Deer Valley, Utah: Rank 5 West, 1997


Deer Valley is a feast for the senses¿and you're the guest of honor. Start the day by enjoying 1,100 acres of primarily cruising terrain, perfectly groomed by a fleet of snowcats that smooth, buff and roll all night. No wonder Deer Valley is the top-rated resort for grooming. As one reader says: "I was afraid to fall¿I might get the snow dirty." But don't be misled. Deer Valley, up from No. 8 last year, also offers plenty of thrills: 20 expert runs and¿new this season¿200 acres of expert glade skiing. Not hard-core enough? Try the Daly Chutes (accessed by snowcat and guide), which vary in pitch from 38 to 50 degrees. Though Deer Valley is famous (and rated No. 1) for its exceptional service¿heated sidewalks,complimentary ski valets and storage¿it's also blessed with natural resources: a 2,200-foot vertical and 300 inches of annual snowfall. Now that the area is welcoming snowboarders, the Deer Valley feast will be merrier than ever¿or a food fight, depending on your point of view. With the lunch choices at the Snow Park base lodge, it's amazing anyone returns to the hill. For dinner, you can't go wrong in Deer Valley, especially at the Glitretind. Later, settle into a plush bed at the Euro-styled Stein Eriksen or Goldener Hirsch lodges. If you're looking for nightlife, head to nearby Park City. As with anything exceptional, Deer Valley will cost you. Says one reader: "Bring money."

What's New A triple chair to the summit of Flagstaff Mountain; 200 new acres of glade skiing; expansion of the Silver Lake Lodge; an even bigger and better snowcat fleet.
A Good Deal Three nights lodging and lift tickets at the Snow Park Village; $119/night, Dec. 6-17; $136/night, Jan. 4-14;(800) 424-DEER.
Medals Gold Snow Quality, Grooming, Lifts, Service, Weather, Accessibility, On-Mountain Food, Lodging, Dining; Silver Terrain, Off-Hill Activities, Family Programs.
High/Low Rank Grooming, Service, On-Mountain Food,Dining (1); Value (72).
Don't Miss The seafood buffet at the Mariposa. Go in hungry.
Reader Remark "Great customer service and attention to detail." "Expensive. It's like being in a city, without the smog."