You’ve probably heard about the “Deer Valley Difference” and how to spot it; this guide will show you how to ski it! The resort sprawls across six mountains with 103 runs serviced by 21 lifts, so there’s something for everyone….except snowboarders because Deer Valley is a ski-only resort.
Beginners will love how they can ski almost the entire resort on immaculately groomed slopes. Intermediate skiers can access nearly 2/3rds of the runs and find sneaky good gladed trees to play in. Advanced skiers will love that 45% of the terrain is covered by well maintained glades and a diverse orientation of slopes where you’ll find skiable powder long after the last snow. Plus, there are enough chutes, bowls, and long tree runs to whet any appetite, even those that consider themselves more “hardcore”.
Keep reading to learn more about how to find the best Deer Valley skiing for any skill level and see for yourself why Deer Valley Resort earned Second Place in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Ski Resort.
Header image is a skier on Ontario Bowl via Deer Valley Resort
Table of Contents
Lay of the Land at Deer Valley
Snow Park Lodge is at the base of Bald Eagle Mountain, the starting point for most skiers. It’s where you’ll find the rental shop and the free ski check (additionally there is a free overnight ski check available at the Silver Lake Lodge and the Jordanelle Express Gondola.) You can get a full lunch at Snow Park, Empire Canyon, or Silver Lake lodges and a grab-and-go lunch at Cushing’s Cabin atop Flagstaff Mountain.
OK, now that you have skis and sundries, it’s time to hit the slopes.
Before heading out, be sure to check the current snow and grooming conditions on Deer Valley’s grooming map or the Deer Valley app. It’s good to know how to navigate with the Deer Valley map because you’ll have one in your pocket, and they’re posted all around the park. However, we built an interactive map of the areas we’ll mention in this guide.
It’s a Google interactive map, so it naturally orients looking north, while the Deer Valley maps orient looking south. If you want to have a lot of fun, expand the map to full screen, hit the three dots to view it in Google Earth, and then switch to the 3D view, where they overlay the map on a digital elevation model. You can see all the runs overlayed on 3D mountains.
A little map study will reveal that Deer Valley is primarily on north-facing slopes with canyon walls that face either east or west. The east facing regions, like Mayflower, get better with recent snow. Consider poking into the Mayflower Chutes on a pow day, you may be surprised what you find 😉 Conversely, look for a west facing hill, like Sunset Glades, for some hidden powder if it hasn’t snowed for a while.
The Best Beginner Runs at Deer Valley
The easiest and hardest greens at Deer Valley are right next to each other, and both exit at the Snow Park Lodge. Contrary to its name, the easiest green (once you’ve graduated off the magic carpet) is Wild West. The Snowflake Lift services it 🤣, so they have the naming/difficulty association going there, lol!
The hardest green is Success, serviced by Carpenter Express and Sterling Express. It’s also the easiest way back from most of the mountain, so you want to ensure that you can handle Success before exploring too far. That’s where Little Baldy Mountain comes in handy.
The 22/23 season saw a 6-million dollar facelift to the bunny slopes. Wild West was re-graded for a smoother ride. The magic carpets were sequenced to get you farther up the mountain without taking a lift, and the first two lifts were re-worked. Snowflake was extended for a longer run and the Burns Lift was upgraded to a high-speed quad and re-routed to take you to a ridgeline with access to Deer Hollow. One aspect of the new Burns Express lift that is both notable and appealing to both beginners and parents alike, is that it is the first chairlift in North America equipped with automatic restraint bars.
From there, you can ski Deer Hollow down and take Mountaineer Express or Jordanelle Express back up Little Baldy Peak. Lather-rinse-repeat Deer Hollow and Gnat’s Eye until you feel ready to continue exploring, and then return to the base area via Little Stick. This massive upgrade not only gave instructors more teachable terrain, but it greatly enhanced the introductory skiing experience at Deer Valley.
Exploring Deer Valley on Greens
Deer Valley is a remarkable novice skiing resort because of its industry-leading grooming and because five out of six mountains and 19 of 21 lifts have beginner runs to the bottom. You should be fine if you avoid Empire and Mayflower lifts. You’ll want to take Carpenter Express up Bald Eagle Mountain and make a “graduation run” on Success to double-check your comfort. If you ski Success, you can ski all of Deer Valley on greens.
Your next stop is Bald Mountain (the highest peak in Deer Valley) via Silver Lake Express and Sterling Express. You’ll start on Homeward Bound but want to explore the Mid-Mountain runs around Bald Mountain and Flagstaff Mountain. Homeward Bound and Ontario crisscross when you’re ready to switch mountains or use Homeward Bound, McHenry, and Sultan Connector to form a nearly 3-mile continuous run down Bald Mountain. There’s plenty of fun to be had here, with food and drink available at Snowshoe Tommy’s and Cushing’s Cabin at the top of the peaks. Tommy’s is a basic warming hut café, but you can get limited lunch options at Cushing’s.
