Adventures on Lost Prospector Trail

m-lostprOften, I have guests who are looking for a mellow hiking trail. And while I am always quick to tell them about some of the easier hikes at Deer Valley Resort (in large part because they all start and finish at Royal Street Cafe, and nothing’s better after a hike than an alfresco Bison Burger and an iced tea–or one of the cafe’s award-winning cocktails while the resort is open during the summer season). But I’m also a fan of some of the amazing views of town you can get from trails all around Park City. One of my favorites is Lost Prospector. You can start at the bottom of the Aerie or from the Rail Trail and catch views of the ski resorts, City Park, Park City High School, Round Valley, and beyond.

IMG_0883It is a great kid-friendly hike, and we typically include it on our itinerary while entertaining out-of-town guests. At the viewpoint for the Park City landmark on Treasure Mountain, the kids took turns in photo-ops designed to make it look like they were holding the letters in their hands.

IMG_0886Granted, on one of my first outings of the summer, I took the first half of the trail name a little too seriously, and instead of connecting back to the Rail Trail via either the fire road at the back of Chatham Hills or Skid Row, I followed the trail all the way to the very back of Solamere. In just over 90 minutes, I had traveled about 4.5 miles, in a combination of trail running and walk-paced hiking, and now I had less than 20 minutes to get myself back to City Park before my kids two-hour skateboard camp ended. Oops. Thankfully, this classic Park City “problem” had a classic Park City solution–I simply called my friend Beth, who lives nearby, and who also had kids at the skate park, and asked her to meet me at the fire road in her car. Laughing, she agreed, and I sprinted my way back along the trail to meet her.

My next outing on the Lost Prospector trail involved two friends and our mountain bikes. We set out from the parking lot at Rail Central, took the paved path up through City Park to the bottom of Main Street, walked our bikes across Hwy-224, then rode uphill in the Aerie a few hundred yards to the trail head. As we took off, I reminded both of them of my recent calamity, and assumed that if we got separated (read: I fell behind), we would meet at the bottom of the fire road. The ride itself was a lot of fun. On my hike the week before, I had identified about a dozen spots where I thought I might need to get off and walk (around sharp corners, over extremely rocky sections) and surprised myself by walking less than I’d planned. Most of the trail is so smooth and shaded that it’s a pleasure to let your tires glide over stretches of single track. It was a casual ride with plenty of breaks to hydrate and chat.

Of course, I fell behind just enough that I did not see them pass the fire road so we could, ostensibly, take the Skid Row exit to the Rail Trail. I walked down most of the fire road (even my experienced biker friend said she would do the same…it’s straight downhill and rather rocky), and then, when I didn’t see them at the trail head, hightailed it back to the parking lot alongside the Rail Trail where we had started, saw they were not here, and biked back to the Chatham Hills trail head to look for them. They spied me for the trail above and shouted that they would meet me at the cars. A few minutes later, my phone rang and it was my friends, telling me they had missed the Skid Row turnoff and were now walking their bikes down a more technical exit trail–(duh! Why hadn’t I thought to call them, earlier). “Go ahead, we’ll call you later’” they said. “No problem,” I replied. “I’m going to buy a trail map.”

Mountain Trails Foundation offers an interactive trail map on their website www.mountaintrails.org, and paper maps for sale at many local retailers.

Interview with Steve Graff, Bike/Ski Patrol Manager

Last week I caught up with Deer Valley Resorts’ Bike and Ski Patrol Manager, Steve Graff, as he was returning from inspecting the impressive network of hiking and mountain bike trails the resort will soon re-open to the public. Here are some of the many interesting things I learned about his busy department and their myriad of responsibilities…


DVR-MtnPatrol1

JF: Steve, it’s good to be visiting with you and the patrollers again. Tell me, where’s all the snow? What has happened to you and your staff since the end of the skiing season and what are you up to now?

Steve Graff (SG): After we closed the mountain down in April, we spent another week taking down signs, ropes, pads and getting everything ready for snow melt. After taking a little bit of time off to transition between seasons, our staff is back to work. As you can imagine, our personnel shrinks a bit at this time of the year; most get back to their seasonal jobs. Many go to work as National Parks Rangers all over the country, while those who can never get enough winter continue ski patrolling in New Zealand and Australia. Some are wild land fire fighters or smoke-jumpers, and the rest of us are back at Deer Valley Resort getting the place ready for warm weather activities.

