Ski School Updates with Chris Katzenberger

Chris Katzenberger, Recruiting and Adult Program Manager at the Deer Valley Ski School

JF: First and foremost, what makes Deer Valley Children Ski School different?

CK: From the beginning, Deer Valley Resort has taken a holistic approach to family skiing. In fact we’ve targeted adults and children together. For instance, we don’t have a separate adult and children ski school; every instructor is expected to teach both adults and children. Again, the main goal is to take care of the entire family, not just the adult that walks in the door. Instructors are trained to understand children mentally, physically and emotionally. We’re also always looking to new technologies as well, like the “SunKid” conveyor lifts that are a great way to gently introduce kids to the use of various lifts without creating unnecessary worry on the part of parents.

JF: I’ve heard about your Deer Valley mascots; what’s their purpose?

CK: The mascots play a very important role in our program with Quincy the Bear, Ruby the Raccoon, Silver the Eagle and Bucky the Deer. They are part of a story book for children and each has a different role. Once children learn the story through our coloring books and indoor activities they get to me meet the Mascots on the Mountain. Our instructor assistants that help smaller children with riding the lifts and other activities also dress-up as Mascots, so if we have a “snow cone” day, or an “avalanche-dog day,” the mascots are there to encourage children participation into  what goes on, and get their undivided attention! We’re expending more into creating a children’s friendly environment in which they get the fantasy they need within our great mountain scenery. To complement this year’s new trail map, we continue to offer a coloring book that tells the story of Silver the Eagle, Quincy the bear, Ruby the Raccoon, Bucky the Deer, and explains what each character does specifically in terms of safety, staying warm, etc. 

JF: What’s new for kids this season at the Deer Valley Ski School?

CK: The big thing are the four new conveyor lifts, called “SunKid,” with three of them on Wide West and one at Silver Lake. Even though children still learn how to side-step and herring-bone to climb, these conveyors make it easier for them as small children don’t have to get tired out by doing it over and over. To accommodate these new surface lifts, Snowflake has been moved up by two or three lift towers. The first “SunKid” will be fenced in green, the next one fenced in yellow and the top one will be fenced in blue. The blue one is the longest at 380 feet, and takes approximately 2 to 3 minute to move the children up the hill.

 

JF: How do children benefit from these special lifts?

CK: These conveyors keep children rotating quickly and learning fast on that special area. Before they move to a chairlift, they will have learned how to control their speed, stop, make different size turns and will be familiar with riding up the hill. They’ll be able to hone their skills like changing directions, experimenting with a variety of turns and gaining valuable mileage by practicing up and down a lot. The other “SunKid”, also available in Silver Lake, will cater to children taking private lessons and will be a convenient amenity for guests staying at the Montage or around the Empire area.

JF: What else is new?

CK: We’re also introducing, a new trail map for children and in the next years, our plan is to make it totally interactive with our Deer Valley website by adding more excitement and a sense of adventure. In addition, we’re offering special children-friendly trail signs, featuring a new snowflake icon and indicating specific children’s ski features. These trails signs will stand as extra markers to bring attention to these special areas… 

JF: How was your family program ranked by SKI magazine?

CK: We were happy that we received the #2 spot again on the family program. Other resorts have smaller facilities but ours is quite large. In our Center, parents can confidently drop their children in a friendly environment. Our Center is sectioned off into areas for each age groups; for instance the 5 to 6 year-old room can accommodate 200 kids, while the 4 year-old room is large enough to receive 80 to100 kids and the 3 year-only room will welcome 60 to. 80 kids. Of course there’s our Pre-School, the Deer Valley Academy Program, that operates through the school year with a highly qualified staff that can take care of everyone…

JF: How does a typical day go?

CK: The 3 and 4 year-old program is pretty much the same for both age groups, with indoor activities like reading, craft-time and puppet shows. Typically a 3 year-old skis one-on-one with the instructor; that’s right, one child per instructor, for about one hour and then transitions into our Childcare Center for indoor activities.

