Deer Valley advertises a total vertical drop of 3,000 ft. Technically, this is true, and technically it
is false. It is true that the top of the highest lift, Empire Canyon, is 3,000 ft. above the base of
the lowest lift, the Jordanelle Gondola, but skiing from top to bottom requires riding at least three
lifts and more likely four unless you know the key to the most efficient route. The biggest drop
that can be skied without having to ride a lift is 2,400 ft., Stein’s Way, from the top of the Sultan
Chair to the base of Mayflower Chair (And then you have ride two lifts to get back to the top of
Deer Valley limits lift ticket sales. There are usually several days at Christmas week and
President’s Day when they sell out. Arrive too late, and you won’t get in. To assure yourself a
lift ticket, tickets can be reserved in advance by phone or purchased the day before after 3:00pm.
Season pass holders are not subject to the limit.
The parking lot isn’t big enough to hold all the cars that come on busy days. Overflow parking
spreads out on the nearby streets, but beware of the parking restrictions in some nearby
neighborhoods. The cops will give you a ticket. Alternatively, ride the free Park City bus from
your hotel, or park somewhere on the bus route, or stay at a place on the mountain or that
provides a skier shuttle. Parking is rarely a problem except on sunny weekends and at Christmas
and President’s Day.
Deer Valley runs a wagon with seats, and no springs, from the parking lot to the door of the
lodge. There are five parking lots, all in a row extending away from the lodge. The wagon stops
at all except Lot # 1, the closest. Facing the mountain, the wagon stop is to your right at the
gap in the orange rope marking the end of parking except in lot 5 where the wagon will stop
wherever you are along the wagon road. Note the lot number on the sign at the gap in the orange
fence so you know where to return to. On the return, signal the driver that you want to
disembark by holding your hand up above your head (but they usually stop at every lot because
not everybody knows this).
If you are renting a car, consider staying in nearby Heber Valley (Heber City and Midway)
where there are accommodations for all budgets at striking lower prices than comparable digs in
Park City. From Heber, it is 20-30 minutes to all three Park City resorts or to Sundance. The
road to Park City is a four lane expressway that is kept well clear of snow. In 10 years of living in
Heber City and driving to Deer Valley to ski five days a week, the worst road conditions I ever
encountered caused me to slow down to 45 mph. Be warned, there is no night life in Heber Valle,
but there are some good restaurants.
A warning to expert skiers: Deer Valley opened a new mountain, Lady Morgan, for the 2007-
2008 ski season. Lady Morgan is mostly expert terrain and is located on the side of Lady Morgan
Bowl opposite Empire Canyon. Lady Morgan Bowl now has chairs on each side of it, which
makes it tempting to ski down. Beware!! Lady Morgan Bowl is tricky. The Bowl has a funnel
shape, narrowing down into a gully at the base of the Bowl’s fall line. This gully looks tempting,
but you cannot se what is ahead. There is a dam and a reservoir across the gully. There is no
slope to the reservoir, so you walk across the surface. Winter is low water season, so when you
reach the dam, you have to climb the dam. Then Climb down the front of the dam, and resume
skiing. Before risking it, check with ski patrol to see if that’s still how it works.
If you go down Lady Morgan Bowl to the tree line and come to the signs that say easiest
way to your right, turn there. It is not all that easy, being a very narrow steep bumpy path
through the forest, but it beats climbing dams in ski boots.
Park City’s streets are grid locked during the Sundance Film Festival. It is best to stay on the
mountain or at one of the lodging establishments within walking distance or that has its own
shuttle bus to the base.