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
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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.

 

Deer Valley Resort will Kick Off the Winter Season with the Annual Celebrity Skifest

Deer Valley Resort will kick off its winter season with the excitement of the annual Deer Valley® Celebrity Skifest on December 6 and 7, 2014. The invitational ski event pairs former Olympic ski legends with television and film celebrities for an exciting weekend of skiing, live music and fundraising for Waterkeeper Alliance, the fastest-growing grassroots environmental movement in the world. There are presently over 225 Waterkeeper Organizations around the world defending their communities against anyone who threatens their right to clean water—from law-breaking polluters to unresponsive government agencies.

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“Kicking off Deer Valley’s ski season with the Celebrity Skifest event is a great way to welcome our guests back each year,” said Bob Wheaton, resort president and general manager. “This event has become a tradition for our opening weekend and allows us to help support Waterkeeper Alliance, a non-profit organization we feel strongly about.”

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The Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest is a three day event that includes giant slalom races on both Saturday, December 6 and Sunday, December 7 on Deer Valley’s Birdseye ski run. Races are free to the public and can be viewed from the Silver Lake area at mid-mountain. The Skifest’s host property, Montage Deer Valley, will be the location of additional evening events throughout the weekend with all proceeds to benefit Waterkeeper Alliance. The event has raised over $5 million since the partnership began in 2006.

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Festivities throughout the weekend are featured in the number-one rated winter sports television special on CBS, broadcast to more than one million viewers. The 2014 Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest is scheduled to air on CBSSunday, December 14, 2014, at 5 p.m. EST (after the NFL).

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Some of the best-known legends of U.S. skiing are scheduled to compete in this year’s event, including Steve Mahre, Phil Mahre, Tommy Moe and Deer Valley’s own Ambassador of Skiing, Heidi Voelker. Previous guests have included Academy Award-winning actors Glenn Close and Marcia Gay Harden; Emmy Award-winning actors Larry David and Neil Patrick Harris; Paul Mitchell Systems President John Paul DeJoria; Grammy Award-winning artists Miranda Lambert, Mary J. Blige, Train, Melissa Etheridge and musical talents Natasha Bedingfield, Gavin DeGraw, Gavin Rossdale and James Blunt. This year’s Skifest is sure to bring another amazing group of supporters including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cheryl Hines, Giancarlo Esposito, Rachael Harris and a special performance by Grammy Award-winning country group Lady Antebellum.

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The Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest is presented by JUMA Entertainment. For more information on the event please visit DVskifest.com. To follow the event on social media, search #dvskifest.

Five For…Dancing?

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It would be easy to blame the euphoria I felt throughout the Five For Fighting concert at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater on the incredible gourmet picnic basket, the delicious red wine (and let’s be real, people), the salted caramel brownie on a stick. But not everyone had that particular delicacy and the euphoria of the evening was a shared audience experience. Because, you see, we were all on our feet dancing for most of the evening.IMG_7949

Nobody ever accused Five For Fighting’s John Ondrasik of being a purveyor of dance jams. Yet, there is something to be said about a performer whose energy is so infectious, whose lyrics are so heartfelt and whose talent is so worthy of celebration, that the crowd can’t help itself.

In fairness, the crowd was pretty excited before Ondrasik and his talented band members took the stage. Not only were we treated to two opening acts, one of them was Park City’s own Austin Wolfe. Locals are very proud of Austin—she competed on the most recent season of American Idol and made it to the top 15 female performers on the show. No lesser a star than Harry Connick, Jr. told her that she not only had the talent to be a star, but she had a cool name to boot. Still in high school, Austin has the stage presence of someone much older and a voice that can handle everything from standards to pop. On this night, she even got to sing “Happy Birthday” to her mom—we were fortunate to be seated just a couple of rows ahead of her proud family.

