Visitors To These Destination Resorts Send First Hand Report.

[Editor Note: This article first appeared in The Chronicles of McCloskey, March 1, 2021.]

How is the skiing experience in different areas around the country you might ask? We all have heard about the long lines in Colorado and Tahoe and even locally the lines have been robust. I am thinking that the Pandemic has encouraged people to get outside and also the snowy, cold winter around the Easrt has brought about a renewed enthusiasm for skiing. It has also been a good winter around the country. My friends have reported huge snows in the Pacific Northwest and some longer lines in several other western areas.

Last week my wife and I ventured to Utah at the invitation of some very good friends who live there. They have been careful with social distancing and so have we, so our only unknown was the airport and plane. We were careful but the airports were reasonable and allowed for distancing. Even the planes were sanitized, and we were fortunate to not have anyone in the middle seat. We wore our masks, sanitized the seats and tray tables and also our headrests. All was well and we made our way to ski at Deer Valley, our first stop.

The Empire Canyon Area at Deer Valley.

One of the first things we noticed was that Deer Valley was not really that crowded despite what we had heard about neighboring Park City Resort. They limit the lift tickets and since I had an IKON Pass, I was able to ski without a reservation and my wife was able to get a buddy pass at the ticket window each day without issue. In typical Deer Valley protocol, the slopes were impeccably groomed much to my wife’s delight, and the sun shone brightly every day, even though there were cold temperatures . I noticed that the indoor dining was restricted and a reservation system was in place for all the ski lodges. You could get “Grab and Go” meals either by ordering on the Deer Valley App or ordering at the window. Eating outside was encouraged. But there was very little indoor warming encouraged.

In the lift lines, signage was plentiful regarding social distancing and all Deer Valley employees were on alert to instruct anyone who had their face masks down to pull them up. Even on the exit ramps on the chairlifts, there were signs to use your mask when unloading. Instructors had masks on when teaching, and all of the employees had masks for every function in the area.

Main Street in Park City was still pretty crowded and even though there were protocols for social distancing, the amount of people made it so that we did not shop or eat on Main Street. We dined with our friends in their beautiful home and did take out one night.

Best View in Park City

So, even though there are consistent similarities in Covid protocol in all ski areas this season, the West is doing a good job with the amount of locals skiing and also visitors who now are a little more comfortable traveling. Like the McCloskeys. The atmosphere seems a bit subdued out there as the apres and dining scene are affected by restrictions. You could actually feel it when walking around. Something was definitely different. All bets were off at the No Name Saloon as it seemed to be a haven for the ” cabin fever” crowd. We stayed away for now. I will see what Mammoth Mountain is doing at the end of this month, but if I have the experience that we had in Deer Valley, I will be comfortable and again grateful to be skiing. Thanks for reading.


  1. Thank for the found memories. Used to be an instructor there. It was always the best conditions. And the wooded areas were always empty. Except for me.

  2. Connie Grodensky says:

    I would imagine that, since it IS Deer Valley, and they are successful anyway in limiting lift ticket sales, that you skied in a privileged environment. Most of us are not that lucky, and we deal with crowds in our ski environments, even though our resorts say they are limiting skiers. Lucky you to have skied at Deer Valley! Happy trails to all!

  3. Alice Kane says:

    I still remember with fondness the Seafood Buffet at Deer Valley! 😛 Wonder if they still offer it….

    • Yes they do. It is not a Buffet, as the meal is served table side, because of Covid. It is absolutely overwhelming in the amount of food that is served in each course. It was wonderful, delicious and I had excellent service, as usual. They certainly know how to make this meal incredible!!

  4. Patti Farkas says:

    May I chime in with a review of skiing at Alta, just 45 minutes from Park City? Aside from the fact that over-80s like us ski FREE, Alta always has the best snow, even when spring starts to soften things up everywhere else. Yes, we had to pull up our masks (mostly neckwarmers) in what pass for liftlines there (1 or 2 people in front of us), but slid them down as soon as we sat on the chair. The restaurant we usually patronize had a system where you had to order and then sit down until they texted you that your order was ready, along with appropriate social distancing. Since we don’t have and don’t want a smartphone with texting capability (only a flip phone for emergencies), we were barred from doing our usual hot-chocolate sit-down and warm-up; not very friendly, to say the least. There is a food truck parked outside but you have to eat and drink their offerings in your cold car. So, we just ski the wonderful runs and call it a day. There is park and ride bus service to the resort and bus service from downtown Salt Lake; otherwise, you need a car. There are NO reservations needed for either skiing or parking; it’s first come first served, as usual. Can’t wait for next year when all this mask and distancing nonsense is over.

  5. Dave Falzareno says:

    Pat, your timid tone in your review tells me you are still scared…bet you never ventured to a steep run in quit awhile…Time to reengage in life and take a diamond run.. I hope you let someone sit in the middle seat soon before you lose your sanity. Stay mentally healthy. Live large, keep carving fast turns with big G forces and don’t be afraid.

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