The 4 year-old skis quite a bit more; typically two and a half hours, with additional indoor activities for the rest of the day. We’re excited about our new permanent outdoor play area that will also be new this year and complete with snow…

The 5 to 6 years-old Reindeer group spends most of the day on snow from about 10 am to 3:45 pm . These children can be dropped off as early as 8:30 am and start to get ready  for class between 9:30 and 10 am, then head out on the snow till 11:30 when they stop for a warm lunch (turkey hot-dog, chicken Parmesan, etc.) From 2:15 pm to 2:30 pm there’s the hot chocolate break, then they return to their skis, have perhaps a special activity in the meadow like safety talk, snow fun games, scavenger hunt, etc. and after that they ski till 3:45 pm when the lesson ends.

Our 7 to 12 year-old, Adventure Club group follow a similar schedule with the same kinds of breaks, plus the use of special on-snow, off-trails areas like Quincy Cabin, Ruby’s Tail and Bucky’s Backyard…

JF: In conclusion, how do your children’s programs contributes to Deer Valley being #1?

CK: What makes our children’s program a leader in its class are the people in our ski school. The instructors we hire in the position have great empathy for their young students and a full understanding of what goes on in a parent’s mind. They understand their fears and apprehensions and are skilled at turning them into fun on the snow, not just for the children, but for the entire family. Our guests like what they experience and keep returning with us. We have students that were in our “Bambi Club” years ago, and today, are returning to work with us as ski instructors!

Getting Ready For Ski Season

Many people ask how I stay in shape for skiing and prepare for the upcoming season. I have to be honest, keeping up with two kids and sneaking in a road bike ride once in a while is about the extent of my routine.  Also, having a new member of the family “Aksel” who needs exercise hiking helps as well!

My training use to be so regimented when I was on the US Ski Team that I take pleasure living in such a beautiful spot and just try to enjoy the outdoors here in Park City. I’ve seen too many inside walls of gyms.

About this time of year I start pulling out the family’s ski stuff to see if anything needs to be replaced. I overheard that the weather is suppose to get really cold this week. I must be ready for ski season as I was actually excited to hear this!

Make sure you get organized and take advantage of the early season prices on passes and tickets. Also, trade in your gear at the Park City Ski Team Swap is Nov 4-6. This is a great place to get prepared for the winter. Especially for those skiers who don’t ski every day or want a good deal on equipment or clothes.

I even have my new snow tires on! Bring on the snow! Although the boys still tell me to “get a Harley motorcycle and put my skis on the back.” Hmmmm…. this could be a good Warren Miller clip!

See you on the slopes of Deer Valley– Come check us out this season!

 

Heidi Voelker’s Deer Valley

It’s that time of year again. The weather is beautiful but the feel of winter is fast approaching especially first thing in the morning when it’s in the 30’s. We’ll be on the slopes sooner than we know. I love this time of year because the air is so crisp, ski swap signs are all over, we’ve gotten an early snow fall meaning the season is just around the corner.

As I think about “It’s My Deer Valley” there are a few different scenarios. I can break down my skiing days in three ways:

  1. Family
  2. Clients
  3. Corporate & Press Tours

Each way skis differently. Here’s how:

1.  If it’s a family ski day, which I’m afraid will happen more rarely as I have lost my two young boys to ski race training (hmmm must be in their blood.) But when family ski days happen, they usually go something like this. The night before I mention we might have breakfast at Snow Park Lodge. This is a bribe in order to have them get to bed on time. Stefan automatically pipes up, “can I have my favorite baguette with jelly and jam”? In the morning I ‘m making sure Lucas is getting dressed and not procrastinating. Stefan meanwhile is outside boots on ready to go. We get to Deer Valley and the boys ask to be dropped off at the Skier drop off while I park the car. (Still not sure if this is just my kid’s not wanting to be seen with their mom or if they are just lazy and don’t want to walk from the car.)

