Major Mountain Bike Trail Improvements, New Dining and Concerts Usher in Deer Valley Resort’s 2015 Summer Season

As the mountains turn from white to green, Deer Valley Resort reopens its doors and lifts to guests looking to experience summer play available day and night on its mountains. From the rush of a mountain bike descent through the trees or an exhilarating hike along a ridge top to lunch served all fresco and open air evening concerts, Deer Valley offers an unparalleled alpine escape. New this season, guests can relish in summer season longer, as Deer Valley has extended its summer operations to include weekends after Labor Day through Sunday, September 20, 2015, conditions permitting.

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Summer 2015 mountainside activities promise to provide an even higher level of enjoyment as Deer Valley Resort embarks on its largest-ever summer investment to modernize and update its existing mountain biking/hiking trail inventory. Deer Valley Resort enlisted world-renowned bike resort development company, Gravity Logic, to conduct a feasibility analysis of the current mountain bike/hike trail system and provide improvement recommendations. Select recommendations provided by Gravity Logic will occur throughout the 2015 summer season, beginning in June and finishing in mid-August.

“Gravity Logic is known for having designed and built some of the planet’s most well-known, most-ridden and time-tested trails,” said Steve Graff, mountain bike manager for Deer Valley Resort. “We are excited to work with one of the most prominent designers in the world to create an even greater resort trail system that has more mass appeal for novice to expert bikers.”

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One of the scheduled improvements includes a two- to three-mile downhill mountain bike intermediate “flow” trail. This trail will be machine excavated and in-sloped with berms, rollers and jumps. To date, the majority of Deer Valley’s trails have been hand-built. The trail will be approximately four feet wide, as opposed to Deer Valley’s mostly single track trails, and will lead from the top of Bald Mountain to Silver Lake.

“Deer Valley Resort has an expansive network of mountain biking and hiking trails and the resort is already a favorite summertime destination for mountain bikers and hikers said Rob Cocquyt, owner/director of Gravity Logic. “Our goal is to work closely with Deer Valley’s in-house team to enhance what is already in place to elevate the experience for riders/hikers of all ages, skills and interests.”

In addition to trail work with Gravity Logic, Deer Valley and Mountain Trails Foundation have partnered to create an extension of the Mid-mountain trail. The trail will lead from Silver Lake to the Deer Crest trail, eliminating the climb from Silver Lake to the top of Bald Eagle and circumnavigating Bald Eagle.

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“For outdoor, nature, relaxation and music enthusiasts, Deer Valley Resort truly has it all,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort. “Summers at the resort offer guests the unique opportunity to try new outdoor activities, challenge themselves physically, discover an appreciation for nature, create lasting family memories and rejuvenate the senses—all experienced in generally mild, pleasant temperatures.”

Summer operations at the resort run seven days a week from June 19 through Labor Day, September 7, 2015, then weekends only through September 20, 2015, weather and conditions permitting. Lift-served mountain biking/hiking and scenic rides are offered from the Silver Lake Express chairlift at Snow Park, the mid-mountain Sterling Express chairlift and the Ruby Express chairlift at Empire Canyon. Summer chairlifts operate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (conditions permitting) and ample parking is available at Snow Park Lodge. The resort website provides detailed information on mountain biking and hiking/scenic ride lift ticket rates, as well as information on bike rentals, clinics and tours.

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For evening play, Deer Valley Resort brings in an exciting lineup of celebrated singers/songwriters/musicians to entertain guests at open-air, mountainside concerts. To compliment any evening concert, Deer Valley features Gourmet Picnic Baskets or Bags filled with delicious epicurean items from Deer Valley’s kitchens, with options for children’s single bags, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian meals.

271 Deer Valley Gourmet Picnic Basket

The summer calendar of events features a complete line-up of outdoor concerts at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater and mountain bike races. Beyond the resort, the Park City surrounding area provides a wide variety of activities, such as golf, river tubing and rafting, boating, horseback riding, ATV adventures, shopping, dining, theaters and historical museums and tours.

With Deer Valley Resort Lodging and Reservations serving not only as property manager but also as the booking agency, guests have access to the largest selection of accommodations with the best service and availability, in the Deer Valley area. Deer Valley’s expert Vacation Planners are available to help guests book and plan outings and adventures tailored to their individual needs.

