Ski Utah

Frequent Flyer Destinations - - CONTENTS - BY NATALIE COMPAGNO

Catch Olympic gold fever! If fly­ing to South Korea is not on the travel cal­en­dar this Olympic sea­son, the next best op­tion lies high in the Wasatch Moun­tains. Utah takes big ski jumps this win­ter with Olympic qual­ity ad­ven­tures and sky high ex­pe­ri­ences. Whether shred­ding the back­coun­try in pris­tine wilder­ness, bob­sled­ding like an Olympian, or ski­ing with an Olympic ath­lete, Utah has some­thing for ev­ery win­ter sports en­thu­si­ast. “The Great­est Snow on Earth” only lasts un­til about April, so grab some ear­muffs and boots--and an ad­ven­tur­ous spirit--and hit the Utah slopes.

The best way to get into the Olympic spirit is to spend time with an Olympic ath­lete, and Deer Val­ley Re­sort has just the thing. The Ski With A Cham­pion pro­gram gives fans the once in a life­time ex­pe­ri­ence of ski­ing with a for­mer Olympian. Heidi Voelker is the of­fi­cial Am­bas­sador of Ski­ing for Deer Val­ley Re­sort; she and six other for­mer Olympians take in­di­vid­u­als and groups of six out on the trails.

Lucky skiers get to hang with Fuzz Fed­der­sen, coach of the 1998 U.S. Win­ter Olympic Aerial Ski Team and three-time Olympic ath­lete. He loves the per­sonal connection he makes with guests on the chair lift, talk­ing about the Olympic ex­pe­ri­ence.

Most want to know about what it was like walk­ing in the open­ing cer­e­monies, but some like the fun­nier sto­ries about team­mates and quirky per­son­al­i­ties. Fuzz praises the beauty of the moun­tain, “I just love be­ing on the moun­tain with peo­ple. It is such a beau­ti­ful place and the weather is gor­geous. I get to show peo­ple my fa­vorite se­cret places.”

Dis­cern­ing trav­el­ers choose Mon­tage Deer Val­ley Re­sort, a high-end ski-in/ski-out op­tion. A des­ti­na­tion in and of it­self, the Mon­tage boasts the largest spa in Utah, and a pub with its own bowl­ing al­ley. This sea­son, guests are book­ing rooms to be a part of the Olympic spirit. Mon­tage Deer Val­ley will host ex­clu­sive ski ses­sions with Shan­non Bahrke of Ski With A Cham­pion, re­plete with nu­tri­tion tips and cool down ses­sions. Be­ing a cham­pion takes work, so en­joy the fun side of train­ing.

Ad­vanced skiers have a thrilling op­tion with the Ski Utah In­ter­con­nect Tour. Imag­ine schuss­ing down slopes that are only avail­able to in­sid­ers, cov­er­ing an av­er­age of 25 miles at up to six re­sorts in a day. A third of the day is spent in the back coun­try, the rest in-bounds with moun­tain lifts. Most tours start at Deer Val­ley and end at Snow­bird, and all tours pro­vide two guides and lunch.

Deb Lovci has been a guide for 27 years and her ex­cite­ment and ded­i­ca­tion to the pro­gram is ob­vi­ous. “Ev­ery­one comes to­gether be­cause of our pas­sion for ski­ing. The U.S. For­est

Ser­vice and Ski Utah work to­gether as en­voys for the great out­doors. Re­sorts also play a huge part as ev­ery­one is de­voted to show­ing off how in­cred­i­ble Utah ski­ing is.” Lovci’s fa­vorite part of the job is the en­ergy guests ex­ude af­ter ski­ing in places they never thought they could. “At the end of the day it is high fives and smiles all around,” beams Lovci, “It’s all about the mem­o­ries.”

Adrenaline rush warn­ing! Gold Medal Ad­ven­tures and Utah Olympic Park al­low vis­i­tors to play Olympian for a day. “Cool Run­nings” fans will love the Win­ter Bob­sled Ex­pe­ri­ence. The same track that hosted the Ja­maican bob­sled team--and skele­ton and luge com­pe­ti­tions in the 2002 Win­ter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City--of­fers bob­sled rides for the fearless. A pro­fes­sional pi­lot takes three

rid­ers down the track at in­cred­i­ble speeds. Hold on to that egg!

For a change of pace, Whis­per Ridge calls from deep in the Wasatch Moun­tains. This pre­mier back­coun­try pow­der des­ti­na­tion al­lows nat­u­ral beauty and lux­ury to com­bine on 60,000 acres of pri­vate ski ter­rain. This is the new­est and largest ski re­sort in all of Utah. Whis­per Ridge of­fers cat ski­ing – up­scale, cozy snow­cats that whisk guests up the moun­tain. No lines, no ski lifts and no wait­ing for vir­gin snow. There is also cross coun­try ski­ing, snow shoe­ing and snow­mo­bil­ing for those who want more than a down­hill rush.

Day trips to Whis­per Ridge are pos­si­ble, but to truly ex­pe­ri­ence this pow­er­ful place stay overnight in one of the lux­ury yurts. The semi-pri­vate suites are well-dec­o­rated with an­tiques and coun­try charm. The

Perch Yurt Vil­lage has ev­ery­thing aprèsski life could hope for – out­door hot tubs, board and card games, an out­door ice bar (re­view al­co­hol op­tions in ad­vance), and live mu­sic. The din­ing yurt is over­seen by a five-star chef and meals can be cus­tom­ized de­pend­ing on diet.

“The own­ers of Whis­per Ridge have recre­ated on this land for decades and they love to share their pas­sion for this mag­i­cal place with guests,” ex­plains Wes Light, Moun­tains Op­er­a­tion Man­ager, “It is a unique ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause it’s a large un­spoiled wilder­ness, a sanc­tu­ary where peo­ple can play and ex­plore among na­ture.”

Utah might not host the Olympics this year, but ev­ery win­ter vis­i­tors play like Olympians in its glo­ri­ous, en­vi­able pow­der and ma­jes­tic scenery.

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