After breakfast we load Carpenter Express chairlift. Without fail one of them asks “how many runs before we can have lunch?” Ugh! We drop into Silver Lake at mid mountain and ski down to the Wasatch Express chairlift. It’s usually about 10-10:30 a.m. Yes, I agree, it’s late but with two kids in tow I’m trying to keep harmony. After a few runs on Bald Mountain the brothers decide it’s time for Nastar racing. We stay here for a bit trying to improve each run time and also asking “mom, if I’m faster next run can we have lunch?” another ugh!!

I tell them they are skiing too fast because we’ve only been skiing for an hour. We then adventure over to Empire Canyon, heading there through unmarked area’s like Bucky’s Backyard, Toilet Bowl and X-Files. Remember skiing with kids you need to keep it fun. So after a few hikes across the Daly Chutes into X-files trees, then it’s lunch time!

Once we are in our lunch coma of Panini’s, pasta and fries we start to make our way back to Snow Park. But the rule is to ski as much off piste and jumps as possible. We make our way to the end of the ski area boundary even though; we are trying to make our way back to the base. We grab Lady Morgan chairlift and ski Centennial Trees, then it’s back up Lady Morgan and ski to Ruby chairlift. We race to Ruby’s glade and caution as we merge onto Hawkeye. Load onto Northside Express and ski around into Ontario Bowl. Sometimes this is worthy of 2 laps. It depends on the boy’s excitement and energy. Then onto Judge chairlift to ski towards to Crown Point chairlift.  At the top of Crown Point our chosen route is  Kimberly ski run where right past the bridge is the boys favorite jump. By now their legs are tired and we ski down Big Stick to the lodge. Our day is done.

2. Another way I show off “My Deer Valley” is with clients. I usually meet the client at their hotel or the Snow Park Lobby. I’m starting my 15th year at Deer Valley so many of my clients are returning guests and I already know what type of skiing they are looking for. (As always it depends and the weather and conditions.) They know already they have a full day of skiing ahead of them. I joke that we are going to ski hard and no lunch break. What would skiing be like if you didn’t have lunch at Deer Valley? Certainly not the true experience! The clients usually already have an idea where they would like to eat for lunch. We talk about goals they want to achieve for the day and map out our lines and away we go!

3. The third type of Deer Valley ski day for me is a press/corporate tour day. It starts out much like the client day but usually with a scheduled breakfast. These days I ski the mountain but usually circulate around to make sure I ski with each person (these groups tend to be bigger and provide the desired terrain they are looking for. In between all our turns we usually lunch it at Royal Street Café or wherever the company may plan to meet back together. My goal is to make sure a good time is had by all and when they say they are tired to ski the entire afternoon I break into a little smile. My job is done!

Secrets to Success

I’ve always taken a kids-first approach to finding my bliss on the hill with my family. I knew my firstborn wouldn’t be happy skiing between my legs as a toddler, for instance, after one outing on plastic skis. So I opted to wait until he was three and a half before getting him going in earnest.

My second born has always had a different agenda. Namely, he wants to do what the Big Guy does. He first saw his brother ski on videotape, following the cookie parade at the end of Ski School.  From that moment, he spent months lobbying us for the chance to ski—watching his brother from the porch at Snow Park Lodge was simply fuel for the fire. He couldn’t walk, yet, so it was just funny.

Then, a few moths after he’d taken off—at a sprint—we were sitting on the deck at Snow Park Lodge, watching his brother. The begging started in earnest. “Sethie Ski!!!!!” When I turned my back for a moment, he scampered out to the snow and began to try to click in to the bindings of a pair of skis someone had parked on the snow.

I sighed, and fetched the plastic skis from our garage. My 18 month-old wanted to ski. For that moment, he was satisfied to shuffle back and forth across the snow in front of the deck, declaring victory at the top of his lungs: “Sethie Skiiiiii!” “Sethie Skiiiiiiii!” Sethie Skiiiii like Lancey!!!!”