There is more creative and scenic green skiing on Bald and Flagstaff mountains than in most resorts, but the best is yet to come. The Lady Morgan Express is a hidden gem at Deer Valley because it’s remarkably efficient (i.e., steep) and accesses underutilized runs. You might even find a little stealth powder long after the last snowfall, which is virtually unheard of on traditional green runs.
You have two routes from Flagstaff Mt to Lady Morgan – Bandana to Walker (behind the Empire Canyon Lodge) or Blue Bell to Woodside(behind the Grand Lodge). They’re both fun, but there’s a little introductory section of blue trail on Blue Bell, which is the perfect way to make the first blue run of the day if you’re ready for it. You take Pearl down from the top of Lady Morgan and finish on Webster if you want to repeat or take Pearl to the Ruby Express Chairlift to exit the mountain.
You owe it to yourself to do a couple of laps on Lady Morgan because you’ll probably never find another green run like Pearl and Webster again. Plus, if you get your confidence up, you might want to challenge yourself on Dakota to see if you’re ready to start intermediate skiing.
Intermediate Runs at Deer Valley
Deer Valley, with its commitment to grooming excellence, is an ideal resort for intermediate skiers looking to hone their skills. Start your day taking Carpenter Express up Bald Eagle Mountain for a couple of warm-up runs while you’re close to the ski shop. The sequence of blues off Success (Last Chance, Dew Drop, Little Kate) are particularly user-friendly routes through million dollar ski homes.
If everything checks out, make your way up Silver Lake Express, down Trainer, and up Quincy Express to the top of Flagstaff Mountain. There’s a progressive series of four intermediate runs along the Northside Express Lift, each one slightly more challenging than the next. Start on Hawkeye, one of the resort’s most forgiving blues, before moving on to Sidewinder and Lucky Star. By the time you make it down Lost Boulder, you’re nearly following the lift down.
There’s nothing wrong with exploring Deer Valley on blues and looking for a little off-piste powder. Each canyon has a little different sun and wind exposure, so you might find some real gems. If you want local knowledge of hidden powder stashes with a primer on resort history and terrain overview, here is the secret scoop. Deer Valley offers twice daily complimentary intermediate-level mountain host tours at 10:00 and 1:30, starting at the summit of Bald Eagle Mountain (top of Carpenter Express and Homestake).
If you’re looking to build advanced skills, like finishing your turns parallel, and are comfortable hockey stopping (and side-stepping if needed), here’s a solid progression to skiing blacks. Head over to Bald Mountain and test your mettle on the notorious advanced-intermediate run – Tycoon, before pointing your tips down Stein’s Way, a traditionally well-groomed black run that’s a perfect introduction to advanced terrain.
Expert Skiing at Deer Valley
When I was younger, I was a “cajones” over technique girl, banging out bumps and ripping through trees with GNR blasting on my Walkman –You know where you are??? You’re in the jungle baby! You’re going to die!!!! Luckily, I lived through that stage (youth is wasted on the young), and, after a while, I learned to carve and sought out the steepest, gnarliest chutes I could find. It was Daly Chutes or bust back in the day if I was chilling at “The Valley” for the day.
With a few more turns under my belt, I learned to appreciate the breadth and depth of expert skiing at Deer Valley. Like, how they groom a couple of blacks every winter (hello, Stein’s Way) so you can practice carving at speed and how they glade the trees during the summer for amazing tree skiing (looking at you – Triangle Trees and Magnus). In fact, X-Files is such a long, steep, fun tree run you will not regret skiing past the Daly Chutes. Even dropping into the Ontario Bowl is just good clean fun.
However, a few things about the Deer Valley experience should really appeal to advanced skiers. First off, they’re complimentary (yes free!!) expert mountain host tours at 9:30 and 1:30. Looking for the low down on hidden powder stashes – check. Secret lines – check. They’ll hook you up while showing you the best of what the mountain offers. Want to try something new? Deer Valley has partnered with Rossignol to bring you the Rossignol High-Performance Test Center, where you can demo skis to find your perfect pair. Warning, it’s free, but you might find something you really love!
Wrapping up Skiing Deer Valley
Deer Valley has remarkable skiing, but it’s the “Deer Valley Difference” that turns ski trips into ski vacations. They will treat you like a guest from beginning to end with top notch rentals, reasonable lines, extraordinary dining, and industry leading grooming. There’s also enough diversity in the terrain to satisfy any skier in the group. Plus, if you are in a diverse ski group, you can use the “find a friend” features in the Deer Valley App to track each other and coordinate your activities, for mid-day meetups and apres-ski fun.
As always, the views and opinions expressed are entirely our own, and we only recommend brands and destinations that we 100% stand behind.
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Hi! We are Jenn and Ed 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.