#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 1

Hi! My name is Lara and I am the Senior Communications Coordinator for Deer Valley Resorts. Each Thursday of the #DeerValleySummer I’ll be sharing a mountain bike tip from our Mountain Bike School. Today we kick it off with the “Neutral Position.”

The neutral position, also known as the “attack” position, is an effective tool used in handling the more technical aspects of mountain biking. In the neutral position you should be standing on your pedals, both feet parallel to the ground, in a loose athletic stance with elbows out and chest low. This allows for movement of the bike under your body and can be especially useful when going downhill, coming to a change in pitch or terrain, or any rough or technical section. In this position you are not pedaling, but already have momentum to propel you forward on the trail. Think of the neutral position as a foundation for being able to do more on your mountain bike – staying seated limits the possibilities.

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LB2015.07.15.dougneutral1croppedWe 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.

 

Deer Valley Resort Vying Again for World’s Best Ski Resort

Beginning today, the competition for the third annual World Ski Awards commences and Deer Valley Resort hopes to maintain its title as United States’ Best Ski Resort earned the past two consecutive years and vie for the title of World’s Best Ski Resort. The World Ski Awards serves to celebrate and reward excellence in ski tourism and focuses on the leading 20 nations who are shaping the future of the ski industry. Launched in 2013, World Ski Awards was developed in reaction to overwhelming demand from the ski industry for a fair and transparent program with a mission to serve as the definitive benchmark of ski tourism excellence.

“Deer Valley Resort won the distinction of being named United States’ Best Ski Resort for 2013 and 2014 among a short list of USA finalists,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort. “It was an honor to have our commitment to excellence rewarded by industry peers and the guests and fans of the resort who voted for us. We plan to work just as hard this year to earn the same honor and hopefully continue on to be named Worlds’ Best Ski Resort.”

Voting for this year’s World Ski Awards opens June 5 and closes September 25, 2015. The 2015 country winners will be announced at a red carpet World Ski Awards ceremony at the A-ROSA Kitzbühel, Austria, on November 22, 2015, as part of a three-day program of VIP events and networking activities. Voting will take place at worldskiawards.com and World Ski Awards’ Facebook page.

The World Ski Awards is part of World Travel Awards, currently celebrating 22 years as “the Oscars of the travel industry.” For more information on the award and voting for Deer Valley as World Best Ski Resort, please visit the resort’s website at deervalley.com. To follow Resort happenings on social media, search #skithedifference.

Lessons for a Memorable Mother Daughter Ski Day

Lessons for a Great Mother/Daughter Ski Day at Deer Valley Resort

Getting away from the daily grind and escaping to the silence and solitude of snow capped mountains is something this mom dreams of. Where piles of laundry are replaced by a blanket of fresh falling snow. Where my snug fitting helmet drowns out the constant river of minutia that continually babbles from my 10 year old daughter. To simply have a little “me” time.

So what the heck was I thinking, inviting all of these people with me??

It’s not what I was thinking, it’s what I knew: The more the merrier! This day on the slopes was meant to be shared, and I was going to have a blast with moms who have become friends and their sweet gals, too.

When it came time for my daughter to have her second round of ski lessons to help her become the pro she sees in her mind (see her first time here), I knew from experience she’d do best with her gaggle of gal pals.

Lessons for a Great Mother/Daughter Ski Day at Deer Valley Resort

Each year, Ski Utah offers a Ski Passport program that gives 5th graders the opportunity to ski at each of Utah’s 15 resorts three times during the ski season for a one-time processing fee of just $45. 6th graders can sign up too, receiving one pass to each of the 15 ski resorts.

Ali and her friends each had their Ski Passports in hand so it was a no-brainer we should have them all come up together.

But then I had an epiphany! Let’s make this a mom and daughter date and invite the moms along for the ride. Why should the kids be the only ones to have all the fun?

I’d skied with each of the girls together but this was a first with the moms. There are a few rules of thumb I followed in gathering this larger group together and I must say, it made the day a total success.