From that moment, Ski Dad and I learned how to cater to the needs of both kids’ different ski temperaments, different skill levels, and different personalities. It’s not so different from the way I parent off the mountain. And, in fact, keeping that consistency has proven a key to the success for our family’s skiing. It’s tempting, once you click into the bindings to urge your kids to soldier through—and sometimes that pays off. For me, the nuts and bolts of a successful season begins with the gear—it should be well-fitted, comfortable and easy to manage. Any gear compromises—from base layer to outerwear to ski boots—will come back to bite you, since they’ll distract you and your family from enjoying the day, and perhaps make the sport seem less than fun. True story: almost 20 years ago, Ski Dad (then just Ski Fiancee) and I took our dear friends Florida Keys Girl and Guy  to ski my home mountain, Pico, in Vermont. Florida Keys Girl borrowed gear from my mom and me. Florida Keys Guy insisted he’d be fine in jeans and a pea coat. Florida Keys Girl, in spite of her near-paralyzing fear of heights, had a blast. Florida Keys Guy, soaked and cold in his ill-conceived apparel, vowed he’d never see another ski hill, except from the lodge. Eventually, he realized that Florida Keys Girl wasn’t giving up the hobby, and we urged him to dress the part and try again. Now, he’s unstoppable.

The other tools in my skiing-success shed? Swedish fish in the cargo pockets of my ski pants (to avert temper tantrums from kids and adults), and lessons for everyone. Everyone’s enrolling in ski school again this year, For the kids’ Sunday Ski Experience lessons. As for me, I’m not only putting last year’s crew from the Women’s Clinic on notice (Game on, Ladies!), but I’m joining Ski Dad in a Mahre Camp. It looked like too much fun NOT to try.

And, yes, we’re going to eat well. After all, I ski for lunch.

Wide West

I’ve gabbed plenty here about my love for Wide West. It’s kind of strange, I know. Experienced skiers have no business getting such joy out of the bunny hill. We’re not supposed to want to mingle with the Never Evers, and our kids pine for the day that they can ski the big trails. However—as I mentioned at the end of last year, a day on Wide West spared me a likely injury, when I was unwittingly skiing with a broken binding. But that’s not the real reason I love the trail.

Some of my favorite memories, skiing with my kids, have been formed on that hill. The length and pitch provides just enough challenge for the newbies, and enough obstacles to keep them entertained while building their confidence. My secret weapon on Wide West, however, has always been the SunKid Conveyor Lift. The SunKid Conveyor is, for the littlest skiers, a wonderful tool—because it allows for multiple runs in a controlled setting. Kids can make about 6-10 turns, feel a sense of accomplishment and then get the chance to do it all over again. For both my boys, I found that multiple laps on the magic carpet proved one of their best learning tools, since a single run on the main, chairlift-served section of Wide West can wear them out for the day.

And, even as they continue to improve, laps on the conveyor lift can be a fun departure from the regular trails, as well as a safe place to build new skills, like “French fry” turns. So I was thrilled to learn that Deer Valley Resort management decided to add additional  SunKid conveyor lifts for the 2011-12 season— with the additional conveyor lifts, the base of Snowflake( the beginner chair lift was moved uphill 300 feet)  the aim is to eliminate the need to hike up to it while carrying a toddler, or pole-towing a preschooler. The three SunKid Conveyor lifts will start at the base at Snow Park Lodge amd carry beginners to as far as the base of Snowflake.

Which means…more runs. It also makes taking the all-important cookie breaks a little easier, since you don’t have to ski down carrying said toddler (and then hike back up again). I know, I sound impossibly lazy—but anyone who has ever executed this feat knows exactly why I’m whining. Moreover, a non-skiing fan of the little one can more readily visit the SunKid Conveyor Lift corral.

I’ll see you on the snow!

First Snow of the Season

We had the first snow this morning!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My kids were off the wall with excitement. Little Guy even penned a song: “It’s snowing in the morning! It’s snowing in the morning! It’s snowing in the morning! I can’t wait to play! Because I love to play in the snow!”I tried to capture it on video tape, but by the time I got to the camera app on my iPhone, it had devolved into this….