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And then, out came Five for Fighting. Before long, we were all singing along to his hits. Some of us (okay, Jeff and I and the fun woman just behind me who kept high five-ing with me as we danced) sang along to some of the lesser-known songs. In so many ways, it felt like an intimate party. John told a lot of great stories and he teased us for dancing to his not-dance-jams. He and the band played their hearts out. John told us we were his favorite crowd; he may say this to all the crowds but he told us that he doesn’t. And the thing is, I believed him. All three of the acts that night, Jesserae, Austin Wolfe, and John Ondrasik, had connections to Park City and Deer Valley. Jesserae, told us his family has a vacation home in Heber City and skis at Deer Valley. Austin Wolfe is a home-grown local and John Ondrasik told the crowd how much his family loves their ski vacations at Deer Valley Resort and how he plays in the Luke Robitaille hockey tournament at the Park City Ice Arena every year during the Sundance Film Festival. Like many of the audience members who aren’t lucky enough to live here full-time but who are lucky enough to visit here, often these performers consider Deer Valley a part of their hometown crowd.

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John solidified his connection to the crowd when he truly let whatever shred of his remaining “guard” down at the end of the show. “We were going to play two more of our songs, but you guys clearly want to dance, so we picked out some other songs—some party songs,” he announced. “But I forgot some of the lyrics, so you have to forgive me for reading some of them off the iPhone.” And that’s how we all came to sing along with the band, as they played Simon and Garfunkel’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”  It all felt so…familiar. Perhaps, in part, because he was foisting the mic into the crowd, giving solos to people at the stage’s apron—and I realized I’m not the only person in the world who thinks I am singing on key. In between songs, John had to hand off the phone to his drummer, “What’s your code? It locked up? Can you look up the lyrics for the next song?”

It takes a special guest to make the host crowd feel more welcome than when they walked into the venue. But it turns out this was just part of the magic of the evening. That, and the salted caramel brownies on a stick. More on those soon, I promise.

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The Wasatch Benefit Returns for the 2014-2015 Ski Season

Alta Ski Area, Deer Valley Resort and Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort are pleased to announce that they will continue with the Wasatch Benefit for the 2014-2015 season. Select season passes at each resort qualify for three complimentary day tickets at the other two resorts. Blackout dates apply. Quantities are limited.

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This lift ticket benefit will be honored seven days a week, including weekends, throughout the season – with holiday blackout dates applying December 24, 2014 – January 2, 2015; January 17 – 19, 2015; February 14 – 16, 2015.

Eligibility requirements for the ticket benefit are particular to each resort. Supplies are limited, please purchase early.

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“Continuing to add value and variety for our Alta skiers is exciting for us. We think it is great to offer skiing at two of our fine neighboring resorts – Snowbird and Deer Valley Resort,” said Alta Ski Area President and General Manager, Onno Wieringa.

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“The most important thing for us is to thank our loyal guests who continue to come back year after year,” said Deer Valley Resort President and General Manager Bob Wheaton.” We are pleased to be able to offer this benefit for the second year to our Deer Valley season passholders. It’s a great way to show our gratitude and continue this partnership with two world-class Utah resorts.”
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“The Wasatch Benefit is another way to show our season passholders how much we appreciate their business,” said Snowbird President Bob Bonar. “Our guests told us last winter how much they enjoyed the days at the other mountains. We are proud to partner with these two world-class resorts.”

For more information, including eligibility requirements, visit: alta.com/pages/passes.php,seasonpass.deervalley.com and snowbird.com/seasonpass.

Deer Valley Resort’s 2014-2015 Digital Winter Guide

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Deer Valley Resort has launched the digital Winter Guide for the 2014-2015 season. The guide is available as a free download from the iTunes App Store within the SKI Magazine newsstand. In addition, a web-based version of the interactive guide can be downloaded at deervalley.com for any tablet, laptop or desktop. The media rich tool is full of helpful tips on how to plan your Deer Valley ski vacation, best ways to navigate the resort and its amenities, as well as insider knowledge on what to expect upon arrival at the resort with its on-mountain restaurants, hundreds of luxurious condos and variety of skiable terrain.
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Additional resources in the 2014-2015 digital Winter Guide include resort stats, travel information, reservation contact information and a video series featuring resort employees, athletes and partners.

To download Deer Valley’s Winter Guide, please visit: deervalley.com/WinterGuide

For more information on Deer Valley’s Winter Guide, visit the resort’s website at deervalley.com

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Jam-packed Summer

Dear Reader,

I owe you an apology. I was too busy living the Park City lifestyle to write about it this summer. I didn’t have the heart to part with my kids for many full-day camps. As I write, the boys are in their first full week of school after a two-day opening “week,” and I am missing all the adventures we shared over the summer. I jokingly referred to the school-free months as “Our Summer of Academic Rigor,” because I was convinced that if I didn’t stimulate their minds in nearly equal measure to their bodies, all the things they’d learned in school would, quite simply, fall out of their heads. So, there were academic camps, sports camps, even a sleep-away camp for Lance one week. But I wanted to squeeze in as much time with these dudes as possible, so after every morning camp, we’d hit the pool together, or a trail, or, yes, the movie theater.

