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Learn More About Wall Street Journal’s Best Family Ski Resort for 2023!

10 min read
Learn More About Wall Street Journal’s Best Family Ski Resort for 2023!

Deer Valley is highly praised among ski resorts, recognized for its exceptional quality and guest-focused approach. Recently honored by The Wall Street Journal in their 2023 Best Ski Awards as the Best Family Ski Resort, Deer Valley sets itself apart with what can be dubbed the “Deer Valley Difference.”

This distinction isn’t an anomaly; it’s echoed in the opinions of Conde Nast Traveler Readers who placed Deer Valley at the forefront of ski resorts in the US, narrowly second only to Snowmass in the 2023 Readers Choice Awards.

At Deer Valley, the emphasis lies in treating visitors as welcomed guests, not merely customers. In our review, we’ll delve into the full scope of the Deer Valley experience, from morning parking to bedtime amenities, shedding light on why it consistently earns high praise for its exceptional customer service within the ski resort industry.

Arriving at Deer Valley

The Deer Valley Difference via Deer Valley Resort
Photo Credit: Deer Valley Resort.

As guests at the Lodges at Deer Valley, we took advantage of their free ski shuttle to Snow Park Lodge in the morning. However, Deer Valley Resort offers complimentary parking at five base area parking lots and a shuttle to Snow Park Lodge for all guests.

Plus, three of the four base areas are reachable by free transit, including Empire Canyon Lodge (homebase to Daly Chutes, the super-efficient Lady Morgan Express Lift, and groomed greens where you might find stealth wind-blown powder). Only, I don’t know what you’ll do with your car in Park City….They might want to reconsider that name if you know what I’m saying…lol!

Ski Rentals – Top Quality at All Levels

Complementarity Ski Check Deer Valley Resort via Deer Valley Resort
Photo Credit: Deer Valley Resort.

After 28 years as a professional skier, I’m a bit of a gear snob. The Deer Valley ski rental gear was all new and meticulously kept. Thanks to a partnership with Rossignol, you will have a wide section of skis for a variety of skill levels and types of terrain. If you are a solid intermediate+ skier looking to try a different pair of boards, you can skip the rental shop and head to the Demo Shack at the top of the race hill. Regardless of your skill level, there is a ski package you’ll enjoy waiting for you at Deer Valley.

Here’s the real kicker that makes the rental experience so different at Deer Valley, there’s a complimentary ski check upstairs. That way, you’ll be ready for some first-chair action if you’re so inclined, or at least avoid some lines. Another thing to note is that complimentary ski check means people hold onto their gear throughout their trip, so the rental lines will tend to be less congested.

Lift Lines – Metered and Measured

Sterling Express Lift - One of the primary lifts at Deer Valley with hardly a line
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Another thing contributing to the quality of lines throughout Deer Valley Resort is a meaningful cap on lift tickets. So yes, you should book early, especially on holiday weekends, but you will not have to wait too long (compared to many other resorts) on any lift. Or at the rental counter or restaurants, for that matter.

During our most recent visit I skied onto the lifts more often than not. Even after joining the Ikon Pass, Deer Valley has some of the shortest lift lines in the industry.

Grooming – Industry Leading

Girl carving up the groomed at Deer Valley Resort via Deer Valley Resort
Photo Credit: Deer Valley Resort.

Deer Valley is the Cadillac of corduroy carpet, the grand goombah of grooming. It’s what they’re known for. It’s what they do. And they do it oh, so well! Deer Valley is for you if you’re a zoomer on groomers, a connoisseur of coiffed cruisers, or just appreciate well-groomed snow.

Terrain – No Longer Bambi Basin

Girl ripping pow at Deer Valley Resort via Deer Valley Resort
Photo Credit: Deer Valley Resort.

Deer Valley has a 3,000-foot vertical drop and over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain across six mountains. Twenty-one lifts service 103 runs, with many beginner or intermediate runs. Combine that with over 300 inches of Utah’s best powder and meticulous grooming, and you can see how Deer Valley earned its (former) nickname “Bambi-Basin.” Live it. Love it. Embrace it. There are green routes off every lift (except Empire Express), and beginners can tour the entire resort!

Don’t let this fool you, there’s some wicked good terrain in Deer Valley. Gladed tree pods comprise 45% of the resort, leading to legendary lines like the Triangle Trees and X Files.

