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.

 

Cheers to Summer at Deer Valley

September Bickmore and Bonnie Ulmer of Deer Valley Grocery~Café, produced the winning cocktail last month at the Park City Cocktail Contest when a panel selected this original cocktail, “Flower & Pine” as Park City’s “Signature Cocktail” for spring and summer 2012.

We met up with Bonnie Ulmer to find out what makes summer in Park City so great and to share a recipe for one of Deer Valley’s signature cocktails.

When did you come to Deer Valley?

I was one of the originals. Starting as a bartender and cocktail waitress at the Après Ski lounge, I started opening day in 1981. I have been making drinks here ever since.

What is a perfect summer day to you?

I usually have Sunday and Mondays off. We wake up early to get a little wakeboarding or waterskiing in on the Jordanelle or Deer Creek. On Sundays we make our way over to the Park City Silly Market for a while and then head back to the closest body of water for paddle boarding. We usually round the day off with a BBQ and of course a couple cocktails.

What is your favorite thing on the menu at Deer Valley Grocery~Cafe?

Ben Stevens, the chef at Grocery~Café makes the best Panini’s. I love to sit and eat on the deck.

What is your most memorable concert at Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater?

My favorite concert at the Snow Park Amphitheater had to have been Lyle Lovett. He was married to Julia Roberts at the time and all my friends and I kept trying to see if she was in the crowd somewhere.

Your must have treat at Deer Valley?

My favorite dessert has to be the McHenry’s Frozen Lemon Meringue Pie served at Royal Street Café.

What is your favorite cocktail?

Blueberry Mojito.

Biggest misconception about Utah liquor laws?

I have so many bar patrons surprised you can actually get a drink in Utah. Some of our cocktails, with liquor flavorings have as much as two and half ounces of liquor in them.

We asked Bonnie to share the recipe to her favorite cocktail, the Blueberry Mojito. It makes a great cocktail to enjoy over the Memorial Day weekend.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deer Valley Blueberry Mojito

Yields: 1 Drink

Ingredients:

1 handful mint

1 tsp. granulated sugar

Quarter wedge of lime

½ to ¾ cup lemonade (preferably not from concentrate)

1 oz. premium light rum (Bacardi Silver brand suggested)

2 Tbsp. fresh or frozen blueberries (one tablespoon smashed to create some juice)

Splash of soda

½ oz. premium dark rum (Myer’s brand suggested)

Sprig of mint (for garnish)

Slice of lime (for garnish)

Ice

Procedures:

–  In a tall 16 oz. class, add mint leaves and sugar. Squeeze juice from the lime wedge into the glass. Mash the ingredients with the back of a spoon or a special wooden “muddler” until the mixture is fragrant. Fill the glass with ice.

– Add lemonade until the glass is 2/3 full. Add splash of soda then add light rum and blueberries and stir.

– Slowly pour dark rum into the drink so it floats on top.

– Garnish with a sprig of mint and lime, serve.

 

 

 

Sundancing Like Crazy

I’ve been Sundancing like crazy, doing interviews, making myself generally nutso with work. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I got to attend a Toasting the Filmmakers event at the St. Regis Deer Valley, during which I caught up with Shannon Bahrke, the much-decorated Olympic and World Cup freestyle skier, who is now the official Ambassador of Skiing for the St. Regis. We made a promise to make some turns together soon, and I’m looking forward to putting together some choice runs the way a DJ assembles a playlist.

By the third day of the festival, the sky was unloading that long awaited supply of three-plus feet of fresh powder onto the slopes at Deer Valley. I was anxious to get out and play in it, but first I had to attend a few more events and interviews for Sundance—including a lovely party celebrating Kristen Bell, who is also on the cover of Self Magazine this month. But, because I used to work at the magazine, and still write for it, it felt more like a gathering of old friends. And one of those dear pals and I have a standing ski date at Deer Valley on Sundance Monday.