JF: How many employees return for Mountain Bike Patrol?

SG: Out of our 70 or so ski patrollers, about 15 stay on during the summer.

JF: How long is the season?

SG: It goes from mid-June through Labor Day (September 2, 2013).

JF: Are you the crew in charge of maintaining trails and cutting new ones?

SG: Our main priority is helping injured but the bulk of our work is actually trail construction and trail maintenance.

JF: Any new trail this year?

SG: The two newest trails were actually started last season. Both are in the Empire Canyon area, off the Ruby Express chairlift.

  • Drift: An intermediate trail
  • Payroll: More of a free riding, “flowy” trail, with some nice jumps and drops that should add some extra levels of excitement in that general area

JF: This sounds promising! By the way who comes up with these unique trail names?

SG: Payroll is actually a mine name and Drift comes from a drift road that is off Tour de Sud. Some others come directly from the public, “Devo” is a good example; we were just finishing constructing it when we ran into a lady that said “Yeah, that trail is ‘Devo.”

Mountain Biking_DVR

JF: Does your remaining staff receive summer-specific training?

SG: There’s a lot of cross-over between summer and winter duties like medical training and lift evacuation skills and those are regularly being refreshed.  We add motorcycle, ATV and six-wheeler riding that are unique to our summer season.

JF: You mean, training on vehicles that get you around the mountain?

SG: Right; instead of snowmobiles, toboggans or skis, we use bikes, motorcycles and ATVs!

JF: What types of interventions are typical to the warmer months?

SG: Overall, the few injuries we deal with are less severe than in winter because speed is less of a factor. We see a quite a few scrapes and bruises though, maybe a few dislocations, perhaps more blood than usual, but in general, far less severe injuries.

JF: It seems to me that you and your staff aren’t always on the mountain; over the years, I’ve noticed your presence at all the Deer Valley’s summer concerts. What’s your role there?

SG: To attend the concert!

JF: I should have expected this! So, all Patrollers are music aficionados?

SG: Well, this is another one of our Mountain Bike Patrol duties. We offer first aid response at the Deer Valley concerts, so we attend them all. Depending on the event, between two and four of us are present. We’re there for medical emergencies or other situations.

JF: Are they specific recommendations you’d like to share with mountain bikers and hikers intent to use the Deer Valley Resort trail system?

SG: There are a few good rules; first, we don’t charge for uphill travel outside of chairlift rides. If trail users bike, they must wear a helmet and dogs must be left at home whether their owners hike or bike. Always make sure to look at the map and come up with a route before heading out; remember that there are some trails that are specifically for downhill mountain biking, others specifically for hiking and then they’re others that are designated for both. So, it’s good to know what kind of trail you’re planning to take. If you want to hike and don’t want to see bikers, go on a hiking-only trail. If you want to pedal up, make sure you chose the multi-use trail, not the downhill-only one. That way, everyone can enjoy their experience to the fullest.

DVR-MtnPatrol2

JF: Are there lessons or orientations tours visitors can take?

SG: Yes; both are available and are highly recommended. We offer guided tours of the mountain that will also provide some mountain biking tips; those are for intermediate level and above, but they’re also “mountain bike 101” lessons that will take a rank beginner straight to the single-track trails. Many riders often say: “I know how to handle a bike, therefore I don’t need lessons” but as you know JF, mountain biking is a very different deal, it’s not like riding in the neighborhood; there’s weight transfer, forward-and-back and side-to-side involved, it’s a lot more dynamic experience than pedaling on asphalt around the block.

JF: What other recommendations would you give hikers or mountain bikers visiting Deer Valley Resort?

SG: I know some people who chose to ride their mountain bike by themselves, purely for exercise. If you’re one of them, just let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back. Always wear a helmet and sunglasses. Even if you’re going on a short trip, throw an extra power bar in your pack, a replacement tube, enough water, some basic tools if you ever break down.  Even if you aren’t quite sure how to fix it, some passer-by might be able to assist you and get you back on your way. Always wear gloves; if you ever fall, the first thing that’s going to hit the ground is your hand. Some extra protection goes a long way!