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We enjoyed lazy mornings too and we thrilled at the fact that when the day ended, there was no homework. We took our RV on a few trips and got rained out of a few others. Yes, the RV means rain isn’t a tragedy, but being cooped up in the RV because of the weather isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of fun. One of our trips took us to Bear Lake. It’s close enough for a day trip, so if you’re visiting Park City in autumn, a drive north to this turquoise-blue lake on the Utah/Idaho border is something to consider.

Bear Lake is known for its raspberries and its raspberry shakes. Garden City, Utah features a seemingly endless strip of “shake shacks,” whose shakes my family is more than happy to sample. There are ATV trails and tons of rentals available, a marina, beaches suitable for sunbathing or launching kayaks and paddleboards, yet you’re surround by lush trees and rugged mountains. Garden City boasts a multi-use path for biking and walking, that makes it a very biker/pedestrian-friendly location. Oh, yes, and there are also go-karts. My family loved racing around the track and then getting a shake to celebrate our “victory.”

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Like any vacation house, our RV is stocked with games. Our favorite, and one which I recommend to all travelers, is Story Cubes. Because it’s pocket-sized, you can take it with you on the plane, in a car or wherever. You simply roll the dice, which bear symbols instead of numbers, and players have to tell stories using the symbols they have rolled. This was the winner of the picnic table game night.

IMG_7472That’s just one highlight. I’ll be reminiscing about many more as the gorgeous fall descends into mud season and we have nothing but the memories of a sweet summer and the anticipation of a snowy winter (please!!) to get us through.

How was your summer? Did you jam-pack it as well? Tell me in the comments below or on Twitter  or @Deer_Valley.

Our Night with Dierks Bentley and the rest of Park City

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I asked my friend if she wanted to be my date for the Dierks Bentley concert at the Deer Valley Resort Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater. She immediately text me back, “Would love to! I’m getting drunk on a plane…it’s Mardi Gras up in the clouds. Buying drinks for everybody but the pilot, it’s a party.”

I thought, wow, she’s having a fun summer! I told her to have fun on her trip, but to save some fun for our night out. Funny right? She wasn’t actually on a plane getting drunk (I am sure you knew that), she was quoting one of Dierks Bentley’s new songs. I obviously had a lot to learn. And I did, fast.

I walked into a sea of Dierks Bentley fans, “The Congress,” and it was awesome! The venue itself is one of a kind. The Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater at Deer Valley Resort is absolutely majestic. Every concert I have ever been to at this venue has resulted in the entertainer commenting about the fact that they have the perfect seat to take in the amazing view, which is a rare gift from the stage.

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We had general admission seating tickets, which means you can bring blankets and/or small lawn chairs with you. We pre-ordered a Deer Valley Resort Gourmet Picnic Basket for the full experience. It didn’t take long and we all became one big Dierks Bentley family. The night was gorgeous. The crowd was perfectly clad in cowboy hats and boots. It seemed like everyone knew every word and if they were like me and didn’t, they were still on their feet because Dierks Bentley was THAT GOOD!

Here is our night in pictures.

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The awesome volunteers were ready for a little country! Good vibes from the very beginning.

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My friend Julie and I heading up to find a spot in “The Congress!” And also, a glimpse of the amazing view from the stage.

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Thinking ahead, we ordered a Deer Valley Resort Gourmet Picnic Basket. Order them 24 hours before your concert. They have a few options; vegetarian, beef and salmon. We went with salmon and steak with baguettes, wine, brownies on a stick and more!! Pure awesomeness. It was beyond yummy. You can bring your own food into the venue but it probably won’t be this good. I highly recommend enjoying your concert with a Gourmet Picnic Basket.

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(Brownie on a stick) YES PLEASE! My favorite part of the Gourmet Picnic Basket had to be the salted caramel chocolate brownie pop.