Lauren and I met up for our coffee in Snow Park Lodge, then hit the trails. We boarded Carpenter with a vague nod to the idea that we’d have a casual ski day. We took off down Solid Muldoon leaving that notion behind. The snow was too sweet to do anything but pound out the runs. Several hours later, we’d racked up 15 runs— 2 Solid Muldoon, one Solid Muldoon to Dew Drop to Little Kate, 2 laps on Blue Bell to Silver Buck to Star Gazer to Gemini, 1 Lost Boulder, 1 Bandana, 1 Sidewinder, 1 Orion, 2 Hidden Treasure, 2 Star Gazer runs, 1 Ontario, 1 Birdseye—all before lunch. We lucked into a table at Royal Street Café, and our friend Laura, the magazine’s Entertainment Editor, joined us for what can only be labeled a FEAST.

Amazing creamy mushroom soup, the crab tower, tuna tacos, RSC fish and chips, and Korean barbecue beef—a new and terrific addition to the menu. I highly recommend it. Lauren and Laura took off after lunch to catch their plane; I snagged one more run—Solid Muldoon to Dew Drop to Little Kate—and left the mountain very, very happy. For me, it’s not really Sundance until I ski with Lauren at Deer Valley. See you next year!

Interview with Jodie Rogers Executive Chef of Snow Park and Empire Canyon Lodges

JF: First Jodie, remind us what’s your philosophy at Deer Valley Resort?

JR: The biggest thing we’ve done in the past two year was to turn to three fundamental principles: Local, sustainable and fresh ingredients. Fresh ingredients have always been a big concern for us. This year I was lucky enough to be invited on a couple ranch tours, in Bear Lake and in South Dakota. We work with Niman Ranch where traceability is available and easy to check. They work very closely with us and make the effort to understand our needs. For instance, all of our lamb, in all in our menus, comes from Bear Lake. Our beef comes from many of the Niman associate farms. We’re staying away from unnecessary antibiotic, steroids or things like that. Freshness is paramount with us.

 

JF: Do you treat seafood the same way?

JR: Absolutely! Heather, our seafood chef at the Seafood Buffet, has been leading that way for many years already. She follows the “Seafood Watch” at the Monterey Bay Aquarium daily and purchases accordingly. For instance, we can trace back all of our oysters to their origin and to the actual fishermen. Now, our guest have come to expect this kind of quality from us! Not only are we doing the right things, but our guest expect us to keep that lead.

JF: So tell me, what’s new this winter at Deer Valley?

JR: First at the Grocery~Café, we are working very closely with Copper Moose Farm for our field greens, beets, herbs and other vegetables that can be grown in our harsh environment. As far as the Seafood Buffet is concerned, Heather having  her crew go back to the roots of some classic dishes. As an example, this season Heather had the idea of serving Pazole with the DV twist. Instead of buying ready-made cans of Hominy, she’s taking the dried corn and making it from scratch. The seafood Buffet chefs will continue to follow what’s sustainable and we’ll advise the chefs be creative within that parameter. The Day Lodges will continue with Niman burgers and homemade bratwursts. We’ll keep everyone focused on these goals so that our chefs understand our local sourcing, make sure it remains a priority and use it as creatively as possible.

Fireside Dining is opening an extra night, Saturday, and that will go from three to four nights. All the lamb will be sourced locally, from Bear Lake. We’ve also gone local with some of Salt Lake’s Creminelli cured meat instead of importing them; Creminelli is really good, they source Berkshire pork and other high quality ingredients as local as possible… The Mariposa is going to offer a great southwest sturgeon dish this winter to continue our quest in trying to stay sustainable. Royal Street Café is focusing on using lots of local cheeses, like Beehive, Rock Hill Creamery and Gold Creek. Our Day Restaurants will incorporate all of these into our other menus as well. Royal Street Café will also still serve their fabulous homemade meatballs, that by the way are also sold at the Deer Valley Grocery~Café…

Our big focus as far as management is to see even more consistency out of our three Days Lodges. Now that we’re Number One for the fifth year in a row, it behooves us to maintain our lead, ahead of the competition by continuing to strive for culinary perfection.

We’ve had a lot of construction going on this summer and some of it involved rebuilding the whole employee dining area at the Snow Park Lodge as we had outgrown it. Since it caters to our own staff, it also gave us the opportunity to offer an extended menu along with faster service, and this is not small stuff as, if we’re able to make our own people happy, we can be sure that they will make our guests even happier. That may sound like “back of the house” but it will have a huge impact on the “front of the house” and their interaction with our guests!

