, but honestly, knowing what I know now, there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

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After the concert, to my surprise, the party didn’t stop. We made our way to the St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights VIP after-party inside the Snow Park Restaurant where drinks and appetizers were served. We met a few friends and talked for an hour and a half. Realizing we were one of the last groups still there, we decided to call it a night.

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This was the perfect way to kick off our #DeerValleySummer. We enjoyed it so much in fact, that we attended the Martina McBride and Dierks Bentley concerts in the following weeks.

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We sat in reserved seats again for Martina McBride. She was surprisingly short and looked as if she hadn’t aged a day. She made note of the elevation and how beautiful the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater was. Afterwards, we attended the VIP after-party and were one of the last groups to leave again.

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Dierks Bentley was by far Kourtni’s favorite concert. We had general admission seats on the lawn, brought our own cooler and got there early to make sure we had a good spot. My sister, Andrea, and her boyfriend, Tyson, met us there. They purchased hamburgers from the Deer Valley concession stand and beer from the Deer Valley Etc. store. We stood the entire concert and sang every word with 5,000 other Dierks fans. He put on a great show and really interacted with the crowd. The venue and great music made this one of the best concerts we have ever attended!

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Have you been to a concert at Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater? Let me know how your experience was in the comments below or on Twitter @RyanMayfield or @Deer_Valley.

 

Deer Valley Resort will Host 25th Annual Navajo Rug Show and Sale

The 25th annual Navajo Rug Show and Sale will take place at Deer Valley Resort‘s Snow Park Lodge, November 7 – 9, 2014. This special event provides attendees the opportunity to experience Navajo culture through demonstrations of weaving, singing and other traditions; and to help support Navajo elders by purchasing their hand-woven rugs and hand-crafted jewelry.

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The Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program is proud to sponsor the event, celebrating its 25th year in Park City. This year’s show has the theme “Honoring Our Weavers” and pays tribute to the weavers who make the show possible, many of whom have been participating since its inception in 1990. This year’s participants were asked to weave a self-portrait of themselves at the loom into their creations.

Program founder, Linda Myers, started the Rug Show as a way to help the elders support themselves by selling their crafts and to raise awareness for the elders’ needs. “The Rug Show offers guests a unique opportunity to learn more about the Navajo way of life and to meet 30 elders and their families who will travel from their native homeland to Park City,” said Myers. “From its humble beginnings of just a few rugs at the Kimball Art Center, the Rug Show has evolved into what may be the largest event of its kind in the country. More than 700 rugs will be on display and available for purchase at the show. The proceeds from the rug sales go directly to the weaver.”

Adopt-A-Native-Elder assists more than 500 Navajo elders living traditionally in remote areas of the Navajo Reservation in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Volunteers deliver food, clothing, medical supplies and other necessities twice a year to support the elders and to build a bridge of hope between cultures.

On Friday, November 7, the event opens to the public with a preview fundraiser from 6 to 10 p.m. at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Lodge. This preview allows guests to view the complete selection of rugs available at the show and to purchase rugs at a 10 percent discount. A live auction featuring the rugs, trips and special gift packages will take place between 8 and 9 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for children under 12. They can be purchased at the door or with a credit card by calling 435-649-0535.

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The Rug Show and Sale continues on Saturday, November 8, and Sunday, November 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $5 and/or $5 worth of donated canned goods, per day. On Saturday, a Navajo Children’s Princess Pageant will take place at 10 a.m., a weaving demonstration at 1 p.m., Navajo Grandma Idol contest at 3 p.m. and the Navajo Grandpa Idol singing contest at 4 p.m. On Sunday, there will be a Navajo Veterans ceremony at 10 a.m., a weaving demonstration at 1 p.m. and a closing Pow Wow at 3 p.m.

Food and clothing collected during the show and all funds generated from the sale of rugs and jewelry go directly to the elders. The Rug Show is supported by grants from the Utah Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Summit County Restaurant Tax.