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A little boy let me borrow his cowboy hat. Next time, I’m dressing the part.

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It was such a big event with a HUGE star but it is always local when you are in Park City. I ran into many friends in the crowd.

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I really enjoyed the views of the crowd with a beautiful setting sun. Honestly, it couldn’t have been a more perfect night with regards to weather. I think everyone fed off of that and knew it was going to be special.

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Here is our view before the concert started and everyone got on their feet.

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Fans of every age rocked out all night. Everyone was standing up dancing after the first couple of songs. There was no need for sitting and no reason to! The crowd was rocking the entire time.

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Rock On!

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It didn’t take long before the front was filled with a bunch of beautiful women! And Dierks loved every second of it! It was awesome.

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These girls on the side of the stage knew every word to every one of his songs. I watched the crowd almost as much as I watched the stage!

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He told stories about his guitar and even commented that Park City brought something special out in his comedy…”I’m killing it tonight” he said to his band and he was. He said, “We are Southwest fliers. We like to think we are all preferred!” And then he went straight into “Drunk On A Plane”. The crowd went wild!

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It was such a fun concert that we didn’t want it to end. However, walking to the car we got to see this amazing sunset. This capped the night off perfectly. Have you been to a concert at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater? Share your experience with me in the comments below or on Twitter  and @Deer_Valley.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Lesson

The #DeerValleySummer is filled with more adventures than I could have ever imagined. Friends and family ask me all of the time, “What do you do when the ski season is over?” Lift-served mountain biking, hiking, concerts, standup paddleboarding, the list goes on and on. The question isn’t what do I do, it’s how do I find time to do it all?

Before I started working at Deer Valley, I didn’t know you could take a mountain bike lesson. I soon became aware that Deer Valley Resort’s Bike School offers knowledgeable mountain bike instructors who will teach you the proper techniques to help you ride safely and confidently, while navigating the nearly 70 miles of trails at Deer Valley Resort.

I signed up for a mountain bike lesson so I could learn the ropes of downhill mountain biking. Unlike skiing, I had zero experience in mountain biking, unless you count riding my bike around the neighborhood as a child. I knew that if the instructors in the Ski School could turn me into a skier, then the Bike School could turn me into a mountain biker.

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Not having a mountain bike myself, I rented one from the mountain bike rental shop in Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park Lodge. The rental shop also made sure I had a helmet, elbow pads and shin guards. Going into the lesson, I was very nervous; after leaving the rental shop, I felt prepared to take on the mountain. I met my bike instructor, Doug Gormley, and we made our way outside to start the lesson.

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Doug showed me the basic braking functions of the bike as well as the gears and how to properly shift. He taught me a trick that I used all day; easy or lower gears, use your thumb and harder or higher gears, use your index finger. I was very surprised how light the bike was and the incredible amount of spring in the shocks.

We went over the four basic riding fundamentals I would need for downhill mountain biking; balance in an athletic position, look ahead, smooth braking and controlled momentum. 20140815_101753

Doug asked if I played on my bike as a child. He said that people who have experience on a bike, even if it’s just jumping off curbs, have a huge advantage when it comes to mountain biking. This helped me get into the balanced athletic position or “platform” as Doug called it. Doug emphasized that I needed to be standing on the bike with both pedals even and my weight balanced. Since this was downhill mountain biking, leaning back was encouraged and being light on the handlebars to avoid going over them.

Looking ahead was the next lesson in my biking education. “Don’t look down, you need to see what’s coming up, not what you’re on. Trust your vision and your body to react.” ,Doug stressed. At first this was the most difficult thing for me to do. I wanted to see what I was rolling over. I soon realized that I needed to see what to prepare for and be looking ahead to properly position myself for the upcoming obstacle.

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Smooth braking was the third fundamental Doug taught me before we made our way to the mountain. I learned how to use the front and rear brakes evenly. I had never been on a bike with hydraulic, disc brakes. These were not the same brakes on my 1998 bike I rode around Taylorsville as an 11 year old. I could tell that too much front brake would cause you to fly over the handlebars. Doug showed me how to place my hands so that my index fingers were on the brakes at all times near the end of the handles. This allowed me to evenly brake and not use one more than the other.

