Valentine’s Day Crush

My friend Josh likes the action verb “crush.”

But his version is more rockstar than cupid.

Let me explain:

When I bump into him and his son, Jack, at Deer Valley, he looks at me with a hint of irony and says, “We’re going to CRUSH Success!” And Jack, on cue, pipes up with a manly growl. Or, the best impersonation of a manly growl that an adorable seven year-old orange belt in karate can muster. Which is beyond cute.

And, yes, the kid can CRUSH a ski run.

And, so, in the spirit of Josh, Jack and Deer Valley skiers everywhere—and with apologies to David Letterman—I bring you:

Bari Nan’s “Top Ten Deer Valley Runs I Love to Crush….”

•Mountaineer

It’s longish and uncrowded; it’s got a couple of killer, empowering steep pitches. It carves like a champ.

 •Stein’s Way on a powder day

Yes, this is the run that inspires bragging rights. And while it’s a killer groomed run, nothing—and I mean nothing beats it on a powder day. When I have the top section to myself and I can bounce around in the powder, I sing while I ski. (Apologies to anyone in earshot…I can’t really carry a tune. But I can’t stop myself. I’m having too much fun). The pitches and dips on that run ride the way I would imagine a series of perfect rip-curl waves might ride…if I were a surfer. Which, for the record, I’m not.

•Tycoon

Steep, fast, and …steep. And long enough that if my form starts to tank, I have time to recover it and save face before I get to the bottom.

 •Supreme

Yes, I bust out the occasional Diana Ross tune while I make my turns here. There’s usually a little powder to be found on far skier’s left. Just enough to make it playful. There’s a neat little jug handle around the left side of the first mini-glade, and then three steeps that alternate with stretches I like to call “recovery flats.” Ski Dad and I did laps on Supreme a couple of weeks ago—and I’m still daydreaming about it.

 •Lucky Jack

Gladed rolling terrain unfurls after an initial quick, gentle drop. I’ll follow my kids through the trees on Ruby’s Tail or pick different lines to weave around the trees on Jack-proper. And, as with Supreme, the reward lies at the bottom…Empire Canyon Grill, home of the perfectly-crisp handmade potato chip. (You knew there would be food, right?)

 •Lucky Star

An excuse to sing Madonna while I cruise? Nuff said.

 •Blue Bell to Silver Buck to Star Gazer to Gemini

This run never fails to make me smile. The terrain starts out pretty mild, and ramps up as you turn down Star Gazer. And Star Gazer and Gemini are seldom crowded, so it can be fun to do laps here. And if I like the six or so turns on Star Gazer that link Silver Buck to Gemini, I’ll make sure that I finish the next lap by skiing Star Gazer all the way to the bottom. Then, I’ll scoot right onto Red Cloud Lift, eyeball the bumps below and see how brave I’m feeling (and whether there’s much life left in my legs).

If I’ve got the urge, I put a pin in it for a minute. Why?

•Star Gazer, top to bottom. That’s why. It’s usually good for two laps—three if it’s not crowded. After which, I slide into the line for Quincy Express, and make my way around the top of Ontario, and cut across the field, through the trees to my favorite run on the mountain.

•Hidden Treasure

I’m never bored here—powder or groomed, it’s a favorite run. Sometimes I’ll ski the top, then cut through the trees on skier left into Square Deal, making some gladed turns before opening up on the bumps. Other days, I’ll wait to cut into the bumps until they pop up after the trees toward the bottom of the run. It’s about 10 bump-turns to the bottom—just enough to say I crushed ‘em.

Finally, I’m ready to head home…

Solid Muldoon-to-Dew Drop-to-Little-Kate

It is, perhaps, my favorite way to (attempt) to end the day. It usually takes three tries. Because the first time, I am riding the high that comes from carving the top of Solid Muldoon, sliding across Success through the safety gates at the top of Dew Drop to the pitch that I know I should do with no turns, except that I can’t NOT turn. Weaving through the trees, finding little pow stashes at skier’s right and then zooming back across Success to Little Kate feels, strangely, like “home.” Or, rather, like I’ve just stolen home. By then, it’s 50/50 whether I’ll crush it or bottom out on my form from sheer fatigue. Which means there’s 100 percent chance I’ll do two more runs. One in which I’ll make a last-minute executive decision to do Solid Muldoon top-to-bottom, at speed. And the second, in which I’ll attempt to either redeem myself on Kate or relive the CRUSH.