On the cocktail front, the Park City Area Restaurant Association had upped the ante by organizing a cocktail contest twice a year and we’re participating along with the other Main Street establishments. We’ll be featuring the winner of the last contest, the Easy Street Cocktail, that will be on all our menus. We will also feature more seasonal drinks and cocktail and we’ve also upgraded our wine and liquor list. Finally, we’ll be offering more live entertainment in the afternoon at the EBS Lounge, during weekends, with some of our best local musicians…

 

JF: Sounds wonderful! Where do you get all that inspiration?

JR: Our guests drive us to become better, especially when they do vote us continually Number One in Food and Beverage, on-mountain dining, specially. The good comments we get from our guests make us want to be better. Our chefs are also a very creative team that is always on the lookout for new things and are key in keeping our lead. I want to give them every opportunity to try something new and wow our guests.

 

JF: How do you gather that feedback?

JR: Our guests are pretty verbal, and we get lots of comments, phone calls and emails, helping us to steer our offerings in the right direction. We’re are labeling our menus to indicate all the gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian items as we get these questions all the time, and it’s sometimes hard for waiters to keep up with all these details even though we keep on educating them as well on all these issues.

We have an eight-day rotating menu for our kids ski school, and while we’ve always cater to Kosher, this year our menus will also display the gluten-free options. Further, our ski school menus are all nut-free and we take all the necessary care in the kitchens to avoid cross-contamination so kids can eat with total peace of mind. The bottom line is that if anyone has some special needs, we’ll take care of them!

 

JF: Is the improving level of the Park City, Main Street restaurant benefiting Deer Valley?

JR: We all help each other. The more demand we place on certain ingredients, the more choice we get from suppliers and the more that quality improves. That’s a huge help from all of us. When I first came to Deer Valley I couldn’t get coconut milk; you know, I come from Australia and I couldn’t get any of it and I got so frustrated! Because we have such a diverse and talented pool of chefs between Main Street and Deer Valley, there’s a friendly and highly productive emulation that elevates the quality of the food served and benefits everyone. Our guests too are very diverse and come to us with pretty sophisticated tastes and a fine palate that push us all to become better!

 

JF: You’ve wet my appetite; when can guest samples all that wonderful food?

JR: Very soon! While our Grocery~Café is always serving food, Royal Street Café will open the last weekend of November and then the weekend of December 3, all Day Lodges will welcome the skiing public. Then on Friday, December 9, our Seafood Buffet will be available to diners, followed by Fireside, the last one to open, on Wednesday, December 14. Mark your calendar and come sample our wonderful food!

Check out this blog post on Park City Magazine by the lovely Kristen Case sharing her experience at the Deer Valley Winter Menu Tasting.

Gourmet Winter – Part 2

Recently we asked some of our chefs to share what they’re looking forward to this winter. I don’t suggest reading this blog on an empty stomach!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Letty Flatt serves as executive pastry chef for Deer Valley Resort where she prepares and oversees production of the breads, cakes and desserts for all 10 mountain dining establishments. Working at Deer Valley since 1981 Letty joined the bakery after two seasons on ski patrol. In addition to creating delectable desserts for the Resort, Letty is the author of the cookbook Chocolate Snowball: And Other Fabulous Pastries From Deer Valley Bakery.

 

Here is what Letty is looking forward to for the upcoming season:

1. A great team of bakers. We have our core, year-round pastry chefs and assistant pastry chefs, as well as a strong group of returning bakers from last season.  Our head pastry chefs, Steve Harty and Debbie Swenerton, have hired a bunch of really capable bakers for the positions we had open.  Also, each year we hire culinary externs from around the country and we are excited to welcome those that are coming for their externships this winter. In addition, we hire bakery counter attendants through a college exchange program in South America. These kids are always very smart, bilingual and studying for careers as lawyers, engineers and scientists in their home country. I love the diversity they bring to the bakery and that we are giving them the chance to polish their English-speaking skills. All in all—the bakery team we have assembled for the upcoming season looks to be world class.