JF: Any tips about the weather?

SG: Always be prepared for anything! In the mountains, the weather can change rapidly. Look for thunderstorms. If you can hear thunder, lightning isn’t far, so get off the high ground, don’t huddle under the tallest tree, just wait for the storm to pass; it generally never lasts very long.

JF: What about encounters with wildlife?

SG: We do see quite a bit of wildlife. This is one of the great things about hiking and mountain biking around Deer Valley. I’ve had the pleasure to see all kinds of animals around this mountain. You just got to give them space. We’ve taken a lot of space away from them and we should always treat the mountain as their own domain. If I see a moose on the trail, I make my presence known, and hopefully he’ll amble on.

JF: So, how ready are you for Deer Valley Resort summer opening?

SG: Well, we’re opening on June 14, and based on my most recent trail inspections, we’re going to have a fantastic opening, with ninety percent of the trails perfectly passable, so please, come and join us!

 

Tips for Shoulder Season in Park City

The weeks when the chairlifts are closed between our two seasons are often called “shoulder season” at the resort.  Sometimes, on very snowy and wet years, they are more likely to be referred to as “mud season” by the locals.

This year we have been blessed with an early and fairly warm spring offering us plenty of opportunities to get outside while we wait for the lifts to start spinning again. (Deer Valley opens for our summer season on Friday, June 14, which includes lift-served biking, hiking and scenic rides, deck dining and Royal Street Café and concerts in the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater.)

While we wait for the resort to open, there are plenty of ways Park City locals keep busy.  Here are a few of my favorite ways to spend my weekend.

Trails, Trails, TrailsThe town of Park City has over 400 miles of trails for hiking and biking!  Many of these trail systems are maintained by Mountain Trails Foundation and are already accessible.

My first hike the season was the The Lost Prospector Loop, a very popular, mild trail that has expansive views of the resorts, Historic Main Street and Old Town.

Old Town, Park City

Old Town, Park City

 

Last weekend, I did the Iron Mountain trail behind the iconic White Barn on Hwy 224.  This is a shorter hike with a steady, steep incline. This trail is a great option for anyone looking for a good workout.

Iron Mountain HIke

Printed copies of the Park City summer trail map are available at:

  • Visitor’s Center
  • Museum on Main Street
  • ZB Sports
  • White Pine Touring
  • JANS Mountain Outfitters
  • Cole Sport
  • Pearl Izumi
  • Silver Star & Ski
  • Sports Authority
  • Dolly’s Bookstore
  • Starbucks

*A suggested donation of $5 is requested

Yoga at The Shop:  This is the perfect place to practice yoga for visitors.  This Anusara inspired studio encourages drop-in students and every class is donation based (suggested $7 minimum).  The space is a huge and beautiful place to practice with high ceilings, barn doors and wall-to-wall windows.  Don’t worry about brining your own mat, they provide everything including blankets, blocks and straps.  A complete class schedule can be found at http://parkcityyoga.com/classes.html  (Hint: If you can’t decide which class to try, my favorite instructors are Tiffany Wood and Sherri Russell)

Stand Up Paddleboarding on the Deer Valley Ponds: This is a new activity offered in the Snow Park area at Deer Valley, so new in fact, that I have yet to try it!  Stand Up Paddle Boarding has been coming increasingly popular and I can’t wait to get out and try it. (Future blog post?)  Rentals and demos are currently offered on weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Starting in June, SUP yoga and paddle Pilates will also be offered seven days a week at 9 a.m. More info on SUP offerings and pricing can be found at http://pcsupcup.com/Home/About

SUP

City Park: On any sunny day, you will find half the town hanging out in Park City’s City Park.  With free access to grills, pavilions, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, a softball field and expansive lawns, you will find an array of activities to participate in.  Many area hotels may have lawn games or volleyballs for you to check out during your stay. (Hint: There are local softball leagues that utilize the field every night from 6 to 10 p.m.)

