Deer Valley Resort – The Ultimate Insider’s Guide

Deer Valley is a ski resort located just 36 miles east of Salt Lake City in Park City, Utah. Located in the Wasatch Mountain Range, Deer Valley Resort is known for being consistently ranked as the top (or one of the top) ski resorts in North America. This is because not only does Deer Valley Resort get amazing snow, but the resort has near perfect grooming of the ski runs, amazing staff, and upscale amenities that cater to those looking for a more discerning ski experience. Deer Valley Resort is more than just the ski trails. Deer Valley Resort – The ultimate insider’s guide of all the things to do on and off the ski hill that make your visit to Deer Valley Resort a once in a life-time vacation.

Deer Valley Resort - The Ultimate Insider's Guide

Getting There:

The closest major airport to Deer Valley Resort is Salt Lake City International Airport. There are flights from all across the United States and some international destinations to Salt Lake City. Once you get to the airport there are a number of options to get to Deer Valley Resort.

Car Service – Hiring a car service is one of the simplest ways to get from the airport to Deer Valley Resort. Snow Country Limousines is who I have used during my trips to Deer Valley and they have always been great. They greet you at baggage claim and their comfortable SUVs are perfect for the 40 or so minute drive from the airport to the resort.

Car Rental – All the major brands are at the airport with most on-site just a short walk across from the terminal. Also, Audi has their own car-rental option called Silvercar. For those who want a new vehicle with all-wheel drive to handle the snow, Silvercar is a great option.

Ride Sharing – Lyft and Uber are available from the airport with reasonable fares at most times of the day. The vehicles are required to be newer and you can request ski racks if you are bringing your skis with you.

Do you need a rental car or not?  Well, Park City and Deer Valley have an excellent and free bus system to get between many of the lodging options, the ski resort, and downtown Park City. For many visitors, having a car will be unnecessary as the bus system is reliable and convenient. However, for longer stays, those who like to cook in their unit, or if you aren’t near a bus stop the rental car may be an option in these scenarios.

Note – If you are staying at a house, there are grocery stores in Park City where you can stop and get food on your way to Deer Valley Resort so there is no need to stop in Salt Lake City (unless of course you are looking for Trader Joe’s).

Where to Stay:

Deer Valley Resort manages a number of hotel and lodge style lodgings (as well as condominiums and homes). One of the benefits of staying at one of Deer Valley Resorts properties is proximity to the resort but also a free bus run by the resort that will take you quickly to the mountain. They also offer complimentary in-town transportation courtesy of Cadillac. Deer Valley Resort has an app for your phone where you can check bus times or call a Cadillac vehicle to take you to a restaurant in downtown Park City.

My most recent stay at Deer Valley Resort was at The Lodges. Located near the Snow Park Base, The Lodges includes complimentary breakfast to get you ready for your ski day. Also, my room had a full-kitchen, so the ability to cook meals myself after a long day on the slopes is a great option to have!

Other properties on Deer Valley Resort but managed independently from the resort include luxury properties such as the Stein Eriksen Lodge and Residences, the St. Regis Deer Valley, and the Montage Deer Valley. Each is located at one of the different mountain bases of Deer Valley.

There are also lots of other hotels and vacation homes that can be rented in and around the Park City area depending on how close to the resort (or downtown) you want to be as well as your budget.

Skiing Deer Valley:

Skiing Deer Valley Resort is a unique experience in North America because of two factors. The first is that Deer Valley Resort limits the number of available tickets every ski day. This reduces the number of visitors. I can attest that even on holiday weekends in February, lift lines are either non-existent or extremely short. This way you spend more time skiing and less time waiting in line thinking about all of the groomed runs and/or powder you are missing out on. The second is that it is one of the last remaining resorts that is skiers only – no snowboarding allowed (sorry, not sorry).

Deer Valley Resort - The Ultimate Insider's Guide

Deer Valley Resort has over 2,000 acres across six mountains. The primary base lodge at Deer Valley is Snow Park Lodge at Bald Eagle Mountain but other bases include Silver Lake Lodge at the base of Flagstaff Mountain and Empire Canyon Lodge at the base of Empire Mountain. The mountain also hosted ski events during the 2002 Winter Olympics. (So if you want to ski the same trails as Olympians, you can!) Navigating the resort is extremely easy and because Deer Valley offers first-class service in the mountains, staff in green uniforms are available just about everywhere to offer not only directions, but suggestions. Want to hit up some of the best grooming on the planet? They will point you in the right direction. Looking for something more steep and deep? Deer Valley Resort has it.

In addition to all the standard ski resort options (but on a first-class level), think ski school – which I must say is absolutely fantastic, guided mountain tours, etc – Deer Valley Resort offers something unique to its guests. Ski With a Champion. Deer Valley’s Ski With a Champion program gives guests the opportunity to book full or half-day skiing with a former Olympian. On my most recent visit to Deer Valley, I was fortunate to ski a half-day with former U.S Olympic downhill skier Heidi Voelker. Being able to chat with Heidi about her experiences as an Olympian and ambassador for Deer Valley was amazing. Also of course getting to take some turns – and trying to keep up – with her was quite the experience as we did everything from some tree skiing to carving turns on the groomed runs. This is such a unique opportunity to be able to ski with an Olympian that if you are able to reserve this, I highly recommend it whether with Heidi or one of the other wonderful Ski with a Champions!

