Deer Valley, UT, Mar. 9, 2019, Ikon Effects 2018-19

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Deer Valley, UT, Mar. 9, 2019, Ikon Effects 2018-19

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:07 pm

Liz had not been to Deer Valley so she was looking for a chance to try it once it was on the Ikon Pass. I wanted to hold off because the warm weather we often get during Iron Blosam week would create very sloppy conditions at the Wasatch back ski areas.

Fortunately the ongoing snowfall has kept conditions nice over all of Utah, and the immediate prediction for our first ski day in Utah was for more new snow and likely serious crowd issues at many places. It was not a surprise that it took people 2-3 hours to get up LCC Saturday morning and we heard even Snowbasin had a 4-mile backup of cars getting into its parking lot.

Forewarned that Deer Valley was not immune to congestion issues this season, we reserved in advance, got parking in the second lot at 8:15AM, had our day ticket by 8:30 but then hunted for a table and waited 10 minutes to get breakfast, Eggs Benedict for me and a custom omelette for Liz. Liz’ friend Lisa was not so lucky. She arrived at 8:45, barely made it into Deer Valley’s last lot and had to wait nearly half an hour in the ticket line.

The 3 of us boarded Carpenter a bit after 9:30 and worked our way to the top of Bald Mountain by 10:00. We took a warmup on Tycoon to the Sultan lift before checking out the 5 inches of new snow in Mayflower Bowl. I stayed near the skier’s right boundary Mayflower Chutes but got a good picture of Liz and Lisa in Mayflower Bowl.
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There’s quite a bit of territory here to spread out the people, and the slow Mayflower lift was loading less than half its capacity. Nonetheless the subsurface of all the ungroomed was moguls and 5 inches was not enough to stay off them. Liz and Lisa got a more powdery first run than I did by staying off the steeper pitches. Fortunately with the ongoing snow and overcast we encountered zero melt/frozen snow, even on east facing Mayflower or low on the mountain.

We took 4 more laps here. Liz and Lisa are on Narrow gauge, Mayflower’s liftline,
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Next was Paradise, the run just right of center here.
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That pitch is mostly south facing but had more loose snow and fewer moguls so skied well.

I poked around the trees between a couple of the runs, but the aspens had a lot of low branches making fluid skiing difficult. Our final run from Mayflower was the groomed Stein’s Way, where we cut back to the Sultan lift to move on.

Deer Valley is noted especially in the new Ikon era of having selected runs with very high density. But we skied Wizard next to the Wasatch lift and it was nearly deserted. We then rode the short Crown Point lift and skied Sunrise and Kimberley through one of the housing areas and under two road bridges.

We soon reached Deer Hollow and the view over the base area.
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The full parking lots are just right of center.

We continued past the St. Regis hotel to the Mountaineer Express, which took us to the top of Jordanelle. Here are Lisa, Liz and the Jordanelle view.
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Just left of center you can see a road going up to a hilltop with buildings. Those are four mansions served by a private funicular, which is the diagonal line running below the left end of the houses.

When I first skied this with admin in January 2009 it was 100% firm manmade snow due to east exposure and the 6,570 foot base. But today it skied just like any other groomer, probably better as it had little traffic.

Riding up the Jordanelle gondola we get a good view of many more houses.
IMG_1028.JPG


After a fast groomer on Mountaineer we skied to the base, rode lifts up to Flagstaff and skied to Empire. From the top of Empire Lisa headed home for the day while I showed Liz the traverse to the Daly Chutes. I sent her down Daly Bowl which she liked. I pushed on the Daly chute just short of the major rock outcropping. The top few steep turns were packed very firm by traffic, but it soon opened out into softer snow. Looking back up:
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Looking across the hill in profile:
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Seeing wide openings in those trees I went in there from the top on my next run and found more powdery snow.