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When the fun and excitement of summertime activities leave the body famished, Deer Valley now offers four delicious options for refueling. For Deer Valley guests and visitors looking to grab a quick bite or more, the new Silver Lake Snack Shack will now be open daily during the summer season. Located in the Silver Lake Ski Corral at mid-mountain, the shack offers wrap sandwiches, picnic snacks, beverages, beer, desserts and ice cream sandwiches. The shack is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 19 through September 7, 2015, then September 12, 13, 19 and 20, 2015.

Royal Street Café offers a casual atmosphere with scenic deck dining and creative American and international cuisine the entire family can enjoy. Royal Street Café serves creative appetizers, salads and specialties such as a fresh Dungeness crab tower with avocado and sauces of wasabi, ginger-soy and sweet chili, tuna tartare with wild arugula, truffle oil and lemon salad and of course, the famed maple bacon, barbeque bison burger. You’ll also find an equally exciting children’s menu, fine wines, beer and refreshing cocktails. Open for lunch daily June 19, through Labor Day, September 7, 2015, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Royal Street Café is located mid-mountain at Silver Lake Lodge adjacent to Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Express chairlift.

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Enjoy the view and mountain air while dining lakeside on the outdoor deck at Deer Valley Grocery~Café serving fresh roasted coffee and espresso drinks, salads made with local seasonal ingredients, panini sandwiches, creative appetizer and entrée specials, freshly baked breads, desserts, cakes and other items. A selection of gourmet grocery items, house prepared take-away entrées as well as wine, beer, liquor and seasonal cocktails are available for purchase. Deer Valley Grocery~Café, located in the Deer Valley Plaza building in the Snow Park area, is open daily 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (With extended evening hours until 8:30 p.m. June 19, through Labor Day, September 7, 2015.)  Please call 435-615-2400 for to-go orders.

The Brass Tag restaurant, located in the Lodges at Deer Valley, is open daily from 4 to 9 p.m. and serves their full dinner menu from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The menu features Deer Valley-inspired brick oven cuisine including fresh seafood skillets, seared meats, oven roasted fresh fish, locally sourced produce, seasonal flatbreads and specialty sides. A full bar, beer and wine are also available.

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For Deer Valley’s younger guests, ranging in age from 2 months to 12 years, the resort’s Summer Adventure Camp offers creative activities that ensure campers have fun while learning and connecting with nature. Based out of the Children’s Center at Snow Park Lodge and running Monday through Friday June 8 through August 19, 2015 (no camp on July 3 or 24), Summer Adventure Camp features hiking, hillside playgrounds, indoor entertainment and performances, a bouldering rock-climbing wall and a full supply of craft projects, games, puzzles and more.

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Deer Valley’s convenient location, just 36 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport, affords guests more time to enjoy their alpine retreat. Guests leaving either coast in the morning can be settled at the resort by early afternoon, ready for outdoor play or comfortable relaxation.

For more information on Deer Valley’s summer mountain biking, hiking, scenic chairlift rides, outdoor concerts and dining operations, please visit the resort website.

Eat it Up

We gathered as soon as I had dropped off my kids at day one of Children’s Sunday Ski Experience. There were seven of us, and we dove into the day’s powder with gusto. My friend Stacey, who I met four years ago during Women’s Weekend, was first to say, “I am a Powder Day Plus One Skier.” Meaning she likes a good powder dump as much as anyone, but prefers to ski on it after the groomers have had their way with it, the next day, thank you very much.

My friend Kellie and I were fresh off our first Women on Wednesdays lesson, so we were eager to see if we remembered all the mad skills we’d picked up on that day. Our group also contained two Miriams (one I’ll call Mir, to keep them straight), Catherine, who skis DV only occasionally, and Sue. We were all of compatible levels, but Mir and Sue are likely the most experienced and confident skiers, and Catherine is a good, gutsy skier. Mind you, in the days leading up to this outing, I got comments from several of my friends, saying they were a little nervous to ski with me—which made me laugh. “We are skiing for lunch, people,” I reminded them. “It’s social and fun.”