Deer Valley Resort - The Ultimate Insider's Guide, Ski with a Champion

With 6 mountains and varied terrain, there is something at Deer Valley for skiers of every level. When you book a trip to Deer Valley Resort you truly are able to “Ski the Difference”.


Deer Valley Resort truly prides itself on being more than just a ski mountain and nowhere is this truer than with the dining opportunities that the resort provides. I almost don’t even know where to start because there are so many delicious dining options at Deer Valley. Everything is prepared fresh and they use locally sourced food when possible.

The on-mountain dining at Deer Valley Resort is the best food I have ever had at a ski resort. My two go to spots for on-mountain dining are both located at the Silver Lake Lodge. First is Royal Street Café. This is a casual spot that has both indoor and outdoor seating. The great thing about Royal Street Café is that it is a sit-down restaurant. You order from a set-menu from a server so you can avoid waiting in the buffet lines. Be sure to check-out the specials on offer as they are usually can’t miss. My other favorite spot is also within the Silver Lake Lodge, Bald Mountain Pho. On a cold day, there is nothing like warming up with a bowl of piping hot pho. Beef and vegetarian options are available and you can add on some additional toppings and spice to customize your bowl.

I have two honorable mentions for on-mountain dining. This first goes to the world-famous Deer Valley Chili. Available in any of the lodges, you can’t say you at ate at Deer Valley without having their chili for at least one of your on-mountain lunches. The second is to stop into the Montage Deer Valley – located at the base of Empire Mountain – at their Burger and Bourbon. This is a great spot if you are ready to start your après early as you can experience all of their drink options.

After a full day on the slopes, I can assure you will be hungry for dinner. Deer Valley Resort does dinner like no other ski resort in the world. If you are looking for European Alps style dinner, head to Fireside Dining at Empire Lodge. The star of this four-course meal is the raclette cheese. Melted from huge blocks in front of roaring fires you’ll want to keep refilling your plate. While I couldn’t argue with you if you did, you would miss out on the other three-courses which are all just as good.

For those looking for more standard fare, book a dinner table at Mariposa. Located at Silver Lake Lodge, Mariposa was rated the #1 restaurant in Utah by the Zagat Restaurant Guide. This makes it the perfect spot to celebrate a special occasion or your Deer Valley vacation. The meat and wine pairings here are exceptional. That said, leave room for dessert – you won’t be disappointed!

Wanted to truly indulge? Make a reservation at the Seafood Buffet. I was blown away by all of the delish options here. So much fresh seafood, a poke bar, shellfish, prime rib (for those wanting a break from the seafood), as well of course many dessert options. Located in Snow Park Lodge, the Seafood Buffet is a meal you don’t want to miss during a stay at Deer Valley Resort.

Deer Valley Resort - The Ultimate Insider's Guide

I would be remiss if I didn’t have at least a small note about the après ski options available at Deer Valley Resort. Goldener Hirsch and the EBS Lounge are my two favorite spots if you want to partake in Après fun while at Deer Valley Resort.

Other Activities:

Deer Valley Resort is more though than just skiing and eating. Being located in the heart of Park City Utah, there are tons of options for activities depending on how adventurous you want to be.

Snowmobiling is one of my favorite non-ski activities at Deer Valley Resort. The folks at Summit Meadows Snowmobiling, located just outside of town, take you on a fun-filled journey through the mountains. The trails are groomed, or at least well packed down, making this a perfect activity for those looking to try something new and different. Zooming through aspen forests, mountain vistas, and even seeing some animals are all on offer when taking a guided tour with Summit Meadows Snowmobiling.

If you are looking for something a little more low-key, then book a Mines and Wines with the Fox School of Wines. This tour takes you to some of the old mines in and around Park City while also giving you a wonderful history of Park City as a mining town. Of-course sipping wine while taking in this information didn’t hurt. On the tour, you will sample six different wines, all pared perfectly small bites. The team at Fox School of Wines makes the tour extremely fun – trust me, in addition to the delicious wine, you’ll have a few laughs too.

One of the benefits of staying at Deer Valley Resort is that it is right next to Downtown Park City. With lots of shopping and restaurants, it is a great way to stretch your legs after a day of skiing by walking up and down Main Street. Getting to town is easy – and free – by either the Cadillac vehicle or bus service.

Deer Valley Resort - The Ultimate Insider's Guide

Deer Valley Resort has so much to offer visitors, making it a great vacation spot to get your winter fix whether it be on the slopes or off. It is definitely a skiing bucket list destination. Plan ahead to be sure that you don’t miss a single activity from this winter wonderland!

For more information check-out my post on Skiing at Deer Valley Resort!


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