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The last of the four fundamentals was learning how to control my momentum. We practiced in the parking lot going down stairs and hills, controlling my momentum, not too fast and not too slow. A consistent motion all the way down was the goal. Doug stressed going into turns slower with a consistent speed and accelerating out of the turn when I felt comfortable to do so. By this time, I was ready to take on the first trail which was Naildriver, Deer Valley’s easiest downhill mountain bike trail on Bald Mountain.

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After riding up Silver Lake Express chairlift, we rode Sterling Express to the top of Bald Mountain. We stopped at the beginning of the trail for a few last-minute pointers and we went over the four fundamentals again. I was so excited; being scared in the rental shop beforehand felt like a lifetime ago. After the fundamentals, I honestly can’t remember what Doug said. I’m pretty sure it was just “follow me.”

We headed down Naildriver trail, a smooth single track. The views of the Jordanelle Reservoir and the Heber Valley were breathtaking. I followed close behind Doug and felt at ease on the mountain bike. I tried imitating Doug’s route. Little jumps in the trail made for fast learning experiences. If I saw Doug run over a huge rock, I then knew that the mountain bike I was on could handle it as well. I just needed to remember the fundamentals and stay loose.
20140815_121331 (1)Like my first ski lesson, we would stop and talk at certain spots on the trail. Doug gave me pointers and praise along the way. During one of the stops, I learned to lean to steer. The key to this was to lean your bike, not your body. Doug showed me how to make long arm turns and turns with one pedal up and one down. I tried to soak up the 26 years of mountain biking knowledge Doug was sharing with me like a sponge.

We made our way down Bald Mountain and to the end of Naildriver trail. I was surprised at how many different muscles I used navigating down the mountain. The other person in my lesson was wearing a heart rate monitor. It said she burned 800 calories in the short time we had been in the lesson. This was easily the most fun exercise I had ever done. After a few more turning lessons, I said goodbye to Doug and my lesson partner at the bottom of Sterling Express chairlift.

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I had the option to download on Silver Lake Express chairlift or take Tour Des Homes trail down to the Snow Park Lodge. This trail was a lot different than the first one I had been on. Lots of loose gravel and wider trails made for a different experience. It was very cool to see this part of the resort during the summer. Tour Des Homes mountain bike trail follows much of the same trail line as Silver Dollar ski run. This is one of my favorite ski runs, because of the views you see along the way and the homes that line the trail.

I can’t wait to explore more of the fantastic trails Deer Valley Resort has to offer. Have you ever had a mountain bike lesson? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @RyanMayfield or @Deer_Valley.

Want to explore Deer Valley’s variety of trails? Sign up for a guided mountain bike tour led by Deer Valley’s professionally trained instructors. Gain some riding tips while meeting other riders and learning about the mountain and the resort. Participants must be intermediate level and 13 years or older.

For more information on mountain biking or to reserve a space in the Mountain Bike School, please call 435-645-6648 or 888-754-8477.

A Week’s Worth of Mountain Bike Trails at Deer Valley Resort

dvr-1wkBike1 Just as we proposed a selection of hiking trails to fill a week’s vacation at Deer Valley Resort, Ski Patrol/Mountain Bike Manager Steve Graff suggested we do the same for mountain biking. Steve wanted to contribute his intimate knowledge of and experience with the local terrain, in an effort to build a fun-filled, week-long, mountain biking itinerary. If you’re looking for some great rides next time you visit Deer Valley Resort, read on.Day 1Whatever the vacation, the first day is often best spent getting acquainted with the destination, its environment and everything it has to offer. If your mountain bike skills aren’t that great or if you never had any opportunities to ride single track on a mountain bike before, a wonderful idea is to come up to Deer Valley Resort and let one of the mountain bike guides familiarize you with the equipment and give you some useful pointers on how to make your whole week a fun and life-changing experience. If you are already very fit or have some serious riding skills and are comfortable negotiating single track trails, a good introductory ride might be “Lost Prospector” in Park City, one of Steve Graff’s little secrets:

“A great entry-level trail, with nice views, shaded tree sections and some exciting switch backs. The trail is moderate in terms of difficulty level and a wonderful way to refresh your riding skills. “