Now…tell me what’s your Deer Valley crush run?

 

Isn’t it amazing how one good storm can change the mountain?

Due to Mother Nature’s sleepiness this year I hadn’t attempted to ski any of our off-piste areas. Some of you might be saying, “Deer Valley off-piste?” But believe me; Deer Valley has a variety of skiing for all skier types.

One of my favorite stories is many years ago, before we even had Empire Canyon, Daly Chutes and Lady Morgan. A group of my guy friends were planning on skiing somewhere other than Deer Valley because we were in the middle of a big storm. I offered to ski with them at Deer Valley and show them around the powder, but they insisted we didn’t have enough.

Well the next day, they agreed to meet me. They still were full of skepticism thinking the “powder day”  was wasted. Well, I’ll put it this way, by 1 p.m. they were crying “Uncle” and needed to stop. We didn’t ski a single designated trail. Of course all in bounds, we just stuck to the all bowls and trees.

We started in Mayflower Bowl for a few runs then crossed into Perseverance Bowl. We got to the top of Sultan Express and dropped over into Ruins of Pompeii on down into the trees that lead you back to Perseverance. As we grabbed the lift again and rested, I lead them down to the top of Triangle Trees right were Tycoon and Reward split. They were having the time of their lives. Once we got in the heart of Triangle of Trees you heard the “powder day cheers” coming from all, we hit Rattler, grabbed Wasatch Express chairlift to make our way into Sunset Glades then Ontario Bowl. Even though we had been skiing over 2 hours they couldn’t get over the lines still untouched in Ontario Bowl.

After a few laps in Ontario they asked for lunch and promised they would never say that they could “out ski” Deer Valley again.

Fast forward a few years, we now have Empire Canyon with the Daly Chutes and Lady Morgan. It’s quite the work out to hit all areas I’ve mentioned on one powder day. It can be done but the legs might fumble at the end. People ask me how big Deer Valley is, I say “you can’t ski it all in a day”.

Also, I like to showcase Deer Valley’s varied terrain to dispel the myths of us being only intermediate. One run that makes me gather my thoughts before I enter is Challenger (Daly Chutes). No matter the abundance of snow Challenger is just that, challenging. It is very narrow at the entry. I’m not sure two skiers could enter at the same time. Once completed you look back up, out of breath and realize the steepness and narrowness you just navigated. Quite Exhilarating!

If you still don’t believe me, now that I have described some of our black diamond skiing; then come check it out for yourself and maybe I can help. But don’t get caught off guard either, our groomers like Tycoon, Reward, Keno, Magnet and Legal Tender keep you challenged too.  Some much to ski but so little time. See you on the slopes.

Deer Valley Closes on a Super-High Note!

This past Sunday was a ski day to be remembered. After picking up and extra 4” early in the morning to bring the 72 hours total to 16” and the snow cover on top to 134”, the skies cleared just when it was time for the resort to open and we skied all day in mid winter conditions, but under April floodlights! We did the Triangle Trees three times, moved on to Mayflower, did the Bowl and Orient Express, at times in 16 inches of new snow, and by the moment we got to Centennial Trees, on Lady Morgan’s side, we had to stay on skier’s right to find some fresh “pow” ignored by the “army” that roamed through the sector. A delectable lunch, with a charming young couple, that made room for us at their empire Empire Lodge table, was yet a great moment, and to top it all, when we were done, we ran into a friend who wanted to keep on skiing for the rest of the afternoon, and could not escape following us into Ontario Bowl that, by that time, had been ran over as if it were an autobahn! We still managed to get some great packed powder under the Wasatch Lift and all the way down on “Big Stick” and when we took off our skis, we could still not believe it was April 10!

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!

“Spring” Skiing

These last few days have been a lot of fun. A mix of sun and snow that has made taking photos a pleasure. A few extra laps with the camera at work over the last couple of days has given up some amazing photo opportunities.
Here’s some photos fromthe recent 2 days. Smiles all around here!


Lose yourself in Ontario Bowl and Woods!

Every time my skiing takes me around Flagstaff and Empire Canyon, I always make a point, on my way back to Silver Lake and Snow Park, to ski Ontario Bowl or the adjacent woods. I find it a great alternative to the Ontario or Hidden Treasure runs that are widely used by all the other skiers. If I decide to ski the Bowl, I will rarely hike to its very top from the entrance gate located off the Ontario run, but rather catch the traverse found on skier’s right, at the top of Hidden Treasure. This access gives me all the choices I want while saving me both time and effort.