For more information on the Rug Show, please visit the Adopt-A-Native-Elder website at http://www.anelder.org, call Linda Myers at 435-649-0535, visit the resort’s website at deervalley.com.

Deer Valley Resort is Out For Blood at the 11th Annual Transylvania Tea Party Blood Drive

Deer Valley Resort is truly out for blood this Halloween by hosting the 11th annual Transylvania Tea Party Blood Drive. This fun-filled, Halloween-themed blood drive is a tradition started by Deer Valley staff who wanted to support the community blood banks and get into the Halloween spirit.

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“This event has become a fun and worthwhile Halloween tradition at Deer Valley,” said Kim Mayhew, Deer Valley Resort director of human resources. “Our staff enjoy dressing up and coming together in support of a worthy cause. We also encourage the public to join with our staff in donating. The need is urgent and constant and donations are vitally important for emergencies and for people suffering from cancer, blood disorders, sickle-cell anemia and other illnesses.”

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Last year’s Transylvania Tea Party Blood Drive received more than 100 donations. This year’s event will take place on the second level of Snow Park Lodge in the Clock Room from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, October 31, 2014. Deer Valley’s current staff base is being encouraged to participate in full force, and the blood drive is open to any community members wishing to donate. Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments are encouraged and can be made by calling 435-645-6654. Light refreshments will also be provided.


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Donors must present a photo ID, be 18 or older (or at least 16 years old with parental permission slip), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. To find out if you are eligible to donate blood, please consult the ARUP Blood Services website at utahblood.org. ARUP Blood Services, a division of ARUP Laboratories which is an enterprise of the University of Utah and the Department of Pathology, will be conducting the drive and is proud to be the sole blood provider to University of Utah Hospital, Huntsman Cancer Hospital, Primary Children’s Medical Center and Shriners Hospital for Children.

For more information on the Transylvania Tea Party Blood Drive at Deer Valley Resort, visit deervalley.com.

EARLY-SEASON PASS RATES END OCTOBER 31, 2014

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Deer Valley Resort early-season rates on all Season Pass products end on Friday, October 31, 2014.  Deer Valley offers a wide range of Season Pass options, including the Midweek Senior, Super Senior and Young Adult passes.  For more information on all Season Pass products and pricing, please visit deerlocals.com.

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Deer Valley 2014-2015 Season Pass holder benefits include:

  • Valid for summer 2015 chairlift rides. Deer Valley offers lift-served mountain biking, hiking and scenic chairlift rides. Operating mid-June through Labor Day. Midweek season passes are valid seven days a week in the summer.
  • Eligible Adult, Senior and Midweek Season Pass holders will receive up to six Buddy Passes for each Season Pass purchased. Eligible Teen and Child Season Pass holders will receive four Buddy Passes for each Season Pass purchased. Season Pass holders must present their Season Pass at the ticket office in order to receive the discounted rate.  Midweek Season Pass holder discounts are valid Monday-Friday only.  Black-out dates for Season Pass Buddy rates are December 26, 2014 – January 1, 2015 and February 14 – 16, 2015. Adult and Senior: $71, Midweek: $62, Teen: $62, Child: $43
  • WasatchBenefitPass290x190Wasatch Benefit Pass, enjoy shared lift privileges at Alta Ski Area and Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort with the purchase of a qualifying Deer Valley Resort Season Pass. Select season passes at each resort qualify for up to three complimentary day tickets at the other two resorts. One ticket per day, per resort, will be issued and the tickets are 100% non-transferable. Black-out dates apply: December 24, 2014 – January 2, 2015, January 17 – 19, 2015 and February 14 – 16, 2015.
  • SollogoVerticalEligible Season Pass holders will receive four ski days at Solitude Mountain Resort this coming season. Midweek pass holders will be given two passes valid Monday-Friday.  One ticket per day will be issued and the tickets are 100% non-transferable. Holiday restrictions will apply: December 24, 2014 – January 2, 2015, January 17 – 19, 2015 and February 14 – 16, 2015.
  • A 20% discount Snow Park lunch card is available exclusively to Season and Local Pass holders. They may be used at the Snow Park Restaurant between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • 15% discount on dinner at three of Deer Valley’s evening restaurants: Royal Street Café, Seafood Buffet and The Mariposa. Holiday restrictions will apply: December 20 – 31, 2014 and February 14 – 16, 2015.
  • One-year subscription to SKI Magazine

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

Girls’ Weekend Spa Day – Five Tips To Make It Fabulous

Girls talk.