Lessons for a Great Mother/Daughter Ski Day at Deer Valley Resort

Invite Skiers of the Same Level

A group that skis together has fun together. Making sure each of the young girls were all at the same level of skiing was paramount to turning the day into a fun day instead of a purely teaching day. And that went for the moms too.

Two of us moms grew up skiing and had skied together before so that was a no-brainer. Two moms had taken up the sport just a few years before. One mom just switched over from snowboarding to skiing, she realized it was no fun to have to rescue your fallen daughter on skis while on a snowboard.

Not to worry, moguls and bumps for the two more experienced in the group have given way to long cruisers on Deer Valley’s perfectly groomed runs. We were more than happy to spend the day working on our turns with the rest of the crew.

For the girls, they had all been skiing together before and loved having their freedom of riding the lifts on their own. And us moms were more than happy to let them.

Lessons for a Great Mother/Daughter Ski Day at Deer Valley Resort

Take It Easy

With five moms who are used to being in charge, five girls who were beyond chatty with excitement and two cars with plenty of gear to keep straight, the decision was made early in the game to take it easy and don’t rush the morning. We put the girls all in one car with one mom driver so they could crank up the tunes and chit chat away while the other moms piled into the other car for a more leisure ride of discussing school politics, hair dye and the latest episode of Scandal.

Once we arrived at Deer Valley, we consciously didn’t rush. Nor did we have to. Everyone from the shuttle driver to the ticket agents and the lift operators made it simple for us to ease into our snow day.

Lessons for a Great Mother/Daughter Ski Day at Deer Valley Resort

Independence Day

Being together as moms and daughters doesn’t mean we had to be glued in pairs like animals on Noah’s Ark. Instead, the moms were happy to let our gals head up on the first chair on their own and leave us in their snow dust as we followed a few chairs behind.

As luck would have it and being the extra observant mothers that we are, one of us spied a single blue ski pole half buried in the snow under the chair. “I hope that isn’t ours,” said one mom, as the other mom immediately replied, “Oh no, it is. I bet it’s Katie’s.” “Yep,” we all agreed in unison. “If it’s anyone’s, it’s Katie’s.”

Long story short, we spent our first two laps on Silver Link ski run searching for the easiest route to gather Katie’s pole. But good moms (and daughters) that we are, there was no blaming, there was no sulking, it just became an adventure for us all to map out and go on together. Finally, we put in a call to Deer Valley Ski Patrol to retrieve it for us.

Saved!

Deer Valley Natural Buffet Snow Park Lodge

Ladies Who Lunch

With a few runs under our belts the girls were already asking for lunch. What? After operation pole retrieval It seemed like we’d just gotten there. But why fight it? Sure, let’s get some food in those bellies, because we all know a hungry kid is a grumpy kid. And truth be known, I knew what was in store so I was more than happy to belly up.

We headed back down to Snow Park Lodge for a feast. When Katie’s mom jokingly told her she’d packed her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich she almost fell off her of chair. As the most adventurous eater of the junior group, this was her favorite part of the day.

Lessons for a Great Mother/Daughter Ski Day at Deer Valley Resort

There was no shortage of variety for all of us to load our trays. As a fan of the Natural Buffet salad bar, I was pushing it like a used car salesman. Where else on a ski hill can you get a daily variety of ultra fresh salads to accent your baby greens? Italian Wheatberries and Tomato Salad, Rainbow Pasta and Shrimp Salad or Sczechan Eggplant Salad with baby kale, fried tofu and sugar snap peas! Not to mention steamed artichokes with saffron aioli and Deer Valley’s own housemade cheeses and an assortment of olives that made a meal in themselves.

Even so, two of the moms simply couldn’t resist Deer Valley’s famous Turkey Chili. And, really, why should they? It’s the best.

Lessons for a Great Mother/Daughter Ski Day at Deer Valley Resort

Grilled cheese, more turkey chili, and for our wonder-eater Katie, the special Ruben Cheese Burger rounded out our tastings.