The addition of the Lady Morgan Express Lift has really increased expert-level gladed vertical with a shockingly short chair ride. If you’re into steeps of the more exposed variety, maybe even hankering to huck a cornice, the Daly Chutes off Empire is worth the short traverse. The resort’s emphasis on accessibility leaves these runs underutilized and pristine for longer than you might expect after it dumps.

Ski Lessons – Attention to Detail

Adult intermediate lesson at Deer Valley Resort via Deer Valley Resort
Photo Credit: Deer Valley Resort.

Of course, Deer Valley offers a complete selection of children’s classes divided into five age groups. However, it is their adult lessons that really make the “Deer Valley Difference.”

They cap adult group lessons at a maximum of four students. You can also book private lessons for all skill levels, whether you want to master getting off the lift or pick the best lines down the Daly Chutes.

Ski-In Lunches – Delicious Choices

Fresh Tracks Kitchen at the Snow Park - Salad Bar
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Deer Valley has substantive lift pass caps. They’re set not by the service capacity of the on-mountain restaurants. So lunch isn’t something to keep you from going hungry but an integral part of the Deer Valley experience.

Fresh Tracks Kitchen at the Snow Park Lodge services skiers who want to maximize their turn time to their eating time. Empire Canyon Grill (Empire Canyon Lodge) and Silver Lake Restaurant (Silver Lake Lodge) offer upscale, cafeteria-style dining. The mid-mountain Silver Lake Lodge also offers full-service dining at the Royal Street Cafe because sometimes you need to sit down and have a waiter serve you a freshly grilled bison burger with aged white cheddar cheese and a fancy milkshake before making another turn.

Après-ski – Beer or Bubbly

Après ski at Deer Valley Resort via Deer Valley Resort
Photo Credit: Deer Valley Resort.

The Veuve Clicquot Après Ski Lounge by Montage Deer Valley Hotel is distinctly Deer Valley with a champagne and caviar après-ski, but they close at 4:00 so you can ski out, which sounds like a milieu ski to me.

Fresh Tracks by Snow Park is a great option to drop your skis at the check counter and enjoy the views from the oversize deck. Or, put the fun in funicular and head up the tracks to the St Regis to enjoy The Vintage Room’s 30-foot wooden bar.

If you want, stash your boots back in your room and take the easy shuttle ride into downtown Park City. The No Name Saloon is a whiskey lover’s dream, and there’s no shame in taking the shuttle back from No Name.

New for 2023 – The second level of Royal Street Café is being transformed into a 21+ apres-ski bar called Royal Street Café Bar.

Deer Valley Dining – Culinary Experiences

The Mariposa in Silver Lake Lodge, Deer Valley Utah
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

We’ve written a full post on Deer Valley dining experiences, but the short story is that the dining options are as creative and customer-forward as the skiing. The Silver Lake Lodge metamorphoses into The Mariposa in the evening with a multi-course tasting menu. Empire Canyon Lodge turns into Fireside Dining, an homage to the European Alps with four fireside dining stations: raclette cheese, soups, carvery, and dessert fondue. There’s also a plethora of restaurant choices in downtown Park City, just a mile or two from Deer Valley.

Several restaurants require advanced reservations, like Mariposa and Fireside Dining. Others, like Royal Street Café, take reservations during certain times of the year. The best way to make reservations is through the Deer Valley dining booking link or the Deer Valley App.

New for 2023 – The seafood buffet will make its triumphant return this winter at Snow Park Lodge! The restaurant is officially called: Cast & Cut | Seafood Dining.

The Deer Valley App

Deer Valley Mountain Resort Utah
Photo Credit: Deer Valley Resort.

The app more than just a convenience. It’s like having a concierge in your pocket. In the morning, it will tell you the grooming report and parking situation. During the day, you can track your ski routes and keep in touch with your peeps (like Find a Friend on the slopes). At night you can make your dinner reservations and check the weather forecast. It’s just another part of the “Deer Valley difference.”

Lodging – The Comfort of Upscale Elegance

The Lodges at Deer Valley Resort Utah- Complimentary car service
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

The Lodges of Deer Valley offer easy access to Snow Park Lodge and breakfast at the Brass Tag is included, but there are plenty of Deer Valley Lodging options.

