Nestled in central Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, the posh St. Regis Deer Valley ski resort offers more luxe amenities per square metre than you may know what to do with.
This year-round getaway in the historic silver-mining town of Park City — 58 kilometres (36 miles) east of Utah’s capital, Salt Lake — has been consistently ranked No. 1 in the U.S. by World Ski Awards, the prestigious global annual program that recognizes excellence in the ski tourism industry. It has garnered an international reputation for the maintenance of its hills and trails and the 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of skiable terrain across six mountains, as well as the jaw-dropping vistas and reliable snow cover. Toss in too a host of premium on-site services such as Zagat- rated dining facilities and Remède Spa, plus the likelihood of celeb sightings and the opportunity of one-on-one skiing with Olympic champions (try to snag a day with Kaylin Richardson or Shannon Bahrke).
A favourite of the Hollywood set, thanks to the annual Sundance Film Festival held in Park City, Deer Valley has won many converts who return for weekend getaways to hang out in one of the local luxury ski-in/ski-out lodgings. Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Demi Moore have all rented the same $15-million, nine- bedroom mansion in The Colony, an exclusive gated community, though not at the same time, of course, and some celebrities have bought homes, among them Will Smith, Scott Wolf and Michael Jordan. Blending into the low-key ski scene, these high-profile part-time residents, as well as Sundance festival-goers, seem to relish the excellent dining venues, the privacy and the relaxed lifestyle. But for not-so-deep pockets, premium alternative accommodations abound. Tucked into the mountainsides are ski-in/ ski-out lodges and condos, many of them with fireplaces, soaring cathedral ceilings, massive wooden staircases and gourmet kitchens.
With an annual average snowfall of close to eight metres (26 feet), Deer Valley is a skier’s heaven. And there’s more to look forward to, thanks to enhancements for the 2018–2019 season to the tune of US$8 million. Anticipate a new high- speed chair lift, snowmaking-system upgrades and more mountain-bike trails — all aimed to ramp up the adventure factor, complemented by top-rated pampering options, après-ski.
Where To Stay
In classic ski-chalet tradition, St. Regis Deer Valley delivers comfort and style when you’re off the slopes. Avail yourself of the ski valet service, hot-chocolate bar and split-level infinity pool, plus the “ski beach” terrace, where you can take a break and watch skiers carving downhill. Done for the day skiing? Join in for happy hour to watch how to sabre a Champagne bottle or, for something less rattling, book an Indigenous herbal poultice massage at the hotel’s spa.
Higher up the mountain is Stein Eriksen Lodge, named after the Norwegian Olympic gold medallist. A favourite of TV late-night host and comedian Jimmy Fallon, the lodge offers an authentic European alpine atmosphere. Suites range from one-bedroom to five- bedroom, all with first-class amenities, including in-room grocery delivery. Utah’s sole five-star facility of its kind is The Spa on-site. Reserve in advance to experience its legendary ultimate-relaxation treatments.
Meanwhile, the sumptuous Montage Deer Valley mountain retreat in Empire Canyon
has the largest spa in the state of Utah, replete with redwood saunas, deluge showers and rejuvenating hydro-therapies. More exhilarating pursuits include sleigh rides, dogsledding and hot-air ballooning, after which retreating to The Après Lounge is apropos. This chic Veuve Clicquot yurt is ideal for warming up next to the fireplace while sipping Champagne and indulging in the menu’s delectable cheeses, charcuterie, caviar and white-truffle popcorn.
Where To Dine
Catering to the Hollywood set may have something to do with the elevated food scene at Park City — mostly American-style, locally sourced, seasonal fare focused on red meat.
The market-driven menu at The Farm at Canyons celebrates the region’s produce via farm-to-table dishes presented in an intimate rustic-chic setting. Snag a table in the covered, heated patio and order the hearty oxtail onion soup. Deer Valley’s premier restaurant, The Mariposa at Silver Lake Lodge, boasts the best bison filet in the state, but make sure to leave room for the inventively extravagant dessert, Chocolate Snowball. Firewood on Main Street is where chef John Murcko cooks everything over a wood fire on a custom-cast 14-foot-long grill. The wine list here is ample, as is the dessert selection. Make time before or after dinner to wander down to the cool cocktail bar in the basement.
Looking for a hearty meal to start the day? Head to Five5eeds, which brews the best cup of coffee in town. Try the Moroccan-style shakshouka (baked eggs on a bed of spicy tomatoes and feta) or the delectable hotcakes with lemon-infused mascarpone. For lunch, indulge in a wiener schnitzel and Swiss fondue at the mid-mountainside Goldener Hirsch Inn.
When To Go
Ski season here runs from late November to mid-April. Delta and WestJet offer nonstop flights from Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Take the altitude into consideration when you book and consider adding a day or two on the front end to give you time to acclimatize to the 2,000-metre (6,560-foot) elevation. Keep in mind as well that Park City is a year-round destination, where you can enjoy sunny days in the warmer months surrounded by fresh, dry mountain air on the numerous hiking and biking trails.
By Doug Wallace – *This article originally appeared in INSIGHT: The Art of Living | Winter 2018
Photography by: visitparkcity.com; Deer Valley Resort