Of course treating the girls to whatever dessert they wanted (carrot cake for my girl!) gave each of us moms a reason to ask for a bite (or five) as we discussed who was on what diet and how it was going. No blame here, we were working up an appetite.

Lessons for a Great Mother/Daughter Ski Day at Deer Valley Resort

Ditch the Kids

As every mom will tell you, we love our babes. But how great is it to put them into the capable hands of someone else so we could be on our own for a little faster paced afternoon?

Enter Letitia Lussier, a Deer Valley ski instructor since 1981, she knew exactly what motivated these girls and was ready to teach them a lesson or two that they wouldn’t usually hear—or listen to—from their dear old moms.

Lessons for a Great Mother/Daughter Ski Day at Deer Valley Resort

After assessing their abilities, Letitia took the girls down Silver Link and then over to Quincy Express and Silver Strike Express chairlifts, where they happily skied blue ski runs and discovered hidden trails through the trees. As moms will do, we followed along for a run or two and then headed off on our own girls day adventure.

It had begun to snow harder at this point, making for a fluffed layer of Utah’s famous light powder on the expertly groomed runs. We couldn’t have asked for more.

Lessons for a Great Mother/Daughter Ski Day at Deer Valley Resort

Lessons for a Great Mother/Daughter Ski Day at Deer Valley Resort

The moms made our way over to Empire Express and skied longer and faster than we had with our mini-me’s, giving our thighs and form the workout they both needed.

Or, something like that.

Before we knew it, it was time to head back to Snow Park to meet up with our gals and start the trek back home.

Why oh why did it have to end?

Lessons for a Great Mother/Daughter Ski Day at Deer Valley Resort

Take a Selfie

After finding our girlie group and thanking Letitia for an amazing day on both spectrums of the age range, we brought the cars up and readied ourselves for the ride home.

But first, of course, we posed for a selfie.

In this day and age you simply can’t escape getting a group photo (or 19) to document the day. And why would you?

Because these memories are what mom and daughter dates are made for.

Lessons for a Great Mother/Daughter Ski Day at Deer Valley Resort

What We Learned

Lily
Favorite part of the lesson: I really liked our ski instructor. “She told me to lean forward more and it just helped a lot.”

Favorite thing about Deer Valley: “My favorite part about skiing at Deer Valley was hanging out with all of my friends and their moms. The runs were really groomed. Yeah, it was awesome.”

Favorite lunch: “Cheeseburger and a chocolate chip cookie”

Sara
Favorite part of the lesson: “I liked learning how to ski the trees. She took us on more inclines and more steep hills, too. She helped us learn how to balance and keep more on our turns by bouncing and staying on one foot and on the balls of our feet with our knees and shoulders past our toes.

Favorite thing about Deer Valley: “The thing about Deer Valley is that the runs are really groomed and it just makes it a lot easier.”

Favorite lunch: “Grilled cheese and a chocolate croissant.”

Ali
Favorite part of the lesson: “My favorite thing was going through the trees like when we went into Bucky’s Front Yard and the other trails. That was the most challenging part of it. She taught us to stay far apart from everybody and that we can’t go close to each other, and for everybody to go at their own speed. And she told me to not lean back on my skis.”

Favorite part of Deer Valley: “I like the runs by Quincy Express chairlift the best. And riding the lift with my friends. And lunch. And it snowed!”

Favorite lunch: Turkey chili and carrot cake

Katie
Favorite part of the lesson: “The best thing I learned today was to balance on your skis more. The instructor first had us pick up our outside leg and then she had us stop and just pick up the other leg and then only have the tip of the ski on the ground and everything else up when we’re turning.”

Favorite part of Deer Valley: “They have a lot of area to ski and the bathrooms are super nice.”

Favorite lunch: “I got a special Ruben with cheese on it and chocolate chip cookie.”

