The Deer Valley torchlight parade is a unique tradition
Deer Valley’s annual torchlight parade is unlike similar events because it isn’t scheduled for Christmas or New Year’s Eve.
“We’re a little different, because we do it on Dec. 30,” said Emily Summers, Deer Valley’s senior communications manager. “The torchlight parade is always held on the same day.”
The parade itself, which can feature up to 100 skiers, will begin at dusk on the Big Stick ski run on Bald Eagle Mountain, behind the Snow Park Lodge.
The skiers are all Deer Valley employees, and some were part of the resort’s former synchronized ski team, Summers explained.
“Years ago, we had the Deer Valley Synchro team, and the skiers come back together every year and bring in some new skiers for the parade,” she said. “The parade round runs down Big Stick, which blends onto our bunny hill, Wide West. And the Synchro team does some synchronized skiing on Wide West toward the end of the parade.”
The torches are red flares.
“It’s fun because you see the line coming down the hill, and sometimes the Synchro Team members add to the scene by lighting up their uniforms,” Summers said.
The resort will prime visitors for the parade by handing out free hot cider and cookies on the Snow Park Lodge deck.
“It’s easy access, because there is plenty of parking in the Snow Park lots,” Summers said. “Visitors and guests can come up to the deck, where there’s a great viewing area, without a big hike up the mountain.”
Summers remembers seeing her first Deer Valley torchlight parade more than 10 years ago.
“I’ve seen it a few times since and it’s pretty amazing,” she said. “You have to remember these are people who are skiing in the dark in perfect formation, holding a giant flare.”
She said it’s like a moving Christmas light display.
“When you think of the holiday lights, you mainly think of strings of lights on trees and houses,” she said. “The torchlight parade is a way to bring the lights to the slopes. It’s a ski-town take on the idea, and it’s the only thing you can really see in the mountains.”
Summers encourages guests and visitors to make a night of the parade and enjoy the Snow Park Lodge’s seafood buffet, which starts seating at 6:15 p.m.
“The parade and dining experience has become a longstanding tradition for our guests and other visitors over the years, and we’re happy to continue the tradition,” Summers said.
Deer Valley’s annual torchlight parade will start at dusk on Saturday, Dec. 30, down Big Stick on Bald Eagle Mountain behind the Snow Park Plaza. The free event will be preceded by complimentary hot cider and cookies at 5:30 p.m. For information, call 435-649-1000 or visit http://www.deervalley.com.
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Synchronized skiing may have started as a teaching tool for the McConnells, but it’s become their signature. And they’ve each logged a million vertical feet doing it.