2. Our new gluten-free and vegan offerings. Over the summer we developed a delicious chocolate chip cookie and a simple, elegant almond agave cake that we hope our gluten-free and vegan guests will love. Cookies are available any time right now at the Grocery~Café . We also made the Healthy Heart Muffin vegan this year by taking out the eggs—I think we made this daily muffin twice as good and hopefully it appeals to twice as many guests!

3. Both Steve at Silver Lake/Empire and Debbie at Snow Park/Grocery~Café have been dreaming up and working on new winter menu items. Each season the Mariposa dessert menu features several new desserts and among Steve’s latest is a dessert with a twist on the cheese course—a mousse with all the flavor of Barely Buzzed, the flavorful cheese rubbed with coffee and lavender from Utah’s Beehive Cheese Company. Steve is pairing the mousse with an olive oil cake, with grapes and late harvest wine. I love it.

 

Clark Norris serves as executive chef of Silver Lake Lodge which includes The Mariposa, Deer Valley’s premier fine dining restaurant, and Royal Street Café, the resort’s only winter and summer a la carte restaurant . Norris joined Deer Valley Resort’s internationally recognized food and beverage team in 1985 as a line cook and rose to become executive chef in 1988. Clark was also the recipient of Salt Lake Magazine’s annual Best Chef Award in 2006.

Here’s what is looking forward to this winter…

1. Having so many talented chefs and cooks returning this season. This makes training the new cooks so much easier, efficient and thorough that re-opening our winter operations is seamless.  From the first day of the season we are ramping-up for working full-tilt through the busy holidays and with experienced staff it is relatively painless. Thanks to all our dedicated kitchen managers, supervisors and cooks returning this season! I may get more powder days :)

2. Our ever-expanding house-made products. Here, in the Silver Lake kitchen, we make all the Bratwurst and Veggie Burgers for the entire resort — tons of them, literally. (Thanks for the new Hobart Mixer/Meat Grinder and mac-daddy Smoker, Bob!) We also make our own

Oak-Smoked Maple Cured Bacon, Pancetta, Chorizo, a variety of Salamis, Kielbasa,

Fresh Ground Bison Burgers, Huckleberry-Duck Sausage, Lamb Sausage, Italian Sausage, Juniper-Venison Sausage, Blackstrap Molasses Smoked Ham, Lamb Gyro,

Smoked Habanero Sauce…the list goes on.

We pride ourselves on using all-natural Niman Ranch Pork, Beef and Lamb. Their animals never get hormones or anti-biotics and are raised with care by small, sustainable, family owned and operated ranches. Myself, Jodie and other DV chefs, have visited Niman ranches and are very impressed with the natural, humane and sustainable ranching practices being followed. Our lamb comes from the local Willis Ranch near Bear Lake.

3. A season to best all others, earning us a 5th consecutive #1 ranking!

Toasting Season’s End

On my last ski day of the season, I raised a glass (shocking, I know) with dear friends and Ski Dad (we’d spent the morning showing off our dueling mad-skill-sets for the first time since we had completed our respective three-day clincs), feeling quite satisfied. Not only because I’d tackled endless crazy terrain all morning with my favorite people, but because, whee!, I’d discovered a new favorite libation at Royal Street Café. I’d like to think that every patron who sits down at RSC at 11:30 gets the same question from the servers: “Would you like to put in a cocktail order now, so that it’s ready for you at noon when we can serve it,” but I suspect that Rebecca, our fabulous server that day, has been reading my blog entries.

I, of course, insisted that my friends have the Blueberry Mojito, but determined that I was under professional obligation (to you, dear reader) to test a new beverage—The RSC St. Germain Elderflower Cocktail. It is the winner of  the 2010 Park Cit Cocktail Contest and it’s a winner in my book, too.

The very prospect of a new drink prompted me to look at the menu in a new light, and indeed order something new—the RSC Fish and Chips. Made with Steelhead Trout, the team at RSC takes this pub standard to a new level.

Our server, Rebecca, (did I mention that she’s awesome?) insisted that we have dessert—and so, the mini ice cream sandwiches were ordered, and devoured.
As I licked the last of the decadent fudge dipping sauce off my spoon, I worried that I might have après lunch legs awaiting me for the afternoon. Turns out, that St. Germain cocktail offered a certain salvo for that particular ailment. I was, it turned out, refreshed and recharged.