Kids First Snow Fall

Big guy asked me to grab his snow gear for school—and attempted to make a strong argument for snow pants. Mind you, it was barely a flurry at our house, and nothing was sticking to the ground. Though, in a few days, it’s supposed to look like this.

I had already surprised myself by finding his jacket, hat and a serviceable pair of gloves in the downstairs closet. Finding snow pants that fit? Probably pushing it. Little guy’s jacket, too, was hiding in plain sight, and a pair of fleece mittens plus a hat were tucked in the appropriate pockets in the handy shoe organizer where I keep such items.

Still, the whole exercise filled me with a slight sense of panic. I need to buy new boots for Big Guy,  and check the fit of Little Guy’s last year’s boots. And with the flakes flying, these errands that were lurking in a back compartment of my brain suddenly took on a sense of urgency. The good news is, there’s a new kids’ gear store at Deer Valley—one where I can replace the lost gloves, beef up my collection of kid-sized base layers, and seek out new snowpants for big guy that will stay the course for his little brother, too. I’m actually excited to shop—in part because there is a new kids’ gear store opening at Deer Valley, called Next Gen, located in the lower level of Snow Park Lodge, where the now-shuttered Kindersport once operated. I’m looking forward to finding some new-favorite brands, and scoring deals on my old standbys. It’s opening December 3, so I’ll report back after I’ve had the chance to shop!

If the snow has you thinking about ski season, don’t panic. You can still purchase your Deer Valley Season Pass at the early season rate until October 31!

Winter Break

As winter break is coming upon us the big question is, “Are you going anywhere?” I laugh and say no. This is our family’s busy time and winter break equals skiing for us. How can you leave the mountains in the winter especially when you live in a magnificent area. Maybe after the resort closes on April 10 the beach will actually come to mind.

I look forward to being on the hill next week with my kids. Although due to my schedule it only allows me two days with them. When we do go ski, I ski behind them and take in that they can ski the mountain with their eyes closed.  Well, not literally, they just know the mountain so well. They know every jump, every tree run, where the snow will be best and best of all, that mom is keeping up.

It usually helps when there is a gaggle of their friends too. This way they are not asking for lunch by 10:45, they keep their minds on skiing and trying to find the next new hot spot. I recently was skiing with a corporate group and they asked me when the last time I felt like I was a kid. I responded “everyday!” They laughed and reflected that was their goal of their trip. They wanted to be reminded that you can get caught up by being in an office everyday and need to remember to let some steam out. I asked them how it was going for them as I lead them down Hidden Treasure.

Of course, we always hit the Nastar course a few times just to make sure their engines are all working. Many people ask me if I let them win when we race against each other. I say no way they have to earn it. But by the looks of it, that may come sooner than later. (And I might be looking up to them not only in ski ability but in actual height too!)

Whether it’s skiing with my kids or just watching other kids ski I get such pleasure observing this. I believe that most people don’t realize what a true family sport /activity skiing is because so many skiers are worried about holding up the pace. Everyone has their own pace. The great thing about Deer Valley is there is always a run for most abilities from the top of the chair so that extra pressure can be eliminated. You can pick your green, blue, black groomed or ungroomed route and meet at the chair. There are so many fond memories from growing up with my siblings and skiing as a family that last a life time.

Back to skiing with the corporate group, I was telling some of the funny stories that my sister and brothers still talk about today when we ski together.  One of our favorites is “Pole gate”. I had just gotten my dad brand new poles which he was thrilled about. Unfortunately somebody else realized how nice they were too and decided they “needed” them.  My dad was beside himself. So instead of skiing with us he decided he would case out the base area for a couple days thinking he would find them or find the person. i.e. “Polegate” I know some family stories don’t come across as funny if you’re not in the moment but my point is, it still makes our family dinner discussions. I hope my kids will have all these stories and remember them. Especially after each weekend as we all get home from skiing I can hear my boys talking about how much air they (think) they got or how they almost did a 360.