We’re wired that way.

No seriously, we really are. In fact, recent research has shown that women’s brains are wired differently than men’s. This research has confirmed what many of us suspected. In females, wiring in the brain goes between the left and right hemispheres, suggesting that they facilitate communication between the analytical and intuition. (Think great memory, multi-tasking and group solutions.)

In men’s brains, the wiring is front to back suggesting their brains are structured to facilitate connectivity between perception and coordinated action. (Think singular focus.) (Read more here.)

What this means to us, ladies, is we are meant to be communicators.

We talk. We listen.

So when I was setting up my girls’ weekend spa day, I knew I had to plan for lots of communication time.

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Since my girlfriends carved out precious time away from their families to get together and unwind, I needed to make sure we made the most of our time together. I asked Katie at Zanté Spa, located at the Deer Valley Plaza Building, to help me plan a morning of relaxation and rejuvenation with the girls. As a pro at creating special pampering experiences, she gave me a few tips.

Here are five of them:

1. Take over the place. Since you and your girlfriends don’t get together as often as you like, you want every moment to count. Zanté Spa was able to book our appointments so that we had the place to ourselves the whole morning. We’d welcome any other spa visitors, of course, but having “just us girls” made it feel so welcome and cozy. We were able to employ “no filter” conversations which is what girls’ weekend is all about.

2. Build in transition time. Katie scheduled our treatments with plenty of time for lounging in-between. Instead of feeling rushed and checking our watches, we were able to relax as some of us were getting done with our treatments and others were getting started. As a Type A personality who lives her life by the clock, I appreciated the no-stress attitude. This is one tip many of us can apply to all areas of our lives – I certainly will.

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3. Customize your experience. We brought in some special fruit plates, juices and appetizers to complement the selection of goodies the spa provided. Don’t laugh but we also brought some “lighter” reading – fashion magazines! The spa supplied some wonderful reading material, but be sure to bring in whatever makes you feel comfortable whether it’s a special book or a fashion magazine.

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4. Linger. When your spa day comes to a close, don’t rush out. After a few hours of Zen space and total relaxation, we didn’t want to just bolt out the door. We needed some transition time to step back into the world. The ladies at Zanté Spa, suggested we linger. They also had menus on hand for us to review some choices for our next stop – lunch at Deer Valley Grocery~Café.

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5. Treat yourself to something special – you deserve it. Try something new to enhance your experience. My girlfriends who had massages tried a Japanese energy technique called Reiki integrated into their massages and felt fabulous afterwards. I tried the restructuring and soothing facial called Vital-Elastin which included a facial massage with the exfoliation and dry brushing. This was a new experience for me and my skin appreciated it!

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So remember when planning your event, girls talk.

Just go with it.

Do you or a family member need a retreat or special getaway or do you have questions about our girls’ weekend? Connect with me on Twitter  and @Deer_ValleyClick the links for more information on; lodging at Trail’s End Lodge, spa services at Zanté Spa and menu options at Deer Valley Grocery~Café.

Kathy Sherwin’s Deer Valley Difference

Fresh out of college, Kathy began her career at Deer Valley Resort as a Ski Instructor before joining the Ski Patrol team and then moving on to the resort’s Human Resources department. She didn’t stop there and worked part-time in retail at the resort’s Signatures Stores, while she pursued a career as a professional cyclist. Today, she is the Tour & Travel/International Coordinator in the Marketing department. Before she re-invents herself once more, I stopped Kathy for a few precious minutes to uncover the secret of her breathless career path with Deer Valley Resort.

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JF: What was your life like before Deer Valley Resort?