We found some lovely powder (yep, there was still fresh stuff) and more than one “Woo hoo,” was heard from our crew.

Sundance on The Slopes

 WARNING: This post involves just a teensy bit of name-dropping.

Celebrity culture being what it is, there are not that many well-kept secrets in show biz anymore. But here’s one: The best week to ski in Park City is during Sundance. For 10 days, the hotels are filled with mostly people who are not skiing.

So, I celebrated the first day of the festival by launching my new favorite day 1 tradition: Skiing with a Golden Globe Winner.

Lest you think any Golden Globe winner will do, let me set you straight. In my world, the only one that matters is my pal Melissa Leo, who picked up her award for Best Supporting Actress last Sunday night. (Let me bore you with the details: We were introduced years ago by a mutual friend, Thelma Adams, who is the author of a just-published novel, Playdate…In case you had not noticed from my previous posts, I have pretty awesome friends, famous and not-famous, but all of them very accomplished and scary-talented. Which is good, because their successes delightfully reinforce my slacker-ski-bum self-image.)

Melissa arrived in town on Wednesday, straight from the New Orleans set of Treme, the HBO series she’s acting in now. For years, as her local buddy, I’ve helped her get set up for skiing during the festival, but it’s never worked out for us to ski together. When I told her I was free to ski the following day, she whooped almost as loudly as I had in my living room when I saw on TV that her name was called as the winner.

Soon enough, I was scooping her up at her hotel and we were booting up in the locker room at Snow Park Lodge. Melissa showed off her newly acquired, brand-new 20 year-old boots—she’d schlepped them from place to place in order to ensure she’d have them handy to come to Utah for Sundance. “I had a similar pair that I tried to replace for four years,” she told me. “And I managed to find these—they’d stopped making them., but somehow, I was lucky enough to find one last pair.”

I couldn’t resist asking the most obvious question. What was it like to win a Golden Globe??

 “There’s a lot of shock,” she confessed about her winning moment, as we waited in line to get her lift ticket. “I carried it around for a few days just so I could see that it had really happened.”  I wondered aloud if the award would feel left out that it didn’t come along for the ski day…

 We hopped on Carpenter lift, and as we slid our skis toward Silver Link, the tone of the day was set. Whooping and hollering ensued. We kept grinning at each other as we took in the perfection that was the bluebird day, the corduroy that seemed to be laid out just for us. We compared notes on skiing technique, working motherhood (she has a 23 year-old son who is currently living in Germany). But, mostly, we reveled in the dumb luck that found us enjoying a blissful ski day smack in the middle of the week, just before the wave of the Sundance Film Festival would sweep us away from the hill.  We giggled as we took turns carving past each other. More hooting and hollering. Finally, as we headed toward lunch, I declared, “Decorum is overrated.” Indeed.

 We sat down to lunch at Royal Street Café, and promptly ordered a blueberry mojito—with two straws. We found just a little humor in the fact that we’d have to wait 20 minutes for the clock to strike noon before the bartender could mix the drink.  We busied ourselves with tuna tartare, edamame, the black bean soup special and the iceberg wedge. And then compared notes on our experiences growing up in Vermont.

Before long, Melissa would be in glam-mode again, red-carpet ready for her Sundance premiere, Red State. But this day was about fun, friendship and food.

PS:  The award for best excuse for bailing on a fresh powder day: Melissa Leo, doing press for Red State the morning she received her nomination for an Academy Award!

We interrupt this family ski season for…Moms’ Day Out!

“Do me a favor,” Ski Dad said to me on the eve my well-planned Chicks on Sticks celebration of the first day of ski school. “Please don’t try to show off.”

Now I know I am a bit competitive. Ahem. And I know that I like to push myself on the hill. But showing off? For the crowd I had assembled? Not likely.

In my posse for Sunday’s adventure were a veteran former ski instructor, a friend who likes to hike the glades near her house and ski back country, and several solid intermediate skiers—myself included in that group. There was no way I could rival Lisa the hiker and Linda the vet. I could only hope to keep up.

