Deer Valley Skiing Terrain

Deer Valley Skiing Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
Deer Valley Trail Map
  • Vertical (ft)
    6,570 – 9,570 (3,000)
  • Average Snow Fall
    300 inches
  • Lifts (21)
    1 Gondola
    13 High Speed Quads
  • Ski Season
    Early Dec to Mid April
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 103
    Longest run – 1.8mi
    Beginner - 27%
    Intermediate - 31%
    Advanced - 10%
    Expert - 32%

Deer Valley Skiing Terrain

Ski Deer Valley Utah for some of the finest fall line intermediate runs to be found at a ski resort. The layout of the Deer Valley skiing is somewhat unconventional because the 2,026 acres (820 hectares) of terrain is spread across six mountains. Officially there is 3,000 feet of vertical, but it is not possible to ski the vertical continuously as there is a “big dip” in the middle of the ski area. Getting across the different mountains takes a bit of time and multiple lifts, but the signage to aid orientation is impeccable. The main base is at Snow Park, and there are also many facilities and chair lifts at the mid-mountain Silver Lake area.

The Deer Valley ski resort has terrain for all ability levels but it is not particularly well suited to experts because the choice of terrain is somewhat limited.

Needless to say the most obvious thing about Deer Valley skiing is the lack of snowboarders. Die-hard Deer Valley advocates will espouse the many benefits of a true “ski resort”: the runs seem less crowded and safer because skiers snake in smaller arcs; the bumps are beautifully rounded instead of being really long and oval-shaped; and the lift queues move easily with everyone pointing their snow equipment forward. It’s amusing to ask a Deer Valley regular why a skier-only resort is better, although be warned that the discussion might go on for a long time!

Deer Valley Lifts

Deer Valley Resort has 21 lifts which are well placed and result in a consistent fall line and minimal traversing. Many of the lifts are express quad chairs. There is only one gondola and it only services one run and it’s primarily for access for day trippers parking at the Jordanelle base.

Lift Tickets

Lift ticket prices are up there as the most expensive in the USA, but plenty of skiers think it’s worth spending the extra dollars to ski Deer Valley. They even charge young children for a lift ticket, which is somewhat unusual. In order to ensure there is no over-crowding, lift ticket sales are supposedly limited each day but some of the recent crowds would suggest that the daily cap is much higher than it used to be. The exorbitant prices used to be worth it when the slopes were minimally trafficked and the grooming was exceptional, but now for those prices there are other ski resorts you could visit with better snow and bigger and more varied terrain. Naturally if you’re there for the full Deer Valley ski vacation experience, then lift pass prices are neither here nor there for you.

You can ski Deer Valley for a restricted number of days on the Ikon Pass. As with standard lift tickets, you’d be wise to make a reservation to guarantee access.

Deer Valley Snow

Deer Valley has the lowest average annual snowfall of the Utah ski resorts, although it still receives a very respectable 300 inches (7.6 metres). The powder that falls is generally dry but the elevation of Deer Valley is lower than that of many other Utah resorts, and the powder can get a little heavy after a couple of days.

A whopping 36 percent of the terrain has the cover topped up with artificial snow. The grooming used to be world renowned, but these days, the resort seems to do less and less.

With the terrain spread across various mountains, the runs have a variety of aspects although the slopes are mainly northeast to northwest facing. The groomer off the Lady Morgan Express chair is east facing and can have sub-par snow quality. Ditto for the groomer to the Jordanelle day base area that goes down to an elevation of only 6,570 feet.

Deer Valley Skiing for the Beginner

First-timers and novices generally hang out on the Wide West run near the Snow Park base. The run is protected on either side by two chairlifts and has a very gentle slope. There is a reasonable jump to the next progression which is any of the green runs off most of the mountains at Deer Valley. All these runs are slow zones, which is necessary as most of them have blue or black runs feeding into them. A “dark green” run only suitable for confident beginners is the Bandana off the top of Flagstaff Mountain.

Ski Deer Valley for Intermediates

Deer Valley is absolute heaven for the intermediate with blue runs galore on awesome steep fall-line groomers (check the grooming report to see what’s been groomed). The distinction between blue and double blue runs allows for easy progression of skills on steeper slopes. Big Stick on Bald Eagle Mountain may be a bit hair-raising for lower level intermediates, but is fabulous fun for more experienced skiers. Sometimes black runs are also groomed, including Champion and Know You Don’t, which seems somewhat ironic considering it was the Olympic mogul run. High end intermediate and advanced skiers alike will enjoy hooning down these slopes.

For intermediates wanting to get off piste, the area between the groomed runs on Northside can be a bit of fun for powder exploration.

Terrain Park

Deer Valley isn’t renowned for being able to cater to the freestyler well. In the past they used to build a small terrain park for intermediates, but now they don’t bother trying to compete with Park City Resort or Woodward.

Advanced Skiing Deer Valley

Bald Mountain is one of the best areas for advanced skiers. Off the Mayflower lift are potential mogul runs on traditional piste. Those wanting to explore the steep ungroomed powder should head to the north-facing slopes of Bald Mountain where there are fabulous gladed areas. The Empire Express provides various black runs which are typically open at the top and continue down to glades. There are also various glades to explore on Flagstaff Mountain. The Lady Morgan chair also has some very good advanced terrain.

In terms of true off-piste terrain, there isn’t a lot because either it’s been gladed or there are roads and condos that limit access to terrain.

Expert Deer Valley Skiing

Deer Valley desperately tries to promote themselves as having expert terrain, and whilst they do have expert terrain, it is rather minimal so experts would only be entertained until 10:30am after which they’d need to head for early après ski drinks. There are a few double black glades across the mountain that are somewhat challenging, but it is debatable as to whether they are worthy of double diamond status.

The most commonly talked about expert terrain is the Daly Bowl and Daly Chutes that require a traverse off the Empire Express through the trees. The snow quality in here is generally very good. The drop into the bowl can be challenging if a small cornice is present, and the trickiness of the chutes is dependent on how much snow cover there is. Chute 4 in particular can be very gnarly if there isn’t lots of snow.

Skiers’ left off the Lady Morgan chair has some challenging runs with trees and rock features and cliff-ettes for launching off, and the aspect makes for nice snow quality.

For the Powder Hound

Deer Valley is a good resort for powder hounds, but relative to other Utah ski resorts it lacks the snowfall, snow quality and range of terrain for advanced and expert skiers. With all experienced skiers fighting over the same small patch of snow, the chances of getting freshies all to yourself are rather slim.

Deer Valley is surrounded by private land, and this combined with safety considerations has lead to a prohibition on going out of bounds into the backcountry. It is considered a misdemeanor to go past rope lines into closed areas or out of bounds.