Skiing as many runs as possible, in one day!

The weather was superb on the day I was going to find out how many of Deer Valley Resort’s runs I could ski in about seven hours. Usually, I’m not a morning skier; while I generally get up around 6 a.m. every day, I first spend time reading the news, doing some chores, going on my morning run and after a late breakfast, I always find a few more things to do. My morning goes by too fast and it’s already lunch time. This Monday was an exception to my otherwise slow-morning routine and my afternoon skiing.

While I was a bit apprehensive the day before, but I got up early and by 8:40 a.m., I was standing in the Snow Park parking lot, outfitted and ready to go. At 8:45 a.m. I was in the lift line waiting for Carpenter Express to open and by 8:58 a.m. I was already boarding the chairlift ready for my long ski day.

The weather was overcast but quite cool, the snow felt great on Little Stick, my first run; soon, I found myself on Deer Hollow, headed to the base of Mountaineer Express chairlift. My next big run was Jordanelle where I “flew” as I was among the first few skiers on a perfectly manicured run. I sampled the rest of the trails served by Mountaineer, doing a few “firsts” on runs like Keetley, Crescent and Dynamic.

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Upon completing Little Stick and visiting Wide West, I was back riding the Carpenter chairlift. It was just 10:05 a.m. and I had 12 runs in the bag! From the top of Bald Eagle Mountain, I got to the Sultan Express and collected a large number of runs, both on groomed and bumpy trails, including Grizzly and Ruins of Pompei. Reminding me that fine corduroy and rough-and-tumble bumps were still a way to separate the men from the boys!

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After another run on a groomer and a fast lap on Reward, I made it to the Wasatch Express chairlift at 11:59 a.m. I had already skied 25 different runs! After challenging myself with the tough moguls on Rattler, I relaxed on what are arguably the best, most popular and most enjoyable groomed runs of Deer Valley: Wizard, Legal Tender, Nabob, Keno and Birdseye. At the same time, I committed what should fairly be called a “Deer Valley Sacrilege” by eating my lunch on the Wasatch Express.

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It was almost 1 p.m. when I boarded Quincy Express, on my way to Empire and Lady Morgan Mountains. There, I would mix some great cruisers like Orion or Magnet with the bumps that carpet Empire Bowl, on runs like Domingo and Solace as well as Argus or Hillside, off Lady Morgan. I also managed to pay a visit to one fun run that originates from the right of the bridge on Bandana, and plunges into what’s known by most young skiers as “Bucky’s Backyard,” the perfect interlude made of giant rolling bumps with peaks and valleys that never fail to capture all the attention of the most jaded skier!

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At 2:21 p.m., I rode Ruby Express one last time to rejoin Flagstaff Mountain and its collection of fine groomed runs, beginning with Hawkeye, my 50th run of the day. Then it was time to hit these wonderful, pleasant runs that are Lucky Star, Lost Boulder, Sidewinder and Blue Bell. I paid a quick visit to the Silver Strike Express chairlift and after a few more runs off of the Red Cloud and Quincy chairlifts, I found myself riding the Crown Point lift. It was 3:45 p.m. and I could already claim 62 different runs!

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Flying under the road bridge on Kimberly is something I love and consider to be a quintessential Deer Valley experience. I skied down Navigator and caught another ride on Carpenter Express. Descending Big Stick felt like a flash and enabled me to catch another ride up Carpenter just after 4 p.m. that gave me access to a swift, Solid Muldoon, and then, just in the nick of time, I grabbed the very last Carpenter chair of the day that brought my total of different runs skied to 67 out of some 100 possible. In the meantime, I had accumulated 62,100 vertical feet!

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When I took my skis off at Snow Park, I was so excited that I did not even feel tired. Moreover, that night, after dinner, my wife and I went for a 2 mile walk; I guess I just needed to unwind a bit!

Ski Like a Local

On my first (and only) ski vacation to Utah, we came with a large group of friends. It was pre-kids, and definitely a Go-Big-or-Go-Home kind of week. If the slopes were lacking the fresh stuff that March week, we barely noticed. So dazzled were we by the terrain, the fluffy nature of Utah snow, and the delights of Deer Valley in particular that we skied our hearts out.

Prior to arriving, we debated what type of multi-day ticket to purchase. We worried the 5 days of skiing would not be enough. Upon arrival, we commenced skiing from first chair to last chair for four days in a row.

My husband and I took breaks only to find a custom-boot-fitter who saved our aching feet and allowed us to ski longer.

On the evening of day four, our large crew of eleven adults traipsed back into the condo from a yummy dinner on Main Street, and made noises about what time we’d leave for the mountain the following morning.  We conceded that an hour or so of delay in our routine might not be too bad. Not one of us admitted to the total-body-exhaustion we felt. Instead, we hoped to sleep it off.

As we stumbled into the kitchen the following morning, the mood was a little subdued. Eggs fried. Bread toasted. And people tried to rally. Someone floated a test balloon. “Hey, did you guys know there’s an outlet mall?” This query came from one of the women, but the entire room erupted in a chorus of “We should go!”

The room breathed a collective sigh of relief, and our energy returned.

I’ll say this: Retail therapy goes a long way toward prepping tired muscles to rally for the last day on the slopes.

Now, as a local, a first-to-last-chair day seems like an exotic thing. One of my friends, determined to ski 100 days in a row this season, says all he needs is that first run. If he’s not feeling it after that, he checks off the day and heads home. Others swear by Crack-of-Noon syndrome. I’m a fan of a day on the mountain—punctuated by leisurely meals. Once or twice a season, I grab a full day on the slopes. But more often than not, I enjoy a half day of runs, some lunch, and head home. Peppering one or more of these more mellow ski days into your family’s vacation is a great idea. It allows your kids to “miss” skiing (see my previous posts about leaving them wanting more), and allows your family to discover your favorite other pastimes in town.