Then, Linda sat down at the Snow Park table where Ski Dad was stealing a post-ski-school drop-off cup of coffee before (sniff) catching his Vegas-bound flight for a business trip, and announced: This had better be a very social ski day—I skied waaaay harder than I planned yesterday! Ah, sweet relief.

Quite soon, we were joined by Lisa and our pal Miriam, who quickly and nervously announced that she hoped she could keep up.

Just as quickly, Lisa and I said, “This is a relaxed, social ski day. No contests, no pressure.”

The rest of the day—after meeting up with our friends Debbie and Donna—proved an exercise in fun. We set ourselves up with a morning at Empire. Bracing as the temperature was, the sun was shining and the snow was soft. And those in our group (cough, cough, Linda and Lisa, cough cough) who felt like stretching their mogul muscles and tree-turns were  able to indulge their whim while the rest of us cruised Orion. It’s one of my favorite things about skiing at Deer Valley—your party does not have to split up into entirely different parts of the mountain to suit everyone’s ability. Empire may not be the answer for every group, but there are diverse runs on almost every part of the mountain that will cater to most levels. The best perk of skiing Empire in this instance was that Debbie and I had stopped in at the Rossignol Demo Center, where, for just a credit card impression (no charge) a person can check out skis for a two-hour trial. So we had a good time figuring out the ways in which the unfamiliar sticks were betraying our bad habits!

Before we descended on Supreme, a lovely guy named Travis

stopped at our request to snap a photo. It was, I must say, one of those bluebird days that had each of us, by turns, stopping to take in every single view from various vantage points.

The top of Supreme was ungroomed (a small sign warned us) and we approached the chopped up run with a bit of hesitation. Linda spoke up with wise words: “Pick one side or the other and just go!” So we did. And did not regret it.

By the time we finished this run (in the middle of which I literally backed out of the approach to some “baby moguls” Linda and Lisa invited me to try—see Ski Dad??) we were cold and in need of refreshment. Luckily, a reservation (and our dear friend Alix, who no longer refers to herself as a skier, but is always game for a meal and conversation) awaited us at Royal Street Café. I couldn’t get there fast enough, carving some ambitious turns at the bottom of Birdseye to reach the great indoors. A few yelps of joy escaped my lungs, and Linda, who happens to be Little Guy’s (very patient) preschool teacher noted, “If you were true to your son, you would have issued his rallying cry of Yeeha!! But perhaps he comes by his exuberance honestly?”

Once we settled into or seats (after resting our gear on the adjacent hearth), our doting and hilarious waiter insisted that someone at the table try the restaurant’s famous award winning Blueberry Mojito. So, game girl that I am, I took one for the team—then passed it around for everyone to sample. One and all appreciated the contrast of tart blueberries against sweet rum and mint. Then again, who wouldn’t?

Appetizers were ordered—tuna tartare, hummus and pita chips, edamame—and the entrees were pondered. All but two of us scored the tuna tacos, while Alix enjoyed an Indian spiced vegetable Panini and Donna dug into the Asian Chicken Salad. Miriam opined that it may be best to keep the details of this lunch from her husband, who had prepared a sandwich at home in the morning to tuck into his pack for a day of skiing at another resort. Ok, Miriam, we’ll keep your secret.

Asian Chicken Salad

Tuna Tacos

Darling Waiter then offered us no choice but to try the petite-but-powerful ice cream sandwiches. Lisa, in a moment of clarity, decided a carrot cupcake must be sampled as well. So, thanks to her, we did not die from a lack of variety—or vegetables—in our diet. Donna remarked that she and her family had recently been at a new restaurant nearby and found themselves wishing they’d stayed at Deer Valley to eat—and that this meal only reinforced her belief that the beauty of Deer Valley lies in the combination of lovely terrain and great dining. Needless to say, it only further reinforced my “I ski for lunch” policy.

Ice Cream Sandwich

Carrot Cake Cupcake

Then again, I found myself rethinking that policy for just a split second as, we made our way to Flagstaff, to do an afternoon run on Lost Boulder. Our après-lunch legs were overmatched, to say the least. Undaunted, we worked our way over to Wasatch lift, collectively grumbled over the necessity of the steeps at the top of Bald Mountain and headed for Keno. The entire group kept stopping to rest—I mean wait for each other. We are that polite.

