2003 Number 2 Resort in North America: Deer Valley, Utah

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Deer Valley Resort Guide 1001 Pic J

Even though it was voted down a notch, coming in at No. 2 this season, Deer Valley still basks in Olympic glory. By hosting the slalom, aerial and moguls competitions, one reader says, "Deer Valley showed the world during the Olympics that it deserves its accolades." Skiers everywhere should be grateful to Deer Valley for showing other resort owners how to coddle customers. That's why it once again ranks No. 1 in Grooming and Service. "From the time you unload until you head home, you are treated with a smile and the best service I have ever seen," says an enthusiastic fan. "I hope they have Deer Valley in heaven," says another. "I love being treated like Bill Gates." If there's a rub, that's it. "Bring a fat wallet: $22.50 for lunch!" is a typical gripe. Owner Edgar Stern is a stickler for commitment: Almost every top manager has been here since the resort opened in 1971. And the commitment to keeping boarders off the best corduroy in North America is as deeply a part of the Stern manifesto as limiting ticket sales to the number of visitors who can comfortably sit down for lunch at the resort's "fabulous food and fabulous service" restaurants. Maybe hosting the hip Olympic freestyle events will help change Deer Valley's image as "a country club for aging yuppies and Baby Boomers." -Fred R. Smith

WHAT'S NEW High-speed quad replaces the fixed-grip Ruby chair; new restaurant in the former McHenry's in the Silver Lake Lodge.

A GOOD DEAL Free ski-check anytime at Silver Lake and at Snow Park, where $5 gets you an overnight hot wax.

MEDALS GOLD Snow, Grooming, Lifts, Service, Weather, Access, On-Mountain Food, Lodging, Dining, Family Programs; SILVER Terrain, Challenge, Après, Off-Hill Activities, Scenery.

HIGH/LOW RANK Grooming (1), Service (1), Access (1), On-Mountain Food (1); Challenge (41), Terrain Parks (52), Value (53).

DON'T MISS Grab an Experts Only trail map and race to Empire Canyon on any powder day to conquer Daly's Chutes. Top off the morning with the famous turkey chili at the new on-mountain Empire Lodge.

READER REMARKS (+) "Hands down the best service anywhere." "Vail may be larger, but Deer Valley has everything else." (-) "Boring for expert skiers." "No boarding. Lighten up and let the world in."

Great Lodging Deals here.