Grab your skis, because Deer Valley Resort’s Opening Day is just around the corner. In the meantime, we caught up with Director of Mountain Operations, Steve Graff, for the inside scoop on skiing in beautiful Deer Valley this winter season.
It’s already a winter wonderland out there! Your snowmaking team must be working very hard.
We have been incredibly productive. We’re looking better than we were last year. We’re gotten an early start on it, and are ahead of schedule. We’ll continue to make snow, and have more runs ready for Opening Day [December 8th].
For Stein’s owners and guests in particular, we tripled our capacity to make snow right out front of the Lodge, and we brought snowmaking all the way to the top of Viking Chair. Before, we had to run a hose from Sterling. Now, by installing this new snowmaking line, we’re able to capitalize on that cooler weather, and make more snow in a shorter period of time.
Additionally, it has been determined by the Utah Division of Water Quality that snowmaking is a noncumsumtive use, becuase over 85% of water used for snowmaking actually melts and goes right back into the ponds.
What’s new this year?
We are working on Homestake Lift, and we are very hopeful and confident that it will be open by Opening Day. We replaced an old quad that went about 300 ft/min with a new high speed quad that will run about 900 ft/min. The ride from Silver Lake to Bald Eagle will now be under 3 minutes.
We continue to replace a number of our snowmaking installations with energy-efficient snowmaking guns. We are making a lot of behind the scenes energy-efficient upgrades around the resort.
We also got four new snowcats! All of our snowcats are Tier-4, and the emissions that come out of our diesel snowcats are almost non-existent now. You can actually wipe your finger in the inside of the exhaust stacks, and there’s nothing.
What are you personally most excited about this year?
I’m excited for snow. We’re due for another snowy year. I’m excited about World Championships. This is the largest event outside of the Olympics that this area has ever seen, and we’re very excited about that.
Do you have a favorite trail or a favorite lift?
Yes, but it varies. One of my favorite things about skiing, and why I’ve done it a hundred plus days a year for over 25 years now, is it’s always different. I absolutely love it. The mountain is such a dynamic place, and it changes all the time. A favorite for me on a sunny day is Solid Muldoon, on the lower mountain. I like its multi-pitches and flat spots in between. I like the way it undulates. My favorite place to ski on a powder day is anywhere in the Sultan area- lots of vertical, really good tree skiing, good opens shots. Everyone runs towards Empire, and I go the other way to Sultan/ Mayflower. I like Stargazer in the morning, when the sun shines on it, and it softens up just a little bit.
Deer Valley is consistently ranked one of the top ski resorts in the country and in the world. Why do you think this is?
It’s the people that work here. It’s our staff. In the beginning, the vision was set by the Sterns. When Edgar Stern decided to create a ski resort and operate it more like a luxury hotel, he laid the groundwork for that vision. For us as staff, it is incredibly easy to get who we are and what our mission is, because that hasn’t wavered since our opening day 38 years ago. It’s all about customer service, anticipating our guests needs, delivering the highest quality product and experience that we possibly can. When that doesn't change year to year, day to day, it just builds on itself. So the staff is how we do it.
For more information about Deer Valley Resort, visit the website here.
Additionally, our concierge is alway happy to answer any questions and help you book your ultimate ski vacation. 435-645-6460