As much as I enjoy being back in Dallas, I already am longing to be back in Utah. If you had told me that I would go on a ski trip this year, I would have laughed and thought otherwise. In the midst of this pandemic, the idea of taking a vacation simply hasn’t crossed my mind as often in the last year. However, if the opportunity presents itself, why say no to a spontaneous escape?
After a year of staying mostly within the confines of my apartment walls, I readily said yes to this trip when my mom called me telling me that my uncle was planning a stay in Deer Valley and invited us to join. You can only put your life on hold for so long before you realize you are wasting precious time to live more meaningfully. Yes we wore masks while skiing and and when we dined out, but I would much rather wear a mask and see the world than stagnate on my sofa.
If it had been possible, we probably would have planned a trip to Europe before considering Utah, but in that sense, the world works in mysterious, yet beautiful ways. The pandemic has obliged us to appreciate our surroundings more and reinvigorated our curiosity to explore places we might otherwise overlook. And in retrospect, Deer Valley may be one of my favorite places I have visited to date. While not the most conventional destination, it is unparalleled in its breathtaking beauty. To breathe in the crisp, mountain air and feel snowflakes on your nose makes you aware of what beauty lies beyond city skylines. It was as though I was viewing the world from within a snow globe; it almost seemed surreal.
Just a few days in a change of climate is so refreshing and in a place like Deer Valley, you would be hard-pressed to find any reason to complain. So stunning is the little mountain community, that I struggle to narrow down exactly what made the stay so wonderful. That being said, for those who are curious, these were the highlights of the trip for me:
- Grappa Italian Restaurant: Oh my goodness, I can’t remember the last time I had a meal that was so exquisite. Growing up in an italian family, I am somewhat of an Italian food snob. It’s not my best quality, but when you take so much pride in your grandmother’s recipes, you’re not as quick to love restaurant food. However, Grappa’s intimate setting and charming facade instantly struck me as feeling like I was sitting at my great grandmother’s countertop as I watched her cook as a child. Every dish we ordered married Italian culinary tradition with local ingredients. Fresh focaccia, lobster ravioli, roasted beet salad, horseradish-crusted salmon, and pistachio adffogato were among the the highlights of the meal. Even as someone who isn’t a tiramisu fan, their take on the traditional Italian dessert was phenomenal.
- Skiing at Snow Park Lodge: Okay, so full disclosure, I had never skied before and I can’t say I took to it very naturally. Nestled into the mountainside and blanketed in fresh snow, Snow Park Lodge is everything you would imagine a ski lodge to be and so much more. You can’t help but want to spend your day watching skiers come down the mountain and take in the fresh air.
- The Montage at Deer Valley: Although we didn’t stay at the Montage, I would definitely recommend stopping by for lunch or dinner and exploring the resort because it has the best views of the landscape. We ate lunch at their Apex Restaurant and their food was divine. Their winter harvest salad featured the season’s best produce and their French fries are irresistibly crispy.
- St. Regis Mountain Terrace: If you have the opportunity, you should definitely considering taking the funicular up to the mountain terrace situated above the St. Regis. Like the Montage, the St. Regis boasts of picturesque views and has a lively atmosphere that is magnetic. We stopped by for an hour and ordered drinks and the most pillowy cookies from the kids menu. For all the fancy food you can eat on vacation, I have found time and again that the kids’ menu sometimes has the best food and this was no exception.
- Family Time: Nothing defines a trip more than the people you enjoy the experience with and my family made the trip so special. We are a close-knit bunch, but we don’t all live in the same place anymore, so I don’t take opportunities to spend time for granted. Tucked under blankets on the sofa and simply being in each other’s company was definitely my favorite part of the stay without a doubt. With the conditions of the pandemic and also due to the snow, we took the opportunity to cook some meals at our house and didn’t always worry about being all dressed up eager to get to the next destination on our itinerary. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything!
If you are considering planning a trip somewhere soon and want to know more about Deer Valley, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I cannot speak highly enough of this Utah treasure and am determined to visit it again in the future.