Deer Valley founder Edgar Stern inducted to Ski Hall of Fame
When Edgar Stern bought the land that would become Treasure Mountain Resort (and later Park City Mountain Resort) in 1970, he had a vision — bring the amenities of fine hotels to the ski industry.
In 1975, he sold his share of Park City and quickly moved on to his next project — starting Deer Valley Resort. The resort opened its doors in 1981 and, 35 years later, Deer Valley consistently wins awards for guest services, on-mountain food and overall guest experience.
Stern, who died in October 2008, was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 9, in Aspen, Colorado. Stern’s son, Lessing, was present to accept the award in memory of his father.
Deer Valley President and General Manager Bob Wheaton was also on hand in Aspen for the ceremony, which also honored ski-industry legends Genia Fuller, David Ingemie, Henry Kaiser, Jim Martinson, Bob Salerno and Chris Klug. Wheaton said he enjoyed the festivities honoring Stern and other important ski figures.
"It was very humbling for me to be there in Aspen and watch Edgar get inducted along with other industry giants," he said.
Wheaton said Stern immediately molded Deer Valley into what he wanted it to be.
"The first time I met him was before Deer Valley even opened," Wheaton said. "His vision from the get-go was to apply principles he had instituted in the five-star lodging efforts he had. The idea caught on right away. There have certainly been some challenges along the road with the economy and real estate, but the concept was fully embraced."
Though Stern never called Park City home, Wheaton said he was a constant presence on Deer Valley’s slopes. In fact, the Utah Legislature recognized Stern’s contributions to Utah skiing by honoring him as the "father of Utah’s ski industry" in 1992.
"He never had a full-time residence here, but all the way through he would come back and visit often," Wheaton said. "Edgar never lost his passion for skiing. He always came back for that. He also enjoyed the fall colors around town. He was always here."
Stern was never one to do anything that would draw extra attention to himself, Wheaton said. Instead, Stern diverted attention to the Deer Valley staff.
"He was soft-spoken, humble, never wanted to seek the spotlight," Wheaton said. "In a lot of ways, he was uncomfortable when the light shined on him. He would prefer to give credit to staff and people who performed their daily duties. He was a genuinely nice guy to be around."
Moving forward, Wheaton said Lessing Stern continues to embody the values Edgar instilled in the resort.
"The experience [of working with Lessing] has been absolutely awesome," Wheaton said. "Lessing is very much a chip off the old block. Edgar’s values live on through Lessing. That’s the one thing that’s been very encouraging to all of us at Deer Valley."
Deer Valley visitors can see various items representing Stern’s legacy at Edgar’s Beer and Spirits Lounge on the upper level of the Snow Park Lodge. Wheaton said the resort plans to add to the lounge’s collection in the near future.
"There’s memorabilia throughout the lounge of Edgar," he said. "We’ve had discussions about redoing and renewing some of that. We’ll continue to update that tribute."
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