Then it was off to Crown Point for a mellow set of turns along Kimberly to meet up with Little Stick for a lovely afternoon glide over, yep, some still-untouched corduroy.

We skied down to the bottom of Wide West, at which point most goodbyes were made. Linda stuck around to say hello to Big Guy, who preceded his brother as a regular in her classroom.

Collecting the boys at the end of the day, I found nothing but smiles. Little Guy registered a hint of relief—exactly what you would expect from a child who had a good time but was tired and ready to be in the car, headed home

On the way home, the kids shared tidbits of their day—until Little Guy, true to form, fell asleep in the car just as we turned onto our block.

I quickly dispensed with the gear, awoke Little Guy from his premature slumber (with visions of a 2am wakeup warning me out of letting him snooze through dinner), called Ski Dad at his hotel to confirm our intact arrival from the mountain, and beelined it to my favorite kitchen appliance: the Mac. A few mouseclicks later, dinner from a favorite pizzeria was ordered, filtered water dispensed into spill-proof cups, and aaaah, sweet sofa!

My Favorite Deer Valley Things (part 1)

Working at the resort over the last couple of weeks, I have been quickly reminded why Deer Valley has been voted the # 1 ski resort in North America for the last four years in a row.

When I meet a new client, we arrange to find each other at the Snow Park Guest Service Information Desk. The Info Desk is where our guests can check with Lost and Found or ask any questions.  I usually try and get to the lobby 15 minutes before our scheduled meeting time. After 14 years I have realized that new clients are usually nervous and don’t know what to expect, so these few early moments take the edge off.  So over the course of a few days while waiting in the Snow Park Guest Services area, I have witnessed a guest asking if his glove was turned in. He was not lucky in finding his glove but instead the guest service employee offered to let him borrow a pair of gloves that had been in the Lost and Found for a month. A woman left her cell phone in the bathroom and someone had picked it up. Guest Services allowed her to use the phone to call her cell and the guest who was on her way to turn it in answered and they arranged the trade off. Many guests asked simple questions, such as the bus schedule, where the bathrooms are, where the ticket office was, and how to get to child care. I saw each guest walk away with a smile because our guest services employees answered the question with more information than they were expecting. Most of the guests then chatted for a few minutes with our employees because they made them feel so comfortable. 

Here are a few of “my favorite things” at Deer Valley:

Complimentary ski storage during the day and overnight. How great is it to put your skis away and walk to the car and not have to worry about carrying them up again the next morning. This gives you time to grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the morning (especially if you have kids and negotiating who is going to carry what).

Besides our skiing (which speaks for itself), the on mountain dining is exceptional. Imagine skiing and having to decide and actually contemplate where you want to eat. This is a nice problem to have while recreating. My favorites are: Empire Canyon Lodge for the Turkey Panini, Royal Street Café’s Tuna Tacos, Silver Lake Lodge’s Bald Mountain Pizza for their mushroom Pasta and last but not least, Snow Park Restaurant’s Natural Buffet.

Of course, you must fit in the NASTAR course before lunch. If you take any of my suggestions of where to eat you’ll definitely have a full stomach which will only make it harder to beat my time at the race arena! I set the time every Saturday morning (schedule permitting). I got my NASTAR handicap at the pacesetting trials this past December in Aspen and have handicapped the race crew at Deer Valley. What this means is, when you race NASTAR you’re actually racing against AJ Kitt who is the National NASTAR handicapper. You get to see how close you can get to former Olympic Alpine Ski Racer. Racing NASTAR and trying to better your time is a lot of fun! You can also try to qualify for the NASTAR finals or just race head to head with your friends.

Come experience the Deer Valley difference. We all enjoy seeing our guests on the mountain and want to help make your time here the best. I always look forward to going to work, that is a strong statement in itself! Stay tuned for my next blog which will be all about my favorite spots to ski.

Happy New Year and see you on the slopes!

The Wild Flowers are Blooming!

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

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

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

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

 Hope everyone is enjoying the warm weather!