Grace
Favorite part of the lesson: “I learned that you have to keep your body forward and that you have to ski aggressive!”

Favorite part of Deer Valley: “Probably going down Success ski run with my mom and the hills and how it’s so beautiful with beautiful trees in the mountains, and probably the food. I have so many things.”

Favorite lunch: I had the famous Turkey Chili with some bread and apple cider and a huge cookie. It was so good.”

For a list of kid’s trails, download the Kids Adventure Map here.

To sign up for Youth Ski School, visit here.

For a list of on-mountain dining options, visit here.

Heidi Larsen is the creator of foodiecrush.com, 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 10 year old daughter. See more of what she’s crushing on at Facebook and Instagram.

Deer Valley Resort’s President and General Manager Bob Wheaton, reviews the 2014 – 2015 ski season

Deer Valley Resort’s President and General Manager Bob Wheaton, gives a review of the 2014 – 2015 ski season and invites you to come #SkiTheDifference in the 2015 – 2016 season. Presented by The Ski Channel.

Skiing is a state of…style

I’ve taken the idea that skiing is a state-of-mind to a new level this year. Some in my family would argue that this isn’t entirely a good thing. But I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to dress when you’re off the slopes, is in clothing that tells the world, “I am a skier. I love to ski. I even wear clothes with skiers on them!” Bear with me.

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Recently, my good friend Shari had sent me a photo of a cute sweater she found in the Talbot’s outlet. Neither of us are regular shoppers in that store, and yet, their sweater selections caught our attention. She popped into the store one afternoon and hit the jackpot: a sweater with a pattern that depicts a skier carving turns (stylishly, of course) down a tree-lined slope.

“That’s it!” I announced, I proudly showed the text message to my family. “I need the skier sweater.”

My style-minded spouse and oldest child looked at me, incredulously. But young Seth aligned himself with me and Shari. “You NEED that, Mom! It’s awesome. And you and Shari will MATCH.” He said with all the urgency only a seven-year-old can muster (which is to say, quite a bit). The other two looked on, quizzically, as we high-fived.

Fortunately, the doubting duo know to humor the person who makes sure that the ski bags are packed every night. [Which is how, on a recent afternoon, while Seth was at a play-date, they came to walk into Talbot’s with me, wearing their best game-faces.] To our delight, a dear friend’s mom was working in the store—and she produced not just the sweater, but also a turtleneck with a pattern of little skiers all over it. “Oh, and what about the skier scarf?” she asked, proffering one from a nearby rack. Sold, sold and sold. I grinned from ear-to-ear, as my middle-schooler shook his head in anticipation of the sheer embarrassment of being seen with me, dressed in theme clothes. (Silently, I reminded myself that if I’m not embarrassing my kid, I’m doing something very, very wrong.) My husband pointed out that I had owned a similar turtleneck, back when we first met, over 25 years ago. It occurred to me that he may not have meant this in a good way. Still, nothing could dampen my glee.

Once home I admired my loot and took a great deal of joy in photographing the apparel. I sent the photos to Shari, “I will take your skier sweater, and raise you a skier turtleneck and a skier scarf. I WIN!” She immediately wrote back that she’d be returning to the store to complete her own set. This emboldened me to send boastful text messages, photos included, to a few friends who have, like Jeffrey, known me since the last time I thought that these items were at the height of fashion. I would be lying if I told you that the responses were not filled to the brim with celebrations of my awesome style.

I will be modeling this look all over town. I have paired the scarf with basic black leggings and turtleneck, and the sweater with a pair of motorcycle-style jeans in a light blue that perfectly matches the shade of the sky on the sweater. Clearly, it’s not a “technical” piece, but what fashionistas (like, ahem, myself) would call “a statement piece.” So, I’m now on the hunt for retro-styled ski clothes—you know, Fair-Isle knits, and maybe a more technical version of the cute, printed ski-turtlenecks of my childhood. I draw the line at the neon-colored one-piece ski suit—for now.

