As this winter season ended, we wanted to try one more great snow activity: a snowshoe tour at dusk just before a delightful dinner at Fireside Dining at Empire Canyon Lodge! Marrying these two activities is almost like taking a trip through nature that miraculously leads directly to some old-world mountain setting.
Because of the changing snow density, spring season snowshoeing always entails more workout than during mid-winter and after a strenuous trek all the way to the bottom of the Daly Chutes, we returned to the Empire Lodge where a true “mountain feast” was awaiting us at Fireside. I have a soft spot for Raclette and took full advantage of this high-energy, Swiss delicacy while reminiscing the good old days when I still was living in the Alps.
After one generous serving of Raclette and its delectable accompaniments,
That first – and only – snowshoe tour of the day was led by Justin, who works for All Seasons Adventure, Dear Valley’s on-site, independent activity provider. Before dinner, I spent a few moments chatting with Justin and here’s what he had to share about snowshoeing at Deer Valley Resort.
How long have been guiding snowshoeing tours?
I’ve been guiding for 4 1/2 years, snow-shoeing the whole time and guiding in a number of other activities.
What kind of special skills – if any – are required to snowshoe?
Nothing in particular; just go out and do it. We cater to any fitness and skill levels. From beginners to the most advanced and ambitious snowshoers.
What’s a good time to go snowshoeing?
You can do it during the day, morning, afternoon, dusk or evening, by star-light. We can organize a dinner snowshoe like tonight at Fireside, or hike over to Silver Lake Lodge and go to the Mariposa, Royal Street Cafe, Glittertind or Goldener Hirsch.
Do you provide lights for these evening outings?
We do. A lot of time we don’t need them, as the moonlight or even starlight is usually sufficient, but we have lights in case there’s some cloud cover.
What happens if your guests are into stargazing or astronomy?
We actually have a device that you can point at the stars and that uses a laser and GPS locator which can tell you what star you are looking at.
How long does a typical snowshoe tour last?
Usually one hour and forty-five minutes to two hours, but we can do them as brief as 45 minutes or as long as four hours.
Can guests cancel the outing when snow is falling hard and there’s too much snow?
If it’s snowing, it’s generally a wonderful time to be out snowshoeing. If the snow fall is significant, we make sure our guide stays ahead of the participants to pack down the snow. If the weather is simply too harsh, the outing maybe canceled and there’s no-cancellation fee to the guest.
Where are you taking your guests?
It depends a lot on what they like. Often times the trails are through the trees but we can go off-trail, through powder or just stay on the packed trails. A lot of our trails offer a wonderful diversity, so we’ll just pick an itinerary based upon our guests’ needs and desires. Our main concern is to keep everyone safe within the constraints of avalanche conditions…
Is snowshoeing a family activity?
Absolutely! Younger kids may have a harder time with it, but it works perfectly for anyone from about six or seven years old up until … indefinitely. We have had octogenarians take a tour with us!
Do you have gear to fit everyone?
Yes, we offer a full range of sizes in snowshoes and poles.
How should people dress?
We normally recommend that people wear snow-pants, dress in layers on top, have sunglasses, gloves, a hat and wear sunscreen on sunny days. We can provide over-boots which are like a Cordura gaiter that cover the whole foot in the case guests don’t have good shoes and can cover their tennis shoes to keep their feet dry.
How long in advance do we have to book a tour?
During the busy season, like Christmas, Sundance Film Festival, Presidents’ Day week-end, 48-hours in advance is recommended. Other times, we can get people out with just two or three hours notice!
Can special event be combined with your snowshoe tours?
Definitely. We can cater to our guest’s needs to create a custom tour however they’d like it. We’ve done anything from a 50 year old birthday party to even marriage proposals; you name it!
How can we reach you and where are you located at Deer Valley Resort?
We have a desk at the Snow Park Lodge that is staffed from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. everyday during the ski season. If you need to contact us on the web our address is allseasonsadventures.com or you can reach us by phone at 435-649-9619.
**Snowshoe tours and Fireside Dining will start again in December 2013. Please call to make reservations after Labor Day.