A tale of two mountain resorts: Park City, once a historic silver mining town now recognized for its Olympic legacy, and Deer Valley, known for its upscale ambiance, skiers-only slopes and precision grooming. With more than 7,300 skiable acres, Park City Mountain Resort is now the largest ski and snowboard resort in the country. And the best news? It’s less than an hour drive from Salt Lake City International Airport.
I would be staying at Deer Valley’s Goldener Hirsch Inn, which offers 20 intimate guest rooms with five-star amenities, fireplaces and private mountain-view balconies all less than 100 yards from the chair lifts. This gem has been operated by the philanthropic Eccles family since 1992, with their ancestral influence on the development of Utah skiing dating back to the 1800s. Voted the country’s “Best Ski Boutique Hotel” at the 2013 and 2015 World Ski Awards, the hotel was named and modeled after the famous historic (1407) Hotel Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg, Austria. I can personally vouch for its Austrian authenticity since the Salzburg Goldener Hirsch was my honeymoon abode.
Goldener Hirsch Inn Restaurant has been a Wine Spectator award-winner since 1995, specializing in contemporary Alpine cuisine with a seasonal American spin. Complimentary breakfast is served each morning, and just-baked cookies with hot chocolate (of course) are offered every afternoon, but don’t fill up so much that you miss the fabulous fondue.
Much of my skiing takes place in Colorado, but I have to admit, the slopes in both Deer Valley and Park City were superb with perfect powder—light, dry and fluffy. My preference became Deer Valley for its “skiers only” policy and luxurious spoilers like curbside ski valets and complimentary Mountain Host Tours.
Après-ski doesn’t just call for hot toddies. Cap off a day of adventure with a spa treatment to loosen those ski-tight limbs, relax sore muscles and correct dry skin.
If you go:
Spa Montage: Boasting the largest spa in Utah, 35,000 feet and 29 treatment rooms, Spa Montage offers an indoor lap pool with valley views and Veuve Clicquot Champagne après-ski. Schedule the signature massage: Alpine Body Bliss. montagehotels.com/spamontage/deervalley
Waldorf Astoria Spa: The spa’s signature massage is customizable with light, therapeutic or deep tissue, but my recommendation is the Mountain Salvation Sports Massage. waldorfastoriaparkcity.com/spa
The Mariposa: Deer Valley’s signature dining experience and must-try is the Butternut Squash Schichttorte, a 20-layer apple caramel torte. deervalley.com/dining/wheretoeat/mariposa
Royal Street Café: Sample the incredible Blueberry Mojito (winner of the Park City Cocktail Contest), which mixes muddled mint and lime, Bacardi Superior rum, RSC lemonade and blueberries. deervalley.com/dining/wheretoeat/royalstreetcafe