If you are renting a bike, make certain it fits you properly and will work with the kind of riding you plan to do; either cross-country, downhill or something in between. If you own your bike, make sure it has recently been serviced, is well adjusted, the gears and brakes are functioning perfectly and tires are in good condition and adequately inflated. Be sure to wear a good pair of gloves so you can get a good grip on your handlebars. Of course, you must wear a helmet and bring sunscreen, wrap-around sunglasses, food and water. If you forget any of these items, you can find them at the shops around Deer Valley Resort. Having some tools or replacement parts, like an extra inner tube and some basic bike tools is also a good idea, especially if you ride alone. Even if you are not a seasoned bike mechanic, make a point to pack some tools and some essential replacement parts as you may find a good samaritan on the trail who may stop to help you out. When riding Deer Valley’s lift-served trails, you can call Bike Patrol for assistance at 435-615-6208. dvr-1wkBike3 After reacquainting or familiarizing yourself with basic riding skills, your second day should be filled with lift-served mountain biking. Using chairlifts will provide you with a full day experience that would be near impossible to accomplish if you were to climb on your own, unless you are a fitness machine or an endurance athlete. Using the chairlifts enables you to fill your day with mountain biking activities and practice all the skills that have either been dormant or that you’ve learned the day before. A lift-served day should be on any weekly mountain biking itinerary. It’s best to stay on the Sterling Express chairlift and find a trail you like, such as Naildriver, the least difficult route down Bald Mountain, or Sunset, another easy trail, and ride those down as many times as you possibly can. Familiarity with a trail breeds confidence, develops quick responses and yields much more enjoyment since you’re not worried by what’s coming up next. Steve Graff is partial to Deer Camp Trail:

“This is another fun trail I like to recommend for its variety of terrain, its scenic views, its aspen groves and its frequent wildlife sightings.”

While Deer Valley’s weather is great most of the time, what should you do if the weather suddenly turns on you? “If you are on the trails and a thunderstorm happens and if you’re in the middle of a meadow, you don’t want to be the largest object around,” said Steve. “Likewise, in the trees you don’t want to be under the largest pine tree; seek shelter in places that aren’t too exposed.” To preserve the trail, do not ride when conditions are rainy or muddy. Rain storms are generally short-lived, so be patient. Any trail on the valley floor that is either asphalt or gravel is where you should be. If rain persists, take the rest of the day off, visit Park City’s historic Main Street, or do some shopping until everything dries up and the sun returns! dvr-1wkBike4 Now that you’ve spent time on these trails and practiced your skills, taken advantage of the energy-saving chairlifts and become comfortable riding single track on easy trails, you might want to increase the technical difficulty. On the third day, if “downhill” appeals to you, you can seek out more challenging trails. The Aspen Slalom trail which follows the Sterling Express chairlift down, is a good candidate to begin that process. Another one that Steve recommends is Twist and Shout, a steep, single track with tight curves and lots of trees. He also suggests that you hit Payroll trail in the Empire Canyon area, “This is a wonderful course that really flows well, with a number of rollers, drops and bermed-out turns.” dvr-1wkBike5 On the lower mountain, there’s Devo, another trail with steep sections and numerous turns that will test your technical abilities. Keep in mind that lift-served mountain biking runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week at Deer Valley Resort through Labor day. Also, know that the trails aren’t patrolled or swept at the end of the day like ski runs are in winter; there are 60 miles of trails on the resort, with multiple entry and exit points along a given trail, making any attempt to sweep them totally unpractical. This said, if you need any assistance during the hours the chairlifts are open, Deer Valley Patrol Staff are available to help patch an injury or solve mechanical problems. Just call 435-615-6208 or speak to a lift operator for assistance.Day 4To ramp our itinerary up, the fourth day is a great time to venture out to the Mid Mountain Trail. This stunning, single track trail traverses Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort at elevation of 8,000 feet, offering scenic vistas and lush pine forests interspersed with aspen groves. Before leaving, make sure to obtain Mountain Trails Foundation’s map at any Deer Valley Mountain Bike Office for the sections of the trails that are beyond Deer Valley Resort’s boundaries. The best plan is to leave from Silver Lake Village in the morning and head towards Park City Mountain and Canyons resorts. This itinerary can take two forms; either you ride between Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort or you continue on all the way to Canyons Resort. The decision time occurs 15 miles along the way, when you are in sight of the Spiro Trail sign; either you choose to descend via Spiro Trail into Park City and cover the remaining three and a half miles to the base of Park City Mountain Resort, or you carry on for another nine miles, all the way to Red Pine Lodge at Canyons Resort, where you can either download the gondola at no charge or drop down to the base of the resort via Holly’s Trail (expert) or Ambush Trail (Intermediate). In terms of time, count on two hours to ride Silver Lake to Park City and three to four hours to ride to Canyons Resort. From either base areas, there is always the possibility to catch the free city bus back to your place. dvr-1wkBike8Having proven your mettle on the fourth day, the end of the week deserves another great ride with one of two adventure-filled options. The first choice is mostly uphill and begins in Park City at the Spiro Trail. To access the trailhead, park in the Silver Star lot or use the nearby bus stop. From the trailhead, keep to the right and merge onto Armstrong Trail. Climb four miles to Mid Mountain Trail, turn left and continue until you see the new Pinecone Trail. This combination is not for the faint of heart as it grinds its way from Park City, at 6,900 feet all the way to the top of the Wasatch Ridge at 9,500 feet! An alternative is to begin at Silver Lake Village and ride the Mid Mountain Trail to the Pinecone Trail. dvr-1wkBike7 Another option is to ride the Wasatch Crest Trail that straddles the Park City valley and Big Cottonwood and Millcreek Canyons. The Wasatch Crest Trail can be taken from Guardsman Pass, using the Scott Bypass Trail or the Wasatch Connect trailhead, located just down the road on the Big Cottonwood side of the valley. It can also be accessed from the top of Pinecone trail. This trail eventually continues towards Millcreek Canyon which comes out in the Salt Lake Valley. This route is smooth and fast with awesome views of the Wasatch Back and Big Cottonwood Canyon, fields of wildflowers, meadows and trees. Upper Millcreek Trail opens July 1. Bikes are only allowed on this trail on even-numbered days and this classic ride leads you all the way down to the mouth of Millcreek Canyon. Of course, you will need to organize a shuttle to pick you up at the bottom, upon completing your ride for your return back to Deer Valley Resort. Pack your lunch, for those both make for big, long days filled with lots of adventure!