What is your skiing state of style? Tweet me  or @Deer_Valley.

Meet Deer Valley’s Avalanche Dogs

If you have shopped at the Deer Valley Signatures stores, you may have noticed the Avalanche Rescue Dog Benefit Merchandise, also know as “Avy Dog.” If you are a frequent Deer Valley skier, you may also have encountered one or several dogs sporting the Ski Patrol logo on their back. To get their full story, I met with Chris Erkkila, Deer Valley’s Ski Patrol Assistant Manager, who told me everything I always wanted to know about these “mountain saviors.”

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The Deer Valley Avalanche Dog program dates back twenty years. From the time one of the resort’s patrollers worked tirelessly to get it off the ground to this very day, it has evolved to the point that Deer Valley’s Ski Patrol now has three avalanche dogs, with at least one on the mountain every day. These dogs are owned by their handlers and go home with them every night.

Let’s begin by meeting them. We have Ninja, a male Pointer/Lab mix, that is almost four years old; Piper a female Shepherd mix, an 11 year old veteran that also happens to be Chris Erkkila’s dog and Izzy, a female Lab/Boarder Collie that is nine years old. The Wasatch Backcountry Rescue (WBR), a local non-profit organization oversees the training and certifications. Nine ski areas are member of the WBR, and account for a total of 30 to 40 dogs.

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A lot of work and training is involved with avalanche dogs. “When we select a puppy,” explains Chris, “we have a series of puppy aptitude tests. In every litter of puppies there’s an Alpha pup, the most aggressive and strongest of the litter. We generally look for the next pup down from the Alpha, one that doesn’t seem to be scared of anything, has strong senses, is apt to attach and interact with humans. We also want a dog that is very curious, has high energy and a strong drive.”

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Of course, there are other considerations. Some breeds are better suited than others for the job. A thick coat is definitely an advantage compared to a thin one; with it, a dog can stay warm longer, while thin-haired dogs may have to wear an extra coat. There are also breeds that have a higher sense of smell than others. Labrador retrievers, German shepherds and boarder collies are better suited than most.

Size matters too; large dogs get tired faster because of the mass they must carry and may develop orthopedic problems faster. Then there’s the mere fact of getting around. Carrying the dog down the slope, loading it up on a chairlift, a snowmobile or a helicopter can be hard with larger dogs. Conversely, a small dog will have a harder time climbing on big chunks of snow or walking into deep powder. The happy medium seems to fall right between 40 and 60 pounds.

Once the puppy is selected, training begins at once with with socialization and obedience. Then training for search follows. It begins very progressively by using one of the dog toys and hiding it behind a tree, then burying it under the snow. This is followed by using articles of clothing like a scarf or a wool sweater scented by a human being, and slowly, the search training evolves to a real person. First, just by hiding behind a tree, before the person is actually buried under the snow. Some avalanche dogs can smell people that are buried under 15 feet of snow.

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A person’s scent permeates throughout the snow pack and eventually makes its way through to the surface. The surface scent may get to an area that is not necessarily the actual body location. The scent works its way trough a cone-shaped path that may follow a slanted trajectory depending on the snow structure. In addition, windy conditions or even just a slight breeze may affect how a dog will catch the scent coming out of the cone.

The dog must be led in relation to the wind. Upwind, it becomes impossible for a dog to catch the scent. Stormy and blizzard conditions may make locating very tricky and difficult. The same applies to terrain conditions that generally are always steep, rugged and involve snow density of varying degrees. Around an avalanche, the surface of snow can be rough and will tire a dog very fast. This is why dogs are often carried to the rescue site so as to save as much of their energy as possible.

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Dog certification is handled by the WBR. Three levels are offered: A, B, and C. Level C designates a candidate entering the program. Level B is for dogs capable of searching within the ski area boundaries. Level A is the full certification and applies to dogs capable of searching both within the ski area and the backcountry. Dogs cannot be tested for Level A until they’re at least 18 month old. For most dogs, it often takes two winter seasons of work and training to pass the the Level A test. Sometimes, it may take a dog three full years to reach Level A.