Kathy Sherwin: I was raised in Tacoma, Washington and always was a very active child. I was a tomboy, I guess; I already had my little BMX bike and built a track for it in the back of the house. I also played soccer, tennis and was put on the ski bus every week by my parents.

JF: Where did you go skiing?

Kathy Sherwin: Snoqualmie Pass, Crystal Mountain and White Pass; those were the main places I learned to ski; I was always on the go!

JF: As you grew up, which career path did you want to pursue?

Kathy Sherwin: It’s kind of funny; I wanted to be a doctor. As I started volunteering and working in that field, I soon realized that everyone was sick. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be around all these sick people all the time and started looking instead into preventive approaches to healthcare which led me to a healthier lifestyle. I met my late husband in college and he was the one who had a bicycle and said, “Hey, let’s commute to school everyday.” It was of course much faster to ride our bikes than drive for 40 minutes in Seattle’s traffic. That’s how I got back into bike riding.

JF: I guess, biking was well planted into your DNA.

Kathy Sherwin: Yes. I remember telling my mom, “I want to bike race!” when I was 6 years old, but it didn’t happen.

JF: So you are at the university and then you graduate; what brought you to Deer Valley Resort?

Kathy Sherwin: My late husband said, “I’ve heard about Deer Valley Resort, it’s a great place in Utah; they treat their employees extremely well.” So we went, we got jobs, he became a Mountain Host and I became a Ski Instructor.

Kathy in the early days at Deer Valley Resort with late husband Chris Sherwin.

Kathy in the early days at Deer Valley Resort with late husband Chris Sherwin.

 JF: Had you taught skiing before?

Kathy Sherwin: Yes, I forgot to tell you; I had taught skiing at Ski Acres, next to Snoqualmie in Washington, during my last year of college.

JF: What were your expectations when you arrived at Deer Valley Resort?

Kathy Sherwin: That we would work there for a season or two and leave.

JF: And move on to another place?

Kathy Sherwin: Yes, but Deer Valley Resort was so fantastic and with the employee benefits, the way we were treated, and the tight-knit family atmosphere, it was hard to think about leaving.

JF: Were you hooked?

Kathy Sherwin: Totally!

JF: What did you learn during your first season?

Kathy Sherwin: The importance of customer service. If you had a question from a guest and didn’t have an answer for it, you would go find it out and would get back to the guest no matter how much work it meant and whether it took a few minutes or an hour. I thought it was pretty cool because many other places didn’t know how to service their customers that well.

JF: What else did you learn?

Kathy Sherwin: The other thing that I discovered, that I thought was really neat and interesting, was that all the departments were working well together. So we got along well with the kitchen and the kitchen would help us, Mountain Hosts would help us too; soon, the other departments would pitch in. The philosophy was, “We’re all under one roof, we’re trying to achieve the same goals, so we need to help each other to achieve them.”

JF: Did you feel this came naturally from all your coworkers?

Kathy Sherwin: We had orientation and training, but no one can force a certain attitude on you. With the kind of employees that we have, many of them so well-educated, this way of acting comes quite naturally. It isn’t pushed down your throat and most people buy in to that concept.

JF: What’s remarkable about your career at Deer Valley Resort is the impressive range of positions you have occupied over the years; tell us about that.

Kathy Sherwin: The ski school came naturally because I had done it previously. Still continuing on the thought that I wanted to go into medicine, I became an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and joined the Ski Patrol for a few years. Then about a year later, after my husband and I married, I had the urge to get a “real job” and an Administrative Assistant position in Human Resources became available. I applied and got the job.

JF: Was it a year-round job?

Kathy Sherwin: Yes, salaried, full-time. I did it for a little over 10 years and worked my way up to HR Manager by the time I left. I decided to then pursue my passion of racing a bicycle full-time.

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JF: Did you take a sabbatical or did you find some other working arrangement?

Kathy Sherwin: What I did was to work on-call with the Deer Valley Signatures stores. I would come to help over Christmas, holidays and other busy periods and did this for six years. In the meantime, I was racing my bike full-time, traveling the world and training daily.

