When my triathlete husband decided he wanted to ski again after a 10 year hiatus, it was up to me to find a resort that could accommodate both of our levels (one an expert and one an advanced beginner on a good day), was easy to get to, and offered ski-in/ski-out as we wanted a hassle-free ski trip and have “aged up” since our last ski trip.After researching all the major ski areas, I chose Deer Valley in Utah and the Montage Deer Valley resort.
What Works For Families
- Great ski school for adults and children.
- The hotel offers free shuttles into Park City and other ski areas, so no need for a car.
- There are tons of activities for the family, including a bowling alley and tubing chute.
- Paintbox Children’s Program for kids ages 5 – 12 that offers games, crafts, movies, and outdoor activities.
- Ski-in/ski-out makes it so convenient; they store your skis, bring them out when you’re ready to hit the slopes, and provide lockers for any storage.
- You can combine two guest rooms to create 2-bedroom accommodations.
- Family-friendly restaurants are on the premises.
What Doesn’t Work For Families
- About the only thing I can think of here is the cost. The guest rooms start at $1,000 plus taxes and don’t include meals, unless you get a package.
- Avoid booking your trip at the time of the Sundance Film Festival if at all possible.
I used our travel agent at Valerie Wilson Travel to book our trip through Ski.com. Essentially everything but dinner reservations was done for us and either sent before or ready when we got there. I even booked my lessons on-line after filling out a profile. The package included:
- hotel accommodations
- transportation to and from the airport
- lift tickets
- a complete ski package for rental equipment, including a helmet if needed
Of course, you can book your own accommodations, but I just found this so much easier so I would recommend. The resort is located about 36 miles from Salt Lake City. We got a direct flight from JFK, so literally left in the a.m. and were skiing that afternoon. You can rent a car at the airport, but you really don’t need one once you get to the hotel.The Montage’s shuttle is very easy to use and was never a long wait. Then you get dropped off right where you’re going and don’t have to look for parking spaces.
Skiing in Deer Valley was a dream for me and my expert skier hubby didn’t feel cheated at all, even though he skied with me on the less difficult slopes much of the time. They limit the number of skiers, so there’s no long chair lift lines, there’s no snowboarding, and the slopes are well-groomed and easy to navigate. If you really want to snowboard, you can mosey over to nearby Park City.
I chose to take lessons several days and that proved to be the correct decision for me. I just feel more comfortable being with a small group and a professional! They help you up when you fall or at least walk you through getting up, which is really the worst. Kids have a designated roped-off area for lessons with instructors specifically experienced in teaching children. My husband even took a private lesson to go into the deep powder in the trees, which made ME just a bit nervous, but not him.
I seriously can’t think of any negatives about the Montage except, as I mentioned, the cost. In fact, we liked it so much, we went two years in a row and if we can manage, will be going again this winter. There are just over 200 rooms, suites, and residences. It is about a 10 minute ride into Park City if you want to go for shopping or dining. It also sits right at the base of the mountain, so you never have to leave to go skiing; the lifts are literally right out your door and you can always ski over to the other lifts.
The rooms are uber spacious and comfy with fireplaces, LCD TV’s with DVD/CD players, and free wifi. All the guest rooms are the same, with the difference in cost based on your view. You can also select king beds or two queens. The rooms come with all the amenities you would expect from a Montage hotel and at this price point. The only issue we had was an occasional problem getting a signal for our phones.
Maintaining an exercise program for my triathlete was easy, in addition to getting the cross-training benefits of skiing. They have indoor and outdoor pools – trihubby swam in the heated outdoor Alpine Pool; a fully-equipped gym with fitness classes; and a 35,000 square foot Spa Montage. Every afternoon there is hot chocolate and smores outside by an open fire.
One of the best amenities is Compass Sports located in the basement where you walk out to the slopes. Here you can buy any necessary gear or rent, which we did except for goggles and helmets, and purchase lift tickets. When you’re ready to ski, you simply call down and they will have your gear waiting for you outside or just walk in and they will quickly get it for you.
There are several restaurants on site, including the very nice Apex and Daly’s Pub & Rec. I would suggest making reservations at the Apex for dinner, but it wasn’t necessary for lunch. If you choose, there are also several restaurants on the slopes to grab breakfast or lunch, so you don’t have to leave the slopes to eat.
While the resorts restaurants are very nice, I highly recommend venturing into Park City for dinner. There are just so many really good options and most can be booked on Open Table, which I would advise doing before you arrive if possible. A few of my favorites include:
- Talisker on Main – It is a small, super friendly, comfort food restaurant, with an upscale ambience. My husband swears by their fried chicken and biscuits.
- The Riverhorse on Main – This is a really lovely restaurant that offers a vegetarian menu and has live entertainment.
- Silver Restaurant – The dining room at Silver is very modern and striking, with a large communal table in the center.
- Our friends who live there also recommend Reef’s for Mediterranean, Chimayo for Mexican, Shabu for Asian, and Log Haven, which is located about 45 minutes away in the Wasatch National Forest.
I can’t think of any other ski resort we would go to for a ski trip. Deer Valley, the Montage, and Park City have everything we need to make it the perfect ski vacation. Whether you are a couple or a family, the area has something to offer everyone.
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