Once more, we have suggested a week’s worth of mountain biking filled with miles of excitement, memorable views, athletic ascents and thrilling downhills. I asked Steve Graff if he had anything to add to this impressive Itinerary. He just said; “Make sure to have fun every mile of the way. If you find some trails too hard, simply return to some easier ones. Again, the name of the game is to recreate and have fun!”

Park Silly Sunday Market — Always Something New

On New Year’s Eve, the year of my 50th birthday, I vowed to try something new each week for the rest of my life.

It could be something as simple as trying a new food, restaurant or museum exhibit to something a bit more daring, like giving stand up paddling a go. The “thing” itself isn’t as important as the meaning behind it — to be open to new experiences, avoid ruts and remain young at heart.

The Park Silly Sunday Market has proven to be a one-stop shop for new experiences. Despite the number of Sundays I’ve spent exploring the market, I’ve always encountered something new and exciting. You could go every week and never do the same thing twice.

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Come for the live performances:

You can find live music, yoga acts and other performances throughout the day on the stage at the bottom of Main Street.

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Hang out in the Kids’ Zone:

Can you hula hoop? Check out the “Hoops O’Funn.”

I must admit, I haven’t tried it — I’m pretty sure the hoop would spin around me twice and fall right to the ground. But brave hula hoop dancers of all ages get out there and rip it up.

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PS 5If you’re feeling daring and aren’t afraid of heights, the Kids’ Zone also features a rock climbing wall.

If you’d prefer to keep both feet on the ground and want to embrace the “silly” part of the Silly Market, get a butterfly painted on your cheek.

Shop at the eco-friendly open air market:

My latest purchase from the market is an recycled wallet and cell phone holder made from a black rubber tire tube. It’s functional and unique! (Though I haven’t noticed any black residue on my hands, I plan to keep it out of direct sunlight.)

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Additionally, many of the photos in our home of local wildlife and the iconic McPolin Barn were purchased from vendors on historic Main Street at the Park Silly Sunday Market.

Enjoy Park Silly Sunday Market from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Sunday until September 21. Come to try something new or just to enjoy the silliness. For more information, visit www.parksillysundaymarket.com.