From that point on, dogs can expect to work on search and rescue until they are about 10. Piper, Deer Valley’s oldest dog, is 11 years old; she’s still going strong, but may be an exception amongst her peers.

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Training is a big endeavor that must be kept up. Deer Valley avalanche dogs stay active year-round. During the off-season, their handlers take them around the resort while mountain biking or working on trails. Their dogs must stay active and obedient while also receiving some agility training to mitigate an off-season sedentary time period. On occasions, outside agencies, like the Summit County Sheriff Department, may come up and expose the dogs to cadaver work, materials they don’t encounter on a daily basis. 

Having the dogs out in the summer help them familiarize themselves with the whole mountain environment; this way, they become closely acquainted with the terrain and their surroundings. Chris adds, “I can see the evidence of this in the winter as my dog recognizes the very details of the terrain she traveled back and forth during summer, she tends to follow her usual path in a winter environment.”

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I asked Chris if any of the three Deer Valley dogs have been involved in actual search and rescue operation: “Yes, we’ve been dispatched quite a few times to actual avalanche sites. One of the most interesting instances, happened late in May, near Sundance resort. We were flown up in a helicopter to Mt. Timpanogos where the search operations took place.”

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At Deer Valley, the “Avy Dogs” perform a very vital and necessary function. They can be seen as an extra insurance policy. Some might argue that these dogs are seen as “low-tech” assistants in a array of new high-tech devices that are being used to locate skiers or measure avalanche danger. “Sometimes dogs can pickup where high-tech left off,” Erkkila explains, “just a couple of years ago, we were all out doing avalanche beacon drills training, and low and behold the beacon batteries died. I had to bring my dog Piper, to find the beacon buried deep under the snow. She found it pretty quickly, so technology is as good as battery life, and with Piper we don’t have to worry about that!”

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With always one dog on the mountain on any given day, skiers have the opportunity to visit a Deer Valley Avy Dog at one of the patrol shacks. Just ask to find out where the dog or dogs are for the day. Chris Erkkila offers: “Come and say hi, collect one of our new trading cards that we created for each one of our dogs, and come take some photos!” 

James “Jamo” O’Reilly’s Deer Valley Difference

A wonderful home away from home is central to a perfect Deer Valley Resort vacation. To make sure guests have long-lasting memories of their ski getaway, James “Jamo” O’Reilly, General Manager of Black Diamond Lodge, ensures that his staff love what they’re doing and leave no stone unturned to exceed their guests’ expectations. I recently had a chance to visit this stunning property and asked Jamo the secret behind a perfect stay.

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JF: What a beautiful lodge, Jamo!

Jamo: Thank you.

JF: What services do you provide for Deer Valley Resort guests?

Jamo: In the winter, we operate Black Diamond Lodge like a hotel. We have a fully staffed front desk from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., we offer concierge service five days a week and our guests have access to our shuttle service throughout the Park City area. They also have two ski valets at their disposal to help them from their lockers to the mountain; we also have a full housekeeping department that offers daily housekeeping.

JF: How large are your units?

Jamo: Our units range from 3,000 to 4,800 square feet and feature one to four bedrooms. In addition, the larger units offer lots of extra common areas and many of them have an additional living room, entertainment or play area. All of the Black Diamond Lodge residences have outdoor decks with mountain views. Easy access to the slopes, the ski school and many other Deer Valley Resort services make Black Diamond Lodge a perfect choice for families.

JF: What did you do before becoming Black Diamond Lodge’s general manager?

Jamo: I spent 20 years working at Rustler Lodge at Alta Ski Area. My career path is a classic “Utah ski bum story.” As a teenager, I moved to Alta from Rhode Island and worked several years in maintenance. I then went back to school to get my degree to become a school teacher, but it didn’t work out, so I returned to Alta and spent another eight years as the Assistant General Manager at the Alta Rustler Lodge. Since my wife and I always had the dream of moving to Park City, that goal materialized four year’s ago. I first worked at a few different properties, one of them being The Deer Valley Club two years ago. I began working  at Black Diamond Lodge in April of 2014.