Expert skiers might consider renting near Empire Pass for first chair action on the most challenging runs (hint – check out Argent, it just opened in 2022 and is super flash!). You can also look for ski-in / ski-out options or full-house rentals.

Remember – all guests of Deer Valley Lodging have access to the free ride-share app for Deer Valley Lodging guests only!

The Difference is in the Details

Deer Valley employee being helpful via Deer Valley Resort
Photo Credit: Deer Valley Resort.

When you’re treated as a guest of the resort and not just another skier on the mountain, that’s the “Deer Valley Difference,” and the difference is in the details. It felt like there was always a ski host when we needed one, from providing directions at the front steps or the top of many lifts. Even the restrooms were called lounges and were not only clean but contained amenities that, as a girl, I could uniquely appreciate. There are also abundant water fill stations that include paper cups by almost every “lounge,” making it easy to stay hydrated.

The lodges have complimentary boot / glove dryers in the locker rooms. There’s nothing better than warm, dry boots in the morning.

Time and time again, when I wished I had something, I found it waiting for me at Deer Valley. When I was a Training Coach at Ritz Carlton, we called that our 6th Diamond – Mystique – where we anticipated the guest’s spoken and unspoken needs. Here, it’s the “Deer Valley Difference.”

Wrapping up Our Deer Valley Review

Slopeside Service at Deer Valley Resort photo via Deer Valley Resort
Photo Credit: Deer Valley Resort.

Deer Valley elevated both our experience and our expectations with superior service, maintained from start to finish. Everywhere I looked, from delicious food to unexpected offerings, like complimentary mountain host tours, the more I discovered to try “next time.”

Their service consistently exceeded the price point and truly made us feel like guests. Plus, the Ikon Pass makes it an even better value if you’re staying for five days or more. There’s no way you’ll even come close to exhausting the on or off mountain dining experiences Deer Valley / Park City offer!

Read More From Coleman Concierge:

Melted cheese and charcuterie at Fireside Dining Deer Valley
Photo Credit: Deer Valley Resort.

Discover three unforgettable winter dining experiences in Park City, Utah! From Tupelo’s Southern-inspired dishes to The Mariposa’s elegant tasting menus and Fireside Dining’s Alpine-inspired feasts, explore culinary delights in this charming mining town.

Three Extraordinary Wintertime Park City Dining Experiences

Skiing Deer Valley Resort – Finding the Best Terrain for Every Skier

Bluebird powder skiing at Deer Valley at Deer Valley Resort via Deer Valley Resort
Photo Credit: Deer Valley Resort.

Deer Valley Resort sprawls across 6 mountains with 103 runs serviced by 21 lifts, so there’s something for everyone…except snowboarders. With so much terrain, where to ski first or if your group has different skier abilities? Never fear, read on to learn how to find the best skiing at Deer Valley for any ski level.

Skiing Deer Valley Resort – Finding the Best Terrain for Every Skier

UnCruise Baja – A Concierge Review of Baja California’s Adventure Cruise

Bahia Agua Verde Baja with UnCruise Safari Voyager anchored
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

UnCruise Baja is designed to get you off the boat and into nature. Baja California’s Sea of Cortez is nature’s aquarium. Not surprisingly UnCruising the Baja is a bucket list adventure for anybody who loves nature and the outdoors. Read on as we review this sustainable small-ship cruise to see if it lives up to its mission of responsible cruising and its accolades.

UnCruise Baja – A Concierge Review of Baja California’s Adventure Cruise

Concierge Review of All Star Liveaboard’s Aqua Cat Dive Boat

Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

The Bahamas is the stuff of divers’ dreams. No wonder seven different liveaboard boats cruise these waters. This piece will review our recent experience with All Star Liveaboards on the Aqua Cat, winner of nine 2020 Readers Choice Awards from Scuba Diving magazine, including the prestigious First-Place for the Best Liveaboard in the Caribbean/Atlantic.

Concierge Review of All Star Liveaboard’s Aqua Cat Dive Boat


Hi! We are Ed and Jenn Coleman aka Coleman Concierge. In a nutshell, we are a Huntsville-based Gen X couple sharing our stories of amazing adventures through activity-driven transformational and experiential travel.

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