As I mentioned if it’s not my kiddos it’s someone else child that brings a smile to my face. I want to mention Colby who I haven’t skied with yet but is a big fan of Deer Valley and racing! Whenever he is on the hill he always finds me and says hello. I hope that my children are as polite. Skiing brings out the best of you!

See you on the slopes

The joy of learning

Sometime between my Little Guy’s first runs and the second day of this season, I lost the fear and found the fun.

I was worried I could not keep him adequately safe on the hill, all by myself.

I was worried he would not listen.

I worried I was not worried enough.

And then I relaxed.

I started pouring on the praise, and using the chairlift as a time not only to soak up the moments of one-on-one time, but to point out the turns other skiers were making.

I watched him find his love of learning, as he set out upon yet another run, and tried his best to emulate those turns. I saw his determination grow. And I heard his rallying cry.

Then again, so did the rest of the people skiing Wide West on the first Sunday in January. As he wedged his way down the racecourse, I heard him release a primal scream of joy. “Aaaaaaaaaah!” All the way down the hill.

 Did he want to turn into the Magic Carpet area and try a few turns without the edgie wedgie?

“Aaaaaaaaah!” in the affirmative.

 Once there, his screams continued. The laughter they encited was contagious.

He continued as we returned to the racecourse—our runs in the Magic Carpet corral were only semi-successful, but he was determined to strut his DIY wedge for all it was worth.

Again, the scream of joy.

Again, the laughter of onlookers. Powerless against the charms of the scream, I looked up at the chairlift riders and informed them, “The sound effects are at no additional charge.”

Exuberance, your name is Little Guy. And I adore you.

For me, the teaching moments were not as much for his benefit as for my own. The only thing that matters when you are skiing with a three year-old is this: It’s a party. On Skis. Nuff said.

Sunday Ski Experience

This is Big Guy’s fifth season in the Children’s Specialty Program called Sunday Ski Experience. He has graduated from a day that’s partly spent in the Children’s Center to a full day on the hill. When I dropped him off, he followed the directions of the helpful ski instructor to “ski over to the blue sign” in the “Parent Free Zone” that is the big kids’ drop-off corral.

 

While there, I was gratified to (over)hear a parent introduce herself, quite cheerfully and somewhat apologetically, as a “problem child.” Not because I like problems, but because it gave me a chance to see the ski school in full-on troubleshooter mode. Other resorts may greet such an introduction with disdain. At Deer Valley, they appreciate candor and greet it with an honest attempt to help smooth things out. The problem this mom brought to the fore was clearly no fault of the resort, but a good-natured explanation of a circumstance in her family’s ski school plans. It would have been poor form for me to eavesdrop any longer, but I skied away feeling confident that the issue would be somehow resolved.

I skied to the bottom of the run, and rejoined Ski Dad and Little Guy as they polished off the last of the Snow Park French Toast with which we’d bribed the kids out of the house for an early departure this morning. We were rewarded not only with the aforementioned eggy delight, but with third-row parking in front of Snow Park Lodge. SCORE!

The three of us repaired to the Children’s Center, where a super-cheerful employee greeted our hero with no less than, yes, a hero’s welcome. Staffers who remembered him from his opening-day visit greeted him warmly. Others chided our greeter for out-cheering them. “I used to work for Disney! What do you expect??” she offered without a hint of apology and no small amount of pride.

She assured us the day would be a great one, and Little Guy disappeared onto the curly slide.

Collecting Little Guy at the end of the day found another employee seeking me out as I cajoled my son into his snowsuit and boots for the quick walk to the car. “Oh, good!  I need to talk to you about his boots.” This fellow, who was not the instructor who skied with Little Guy, but rather heard his cries as the ski boots came off after the lesson, came to tell me that he thought for sure the boots had become too small. “I would hate to see him get turned off to skiing because he grew,” he said earnestly. “So you may want to have his boots refit.”

This is a hallmark of the Children’s Center at Deer Valley. They want kids to love the sport. And they’ll do everything they can to make sure that happens. Thanks, guys!