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JF: What did you do when you started at The Deer Valley Club?

Jamo: I was a night supervisor; I stayed in that position for a little over a year and was promoted to Assistant General Manager of the Deer Valley Club prior to my becoming General Manager of Black Diamond Lodge.

JF: With so many hospitality companies around Park City, why choose a position with Deer Valley Resort?

Jamo: Deer Valley Resort has an incredible reputation as a fantastic employer. This was the ideal choice for me.

JF: Did your expectations come to fruition?

Jamo: Absolutely! I took a pretty big career risk when I accepted the night supervisor position at The Deer Valley Club; it was a step down from the position I held before. It was the leap of faith needed to get my foot in the door at Deer Valley Resort and today I could not have asked for anything better. Within two years, I find myself the General Manager of this beautiful property, I’m thrilled!

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JF: The cream always rises to the top!

Jamo: I don’t know if I fully deserve this promotion but I did my very best to get it. To complement my professional experience, I once again returned to school, went through the Executive MBA program at the University of Utah and graduated in 2010. This has also helped me along in my career with Deer Valley Resort.

JF: Even though you’ve been in the hospitality industry for quite a long time, are there elements that you’ve learned through your association with Deer Valley Resort?

Jamo: Most of my past experience was with a privately owned hotel, working for one individual owner in a small business environment. Working here is quite different. First of all, the properties are owned by individual owners. Then, I must also work with a homeowners association. All of of this has taught me to earn the trust, not only of the guests, but that of all the homeowners as well.

JF: How have you been doing in managing the varying interests between homeowners and guests?

Jamo: I drew from the fact that integrity is part of the Deer Valley core values. If you follow your heart, do what’s right, strive for full transparency and disclosure between homeowners, guests and the resort, everyone gets their fair share.

JF: As your Deer Valley career has evolved, what kind of support did you receive from the company?

Jamo: Jeff Bennett, the General Manager of the Deer Valley Club, has been a fantastic mentor. I wouldn’t be in my position if it were not for the help and support Jeff gave me along the way. I’ve also spent a lot of time with Kim McClelland, the Director of Lodging, who has been another wonderful mentor. Another benefit of working for a very well established organization like Deer Valley Resort is having access to their Human Resources department, another priceless resource; this too, helped me succeed in my position.

JF: On the subject of human resources and potential employee positions, what would you say to individuals considering employment with Deer Valley Resort?

Jamo: I would say that it’s a wonderful place to work, packed with great opportunities. The working environment is extremely rewarding and always positive. Of course, the skiing is fantastic and the employee benefits are incredible.

JF: Are there specific qualities that can accelerate the career path of an employee?

Jamo O’Reilly: You just have to be honest, hard-working, responsible and reliable. The hospitality work is not that difficult. You just need to show up, have a good attitude, be smart, make good decisions and feel happy with what you’re doing. It’s rewarding to be able to provide a positive experience to the guests and be part of making their vacation a success.

JF: From your perspective, what constitutes the Deer Valley Difference?

Jamo: It’s the fact that our employees are empowered and encouraged to offer a personal touch and have a personal connection with our guests. This is what translates into the seamless, perfect experience our guests enjoy. It begins when they check into our properties, reserve their activities, instantly access the chairlift, enjoy great food and it ends a with a fun evening with family and friends. When all is said and done, the Deer Valley Difference boils down to the fact that every employee has the possibility of having a great impact on someone’s experience at Deer Valley. They just need to keep it in mind and run with it!

Gearing up!

“Do the boots fit? Have they outgrown their skis? Will their goggles cover their foreheads, or have they outgrown those too? What about mittens? We never seem to have enough mittens.”