What followed was exactly that. A fun, social day, laughing as hard as we skied—which is to say, plenty. I couldn’t get away with copping out of much, since Kellie and I had just skied together on Wednesday, and she knew what I could do. Which is, of course, how I wound up taking Square Deal ski run from the top, rather than snaking around to the trees on skier’s left of Hidden Treasure and cutting in below the first long pitch. I was so pleased with myself that whenever I answered a question from my kids, that night, I simply said, “Square Deal. From the Top.” It wasn’t always the answer they were looking for—or, rather, it wasn’t ever the answer they were looking for—but, they got the message: Mama is hardcore, now.

Fresh Tracks under Quincy Lift

Of course, I couldn’t resist finding a path to hike through the glade between Hidden Treasure and Square Deal, a few hours later. Kellie was kind enough to snap some photos of me, and of Stacey, as we stopped to admire the gorgeous surroundings.

We skied a little of everything that day—those who were tired, nursing injuries or wanting an easier run felt no pressure to do what the bumps-and-powder-chasers were doing. One of my favorite runs of the day was suggested by Stacey: Orion to Solace, off of Empire Express chairlift. It left me feeling like I could ski anything, even though I had passed on the opportunity to take Daly Chutes with Mir and Sue.

Powder from Stacey

As I suspected, it mattered not which terrain each of us skied that day, but rather that we encouraged each other to eat it up, and take in as much powder and as many turns as we could, before the promised lunch. Ah, yes. Lunch,

Royal Street Café did not disappoint. Mulled Wine, and Blueberry Vodka Hot Chocolate—honestly, we could have stopped there. But with such a delicious menu, why would we? We split a few appetizers, and enjoyed our entrees. Mostly, though, we enjoyed each other’s company—no one in the group, aside from me, knew everyone in the group when we started the day. But after a day of riding chair lifts, together, the lunch conversation flowed easily. By day’s end, I was floating down to ski school pickup, on Stacey’s words: “Powder Plus Zero!”

Food

Interview with Chef Chris Gibson, Royal Street Cafe

Chef Chris Gibson has been part of Deer Valley Resort’s culinary team since 2003; first working part-time, seasonally, and now as the sous chef at Royal Street Café. His philosophy of finding fresh, local ingredients to craft into house-made specialties has translated into a dining experience that is as inspiring (and ever-changing) as the spectacular views off the deck at the Silver Lake Lodge Restaurant. Deer Valley Blogger, Bari Nan Cohen, caught up with Chef Gibson just as the summer season picked up, to get the latest on the menu, and the inside track on why the Asian Chicken Salad is different now.

The Asian Chicken Salad was a Royal Street Cafe signature item. Why change it?

It’s funny–people have asked us that a lot, but we’re noticing that they are ordering it just as much as before. (Check) We used to serve it with teriyaki orange glazed chicken strips and fried wontons–and it was kind of hard to manage with chopsticks. So we made it more of a chopped salad, changed out the wonton chips for puffed rice, and then looked at how we could make the favors different. We brought in more of the umami flavor–there is fermented black bean, broccoli stems, mushrooms and fermented fish sauce in the dressing. We are getting a lot of feedback–and since the salad was made the other way for 20 years, that’s not surprising.

What are some of the other special touches we might see?

We don’t make many drastic changes, but we do like to evolve the way we make things. For instance, our BLT used to be made with deli-turkey that we bought from a supplier. Now we buy turkey, smoke it ourselves, and then slice it, so you’re biting into a sandwich that has that home-roasted turkey feel.

We also buy a case of habanero peppers and smoke it for three days so that we can send it to our cheese maker (Gold Creek Farms in Kamas, Utah) and he can mix it right in with the curd to make our smoked habanero cheddar that we use on the bison burger.

178 Royal Street Cafe_Deer Valley ResortWhat are some of the other items that are created in-house?

The ketchup for the frites (fries) is house-made. The bison burger is ground in-house from whole chucks, we make our own bacon, our own smoked habanero aioli, we carmelize the onions and we make the barbecue sauce, too.

I’m intrigued by the charcuterie–there seem to be a lot of house-made meats. How did you get into that?

It started because we couldn’t find an andouille sausage that we liked well enough to put in our gumbo. So I buy pork from Niman Ranch, and I use a lot of green onions with it, because the green onion has naturally occurring bacteria that ferments the pork into a cured sausage.