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JF: How did that passion for mountain bike racing develop?

Kathy Sherwin: When I was sitting in the HR department, I watched the NORBA (National Off Road Bicycle Association) series come through and set up mountain bike races; I wondered what this was all about and thought it would be cool to try one day.

JF: Did you have any mountain biking experience?

Kathy Sherwin: Not really, I would occasionally ride a hard-tail mountain bike and eventually I ended up getting a full-suspension one. I loved it and started to race. My first competition was the Intermountain Cup Series, 14 years ago. I participated as a beginner and won my category, which was a real shocker to me.

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JF: What happened after that?

Kathy Sherwin: Everyone was excited for me and told me to go on to the next race, which I did and won! Then I got a local sponsor and little by little, I built my resume up to garner even more sponsors, about ten of them. I was able to accomplish all this without even setting the goal of becoming a professional in the first place.

Kathy on a muddy day of cyclo-cross.

Kathy on a muddy day of cyclo-cross.

JF: Is this how you went on to race nationally and joined the international scene?

Kathy Sherwin: Right. I raced in Canada, Belgium, Scotland, Germany, among other countries.

JF: How long did you race as a Professional?

Kathy Sherwin: About six years.

JF: How did you return to Deer Valley Resort?

Kathy Sherwin: I always knew I wanted to return to Deer Valley and this was always part of the plan. I knew I wanted to work in the Marketing department. A position became available when my husband was sick with cancer, which made the transition so timely. 

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JF: How do you like working in the Marketing department?

Kathy Sherwin: I love it. It’s amazing, as a professional athlete, how you must learn to sell yourself. First I was really shy about it, but it soon became a matter of survival. You learn how to push yourself and show what is important to the person you’re selling something to. It’s amazing how my competitive experience translated into the sales and marketing process. Add to this my love and passion for Deer Valley Resort, the best product out there, all these pieces make it so easy!

Kathy sharing trade secrets with the Travelocity Gnome.

Kathy sharing trade secrets with the Travelocity Gnome.

JF: In looking back over your remarkable career, where do you see the essence of the Deer Valley Difference?

Kathy Sherwin: It’s all in the guest service quality, being upfront with all the experience and value we’re offering our guests. The key is to provide guests with an experience that is always over the top and makes a true difference for them. I love being part of that entire process. I would also add that the company’s leadership has a huge influence on the Deer Valley Difference. For example, Bob Wheaton, our President and General Manager, is instrumental in making it work by leading through example and there’s a trickle down effect throughout the entire work force. This and the fact that we’re all empowered to think out-of-the-box when it comes to solving problems and finding solutions for guests, continuously fuels a customer service experience second to none.

JF: In closing, and for our readers considering a Deer Valley Resort career, what advice would you give them?

Kathy Sherwin: They should know that our employees are kind, open, willing to engage guests, hardworking and willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. Another very cool thing about Deer Valley Resort is that we hire a lot from within – I mean a lot. So go get that “entry-level” job, because, before you know it, you can have a year-round position; this is exactly what I did.

Deer Valley Resort Agrees to Purchase Solitude Mountain Resort

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Deer Valley Resort has entered into an agreement to purchase Solitude Mountain Resort and will begin operating the resort on May 1, 2015.

“Solitude is an incredible resort and provided a huge opportunity for us to expand our offerings right here in Utah,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort. “Solitude is in unique position with their widely varied terrain that attracts both local and destination skiers.  We are ecstatic to be able to add the resort to the Deer Valley® family.”

“The DeSeelhorst family has enjoyed being a part of Solitude’s history for almost 40 years. We are proud of what we have been able to accomplish at the resort and in our mountain community,” said Dave DeSeelhorst, owner and general manager of Solitude Mountain Resort. “We feel very fortunate for the opportunity to have worked with so many amazing people in our industry and most importantly being able to work with our incredible staff at Solitude over the years.  It is exciting to pass on this unique and beautiful resort to one of the best resort operators in the country, Deer Valley.”

