Firsthand Report: Return to the Canyons and Deer Valley, Utah 3
Author thumbnail By Connie Lawn, DCSki Columnist

Editor’s Note: Connie Lawn is currently in the midst of a Utah trip. She filed this firsthand report on the third day of her trip, April 5.


Ok - Enough snow already! The ski lift operators greet us with “Welcome to January.” This snow is painful and no fun. Whiteout conditions continued for most of the day. The snow is light and innocuous at base level. But, when you near the 10,000 feet mark, it is burning, cutting ice. Combined with the wind, it batters the face, blinds you, and brings tears to your eyes. Do not underestimate the dangers of this weather! And, don’t make the mistake I did - leaving goggles at home. They and a face mask would have made the day more pleasant. But, by a miracle, the sun broke through for a few hours late in the day, making the last two runs at Deer Valley exquisite!

First, a return to the Canyons. I wanted to catch their “Pond Skimming” contest in the morning. About 200 people lined the pond to cheer on their favorites. They are brave souls - it was about 25 degrees and snowing, but they endured. Some of the costumes were incredible - my favorite was a man whose entire outfit, including cap, was sewn out of American flag patterns. I did try a few runs at the Canyons, and could tell they would be magnificient, if the weather was better. From Saddleback Express, the best blue runs were Snow Dancer, Kokopelli, and Silver Horse.

The other good runs at the Canyons were those that take you back to the base - Doc’s Run and Bad Lands. But, as is the case with all of these Western areas, I have barely scratched the surface. It would take a lifetime to do so!

Saturday afternoon, I returned to one of my favorite Western areas - the posh, sleek, immaculate resort of Deer Valley. It is always a high to ski past the multimillion dollar homes which line the slopes, or tower above them. They include the rounded modern mansion of ABC’s Charlie Gibson - which dominates one of the slopes. There is also the beautiful Stein Errickson lodge and restaurant at mid mountain - at about 8,200 feet. The summit of Deer Valley Resort is at 9,400 feet.

I know from past visits, the skiing at Deer Valley is excellent and the vistas are breathtaking! Unfortunately, the whiteout and icy snow pellets ruined the first run for my husband and me from the top. It was pure, ugly survival skiing. But, the sun broke through the last hour, revealing Deer Valley in all its glory and splendour. It is truely a “must ski” resort to visit - you will never forget it!

As for season, Deer Valley is slightly shorter than the other Utah resorts I visited. Deer Valley usually opens in the first or second week of December, and closes around April the 11th - next year. This year, they are closing on the 6th. As with all the local areas, Deer Valley will have enormous amounts of fresh powder on the slopes when they close. Homeowners can probably ski from their driveways to the base for a few more weeks, and hope they have a car on the bottom to drive them back up. As for the statistics, Deer Valley now has 88 trails and 6 bowls. They list 15% easier runs, 50% more difficult, and 35% as most difficult. The longest trail is 2 miles. There are also 800 acres of glade skiing. Most of the Park City ski areas hosted Olympic events, so there is the added excitement of skiing down former Olympic runs. They are marked, so you know what events took place on each one.

Finally, as my Western saga draws to a close, I want to thank the first class public relations directors at each area who helped me so. They included Katie Eldridge at the Canyons and her team; Michelle Palmer and Krista Rowles at Park City; Christa Graff and Erin Grady at Deer Valley, and Roger Toll at SnowBasin. They are all warm, friendly, and thorough professionals, and a tribute to the ski industry! Thanks for your help guys! Hope to see you next season!

Photo provided by Deer Valley Resort.

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About Connie Lawn

When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.

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Reader Comments

Crush
April 8, 2003
oh ma-a-a-n! No goggles! That's a bad deal ... next time go to lost and found and ask if they have any goggles to give you ... works sometimes if you don't want to pay for 'em. Or just go to the ski shop ... at The Canyons they are having a 40% sale so you can get a pair for not too much money.
johnfmh
April 8, 2003
I once asked a ski instructor at a resort whose name shall remain unmentioned where the lost and found is. He rolled his eyes and replied, "the whole resort is one big lost and found." :)
CRUSH
April 11, 2003
LMAO @ Johnfmh :-D ! Good 1 !

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