Liz had taken a break as she was getting cold, so I joined her in Empire Lodge just before 2PM, recommended time when the crush in DV restaurants eases up. We still had to hunt for a table which we shared with an Arizona couple. But we got our turkey chili and cheesecake with no wait. Based on our limited sample, Deer Valley’s food still maintained its reputation with us.

Rolling out of there almost 2:45 we didn’t have as much time as I thought for Lady Morgan, which closes at 3:00PM. We got one lap in, me on Argus, Liz on Magnet. These were soft moguls with good spacing.

From top of Lady Morgan, weather lifted a bit for some good overviews of Deer Valley. This view east is mostly real estate though the base areas of Flagstaff’s Northside and Silver Strike lifts are at center right.
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The St. Regis high rise is visible at distance left of center.

View SE, Bald Mountain highest point center left.
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The Ruby lift running up Flagstaff is directly above the Closed sign. The large building left of the sign is the relatively new Montage Resort. I recall seeing that under construction during the 2009 visit.

We also had a good zoomed view of the Daly Chutes.
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The Empire lift also closes at 3PM so there was a full maze on Ruby to exit this sector. It took less than 10 minutes, giving Liz and me time for one cruiser on Lost Boulder before the Flagstaff lifts closed at 3:45.

After a second ascent of Flagstaff we took the walk up to Ontario Bowl.
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This might have been another 10 minutes. I had only been there once in 2001 and didn’t remember much. But emerging from the trees much of the snow was very lightly tracked.
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In general the more skier’s right you went, the fewer tracks, but the runs got shorter dropping into the Ontario trail. Liz was fine with that. I pushed bit farther left, but from the Ontario trail lower down we could see longer lines emerging much farther skier’s left.

We skied to the base via Solid Muldoon and were on the road by 4:30. After a couple of stops we got to Iron Blosam around 6PM.

This was my seventh day at Deer Valley since 1986, and I remembered just enough to give Liz the survey tour with minimal congestion after spending the first several runs in Mayflower’s shallow but good quality powder. I skied 24,800 vertical and Liz was only one 1,300 Empire run short of that.

Lisa and her husband Andy get two Deer Valley days per season with their Snowbird pass. Andy says that’s just about right and I’m inclined to agree. Liz and Lisa were more enthusiastic, though I noted the day had been chosen for its excellent snow conditions.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Deer Valley, UT, Mar. 9, 2019, Ikon Effects 2018-19

Postby Sbooker » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:52 pm

Nice detailed report as usual Tony.

I'd be keen to get your opinion on whether the skier numbers are up this year over your whole week at Snowbird compared to the many previous corresponding weeks you've had there.
The reports of crowds is making me think of planning visiting other places next year despite Alta and Snowbird being favourites of ours.
We would try to avoid skiing weekends of course. We would attempt to leave Saturdays and Sundays for travel or off (tourist) days.

I'm looking forward to reading your reports on the powder days you've obviously enjoyed at Snowbird recently.
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Deer Valley, UT, Mar. 9, 2019, Ikon Effects 2018-19

Postby Marc_C » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:24 am

Sbooker wrote:I'd be keen to get your opinion on whether the skier numbers are up this year over your whole week at Snowbird compared to the many previous corresponding weeks you've had there.
The reports of crowds is making me think of planning visiting other places next year despite Alta and Snowbird being favourites of ours.

This year has been exceptional snowfall, particularly compared to last year - Alta is currently close to their 500" annual average and there's still lots of storms to come. Also, many of the big storm cycles this season occurred on or just before weekends, the latter being particularly conducive to Saturday crowding.
In short, right now it's far too early with far too little data to assess the impact of the Ikon pass to any reasonable degree.
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Deer Valley, UT, Mar. 9, 2019, Ikon Effects 2018-19

Postby Sbooker » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:43 pm

Marc_C wrote:
Sbooker wrote:I'd be keen to get your opinion on whether the skier numbers are up this year over your whole week at Snowbird compared to the many previous corresponding weeks you've had there.
The reports of crowds is making me think of planning visiting other places next year despite Alta and Snowbird being favourites of ours.

