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Deer Valley Resort to open on Saturday

Great conditions expected on Opening Day

Deer Valley Resort President and General Manager Bob Wheaton shows off his new skis before opening on Saturday for the 2016-17 season. The conditions on what were going to have open are outstanding, Wheaton said.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Deer Valley Resort, which opens for the 2016-17 season on Saturday, seems to have impeccable timing, yet again. Just two weeks ago, the ski community in Park City wondered when the snow would finally make its way to the mountains. Many resorts nearby even chose to delay their opening days.

But the resort’s President and General Manager Bob Wheaton wasn’t too worried; he’s been here before. So when the area received a decent amount of snowfall within the last week, Wheaton wasn’t surprised.

“It’s planned every year just like that,” Wheaton jokingly said. “We definitely pay very close attention to the weather. We’ve looked over the past years and it seems like that first weekend in December is kind of our good time. It’s predictable. We can open with a product that we feel good about.”

Wheaton would be lying if he said he was only slightly concerned about the unseasonably warm weather.

“The warm weather earlier was definitely a concern because we couldn’t hop on snowmaking as early as we would’ve liked,” Wheaton admitted. “It was an issue, but once again, we put a lot of money back into snowmaking infrastructure this summer and now it’s paying off.”

Some of those improvements include four new snowcats, some new high-efficiency snow guns that create more snow while using less energy, and replacing five miles of underground pipe to pump water to the guns more quickly, and again, more efficiently.

Like most resorts, Deer Valley was on top of snowmaking the second the temperatures dropped enough to begin the process. Because of the upgrades in the area, the resort has created conditions some might come to expect in the middle of the season, instead of opening weekend.

Wheaton has a brand new pair of skis this winter and he plans on using them when the resort opens on Saturday.

“The conditions on what we’re going to have open are outstanding,” Wheaton said. “It’s not like people need to bring out their rock skis or anything like that. It’s going to be good, quality skiing.”

Scheduled to be up and running on opening day are eight lifts and 12 runs. The lifts slated to be open include Burns, Carpenter Express, Homestake, Judge, Silver Lake Express, Sterling Express, Viking and Wasatch Express. Wheaton said that they are right on the cusp of opening some additional lifts and runs, weather and snowmaking dependent.

More adventurous skiers will likely appreciate Deer Valley’s emphasis on glade skiing. Thanks to a wind storm last year that knocked down nearly 1,000 trees at the resort, Wheaton and company decided to make the most of the situation.

“We took that opportunity to open up around the forest on the mountain,” Wheaton said. “That’s all part of our comprehensive forest management plan. The nice part of that from a skier’s standpoint is that it really opens it up for glade skiing. It’s going to be noticeably different in a good way than previous years.”

Deer Valley is now in its 36th year of operation. Wheaton and the resort’s staff are looking forward to bringing the best ski environment possible to the resort.

“I think our staff here at Deer Valley is second to none,” Wheaton said. “The tenure is extremely long and our return rate is extremely high and that speaks a lot about the kind of place that Deer Valley is to work.”

Among some of the events Deer Valley will be hosting this year is the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup event in February. It will be the 18th year the resort will host international and world competitions.

“We’re really excited about World Cup coming back,” Wheaton said. “That’s a big deal.”

For more information on Deer Valley Resort and the upcoming season, visit http://www.deervalley.com.

The first chair for the public at Deer Valley is scheduled to make its way up the mountain at 9 a.m. on Saturday. The annual Celebrity Skifest will be going on all weekend, with PRO-AM racing available to the public on both Saturday and Sunday. The race can be viewed at the Silver Lake area at mid-mountain.


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