First Powder Day of the Season!

Empire Bowl on 12/15/12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One week into Deer Valley’s 2012-13 season and we were blessed with a powder day! If we keep this pace (and the forecast for the upcoming week looks like we will) it will make for great skiing over the holiday.

I have to admit today’s skiing was a pleasant surprise. Last year, we weren’t able to ski the Empire area and especially the Chutes until mid-January! Yup, we are already a month ahead of ourselves. I met up with some of the locals and ripped a few runs.

This picture certainly isn’t the ” epic” powder shot technically but you can see from the look on my face how fun and excited I was. We took the next picture for fun because we really didn’t know how it was going to be making the first turns of the season in the Daly Chute but at least we could say we were warned.

I’m glad we explored. Come out and see for yourself! If the storms line up as I have been hearing, we are on our way to great skiing.

Heck, just today toppled all of last year!

See you on the slopes.

Empire Canyon Grill with Andrew Fletcher

Deer Valley is lucky to see visits from both loyal locals and returning out-of-towners. Many guests return each season with specific traditions that they must incorporate into their Deer Valley experience. A best kept secret for many skiing at Deer Valley is Empire Canyon Grill, located in the Empire Canyon Lodge, tucked away at the base of Empire Canyon Express Chairlift.

We caught up with Andrew Fletcher, Empire Day Sous Chef to share his favorite things about Empire Canyon Grill and Deer Valley.

When did you come to Deer Valley?

I arrived at Deer Valley in November of 1998 for one ski season, and have been here ever since.

What does a perfect ski day mean to you?

Any day on the slopes!  If you are cold you can come inside and warm up by the fire.  If it is sunny you can sit out on the deck.  You can always find the perfect run at DV no matter what day it is.

What is your favorite thing on the menu at Empire Grill?

The Steak Baguette at the specialty grill.

Who is your favorite person to ski with?

My wife and daughter.

What is your must have treat at Deer Valley?

A beer on the Empire or Sliver Lake deck after a day of skiing.

What run is a must for every ski day?

Magnet on Lady Morgan.

What is your most memorable chairlift ride?

I was once on a chair with two men who had just retired and were going to ski every resort in the U.S. that season.

Empire Canyon Grill is open during the ski season for continental-style breakfast from 9:15 – 11 a.m. daily, featuring fresh pastries, homemade granola and beverages including espresso, latte and cappuccino. Open for lunch from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., offering a traditional and gourmet grill, Natural Salad Buffet, soup, chilies, paninis and fresh baked goods.  Afternoon snacks are available until 3:30 p.m.

Hiding Deep in the X-Files

If you really don’t want other skiers to see you, if must absolutely avoid your boss or your ex-significant other, or just ski in total privacy, Deer Valley Resort has the perfect shelter for you. It’s called the “X-Files” and while I discussed the geography of that very special place in great details on this blog, early January, I wanted today to focus on the tactical aspect of this location.

That’s right, this area at the corner of Empire Canyon is a perfect hiding place, just under the canopy of huge pine trees. If, like me, you are a private person or have to remain anonymous for whatever reason, you’ll want to run laps your entire ski day inside the “X-Files!” The added benefit is that skiing in its trees is more fun than you can imagine and the powder stashed there remains fresh forever.

Short of making yourself even stealthier by dressing in white and being totally invisible from spy-satellites, you can be assured that your skiing will remain totally “under cover” for as long as you don’t show up again on Orion run. Oh, I almost forgot, make sure to turn off any GPS tracking feature that you might have inside your cell phone… Now enjoy this “how-to” video!

Sunshine in Empire Canyon

Empire  Canyon has always been one of my favourite places to work. If it’s not snowing, then the sun is out and you get a spectacular view from 9,570 feet.

There’s also a couple of aspen glades that have a great contrast against that blue sky, like Zebra trees. The name says it all…


Caroline Crandall sneaks a line through the aspens

X-Files Revealed

 For as long as Deer Valley’s Empire Express chairlift opened up, I’ve been intrigued by a mysterious area called the “X-Files.” While it’s not an official run, it’s a place locals and skiers that are “in-the-know” rave about.

I had always wanted to write about it, but – as you might have guessed – the place is shrouded in mystery, secrets and other eerie elements. It’s only after much arm-twisting, cajoling and other diplomatic maneuvers that it was determined that the X-Files could be featured in this blog, but only under the express condition that readers should keep that privileged information to themselves.

To get everyone who is anyone at Deer Valley on board with the disclosure, you need to first click on this link before reading on. I know nothing seems to happen when you click on this particular link because we’re entering the realm of the paranormal. So now that you’ve clicked and agreed to keep a secret, let’s begin revealing what’s inside the X-Files. Obviously, we first need to access that special place. Getting there is the same as if you were skiing the Daly Chutes; after turning left at the top of Empire Express and following the upper portion of Orion, you disappear into the trees and begin your undercover journey.

As you slide by the Daly Bowl and Chutes, it becomes important to remain focused and not let these enthralling runs lure you and take you down with them, or even forgo the short hiking that’s required of you. Instead, keep your eyes on the prize and forge ahead. You’ll successively and successfully pass the Daly Bowl, Challenger, Cataract and Niagra Chutes before reaching the start of your destination. By then, you and your party – it’s always a good idea to take an “initiated” friend along – will reach the edge of the inscrutable domain of the Deer Valley X-Files.

You’re on the edge of a forest that feels like a maze and is a fertile ground for all kinds of conspiracy theories. That’s when you begin to ask yourself: “Will I survive it?” or “Will I even find my way out?” The options seem infinite and this is pretty close to reality. The trees are spaced enough to let you wiggle your way around them with deceptive ease, which in many ways might feel disquieting and give some skiers the sense that they’ve become coerced into skiing deeper into the maze. The evergreens are tall, sheltering and intimidating. The snow is always magical as it remains powdery even after several days following a blizzard. The place is really enchanted and gets you where you want to go, even if you don’t have any idea about you final destination.

Almost miraculously, whichever itinerary you might have picked, you eventually get out from under the green tree canopy and emerge at the bottom of the Orion run or at least we hope you do. In fact, I have taken the time to check that each and every skier that began at the top of the X-Files would reappear a while later by the Empire Express Lift. To date, I cannot report any “disappearance.” When interviewed, these same skiers don’t say much, but they all display an enigmatic grin that suggests they’ve gone through an out-of-this-world experience worth living over and over…