Zermatt Resort, Utah
Story by Lynn Rosen; Photos by Steve Giordano
HighOnAdventure.com April 1, 2009
Keep your arms and legs – skiing/staying in the Park City area won’t cost you those if you take a bargain luxury ski vacation one stoplight and 50 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport.
It all starts when the Tyrolian-clad doormen meet you at the entrance to Zermatt Resort with a tray of chocolate truffles made next door at their award-winning European bakery. Opened just two years ago, this Swiss-style chalet, four-diamond resort, believe it or not, lists rooms starting $139. Compare this to a $900 range for slope side at Deer Valley, and staying a 15-minute free shuttle ride away starts to look mighty attractive. Other attractive reasons are the ski packages at Zermatt Resort that include three nights lodging with free wi-fi, four Alpine lift tickets – two at Park City, two at The Canyons – and two-for-one equipment rental from the on-property Adventure Haus shop starting at $585 plus tax.
When you ski (no boards allowed) at Deer Valley, in order to avoid the bottleneck and heavy traffic, the Zermatt shuttle takes a short cut to the Jordanelle Gondola on the backside of the ski area. It’s the best-kept secret for mountain access since there’s no traffic and you can be skiing in 15 minutes.
If you’re unfamiliar with Deer Valley, or even if you’re not, link up with a mountain host for a few hours of history, lore and excellent guidance to the best runs. As luck would have it, our host was in her fifteenth year on staff, had been the city attorney for Park City as well as one of its council members and had lots of dirt about the whole area. Besides, she was drop-dead gorgeous, had a great sense of humor and could ski like a demon. She also knew all the short cuts to the best-groomed, non-trafficked runs. Sometimes that list of “Best Days I Have Skied” includes a memorable mountain host.
If you’re interested in trying out this season’s new ski technology, look for the yurt right next to the Empire Canyon Lodge. Deer Valley, Jans Mountain Outfitters and Rossignol have teamed up to offer high performance demos at no charge.
Loading up the Zermatt Resort ski shuttle The Canyons' free "people mover," called the Cabriolet
Complimentary shuttles are available to and from all area resorts including Deer Valley. At The Canyons, you can ride their Cabriolet (people-mover) up from the parking lot to the base area village. Their shuttle will also pick you up, but be sure to make reservations ahead.
Located in the Heber Valley midway between Sundance and Park City, Zermatt Resort is also surrounded by five golf courses. Their award-winning Alpine-inspired spa is reputed to be the only one of its kind outside of Switzerland. The well-trained staff boasts deep-seasoned knowledge of spa techniques, especially facial and body treatments. Their couple’s massage is very popular.
Elegance, good food and convenience all get excellent marks at Zermatt Resort but the one feature that really sets this place apart is service and its staff. It’s not often that every staff member at a resort is cordial, friendly, helpful and competent beyond expectation. One veteran hospitality professional, when asked about this unusual phenomenon, explained that they were not itinerant workers, moving from resort to resort, but local people with long-term commitments who lived in the area. It shows.
Zermatt also offers Nordic ski packages at the nearby Olympic venue, Soldier Hollow.
A parting bargain tip: Your boarding pass is your lift ticket in Park City, Utah. No matter where you’re staying, ski right from the airport before you check in.
Arrive in Salt Lake City early in the morning. Take your boarding pass and go straight to The Canyons, Park City or Deer Valley Resort (good at all three). Show it at the ticket window with your ID and ski or ride free in their same-day QuickSTART program. With over 700 daily flights and a 35-minute drive from the airport, you can squeeze in an extra day on the slopes for a very good price. Check for available dates; pre-registration required at www.parkcityinfo.com/quickstart/.
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