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Deer Valley

It’s unclear whether the reader was applauding or shaming Deer Valley with his comment that a vacation here is like “skiing in the lap of luxury.” No matter. Because it is clear that Deer Valley’s faithful fully embrace the resort’s pampering ethos, which is the basis of its repeat no. 1 ranking. Its consistent success is built from the bottom up, as “these guys understand how important it is to manage the details." To that end, the mountain crew coddles the snow as if each flake were a Fabergé egg. Not surprisingly, ripping down groomers is “like driving a Ferrari.” And more often than not, dining out is akin to visiting a four-star hotel. However, Deer Valley’s particular insight isn’t that service matters—that’s no secret—nor is it the fresh dill chèvre, nor the army of smiling ambassadors perpetually at the ready. The difference here is the sincere business belief that attitude and effort trump all. Yes, that’s the president of the resort stopping to reunite you with your skis after a tumble in the Centennial glades. To be sure, Deer Valley’s top ranking—fueled by setting the standard in Grooming, Service, Dining and Lodging—peeves alpine purists, who would rather measure a mountain’s success in vertical feet skied and toenails blackened. Fair enough. On the other hand, “this is a resort that perfectly knows its niche.” There's no shame in that. —Greg Ditrinco

Off-the-Map Trail » Venture into the unmarked X-Files glades. Go left off the Empire Express and follow Orion as it slides by Daly Bowl and the Daly Chutes. The trees—and the conspiracies— thicken on your left. Drop in.

Après Spot » Ride the Funicular from Snow Park Lodge up to the St. Regis Deer Valley and head to the Terrace Café’s outdoor patio. The views are spectacular, and we’ll let you see for yourself how the Garden of Fire got its name.

Don’t Miss » Fireside Dining at the Empire Canyon Lodge is one of those experiences you take home. Dishes from the Alps are served from five stone fireplaces as you circulate from hearth to hearth, wondering why you would ever want to leave.

Utah's Homestead Crater

Utah's Homestead Crater
Utah Crater
Explore Homestead Crater in Midway, near Park City, the hot-spring pools inside a 55-foot-high beehive-shaped limestone dome formed from mineral deposits thousands of years ago.

 

Snow Park Restaurant

Snow Park Restaurant
deer valley cafeteria
Deer Valley goes all out in every aspect of their resort, including their fabulous cafeteria.

Deer Valley’s gourmet approach to dining begins with this base lodge cafeteria. At the Snow Park Restaurant, you can get made-to-order homemade cinnamon challah French toast drizzled with banana butter and Vermont maple syrup or a house-smoked salmon omelet. Grab a quick bowl of homemade granola or Irish oatmeal from the Natural Breakfast Buffet, or linger over hearty huevos rancheros. For lunch, try the house special enchiladas, made with roasted butternut squash, shiitake mushroom, anasazi beans, and corn or chicken, cheese and cilantro. On a budget?

Best Breakfast Joints

Best Breakfast Joints
Flickr
Lunch at the resorts is often expensive, unsatisfying and crowded. And it eats into your slope time. Go big before the lifts open at these must-try breakfast joints.

Dutch Pancake Café, Stowe, Vt. More than 80 varieties of foot-wide Nederlandse pannekoeken (Dutch pancakes) are flipped out of traditional Dutch skillets onto breakfast plates at this hospitable spot in the Grey Fox Inn. Like them sweet? Try the maple walnut. Savory? Italian sausage, mushrooms and onions are cooked right in. greyfoxinn.com

Ski Country's Finest Wines

Ski Country's Finest Wines
The Wine Vault
Pair your Park City vacation with a selection from St. Regis Deer Crest's Wine Vault.

The St. Regis Deer Crest is profiting from Park City’s newly loosened liquor laws, and its guests will do the same when they pull up a barstool or slide into a red leather banquette inside the hotel’s Wine Vault this season. The vault stores more than 5,000 select bottles of wine from around the world, and a light-fare menu helps guests find the right pairing—from charcuterie to rare cheeses—to make the most of each glass. Or partake in the St. Regis Cognac Ritual, a flight of assorted cognacs served alongside housemade chocolate truffles.

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