Deer Valley — Mountain layout
Keep in mind that there are really four mountains and one canyon here, ranging from Bald Eagle at 8,400 feet to the top of Empire Canyon at 9,570 feet. Here’s a larger, more detailed trail map.
Deer Valley has a solid reputation for service, grooming and over-all class, but make no mistake – the skiing is also spectacular for all levels. Slopes include tough trails, challenging terrain as well as plenty of intermediate runs. Beginners and first-timers will enjoy the separate, protected area on Bald Eagle Mountain known as Wide West. The Sterling triple lift on Bald Mountain was replaced in 2006 with a high speed quad.
|Expert, Advanced: Empire Canyon, topping out at 9,570 feet, is not only the highest point at Deer Valley, but also the gnarliest. The double-diamond Daly Chutes, the Daly Bowl and the Anchor Trees are short, steep and superbly challenging. Single-diamond terrain at Lady Morgan Bowl in Empire adds some nice vertical. The Empire Express accesses the 500 acres of eight chutes and three bowls.
Flagstaff Mountain, with both bump and cruising runs, is easy to navigate and a good rendezvous when several members of your group ski at different ability levels. Experts take a short traverse to the left near the top of the Ontario run to Ontario Bowl’s double-diamond tree skiing.
For black diamond terrain, take the Mayflower Lift to the far left on the trail map. Moguls on Morning Star, Fortune Teller, Paradise and Narrow Gauge are a delight.The long trails are bordered by glades—great places to drop into and out of on a whim.
While Mayflower and its neighboring chair, Sultan, feature ungroomed runs, the bumps rarely get too big. Orient Express and Stein’s Way are advanced cruisers with good pitch. Perseverance, coupled with the initial steeper sections of Thunderer, Blue Ledge and Grizzly, are all challenging. Also look for the glades at the bottom of the Empire Canyon and Flagstaff areas.
|Intermediate: Deer Valley offers both intermediate and advanced-intermediate terrain, though you’ll find that the two are quite similarly challenging. If you want to have plenty of company (lots of traffic here) and beautiful scenery, the best runs are Sunset, Birdseye (both on Bald Mountain) and Success (on Bald Eagle Mountain).
Areas with the most intermediate runs are served by the Wasatch Express and Sterling on Bald Mountain and Northside Express on Flagstaff Mountain. Run after run down trails such as Legal Tender, Wizard, Nabob, Sidewinder and Hawkeye are a blast. The runs under the Northside Express are especially cool because they’re farther from the base areas so they’re not as crowded as the Wasatch Express area.
The Empire Canyon and Deer Crest areas also have some fun slopes. Try the advanced-intermediate bowls Conviction, Solace and Orion. The view of the Jordanelle Reservoir from the Deer Crest area is fabulous. But be forewarned: The double-blue Jordanelle run has one wicked narrow part that might be difficult for newly intermediate skiers. If beginners are skiing this lift, they’d be more comfortable taking Deer Hollow down to the gondola base parking lot.
A fun place to test your intermediate tree- and bump-skiing legs is in the unnamed area on Flagstaff off the Ontario trail, or by sneaking through the trees at the top of the Quincy Lift. They’re marked, but not yet named and are worth a giggle.
Other great areas are Flagstaff Mountain and Bald Eagle Mountain, known as the “lower mountain.” Last Chance passes by a lot of spectacular homes. New intermediates might want to stick to Deer Valley’s green-circle runs at first. The greens here are a bit turquoise, just a shade easier than the true blues.
|Beginner, First-timer:Deer Valley’s offerings at the beginner and first-timer levels have improved in past years. Best areas are the outside runs on Flagstaff Mountain, Ontario and Mountain Daisy/Banner. Beginners will enjoy ideal terrain and a protected area on Bald Eagle Mountain with access via the Burns and Snowflake lifts. If you’re a brave soul who wants practice, cruise Sunset, a gentle, scenic route that descends from the top of Bald Mountain. There’s also the Little Chief Family Ski Area in Empire Canyon. Be aware that the green run, Bandana, off the top of Flagstaff Mountain, is a fairly steep green and for expert beginners only.
The novice area is gentle enough, but it’s a big step to the next level. Some of Deer Valley’s green runs also access trails and runouts that skiers use to reach the base area. First-timers and beginners might think about heading back to the base before day’s end or they could find themselves in the middle of a crush of fast skiers heading for apres ski.