Though a day full of screenings sounds delightful, no one is going to judge if you want to squeeze a day of skiing into your Sundance trip. As the festival is surrounded by myriad resorts (truly, it's a skier's delight), it would be remiss not to escape to the mountains for a run or five. We chose to focus on Deer Valley for its proximity, accessibility for skiers at every level—of its 100+ runs, about a third are beginner (green), a third medium (blue), and a third difficult (black diamond)—, and its history: the resort hosted events during the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. And, we have to admit, we're a fan of the ease of the place. This is a resort that hands out tissues at every lift, and hot chocolate when it's especially nippy. It's the little things, you know?
With that in mind, we talked with Jill Johnson, a Mountain Host at Deer Valley, for her expert opinion on the five runs you can't miss at the resort. Johnson began skiing Deer Valley on the very day it opened in 1981, continued throughout her ski career, and now teaches her children to ski on the same terrain that inspired her. She adores the mountain and its varied trails, especially its hero moguls. And it's truly a family affair for Johnson: she lives for powder days with her dad, après-ski drinks with her husband, and any ski day with her children. Here, she shares her top five favorite runs on the mountain.
1. For Those Looking to Get Their Ski Legs Back
Don't miss Mayflower Bowl. Located on the northeast side of Bald Mountain, the natural curves of the bowl facilitate turns and ease you back into the skiing groove. This gently sloping run is Johnson's absolute favorite area to ski the day after a big snowfall.
2. For the Adrenaline Junkie
Hit up chute four of the Daly Chutes, if you dare. This is the steepest, most advanced run that Deer Valley has to offer. With an extremely narrow fall line, this run is the ultimate challenge. Plus, Johnson notes, if you can make it up there, the view from the top is pretty spectacular.
3. For Those in Need of a Good, Cruiser Run
Head on over to Star Gazer. Always groomed, with just the right amount of hills to get your momentum going, Star Gazer is a true feel-good run. Johnson calls it a "glorious groomer": the perfect run to fly through.
4. For the Young Ones (or Young at Heart)
Bucky's Backyard & Ruby's Tail might be the most delightful spots on the mountain. These are two of Deer Valley's Children's Adventure Zones, filled with trails to zoom through the trees with little jumps along the way.
5. For the Mogul Maniac
If you can't get enough moguls, Peeler is the run for you. Located off Flagstaff Mountain, Peeler is a double blue, covered in bumps and valleys. If you're game, Johnson notes, Peeler is "a great way to get your legs burning!"
To purchase tickets, book lodging, and make rental arrangements, see deervalley.com.