Volleyball in City ParkFly Fishing on the Provo River:  I grew up fishing in Michigan and I can say I had one of my best catches on this river last August (the stretch in Provo Canyon).  I spent a half day with a guide and two girlfriends and caught 6 whitefish and this gorgeous Brown Trout.  We are so lucky to have such easy access to the Provo and Weber Rivers which offer Blue Ribbon Fly Fishing!  I highly suggest hiring a guide from Jans Outfitters as they can provide all the gear and knowledge to get you catching fish like this in no time. http://www.jans.com/park-city-fly-fishing-tours

fly fishing

Park City Municipal Golf Course:  An 18-hole course and driving range in the heart of Park City.  This is where I learned to golf thanks to their amazing Twilight Deal.  Tee off after 6 p.m. (no reservation needed) and it is just $9 per person!  The course is nestled alongside Park City Mountain Resort, providing for gorgeous views of the ski resorts. http://www.parkcity.org/index.aspx?page=171

Park City Golf Course

Main Street: A well-known “secret” is that many restaurants on Park City’s Historic Main Street offer Local’s Discounts during shoulder season.  Luckily, these local’s only deals are available to everyone.  Check the ads in the Park Record newspaper for tips on where to find these deals or just ask your fly fishing or SUP guide, a local in City Park or your favorite bartender for their favorites. We all have our recommendations on where to find the best deals.  I’m a huge sushi fan, so I will always direct you to Yuki Arashi or Oishi for 50% off rolls.  Wrap up your night on main by visiting the rooftop deck at the The No Name Saloon.

Enjoy your fun-filled visit to Park City this spring!

‘Scaring off the Bears’- A Mom’s Hiking Survival Guide

Sometimes, you don’t know how much you don’t know … until your child asks you a question. Who’s with me? Can I get an A-Mom? (Yes, you may groan at my bad joke.)

Thankfully, the question Lance posed on a chairlift this summer (“How did the ski trails get their names?”) wasn’t the type to send me into Parent Panic Mode. And it’s not just because a good parent knows which friends are in her corner to help (though, truthfully, that’s a big, big part of my “not panic mode”.) Yes, I knew if I asked my friend Emily, she’d be able to answer the question, but I didn’t realize that she’d turn it into a fun mother-son bonding adventure, custom-built for Lance and me. That’s because I never realized that Deer Valley offers private, guided hikes all summer long.

Enter Howard. He’s been skiing in Park City since before the secret got out about, well, the awesomeness that is Park City skiing. He’s worked at Deer Valley as a mountain host for another whole bunch of years. Which is alarming when you consider that he’s only 25. I kid—he’s not 25. I won’t reveal his age, but as we learned on our hike, he’s already outlived many of the miners, who died young because of the nature of their work, and the quality of health care that was available to people in the 19th century. In Howard’s case—like that of many local residents—it’s easy to stay young and healthy if you work above ground and exercise as part of your job—or lifestyle, or both.

Now, I’ve hiked the Silver Lake trail more times than I can count. But never have I hiked it in such a well-guided, well-informed manner. Howard met us and presented options. We chose a chair lift ride up Sterling Express for a three-mile downhill that would have us crisscrossing some of our favorite ski runs. Like Homeward Bound and Ontario.

Lance’s questions—and some neither of us thought to ask—were answered in earnest by a charming, friendly, Howard. He pointed out the 360° views (including Heber City, the Jordanelle Reservoir, and the sweep that includes Park City and beyond to Wyoming from the top of Bald Mountain). We got to peek at the reservoir used to hold (and recycle) water for snowmaking. And…we found out that all the trails were named for mine claims. Well, all but a few—but I’ll leave it to you to guess which ones.

One of my favorite stories is about the Ontario Mine, which you can see from lots of different vantage points on the mountain. It’s particularly easy to view from, say, Viking chairlift on the way to Stein Eriksen Lodge. The original owners of the mine were, in fact, Canadian. Then, George Hearst purchased it. His son, William Randolph Hearst, ran it for a time, but wasn’t keen on mining—and he wound up taking over his father’s newspaper in California, the San Francisco Examiner. Fun fact: I worked for Hearst Publishing for a time—as the Entertainment Editor at Good Housekeeping Magazine. And I never realized that Park City and I had Hearst connections in common.