For the upcoming 2014-15 ski season, Solitude will operate as usual under the leadership of the DeSeelhorst family.  To foster the most effective and strategic change over, select Deer Valley staff will work alongside Solitude staff during the next six months to evaluate resort operations and gain knowledge about the Solitude brand and culture.  Deer Valley will then take full ownership of Solitude Mountain Resort on May 1, 2015.

FAQs:

Why did Deer Valley Resort enter into an agreement to purchase Solitude Mountain Resort?
Deer Valley recognized a great opportunity to expand within the Utah market by adding Solitude Mountain Resort to the Deer Valley family.  Solitude is an incredible resort, with both family friendly and expert terrain, and we are sincerely excited to begin working with the staff.

Amount Paid? Assets acquired?
This is a private acquisition.

How will this purchase change the experience at Solitude?
It will be business as usual, run by the DeSeelhorst family, at Solitude for the upcoming 2014-15 season.  Deer Valley recognizes Solitude’s unique position in both the local and destination markets and acknowledges that we have much to learn about the current operation and brand position.  Consequently, we will have select Deer Valley staff work hand in hand with Solitude staff this winter to share knowledge.

Does current Solitude staff need to worry about their employment?
Deer Valley does not anticipate any major changes in staffing at Solitude at this time.

Will snowboarding still be available at Solitude?  How about the Brighton
connection?
Deer Valley plans to continue allowing snowboarding at Solitude and keep the Brighton connection in place.

What about One Wasatch?  Now that Deer Valley intends to own Solitude does a connection from Big Cottonwood Canyon to Deer Valley, instead of Park City Mountain Resort, make more sense?
One Wasatch has been analyzed over the years and the present lift alignment recently released by Ski Utah seems to make the most sense.

Will it become a mini-Deer Valley?
Although Deer Valley will bring some of our service oriented and operational philosophies to the resort we do not plan to re-brand Solitude as another Deer Valley.

Will the name change?
At most, Deer Valley would make a small adjustment to the name to let current guests and potential visitors know the resort is now part of the Deer Valley family.  We believe there is a lot of awareness and brand equity in the Solitude name.

Will there be a reciprocal arrangement for skiing benefits between Solitude and Deer Valley Resort?
Deer Valley Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort full season pass holders will receive four ski days at each respective resort.  Deer Valley midweek pass holders will be given two passes valid, Monday through Friday, at Solitude for the coming season.  Holiday restrictions will apply: December 24, 2014 – January 2, 2015; January 17 – 19, 2015 and February 14 – 16, 2015.

Will Solitude be added to the Wasatch Benefit program?
Deer Valley anticipates the Wasatch Benefit program will remain as announced in September with shared lift privileges for select season pass holders between Alta, Deer Valley and Snowbird.

Will lift ticket, locals and season pass prices increase dramatically due to the purchase of Solitude by Deer Valley?
There will be no changes to the lift and season pass rates announced by Solitude for the 2014-15 season.  Moving forward, Deer Valley Resort will analyze past resort performance, operational expenses and projected revenue potential prior to setting rates.

Will Deer Valley bring more capital and marketing investments to Solitude?
Deer Valley will take the next six months to analyze operational and marketing/brand opportunities prior to announcing any capital investments.  In addition, Deer Valley will begin promoting the great experience and resort jewel Solitude currently is in spring of 2015.

Does Deer Valley plan on buying any more resorts?
Although Deer Valley is not actively pursuing purchasing another resort, we have always been open to analyzing opportunities that may be a good fit for Deer Valley.

Did Deer Valley purchase Solitude in response to Vail Resorts’ purchase of Park City Mountain Resort and Ian Cumming’s purchase of Snowbird?
Absolutely not.  Deer Valley has entertained many opportunities to purchase resorts over the years and in the end, those opportunities did not make good business sense.  Solitude came to us at the right time and for the right reasons including: the location in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah; past business practice and performance; and great awareness in the local market.