This year has been exceptional snowfall, particularly compared to last year - Alta is currently close to their 500" annual average and there's still lots of storms to come. Also, many of the big storm cycles this season occurred on or just before weekends, the latter being particularly conducive to Saturday crowding.
In short, right now it's far too early with far too little data to assess the impact of the Ikon pass to any reasonable degree.


The voice of reason.
Good point on the timing of the storm cycles being just before weekends. I didn't even consider that.
I'll try to confine ski days to mid week when I visit next season.
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Deer Valley, UT, Mar. 9, 2019, Ikon Effects 2018-19

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:47 pm

A Snowbird host said visits are way up from the poor snow year in 2017-18 but running about the same as the excellent 2016-17 season. At Snowbird Ikon passes have replaced some Mountain Collective and window sales.

Overall Ikon ski area visits are supposedly up 6% though not said over what baseline. If vs. last year I'd agree with the Snowbird host that it's mainly about the snow.

But impact varies by area. Solitude has extreme impact as the only unlimited Ikon area in Utah. Alta is up 3%, though again compared to what? 14% of Jackson ticket sales are Ikon, but probably much of that is coming from lower MCP and window sales like Snowbird. DV locals says that the former ticket limit of 6,500 has probably been raised to 9,000 or so.

So yes I agree with MarcC that it's early, but also that impact varies widely by area.

The end of season Kottke report on US skier visits will be interesting. I would not be surprised to see the record 60.5 million for 2007-08 and 2010-11 be broken. But I made the same prediction about the excellent 2016-17 season and it didn't happen then.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Deer Valley, UT, Mar. 9, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:20 pm

Here are some details from Alta: https://www.alta.com/blog/weighing-in-o ... n=12070695

I think it's fairly clear that for resorts on Mountain Collective, the Ikon is more of a replacement than an increment. Alta is not the only area I've read about season passholder visits being way up in the current good season vs. the prior bad one.

Jackson is a special case:
1) 2017-18 was above average there which probably drew a few people from places having poor seasons.
2) Jackson has strong underlying growth (close to doubling visits of the past 15 years) that is probably ongoing regardless of pass affiliation.

Areas NOT on a previous group pass program are the ones most affected. Solitude probably tops that list, followed by Deer Valley.

The RMSP areas in Colorado were mostly Intrawest before and now Ikon. I doubt there's much change other than the snow of course. I've read that Aspen is getting a bump from Front Rangers who didn't have it on RMSP but now do on Ikon.

The Boyne and Powdr Corp areas were all on the Max Pass. All of Boyne is now on Ikon, and I have the impression that it's noticeable at Big Sky. Powdr did not put all of its areas on Ikon, most conspicuously Mt. Bachelor.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Deer Valley, UT, Mar. 9, 2019, Ikon Effects 2018-19

Postby Sbooker » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:06 pm

So the same rules as before apply? That is avoid major holidays like Christmas, Presidents weekend etc. Try to avoid weekends where possible. And be willing to spend time getting away from the population centres to avoid crowds.
So you’re thinking that on an average snow year there shouldn’t be a big difference if skiing during the week?
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Re: Deer Valley, UT, Mar. 9, 2019, Ikon Effects 2018-19

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:58 pm

Weekends are always busier at any area daytrip distance to a metro area.. But it stands to reason that the bump from extra visits by local season passholders during good snow years is likely disproportionate on the weekends.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10091
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Deer Valley, UT, Mar. 9, 2019, Ikon Effects 2018-19

Postby tseeb » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:21 pm

Ben Solish and I debated whether to go to Deer Valley or Snowbird on 3/9 as we both had Ikon passes with reservations for Deer Valley. Snowbird was our decision as not only did it mean deeper new snow, it meant no driving after skiing and he got to ski with friends who were there that day. But we didn't know it meant sitting on Wasatch Blvd on the merge after Bengal for almost two hours as LCC opening was pushed back from 8 to 8:30 on a powder Saturday. Our 15 miles trip took 3 hours, leaving Murray at 7:25. Since we were staying at Iron Blosam that night at least we did not have to worry about parking as we got hangtag and closest non-handicapped space to entrance at Iron Blosam.