Of course, as with any family activity, there were parenting lessons to be had. Mind you, this was not our first hike together—and not our first “long” hike this year. Part of the third grade curriculum in Park City is a hiking and camping unit (yes, they clear out the desks from the classroom and hang out in tents for a few weeks), culminating in a hike at Red Butte Gardens in Salt Lake City (incidentally, it’s a great day-trip from Deer Valley). But at one point, a small hissy fit ensued, about three quarters of the way down Ontario.

“I can’t go another step! My feet won’t take me!” Poor kid was about to crumble.

I was about to give him a “dig deep” speech, worthy of the Olympics, when Howard announced we were within half a mile of the finish. Lance perked up, and we began to pick up our pace. A few minutes later, Lance offered this.

“You know, all that fuss before?” he began. “That wasn’t real. That was just a bunch of noise I was making to scare off bears.”

And, the belly laughs ensued.

Keep reading for Lance’s version of the hike…

I expected this hike to have fewer flies.

That’s the first thing I thought of as we started out on the trail at the top of Bald Mountain.

Seriously. BALD. Except for some flies.

Our guide, Howard, suggested that if we started moving, maybe the flies wouldn’t buzz. Or at least bother me less.

Howard was trying to tell me some interesting facts about the trail names, but I was more distracted by the flies.

My mom tried to distract me with snacks. She always has snacks. Once, she pulled a 2-foot long Laffy Taffy out of her tiny little pocketbook. But that’s a whole other story.

Along the trail, we found some animal habitats. We took guesses about whether they were many entrances to one animal’s home or lots of different animals’ homes, including a mansion for animals or a ski hut.

Howard filled me in on a lot of the different trail names. They are named after mine claims. I learned that naming a mine claim is the way that miners (a loooooooong time ago) let other people know it belonged to them.

My favorite trail name is Success—because the miners named it after what they hoped would happen to them when they searched for silver.

Did you know that Ontario is named because the miners who claimed it were Canadian, eh?

Howard showed us the Ontario Mine, which was the last running mine in Park City, and you can see it from lots of different places on the mountain at Deer Valley.

He also showed us pictures of the miners. They looked old—but Howard said they looked that way because they worked hard in dirt, dust and bad conditions. Back then, people didn’t live to be very old at all, but they definitely looked old in the picture.

Howard suggested that we go to the Park City Museum, because there is a big “Wall O’ Mine Claims” (I don’t think that’s the real name for it!) — it’s a map of town that shows all the names of every claim that existed.

I think that’s a really good idea. I went there on a field trip with school in second grade, and I really want to go back so I can learn more about the mines.

If you are thinking about hiking at Deer Valley, I think you should ask if Howard can be your guide–he’s very nice, and he knows a lot. And if you see me skiing with my family this winter, you can stop me and ask me questions about the mines and the trail names, and I’ll tell you what I remember!

Easy Breezy Summer Day

Some days you don’t feel like exerting yourself -no biking and no hiking.  You just want to chill, relax and have an easy -breezy day.  Last Saturday was one of those days. We had some friends visiting from California so the chairlift to Deer Valley’s Bald Mountain was just what the doctor ordered.Great views – aspens, pines, and mountain bikers below us.  Now you are talking!

As we approached the top of Bald Mountain, my friends innocently asked me which runs I ski.  Since they aren’t skiers, I could easily have said something like, “Oh Grizzly and Orient Express but my favorite on powder days is Mayflower Bowl.  I stay away from Morningstar when it is really cold because I just can’t catch my edges but otherwise it is an exhilarating run.”

All that would have been a completely fabricated — a bald faced lie so I didn’t do it but it would have been fun to see if they believed me.  Well, instead I looked at them and laughed saying, ” None! Are  you crazy?  See the black diamond?  Let me explain what that means.  That  means not Nancy.” (Well, not yet anyways). 


We walked over to Sultan Express lift to see views of the Jordanelle Reservoir and the Heber Valley from what felt like the top of the world. We could see the Uinta mountain range from there.  I pointed out the Blue Ledge run to my friend and we stood at the blind drop off edge to get a feel for what it would be like to fly over the ledge on skis.  We stood near the top of Thunderer run and looked down on a black diamond run but with our feet firmly planted on the ground.