IMG_9783What is your favorite item on the menu–what do you tend to order for lunch?

I usually taste every menu item in the kitchen each day, which means, that’s lunch. But when I do order, I go for the tuna tacos–it’s fresh, relatively healthy, and I enjoy the richness of the flavors in that dish.

What is your favorite way to spend a day off?

I just bought a new downhill mountain bike–it doesn’t hurt that I work at the base of a chairlift and world-class trails, so I tend to get out on my bike a lot. If you are looking for a good “run-slash-hike,” go to the Silver Lake Trail–you will get a workout.

232 Biking_Deer Valley ResortHow do you like to spend your weekends?

My wife and I have two young daughters, ages seven and five, so we go camping, hiking and biking with them. I’m an avid runner, and I competed in the Ragnar relay, earlier this summer.

What are your go-to family meals at home?

Well, if we let our girls choose, they would eat a whole bunch of stuff dipped in ranch dressing at every meal, but we’ve found that curries are always a hit. I’m also a big gardener, so I will make up batches of chili verde and freeze them in meal-sized bags, so we have those on hand all winter. I can hundreds of tomatoes and make lots of fresh sauce to freeze so we have that all year for pasta. But in the summer, we grill a lot. There’s something about kebabs–some veggies, well-seasoned meat, Greek yogurt, it’s delicious and kid-friendly without being kid food.

Savor Your Summer at the Royal Street Cafe with Deer Valley’s Signature Cocktails

 

three cocktailsWhat are your favorite memories of summer?   One of mine is a girl’s weekend (before I moved here permanently) in Park City – three California girls came in for a four-day weekend.  Dressed in short sleeved t-shirts and shorts, we rode the chairlifts from Snow Park to Silver Lake Lodge and to the top of Bald Mountain.  It was a beautiful warm summer day so we didn’t dream of bringing a light jacket!  It got chilly on the lift so the three of us huddled together for warmth.  We each pulled our arms out of the sleeves wrapping them around our waists underneath our shirts to slow the goose bumps.  When we arrived at Silver Lake, we ran into a shop and bought sweatshirts!  We enjoyed the second half of our lift ride to the summit much better and have laughed about it ever since.

On the way down, we stopped for lunch at Royal Street Café and enjoyed a lingering lunch on the deck in the full sun with our new sweatshirts draped across the backs of the chairs and Blueberry Mojitos in our hands. Now, I live here full time and always bring visitors on that very same scenic lift ride and to bask in the sun for alfresco dining on the deck.  As a local, I’ve learned to always bring a light jacket or sweatshirt as temperatures change frequently in the mountains, and I’ve also picked up a thing or two about cocktail options at the Royal Street Café.

My friends and I lucked into the Blueberry Mojito because we saw it come out on a tray to a patron sitting at a table next to us.  We said to the server, “We’ll each have one of those.”  What we didn’t know at the time was the Royal Street Café scours the farmers markets each week to choose local seasonal fruits such as raspberries and apricots and herbs such as rosemary and basil for their cocktails.  They make juices and mixes fresh each day. When we were enjoying our day in the mountains, we were sipping the freshest local fruit juices and tasting hints of freshly picked local herbs from right here in the Wasatch Mountain area.  To us, the experience was seamless but to the team at Royal Street Café, it was intentionally designed for us to really enjoy a sense of place – the mountains and the summer season.  It worked!

nancy and bonnieA lot of the inspiration for seasonal cocktails comes from lead bartender, Bonnie Ulmer, who has been a part of Deer Valley since the beginning. I had a chance to spend some time with Bonnie, observing her skills in action, chatting with her on the deck and having a taste test of the latest signature cocktail. In case you need some help deciding which drink to sip as you drape your arm over a chair sitting on the deck on a summer afternoon, here are some suggestions for making your summer cocktail decision:

sipping rosemary collinsTry this summer’s signature cocktail – Rosemary Tom Collins. If you like something a little on the tart side with the freshly made sweet and sour mix and you want to completely blow your mind with the addition of the hint of rosemary, this is the one for you.  When I tasted it, I couldn’t put it down because of the unique flavors.  You’ll notice when I snapped some photos of the drinks on the deck, the Rosemary Tom Collins had been sipped quite a bit.  I’ll admit it; it was me! You try taking just one sip and let me know how that works for you! The rosemary adds a unique sensory experience that encourages you to take sip after sip.