I skied Deer Valley on Wed 3/6/2019, arriving about 10 AM after driving from Evanston, WY and taking care of some business I could not in Jackson at a credit union in Kimball Junction and FedEx in Park City. We joined two lines of cars that were parking in lot 1 between rows going the other way so we had short walk through tunnel to skiing. I tried getting my wife's Ikon ticket, but they said passholder needed to be there. At least line was short. It was a unusually warm morning and lower elevations in UT received some r--n including at the ~7,650' base of Sultan according to lift operator. We had wet snow and there were a couple of inches on it on top of the groomed runs that skied well.

We rode Carpenter and Sterling lift (with short run in between) and skied long double-blue Tycoon then rode Sultan and skied Stein's Way which is double-blue at top and bottom and black in the middle. My wife enjoyed the steeper middle that had great snow, but really did not like the limited visibility on top. I did find a slow sticky area near snowmaking machine at bottom, but snow was generally very good. Next time up we skied to Silver Lake Lodge where my wife went in to dry out. I look a lap on Ontario Bowl, making the hike, but did not find new snow that deep or run very long. I joined my wife in the lodge to share the food she'd bought. The chili was great, but grilled cheese and cookie where not that sprecial seemed overpriced.

My wife was not ready to go back out so I went to Empire for two laps. First was under the chair on Conviction where new snow was tough as it was not that deep or smooth and visibility was limited. I enjoyed some of Solace lower down more. Next lap I skied Daly Bowl as chutes were closed. Some of it was good, with a few inches new, but it was inconsistent. On my way back to Silver Lake Lodge, I twice skied Ontario Bowl using a traverse from Hidden Treasure. While I missed the very top (and the hike), that entry made it easier to get to longer lines to skiers left that Tony Crocker mentioned above.

My wife came out for one more lap on Sterling and enjoyed the 4" of new snow on top of groomed on Nabob and Little Reb. After riding short Homestake, we skied Muldoon although my wife followed me on a traverse into steep Wild Bill. We quit a little early which gave us time to check-in my motel near the airport for my wife to re-pack and get organized for her flight home. While she didn't have much skiing on the last day of her trip, she did get three great days at Big Sky and three more good days at Jackson Hole with a snowmobile ride from W Yellowstone to Old Faithful and back in between. At Deer Valley, my watch counted 15 runs/14.1K

Added some pictures from my phone. If I find anything good on my camera, I'll add those.
Attachments
7090OntarioBowlHike.JPG
My only hike into Ontario Bowl was about 11:15 and there were only a couple tracks ahead of me
7091OntarioBowl.JPG
7093DalyBowl.JPG
Daly Bowl
7094OntarioBowl.JPG
This is Ontario Bowl in early afternoon when I got to it from Hidden Treasure
7095OntarioBowl.JPG
7097IkonDeerValley.JPG
So far Crystal, a late addition to Ikon, and Deer Valley are only places I've been with my Ikon that were not direct to lift
Last edited by tseeb on Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:33 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Deer Valley, UT, Mar. 9, 2019, Ikon Effects 2018-19

Postby Marc_C » Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:36 pm

tseeb wrote:I joined my wife in the lodge to share the food she'd bought. The chili was great, but grilled cheese and cookie where not that sprecial seemed overpriced.

Although the chili is excellent, the real trick with DV lodge food is to avoid all the regular staples that you can get at any ski hill, like grilled cheese and burgers. Go for the slightly more unique items, like the elk shepard's pie or the taco trio or the sauteed salmon or the made to order pasta or....
-marc
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