Mountain bikers and hikers were unloading to make their trek down the mountain as we climbed back on the lift to ride down.  The view of Park City and the valley was breathtaking.  I pointed out Flagstaff Mountain where I do hang out on the single blue and green runs.

All this sitting on the chairlift and relaxing made us thirsty! 

We headed up to Stein Eriksen Lodge to lounge on their patio, drink local brews, visit and watch the wind blow through the aspens in an easy breezy way.

How We Burned 900 Calories During a History Lesson – Historical Hike at Deer Valley

Going on Deer Valley’s guided historical hike with mountain host Michael O’Malley was a great experience! In my last post, I shared a little of the history he taught us and a lot about the host himself.  There are a few more things you might want to know, however.  Here you go:

Photo By T.J. Lenahan

We gathered at Sterling Express Lift and then hiked on a narrow trail through two amazingly beautiful aspen groves.  Just when I started to notice my heart pounding and lungs burning, we stopped for a mining history lesson and a chance to catch our breath.   I  listened intently as  Michael explained there were literally a thousand mining tunnels beneath us. He passed around black and white photos of how Deer Valley looked during those mining days. Guess what? Silver Lake was actually a lake at one time! I did not know that. I always wondered…

Wildlife was everywhere.  We spotted two mule deer does on the hillside across from our trail.  Then a few minutes later we saw three elk cows in the same area.  They slowly came  into a clearing and then moved past. I had never seen an elk, much less three and so close. Magical.

We also met some interesting people – there was a mix of locals and out-of-towners which included some hard core hikers who you’d want to saddle up to in a windstorm or if you were hungry – they had all kinds of supplies in their packs. One guy had bear repellant spray which of course we didn’t need but would come in handy in a variety of circumstances.  We met a mountain bike instructor, a tourist from San Francisco, a family from Connecticut and Jennifer the helpful mountain host.

Photo By T.J. Lenahan

When we regrouped at the end, my friend informed me we hiked 5.5 miles in 3.5 hours to an elevation of 9100 ft. which was about a 1000 ft. climb.  She wore her heart rate monitor the whole time and told me that we had burned 900 calories and the guys had burned 1600.   What?  Are you kidding me? I was having such a good time, I never noticed that we were working out.  Do you know how hard it is to burn 900 calories? In case you don’t know, here are some examples:

Two hours on the rowing machine burns about 900 calories. I love the rowing machine but I am seriously bored to death after 20 minutes.

About two  hours on a treadmill burns 900 calories — utter torture.  Will never happen in my lifetime.

Five hours of yoga burns about 900 calories – I did a class once called Yin Yoga where you twist into a pretzel and then the instructor tells you to relax into the pose (really?) and you stay in that position for like 20 minutes or so to release the tension.  Push ups are easier than that. Seriously.

Photo By T.J. Lenahan

An hour and a half of cardio boxing burns 900 calories- I actually took a cardio boxing class at my gym a couple of months ago. Don’t ask me why I thought I was in good enough shape to take this class.  I made it through the class but when I got home, I couldn’t lift my arms even to feed myself and believe me I was starving.  Two days later the real pain hit. Every  muscle in my torso and upper body felt like it was being attacked by ice picks. A friend of mine who boxes told me to go back right away and work through it. Right.

So imagine my surprise that hiking in the most beautiful place in the world, learning all kinds of interesting history, meeting some really cool people, and seeing majestic animals burned up a boatload of calories …. with out feeling the burn.  Somehow it feels like everything is right with the universe. The historical hike is one experience I definitely plan on repeating.

Deer Valley Historical Hike With Michael O’Malley

Who knew that the popular beginner run, Ontario, was named after the deepest and most prolific mine in Park City (and last to close in 1981) not a province in Canada?  Who knew that Flagstaff mountain was not named after a city in Arizona but after a mining claim from three soldiers at Ft. Douglas- a pine bough stuck in the ground with a bandana tied around it?    Well everyone who took the Deer Valley guided historical hike, that’s who.  My husband, Jay and I met the group of hikers at the base of the Sterling Express Lift at the Silver Lake Lodge to join the hike led by Deer Valley mountain host, Michael O’Malley.