Experiment and go with this week’s special.  The restaurant and beverage team at the Royal Street Café all weigh in on the weekly special cocktail.  I got to try the RSC Berry Crush with Grey Goose vodka, splash of Chambord, fresh raspberries, and house made lemonade served over crushed ice.  The weekly special is one of the things Bonnie loves most about summer! She had a twinkle in her eye when she talked about plans for a cucumber and basil combination she was planning.  Whatever fruit is ripe and herbs are available, a new special cocktail is created to pair with the weekly food specials. If you want to be adventuresome and try something new, try the current creation.

mojitoGo with the winner – Deer Valley’s Blueberry Mojito.  This drink is the winner of the Park City’s Best Cocktail Award in 2007/2008 and for good reason. With the combination of mint, lime and blueberries, how can you go wrong?  People from all over the world come to Royal Street Café asking for this special drink and the recipe to take home.  Even the culinary challenged (such as me) have been able to make this drink at home with success!

Stick with the classics.  It’s fun to experiment with something new, but you certainly don’t have to!  You can order anything from a Manhattan, a High West Distillery Rendezvous Rye Whiskey, to a locally brewed lager from the Wasatch Brewery to enjoy on the deck at Silver Lake Lodge.

deck cocktailsThe diners who stop at the Royal Street Café are an eclectic group and the drink choices certainly fall right in line.  Whatever choice you decide, make it memorable. The important thing is to savor your summer and create lasting memories of your time in Park City, whether you live here year-round or you are here for a short stay.

For a peek at the menu and more information for Royal Street Café, click here.

 

 

Skiing with Family and Friends

Happy New Year! Yes, I’m a bit late, but between the holidays, family, working AND a child’s broken tib/fib it’s hard to catch a breath! So it’s time to catch up.

First, my family (both brothers and their families) joined us for the Christmas holidays. There were nine of us living and skiing together. It’s so much fun to ski with them. This is how we started skiing and along the way wives, husbands, nieces and nephews have joined us. The banter between my brothers and I still hasn’t changed. They really think they can beat me, although, I’m not sure they ever did. In fact, the only person around here who has that bragging right is Deer Valley’s own Ski School Instructor, Andi Wieser. He took my time down by .11 after 16 years of pacesetting on the Nastar course. WOW! That’s a long time.

One of the best parts about skiing with the family is watching my nieces get ready and keep up with the group. This is their main ski trip of the year and I have to say, they hold their own. I can’t imagine the fear factor of skiing here in the Wasatch Mountains when they are from New Jersey.  I have nephews that set a quick pace for their cousins. They did a great job, and I think you can see the fun factor in the picture below.

Family Pic
I’ve also been working with my ski sponsor, Blizzard/Tecnica and skiing on my new 2014 skis!  The company needed some photos of the ski tops sheets for upcoming shows and catalogs. (You can see them in an earlier post before the season started.) They ski magnificently and the graphics are sweet looking, don’t you think? It was fun to meet up with the Blizzard/Tecnica group and ski last week. I was able to show them a bit of Deer Valley and spoil them at Royal Street Café for lunch. To tell you the truth, I felt a bit uncomfortable skiing with this crowd of ‘A Teamers’, Marcus Caston, Claire Abbé, Adam Cole, photographer Frank Shine and Joe Dunn, Sports Marketing Director. I think I held my own, but the ages of these skiers really made me feel like their Mom. It would have been fun to ski with my Mom.

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OK- just a quick update on my son, Lucas, who I mentioned at the beginning of the post. He’ll be OK, but got his first taste of being an athlete. His goals for the season have needed to change, but he’ll be back ready and stronger for next season.

And in other news…the new snow has brought great skiing! Take a peek at the video by JF Lanvers below. I think we were all hoping for more snow, but any new snow is good snow! Stay warm and enjoy the slopes. Sundance is in town so you know what that means? We’re in for a snowstorm!  It’s a sure thing- ‘just as hosting a Downhill, it’s guaranteed to snow.  That’s the saying in the ski racing world.

Be safe and see you on the slopes!