We are off to the boot fitter this week, and cannot wait to see you next Sunday.

My Favorites Part 2 – Ski Runs

It’s hard to talk about my favorite spots on the mountain because there are so many. It comes down to the specific day’s conditions. Each area has its advantages depending on if it is sunny, snowing, flat light or powder! I usually assess the weather and whoever I am skiing with and then I decide my skiing route from there.

If it is a bluebird day and the new snow has been skied out (hard to find lately considering we have so much snow) Bald Mountain is the spot, hands down. I usually start out on Nabob and then ski all the groomers. These runs are the best for strong steep intermediates. After Nabob I usually go to Keno, then Legal Tender, Wizard, Tycoon and Reward (if it is groomed). When all these runs are groomed it is the closest thing to the feeling of being in a world cup race. I call this “Ego Snow”.

When I ski Bald Eagle Mountain, I love to ski Big Stick. This run is a classic GS trail. Starts off rolling, drops into a great steep section then at the bottom you better hold on because you’re going to have tired legs when you hit the compression. Another fun run is Solid Muldoon. This follows the Carpenter Express lift line so you must be ready to show off your best skiing. A must do is Success to Last Chance. This route will take you past some of the private homes of Bald Eagle.  Many of these homes are elaborately decorated and have earned nicknames such as “the bear house”, the “raccoon roost” and the “tree house”.  

On Deer Crest, I would say Jordanelle ski run is my favorite. It’s a mile long with a vista you must see to believe. Usually when I have friends visiting this was their favorite run to rip down. I think it helps bring back the memory of their downhill days!

When it’s snowing with flat light, I try to ski in the trees for some depth perception. Sometimes that can’t be done depending on the group I am with. If it’s snowing and flat light the best area to ski is off the Northside Express chairlift. This is our most popular area because there is something for any member of the family or ability level.

OK…now to the big stuff! After a storm or if it’s snowing and accumulating a lot during the day I usually ski off piste all day. I love it when people say there are only groomers at Deer Valley. I have had two groups mentioned this to me and that’s the easiest way to find out that I love a challenge. Usually, after I prove them wrong, they are asking me to stop by 2 p.m.!

So, when the snow has fallen (or still falling) here are the best powder lines:

I usually rush right over to Empire.  However, if the snow safety is not yet completed I start in Mayflower and work my way to Empire.

 Let’s start at Empire – My first hit is the Lady Morgan Bowl fall line. Most of the time this is so good it requires another run. For my third run, I head to the Daly Chutes! I lap Daily Chute a couple times and then to Chutes 7-10 before hitting the X-Files (Don’t know how to find the elusive X-Files? See the previous blog post from JF Lanvers).

Challenger Chute

Once I have thoroughly covered Empire I push on to Ontario Bowl. I either hike in from Ontario ski run or take the traverse from Hidden Treasure.  Ontario Bowl always has a funny way of pulling the “YEE HAWS!!” out of me. The same as Lady Morgan Bowl, Ontario also requires a few passes. Sometimes I have found myself Ontario Bowl all day and only forced to leave when my legs say quit.

I find that most skiers follow this same route and head to Empire first after a big storm.  So by the time you get back to Bald Mountain and hit Mayflower Bowl, Triangle Trees, Sultan Trees and Sunset Trees there are still many great lines!

Then there are my favorite spots for skiing with the kids. They usually take the lead and it’s directly to Bucky’s Backyard and jump and Ruby’s Roost. They would stay here all day if I let them. These runs are off of Bandana and are very bumpy and rolly and of course, that is why they like them. Another favorite for kids is Oompa Loompa Land, this is an opened glade and makes the children feel as if they are skiing some big terrain.

Stefan Skiing Powder

The above is just my opinion in how to ski Deer Valley. I don’t really have a favorite spot because the entire mountain makes me happy! But I hope you have fun exploring my suggestion ski patterns on any given day.

See you on the slopes. More snow to come on Sunday and Monday, says the weatherman — stay tuned!