Photo By T.J. Lenahan

After our first history lesson and introductions all around, we grabbed some ski poles to use as walking sticks and headed up the trail —at a brisk pace I might add.  I was a little nervous that this group would leave me in the dust but I found out later our leader was doing a “level check” to see how we stayed together.  Michael said he starts out with a “New York attitude” to gauge the group and sets his pace accordingly. I guess we all possessed some of that attitude because we ended up staying together as a group really well (probably helped by a couple from Long Island on their first visit to Deer Valley.)

Michael has been leading the Deer Valley Historical Hikes, which are free to the public, for about four years now. He shared a bit about his experience with me:

Photo by T.J. Lenahan

How did you get started as a historical tour guide?

I have to blame the women in my life!  I got volunteered.  More than 10 years ago my wife volunteered me to help Hal Compton, resident historian with the Park City Museum,  http://www.parkcityhistory.org/   for a season when he injured his shoulder. I’ve been doing it ever since.  I model my tours after Hal’s.  He is 83 years old now and still leads great tours.

Then four years ago, I got volunteered again! Jennifer Franklin with Deer Valley mountain hosts who serves on the Park City Recreation Advisory board volunteered me when the board wanted to offer free public hikes. So here I am.

What is your favorite history tidbit?

One of the most common questions I get is, “Do they still mine in Park City?” The answer is –yes! but it is not what you think. The mine shafts are drain tunnels that carry water to treatment facilities at the Jordenelle which produce the “new silver” —  water.

The route we took through the aspen groves and then on the ridge was beautiful  - is that the route you always take?

We actually have several routes — well a half dozen — we choose them based on the weather conditions.  Last year the route we just took had snow on it.  A couple of the guides and I go out the day before to check the trail conditions. Changing keeps it interesting, too. Besides we have a group of regulars (“repeat offenders” as Michael calls them) so we like to mix it up.

Which hike is your favorite?

I like hiking Guardsman’s pass past the Xfiles to the Daily chute.  It is a beautiful and peaceful hike.

What is your favorite season for hiking?

The second week in October is really great. Last year the foliage was amazing with the deep red and bright yellow colors. It is also cooler then and we don’t encounter as many mountain bikers which opens up more possibilities for the group hike.

Favorite thing about being a host?

I really enjoy showing the out-of-towners our mountain but I really love to hear when a local takes a hike and says, “I never knew that!”

Fun mining fact?

Michael showed us an “adit” then he laughingly said if you ever need a four letter word for entrance to mine shaft in the New York Times Crossword, you have it now.

We learned a lot, saw beautiful vistas and got some great exercise.  I will now look at the mountain as more than simply nature’s playground to enjoy but with a new depth that knowing the history provides.  Historical hikes are the second Sunday of the month until October 14th.  Here is a link for more information.

If you want to enjoy the beauty but don’t feel like hiking up, pick up a ticket and ride the chairlift to Bald Mountain – ride down or hike down.  We love to enjoy lunch on the deck of the Royal Street Cafe at Silver Lake Lodge afterwards — open for lunch from 11:30 to 2:30 between June 15th and Labor Day.

Start of Summer

Welcome to summer at Deer Valley Resort! It has been a colder and wetter spring than normal here in the mountains following the second snowiest winter on record. But we can finally see the higher elevations turning green and a steady progression in the snow melt.

Our summer operations begin in just two days!  We will have a limited mountain biking opening, anywhere there isn’t snow! We will open the Silver Lake Express and Sterling Express chairlifts as well as the Ruby chairlift, new to the summer operation, on Friday June 17.  Silver Lake Express chairlift from the Snow Park Base area will offer scenic rides and limited mountain biking on Devo, Four Point and Tour Des Homes trails. Sterling Express chairlift from Silver Lake at mid-mountain and Ruby Express chairlift from Empire Canyon will only offer scenic chairlift rides.  New biking and hiking trails will open as conditions permit. 