These are the conversations that preoccupy my family’s fall weekends. We dig through ski bags. We try on helmets. And as being the beneficiaries of some pretty sweet hand-me-down jackets and pants, we have the kids try on the pieces that seem closest to their sizes.

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This year Lance is 11 which means that on his next birthday he will officially complete the annual rental contract at Utah Ski and Golf, he started at age three. Since enrolling he has upgraded to the front-entry boots. He has gone up to a ski length that is closer-than-ever to my own ski length. (Just as his bike is but one size smaller than mine.) We’ll be taking Seth to Surefoot and Jans to see where he falls on the trade-in scale—certainly he’s up at least a size in boots at least a size in skis. I thought recently, “there is nothing quite so humbling as marking the passage of time in outgrown ski gear.”

I am also humbled by the leaps in maturity, too. Lance turned the “boot corner” this year. The minute he slipped his feet into his new boots, he announced, “These feel great!” No drama, no discussion about how they “should feel.” He’s a skier. They felt right. He knew.

Lance turned another corner. When the tech asked about his ski level, we didn’t hedge. Our instincts and experience told us that he is, officially, a great skier. He attacked terrain with a different confidence last season, and he had the look—the one that says, “I can’t wait to attack it again.”

Share with me how you are gearing up your family for this season on Twitter   or @Deer_Valley. See you on the slopes!

Deer Valley Announces Solitude Mountain Resort General Manager

Deer Valley Resort has appointed Kim Mayhew as Solitude Mountain Resort’s new general manager effective May 1, 2015. In the interim, Kim will act as the Solitude transition manager, providing leadership and guidance as Deer Valley moves forward in planning the shift to ownership. Kim brings extensive knowledge of the ski industry to the position and is currently in her 33rd year of employment at Deer Valley Resort as the Director of Human Resources.

KimMayhew

As Director of Human Resources, Kim oversees the recruiting, hiring, payroll, benefits and employee relationships for 2,800 Deer Valley employees annually. Prior to becoming director of human resources in 2001, Kim also worked as a ski school instructor, children’s program supervisor, training supervisor and children’s program manager. She was also instrumental in the development of the Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp.

“We are thrilled to have Kim lead the charge at Solitude Resort,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager for Deer Valley Resort. “Kim will bring exceptional leadership and guidance as she transitions to our newest resort.”

Since the age of three, Kim has been involved in skiing. As a teen she raced in the alpine giant slalom discipline and began teaching skiing in 1978. A New Hampshire native, she made her way to Utah with her husband in 1980 and continued her passion for the ski industry as a ski instructor at Sundance Mountain Resort. In the summer of 1982, Kim interviewed for a ski instructor position at Deer Valley Resort and never looked back.

Kim and her husband Jack have a grown son, Peter, and a new daughter-in-law, Victoria, who live in the Park City area. When Mayhew isn’t on the slopes she enjoys running, biking, hiking, music and reading.

Deer Valley Resort’s Summit Meadows Adventures 2014-2015 Winter Season

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Deer Valley owned and operated Summit Meadows Adventures guided snowmobile tours take place on the Garff Ranch, located a short five-mile, 10-minute drive from Park City’s Main Street, on Brown’s Canyon Road (off Highway 248). Summit Meadows Adventures has access to 7,000 acres of pristine open lands on which to snowmobile. Beautiful scenic views of the Wasatch Mountains make this an adventure you won’t want to miss. Complimentary transportation from Park City is available. For more information or reservations please call 888-896-7669 or 435-645-7669. Guided tours use single or double capacity machines.

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One or two hour guided tours are available daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., conditions permitting. Private tours are also available with a two-hour minimum.

A one-hour guided tour costs $109 per person, with a passenger rate of $20. A two-hour guided tour costs $149 per person, with a passenger rate of $30. Private tours are $125 per person/per hour with a two hour and two-person minimum.

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For more information, please visit http://www.deervalley.com/WhatToDo/Winter/Snowmobiling