Deer Valley, Utah
It's the medal case that grabs me when I walk into the Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley Resort. In the lobby of this luxurious mountain aerie, where I expect to encounter the inevitable crests of AAA, Mobil and Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report, I'm always arrested by the expansive display of ornate medals, trophies and cups. It's a Norwegian knight's ransom of gold, silver and pewter that culminates with Eriksen's 1952 Olympic gold and silver medals. What's even more extraordinary is that the legend's aggressive medal collecting ended nearly half a century ago. In the time since, Eriksen has been a great influence on American skiing and now steals the show at Deer Valley Resort. On any day, you can spot the distinctive mane of this Bogner-clad icon on the slopes.
Like many guests, I have skied "with" Stein, only to watch him vanish down Stein's Way. Fast as he still is, now it is his namesake lodge that earns the medals. The Lodge is Deer Valley for many cognoscenti, because it takes the resort's institutionalized, over-the-top hospitality and raises it to greater heights. Perched at mid-mountain, its location is superb. Inside, you have this uber European hostelry, with rooms done in Spanish pine, Italian chandeliers and hand-made Portuguese tiles. What makes it all work, of course, is a staff that evokes Swiss hotel-school precision. Stein himself carries on the distinctly European tradition of sportsman hotelier, unheard of in the U.S., where hotels are usually managed by corporate drones. I can't think of a more appropriate place to toast the newest round of Olympic medal winners next winter.
LOCATION The ski-in/ski-out Lodge is just 40 miles (45 minutes) from Salt Lake City International Airport.
DETAILS There are 129 rooms, including 51 suites. There's a heated outdoor pool, hot tub, sauna and fitness room, and three award-winning restaurants: Glitretind, Valhalla, Bald Mountain Deck Grille. By spring of 2001, it will have added another 50 units, an Olympic Conference Facility, a new spa, ski lockers and skating rink.
DIGITS Rates run $525-$2,475. Reservations: 800-453-1302 or 435-649-3700; www.steinlodge.com.
This article appeared in the November 2000 issue.