For a map click here: http://www.deervalley.com/activities_skiing/mountain_biking/trail-map-and-descriptions.html

We will offer an early season biking rate of $20 for an all day pass on Silver Lake Express.

Friday is the first day Royal Street Café is open for the summer! I’m already thinking about the Dungeness Crab Tower and the Lemon meringue pie. We will also be showing you how to make our signature Blueberry Mojito in the next couple days, make sure you’re a fan of Ski Deer Valley on Facebook to catch the video. www.facebook.com/skideervalley.

This summer’s exciting line up of concerts in our Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater is sure to please.  It all kicks off with the FREE Community Concert Series by Mountain Town Music on Wednesday, June 22 with local band Holy Water Buffalo.  Don’t worry, our hard-working guest services crew was able to get the stage up already.  They worked around the snow in a unique way this year in order to raise the canopy on the amphitheater.  For the first time ever, we had to bring out a snow cat!  See the video below:

Thanks to Mother Nature all the snow in the venue has melted over the last week and concerts are on as planned.  The venue however, is still drying out, so please bring chairs or extra blankets if you plan to attend next week’s concert.  And of course, don’t forget your picnic!  In addition to our gourmet picnic baskets, this year we will also offer gourmet picnic bags which include my favorite Deer Valley sandwiches and homemade potato chips!  A complete list of what is featured in both the baskets and bags can be found at: http://www.deervalley.com/dining_shopping/gourmet_picnic_baskets.html 

Snow Park Lodge is full of activity again as we welcomed back our summer campers this week!  Summer Adventure Camp kicked off the 10-week program on Monday. Today the kid’s enjoyed the warm weather with their first Bike, Blade and Bounce Wednesday! 

We still have availability for children ages two months to 12 years.  Upcoming weekly themes are:

June 27 – July 1:  Bucky’s Great Adventure
July 5 – 8: Quincy’s Water World

We look forward to seeing you at Deer Valley this summer.  I will make sure to keep you posted as the snow melts and new trails open.  Think Sun!

Thanks for Another Great Season!

It is hard to believe that our 30th winter season has just come to a close.  Thank you to everyone who visited this year!

Deer Valley Ski Patrol on Closing Day (photo: Matt DeWaard)

If you made it up here over closing weekend, you know that the snow conditions actutally felt like mid- January.  The season ended with back-to-back powder days!

Our summer season of lift-served hiking, biking and scenic rides is scheduled to begin on June 17 (conditions permitting). We will keep you updated on summer operations as there is still A LOT of snow that needs to melt. The resort closed on Sunday, April 10 with an impressive snow base depth of 132 inches!

In the meantime, you can still enjoy some of your favorite Deer Valley foods.  Deer Valley Grocery~Cafe is staying open year-round and will continue to offer a changing daily selection of freshly-made on-site and to-go items throughout the spring and summer.  Hours will be expanded to 8:30 p.m. to include dinner service during Deer Valley’s summer season.  Deer Valley Grocery~Cafe has a beautiful deck overlooking the Deer Valley duck ponds and will continue deck service throughout the spring and summer as weather allows.

Deer Valley Grocery~Cafe

 

Thanks again for a wonderful ski season!

The Wild Flowers are Blooming!

With summer now in full swing in the mountains, you don’t want to miss  seeing the wild flowers at Deer Valley.  They are amazing this year and the colors are incredible.  I am always up for a hike to check them out but the mountain biking trails are looking tempting these days.

I finally have my first concert, Wynonna, on the calendar for next Tuesday.  Wynonna is coming as part of our Big Start Bright Nights series and it should be a great evening.  I have already ordered my Deer Valley Gourmet Picnic Basket and can not wait to brag about it in my next post.

Don’t forget about our free Wednesday night concert series which start at 6 p.m. at the Snow Park Amphitheater.  We have Wisebird, Shaky Trade and my personal favorite Bryon Friedman coming up.  My family and I always pack a picnic but I was to lazy last night so we will be off to the concession stand.  I am looking forward to the chicken ceasar salad and an ice cream sandwich for dessert.

 For those of you wanting to come up for a long weekend make sure to check out our website deervalley.com.  We have some great summer packages and some even some specifically for the different concert series. 

 Hope everyone is enjoying the warm weather!