Utah’s Wasatch Range has plenty of mountain biking trails and resorts, but Deer Valley Resort in Park City stands alone. Nowhere else will you find such a range of lift-served downhill trails, from technical singletrack to scenic cross-country and smooth flow trails.
Plus, the trails have ridiculous views: dramatic mountains, seas of wildflowers, alpine meadows, aspen groves and pine forests. It’s reminiscent of the scenery in The Sound of Music—and biking here makes you want to burst into song. Here are five tips on making the most of a mountain bike trip to Deer Valley.
1. Start Your Day at Snow Park
The best place to park is Snow Park Lodge. Parking is free and more plentiful than the resort’s two other lots. Plus you can rent bikes and buy lift tickets and snacks at the lodge. Once you’re on the mountain, a good trail to start is Naildriver. Since so many trails spur off it, you’ll get a good lay of the land. Plus it’s newly refurbished and now has plenty of fun berms.
2. Bike School and Rentals
Deer Valley’s only true beginner trail is Holy Roller, the new 4-mile flow trail that will open in sections this summer. So if you’re new to downhill mountain biking, take a clinic or lesson before hitting the mountain. You’ll be happier and safer if your first time flying down the mountain is with a professional. In the clinics, beginner and intermediate riders are grouped with up to four other riders of similar ability.
Beginners start at the mountain’s base and learn skills like braking, cornering, and stance before ascending the chairlift. Intermediate riders skip the skills session and head directly to the chairlift. In both clinics, a coach guides riders down the mountain, demonstrating how to cross obstacles and corner tight turns. Private lessons are also available for any level of rider. Sometimes riders who are new to Deer Valley take a lesson not only for skill work, but also for a guide to show them the resort's best routes. Clinics are held every day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. until September 5, and weekends until September 18. The cost ranges from $49 to $59. Private and group lessons range from $68 to $90. Rentals cost around $70 for adults and $40 for youth. View these links for details on the bike school and rentals.
3. New and Improved Trails
In 2014, Deer Valley began a multi-year overhaul of its mountain biking trails—the most ambitious trail update in the resort’s history, according to Steve Graff, bike patrol manager. The resort hired Gravity Logic, a Whistler-based bike park developer, to add at least 7 miles of new flow trails. Deer Valley also has rebuilt 4 miles of existing trail so far.
Construction is ongoing, but new and improved trails have already opened. The highlight so far is Tidal Wave, a 2.5-mile flow trail for intermediate riders with 58 tabletop jumps and 9-foot berms. “A dirt roller coaster is the best way to describe it,” Graff says. “You get on the top and you’re on these big, banked turns and it’s just a hoot to ride. It’s fun.”
In the summer of 2016, the resort opens Holy Roller, a new flow trail for beginners that descends 1,300 feet over 4 miles. The resort is also working with Gravity Logic to design a new flow trail for advanced riders, which begins construction in either late 2016 or mid-2017.
4. The Chairlifts
The wait time at Deer Valley’s three summer chairlifts are rarely longer than a minute or two now that the resort has installed an improved bike-lift system. Attendants help roll bikes onto a tray behind each chair, vastly speeding the waiting lines. The resort has three mountains, each with its own lift, serving a total 70 miles of trail.
Bald Mountain, served by the Sterling Express chairlift, has downhill-only trails for mountain bikers. This is where you’ll find the resort’s signature trails for intermediate riders—Naildriver and Tidal Wave. There’s a handful of other blues here also, including Deer Camp, arguably the resort's most scenic trail. And on the mountain’s south side, three winding trails for advanced riders—Thieves Forest, Fire Swamp and Aspen Slalom — zigzag through steep sections. Hikers can also access this mountain, but they stick to their own trails. Flagstaff Mountain, served by the Ruby Express, has multi-use trails shared by bikers and hikers. This is where you’ll find a cross-country experience. For example, the TG trail for advanced riders cuts through a thick pine forest, then to alpine meadows, then back again.
Bald Eagle Mountain, served by the Silver Lake Express, has advanced downhill bike trails and multi-use trails for intermediate riders and hikers. These trails finish at Snow Park, a popular parking lot.
5. The Snack Shack
For a quick bite close to the trails, try the Snack Shack at Silver Lake Village. It’s close to two chairlifts and easy to access. Bikers often ride up and grab the pre-made wraps, like the turkey BLT or the mediterranean vegetable with homemade cheese. You’ll also find simple fare like turkey chili, pork tacos, and hot dogs, as well as beer and lemonade. And if you really need to replenish your calories, the Snack Shack has the famous Deer Valley ice cream sandwich—chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream and a chocolate fudge sauce. There’s no better way to finish an epic day of riding at Deer Valley.
Written by Kara Guzman for RootsRated in partnership with Deer Valley.