Like most skiers, I often traverse all the way to the main bowl that offers the most open terrain and then ski down to the bottom of the Ontario run before catching the Judge lift, or why not, riding again Quincy for some additional laps. There are however two notable alternatives to the main bowl and one of them is the expansive wooded area, called “DT’s trees”, that stands to the skier’s left and can be accessed from the beginning of the access traverse. This section, where the trees are gladed well enough to allow turns in most directions, is quite sheltered, keeps the snow fresh longer and offers an infinite array of runs that are never the same. The only trick is to maintain a diagonal direction so as not to “run of out trees,” something that can be easily mastered after just a few descents.

My favorite line however is located on the edge of the trees and on the ridge portion that separates the trees from the bowl. While this run may get bumpy at times (a price to pay for its popularity) it’s always fun and varied as its grade changes all along the way, keeping the itinerary interesting. It ends up by funneling into the trees and lands somewhere above the Quincy chair. So if you didn’t know the Ontario Bowl and its multiple options, make sure to keep them in mind on your way back from Flagstaff and Empire; soon you’ll consider it your “dessert” too, after a long and fun-packed ski day!

Spring Skiing Tips

As the weather starts to change and create spring skiing conditions, I thought I would throw out some spring skiing tips.

First and foremost, make sure you have plenty of sun block. I learned the hard way! When skiing at high altitudes, the sun is more intense especially when reflecting off the snow. It’s best to start skiing as early as possible before the sun is at its peak.
Absolutely sunglasses or goggles are just as important as the sun block. The spring sun and snow are more intense on your eyes.

Another perk to starting your day earlier is Corn Snow! As the temperatures become warmer the snow gets very soft and this can be difficult and tiring to ski. Corn Snow is what we call the conditions before the snow gets to a mashed potatoes type consistency. Corn Snow is almost as good as a powder day!

It’s not a bad idea to wax your skis too. Spring snow can be dirty and your skis will not glide as well as they should which makes unnecessary work for you. Be aware of your energy level on those warm bluebird days. Skiers tend to become tired quicker in the due to varying snow conditions.

As always, the cure to tired legs is a hot tub during après ski to get ready for the next day of sunshine!

We’ve had a few bluebird days so far, but with plenty of snow left and 7” last night, you may have a great sunny day with corn snow and the next day be out enjoying the powder again!!!

See you on the slopes.

Powder Alert!

Grey skies threatened to snow all day on Thursday. Ski Patroller TJ Somers got out into Centennial Trees off Lady Morgan Express to find a little untracked snow.

With 7″ of snow last night and 2-3 feet of snow expected by Sunday, this will be buried in the fresh white stuff all over again. There will be PLENTY of fresh tracks this weekend. Gotta love Utah!

28″ Storm- Photo Recap

What a great storm! I didn’t have many photo opportunities as we were really busy out on the mountain all weekend, but here are 3 of my favorites from the past couple days.

This is what the grooming looked like on Sunday afternoon… after 20+ inches of snow and a lot of skier traffic.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The top of Carpenter Express Chairlift on President’s Day

Monday, February 21, 2011

The first sunny view of Daly Ridgeline and Claytons Peak in the background on President’s day. It was simply stunning.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dropping by Daly Chute #4

This Thursday, as the gray skies were charged with snow, ready to fall and as I was skiing Empire Express, I chose to play around the X-Files. As I was ready for a second lap, I stopped on my way by Daly Chute #4 to get a closer look and had the following conversation with the Chute:

Chute #4: Hi, I haven’t seen you around in a while!

JF: Sorry, I was just skiing by, going to the X-Files…

Chute #4: I can’t understand what makes these trees such a big deal…

JF: You’d be surprised how fun they are today with six inches of new snow!

Chute #4: Hey, that’s just a temporary condition; why don’t you come a little bit closer…

JF: I’m not sure, I just wanted to say hello.

Chute #4: Are you telling me that you’ve become a big chicken? Get a bit nearer to the edge, take a look down!

JF: I’m impressed with what I see…

Chute #4: That’s what most people who come up here tell me before they turn around and ski elsewhere; what happened to courage? They say they’re “just dropping by,” but in truth they won’t!

JF: I’m not like that…

Chute #4: Okay, show me!

JF: I won’t jump the cornice though; I’ll catch it from skier’s left.

Chute #4: Good boy…

Now, enjoy the video!