Deer Valley, Utah: Rank 2 West, 1998

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If it's sheer luxury you're after, Deer Valley delivers. Its No. 2 ranking (up from No. 5) is earned by an unwavering dedication to the finer traits of mountain living. Upon arrival at the Snow Park Lodge, attendants unload your equipment and guide you to the ticket window. At lunch, valets help you click out of your skis and then store them. Such are the amenities that earn the resort the No. 1 rating in Service, not to mention Grooming, On-Mountain Food and Dining. Skiing doesn't get any more comfortable than this. "The service is always impeccable, and the food is out of this world!" a reader says. But beneath the posh exterior lies a mountain with grit. The 3,000 feet of vertical and 1,750 acres of terrain spread over four mountains has blue boulevards for novices, as well as enough chutes, bumps and bowls to satisfy the experts. Take Mayflower lift for a loop through the chutes to Mayflower Bowl and then into the bumps of Morning Star or Fortune Teller. At the end of the day, curl up with a book at Stein Eriksen's Lodge (it's where Madonna and Rodman stayed), or head to The Mariposa in the Silver Lake Lodge for culinary delights that perennially earn high marks from Zagat's. You'll pay dearly for the deluxe Deer Valley experience, but if luxury is your vice, this is the place. As one reader says: "The Taj Mahal of resorts. I didn't mind spending the money."

What's New Two new areas¿Deer Crest and Empire Canyon; Deer Crest adds 60 acres serviced by a four-passenger gondola; at Empire Canyon, a fixed-grip quad and a high-speed quad open up 500 acres of moderate terrain, as well as 10 chutes and three bowls for advanced skiers.
A Good Deal The $40 seafood buffet at Snow Park Lodge is a relative deal at this ritzy resort.
Medals Gold Grooming, Service, Food, Dining, Access, Lodging, Lifts, Weather; Silver Challenge, Terrain, Family, Snow, Après-Ski, Off-Hill Activities.
High/Low Rank Grooming (1), Service (1), Food (1), Dining, (1); Value (76).
Don't Miss The free guided tours of the mountain, available in the morning and afternoon for all levels of skiers.
Reader Remarks "What wonderful luxury. First-class mountain in every way." "Terrain isn't challenging.Too expensive and ritzy for my blood¿give me the rawthrill of Alta!"