Park City Date Night

I got my first sunburn in Park City on a date night with my husband, the first Wednesday we lived here, in 2001. Yes, I said a sunburn, at night. It was my first glimpse that life at 7,500 feet was going to be even more of a change than I had expected.

By now, I’m a pro. So when I headed out for date night with Jeff last Saturday night to Royal Street Café’s table at Savor The Summit, I was prepared. To wit: in addition to a cute dress and lipgloss, I did a generous application of sunscreen, and made sure I had a cute hat for the occasion—thank you, gold, sparkly cowgirl chapeau—and big, glam shades.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savor The Summit, you see, is a dinner party for the whole town. Restaurants set up long tables that span the length of Main Street, with a band rocking out at Miner’s Plaza, across from Cows.

And, because of the “mixer” style of the evening, there’s a chance you’ll get to spend time with new friends amidst the many familiar faces. Which is, I’m happy to report, exactly what happened to us. We not only enjoyed Deer Valley’s newest cocktails, Flower and Pine and Rosemary Radler, mixed and served by the resort’s award-winning mixologist, Bonnie Ulmer, but we got to indulge in some fun new preparations of Royal Street Café culinary faves—gazpacho shooters? Yes, please. Crawfish Bisque? But, of course. Ahi Tostada? Yummmm.

I’m proud to say, our table was an enthusiastic participant in the street-long “wave” that happened several times during the evening—and, because I’m competitive in all things, I made sure to give a friendly chide, via Tweet, to the adjacent table of Chimayo diners, whose “wave” was, to my expert eye, a bit, ahem, lackluster. We can’t all be awesome, though, can we?

Thrillingly, the evening has had many, wonderful, summery social aftershocks. I swiftly planned a walk with my friend Leslie Thatcher, KPCW’s news director, who’s still rehabbing her knee after surgery, and a “rookie” bike ride with Park City Magazine Editor Kristen Case—because, yes, eleven years in, I’m still a beginner. I’ll report back on the success of these and other summer adventures. For now, I’ll leave you with this very strong suggestion for your summer vacation planning: Save the date for Savor the Summit 2013.

A New Experience: Savor the Summit

“Try fifty two new things” was last year’s New Year’s resolution.  I chose it because I noticed that as people get older, they tend to get stuck in their ways and I didn’t want that to happen to me.

When Emily Summers, communications manager at Deer Valley Resort (and fellow blogger) invited me to “Savor the Summit”, I didn’t let her know that I had absolutely no idea what it was.  I just moved here less than a year ago and previously only came to Park City for the Fourth of July and a week in August so I never even knew about “Savor the Summit”.    

Even so, I immediately replied to Emily with a “Yes …plus guest” figuring it would be another new experience.  Also with the words “savor” and “summit” in the title as well as “Royal Street Cafe” being associated with the event, I figured the night would be something special.

I was not disappointed. When my husband, Jay, and I stepped on to Main Street, we saw what must have been the world’s largest dinner table with white linen table cloths, sparkling crystal glasses, and crisp folded napkins stretching from the top of Main Street as far down as I could see.  What a sight! When we made our way to the Royal St. Cafe table, Emily greeted us with a huge smile, introduced us all around and showed us our places.

Being a transplant from California, I pay close attention to the wine. I am not a wine snob by any means but I might be mistaken for one.  You see, I love the “nose” on a wine.  To sip a wine without swirling it and putting as much of my face as possible into the glass to breathe in the aroma seems like a waste to me. I’d be missing the best part!   You can see how someone observing me might think that I am some kind of wine expert but I am far from that.  I simply enjoy the olfactory experience. Before taking my first sip, I am sure to take my time and enjoy the bouquet the vintner has prepared.

Imagine my excitement when the Royal St. Cafe served a 2009 Etude Pinot Gris from the Carneros region in the Napa Valley.  It had a wonderful fruit filled nose and a crisp taste that went well with the seared tuna tostada.  No one at our table noticed me swirling and sniffing because they were all taking photos of the presentation of this first course and then, of course, tweeting the photos to their followers.

Our meal was only interrupted by two other things – the landing of a large butterfly on our centerpiece and a crowd wave which I assume was started by the Wasatch Brewery at the top of Main St.  Even though we were seated at an elegant meal, the wave seemed completely natural and our whole table participated enthusiastically.

