DEER VALLEY, UTAH, April 10, 2014 – Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley is celebrating its 32nd anniversary as a singularly unique ski resort experience. Located at the base of Bald Mountain and the centerpiece of the Deer Valley Resort area, Stein Eriksen Lodge practically invented the notion of the integrated high class destination ski resort.
Over the years this has made Deer Valley a world class retreat for the well-heeled and the glitterati. This ski in/ski out European style mountain resort enjoys widespread recognition as Utah’s only Forbes Five-Star hotel and spa.
The Stein Eriksen has an old school elegance that reeks of discretion and class, posh but not garishly opulent, comfortably plush furniture in warm surroundings, an outpost of gentile serenity in a beautifully crafted spacious mountain lodge. The lodge itself is a crested circle of 180 unique and distinctive rooms and suites that are frequently more like more villas than anything else.
At the apex of the property is the Main Lodge with cathedral ceilings, massive stone fireplaces, the Troll Hollen lounge, the amazing Glitretind restaurant, and a large wraparound open deck overlooking the ski lifts.
Ten exquisite rooms and suites with balconies and stone fireplaces, all of which are spectacularly located overlooking the ski slopes of Deer Valley Resort, surround the lobby on the upper floors.
The lodge was named after the great Norwegian 1952 Olympic ski champion Stein Eriksen, who was a daily fixture in the hotel and on the mountain for decades. Still a spry 86 years old, the legacy he has helped create here is a lasting tribute to his impact, and mesmerizing video of his heyday are staples of the in room cable TV screensaver.
A full service ski center attends to your every alpine need, the sense of ease is palpable, and the slope side location is not just dreamy, but otherworldly.
The hotel rooms off the main lodge could not be more stunning or romantic, with high ceilings, sumptuous bedding and linens, gorgeous furnishings and sitting areas with rustic stone fireplaces, exceptional balconies, and a large picture window looking out onto the surrounding mountains and ski slopes. As evening approaches the very lovely sleigh driver Riley pulls her horse and sleigh up just below our balcony to take hotel guests on a twilight ride through the snow.
It has been snowing for days and there is a foot of fresh powder on the mountain. Deer Valley Resort is one of Americas finest ski destinations, and it is ski only, one of the few mountains that does not allow snowboarding. Its groomed slopes are well known for being impeccable. With fresh daily powder over the course of three days the challenging double blue and black runs off the top of Bald Mountain, especially Tycoon and Steins Way, are a sheer joy and delight.
Skis and boots are from Black Tie Ski Rentals, a concierge ski rental service who fit the equipment in the hotel room, store them with the hotel, and pick them up when the trip is over. Known for their personalized service and equipment, in this case some new Atomic 176 parabolic skis, Black Tie Ski Rentals is wildly popular at resorts from Telluride to Aspen to Park City.
At the end of a long day of outrageous skiing nothing soothes the soul like a couples massage. The Spa at Stein Eriksen Lodge is a 23000 square foot award winning luxury emporium of customized treatments and services, including a complete salon. Relax and indulge the senses, soothing days of mountain abuse with an excellent massage in beautiful surroundings, and be sure to try out some of their quite impressive beauty products.
Dinner at the fine dining restaurant Glitretind is a fabulous array of sumptuous culinary delights. Still dazzling diners after 13 years, Executive Chef Zane Holmquist has always sought to provide seasonal menus that employ locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. Seared foie gras is brilliant, crisply textured, perfectly cooked, and a Pacific Tuna Escabeche is outstanding.
Quinoa Crusted Golden Mullet with Okinawa sweet potato is simply fabulous in a tangy Meyer lemon emulsion.
A Flowers Sea View Ridge Estate 2010 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a lovely accompaniment to the exquisite Rocky Mountain Elk Tenderloin. Plenty of places serve game, but Glitretind serves haute cuisine, and never more so than with this succulent elk loin in a Utah honey vinegar gastrique.
Portions are substantive but still petite, more a series of smaller plates that create a true fine dining experience in a setting that is glowingly romantic. The hours swirl by in the firelight before retreating to the room upstairs and our own romantic cozy fireplace for the night as the snow falls outside.
The morning comes and, wistfully, it is time to leave the legendary Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley. Walking through the Main Lodge to meet friends for lunch, suddenly there he is, the legendary Stein Eriksen himself, casually dressed in a powder blue sweat suit.
His blue eyes still sparkle like diamonds, his snow white hair is full, and he is amiable, friendly and flirty with the girls, still a glowing presence at age 86. In a showcase nearby are a lifetime of his ski trophies and awards. All around him is the lasting legacy of his life, the stunning ski slopes of Deer Valley Resort, and 32 years as the namesake of this magical world class 5 star mountaintop retreat.
Rooms start at around $800 a night during peak ski season, and as low as $225 a night in the summer.
Deer Valley information: www.deervalley.com
Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles.
All photos by Alison Reynolds