After that, my attention was once again drawn the wine – a 2009 Greg Norman Estates Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia.  After enjoying my wine ritual, I was brought back to reality when the Niman Ranch Beef Filet with Cabernet reduction sauce, farmer’s market vegetables, foraged royal trumpet mushrooms, and crisp potato anna was served. I noticed there was music everywhere and the balconies up and down the street were full of people enjoying their own libations as well as observing the Grande Table from above.  

 

I don’t remember who gave me the idea a year ago to try fifty two new things but it was a good one.  That openness to new experiences and celebrating life put me in touch with my spirit of adventure.  I was open to my husband’s suggestion to moving to Park City and of course to attending a very special event like no other – Savor the Summit.

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.

Deer Valley Cocktail Mixology

Last week we highlighted long time Deer Valley bartender Bonnie Ulmer. Three time Park City Cocktail Contest winner, we wanted to know the secret behind the mixology at Deer Valley.

Next time you dine with us at Royal Street Cafe and try  the daily drink special, you can be assured it contains the freshest and most local of ingredients. Each week Bonnie and the Royal Street staff search the local farmers markets for fresh fruit and herbs to incorporate into their drinks. Don’t be surprised if the mint or rosemary in your drink was even grown right here at Deer Valley or in one of our talented chef’s back yards.

“We try to stay local, whether it’s honey from Beehive Honey or whiskey from High West, we really like to incorporate that into our drink specials” says Bonnie.

Have some fresh mint lying around? Bonnie recommends trying her 2010 Park City Cocktail Contest winner her Limoncello Ginger Cocktail, available at Royal Street Café.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limoncello Ginger

Yields: 1 Drink

2 Lemon Wedges

1 oz. High West Vodka

1 oz. Domain De Canton Ginger Liqueur

½ oz. Limoncello

2 oz. fresh lemonade

Ginger Ale

Fresh Mint

Procedure:

In a tall Collins glass, muddle 2 lemon wedges in a splash of ginger ale. Fill glass with ice, add vodka, ginger liqueur, Limoncello and 2 oz. fresh lemonade (Use “Simply Lemonade” if you don’t want to make fresh). Top with ginger ale and stir. Garnish with fresh mint and lemon wheel. Get comfy and enjoy!!

 

 

Bonnie’s Blueberry Mojito -Definitely Try This at Home

When I read that the Blueberry Mojito was Deer Valley’s award winning bartender Bonnie Ulmer’s  favorite drink, I thought I would try her recipe and make it for my friends.  Now I need to start by saying that the most complex drink I usually make is a rum and coke and if I want to get a little crazy, I make a gin and tonic (with a lime.) I am  often spotted pouring  a simple glass of red wine so a blueberry mojito is a tall order for me.

I tried to make a signature drink for a dinner party once.  If my life depended on it, I couldn’t tell you what drink it was. The whole thing has been erased from memory – my subconscious must have blocked it out! It turned out badly.  When my guests sipped the cocktail, their faces scrunched up like the guy on the bitter beer commercial.  They exchanged sidewards glances and then there was silence.  The only sound was the popping of corks as they switched to wine. I never tried making a special cocktail again….until now.

When our friends Harry and Michelle invited us for dinner over Memorial Day weekend, I saw an opportunity for a second chance. I offered to bring Bonnie’s Blueberry Mojito makings to kick off the season.   This was a low pressure situation for me  – it was just the four of us so if I totally messed it up, I would only  have to endure  minor teasing.  So I gathered the rum, mint, lemon aid, limes, soda and blueberries in my tote for the maiden mojito voyage.

Turns out making the drink together was a blast -Michelle and I smashed mint until fragrant, measured the rum, and tossed in the blueberries following the recipe from the blog.  After pouring the dark rum on top and tasting it, seemed like something was missing. Oops -forgot the club soda. Added a splash then more rum on top and we were good to go.

The verdict?  Best mojito ever!  Refreshing – not too minty but just right. They weren’t as pretty as Bonnie’s, of course, but everyone loved them. My husband and I even planted mint so we can enjoy mojitos all summer. I can’t wait to try the original at the Deer Valley’s Royal Street Cafe.