Going Local: Deer Valley Resort

The perfect Deer Valley corduroy grooming which leads down to the Silver Lake Lodge. Photo credit: Dan Campbell; dancampbellphotography.com
The perfect Deer Valley corduroy grooming which leads down to the Silver Lake Lodge. Photo credit: Dan Campbell; dancampbellphotography.com

In 1981, Edgar Stern oversaw the development of a small ski area in Park City, replacing a previous area which had closed in the 1960s after several decades of operation after the Works Progress Administration constructed some trails. Just this year in August, it became part of a resort joint venture which includes names such as Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain in California, and Winter Park, Aspen Snowmass resorts, and Steamboat in Colorado. The area is now known as Deer Valley Resort, easily one of the most famous names in skiing.

At high-end resorts, everything is either nice, or it is nice. Deer Valley is certainly the latter. The 2,026 skiable acres are draped across several high peaks in the Wasatch Range, all of which are accessible by chairlifts. The Deer Valley chairlift network is very modern and very fast, with a gondola and a myriad of detachable lifts to keep lines at a minimum. The resort also caps the number of lift tickets it sells every day for additional crowd control.

Accompanying the lift network are the lodging options. These include (but are not limited to) The Grand Lodge, Lodges at Deer Valley, Black Diamond Lodge, Flagstaff Lodge, and the Silver Baron Lodge. In addition to these properties, Deer Valley is also home to two very exclusive hotels.

We love taking our clients to Deer Valley! Behind the VIP Limousine Black Hummer H2 is the funicular railway from the Deer Valley parking lot and valet up to the St. Regis Hotel. Photo credit: Nick Martin
We love taking our clients to Deer Valley! Behind the VIP Limousine Black Hummer H2 is the funicular railway from the Deer Valley parking lot and valet up to the St. Regis Hotel. Photo credit: Nick Martin

The first of these is the St. Regis Deer Valley, a world-class hotel run by Marriott Hotels which is located next to the slopes as well as the parking lot for convenient access all-around. This beautiful property overlooks the mountains and has some spectacular luxuries. Guests can valet their vehicles at either the top via the backside of the hotel or at the bottom next to the Deer Valley base area; with the latter, one then takes the funicular railway up to the hotel while enjoying the stunning views of the resort and the surrounding area.

Nestled in a canyon on the western side of Deer Valley, the Montage Deer Valley offers a private, luxurious getaway. Photo credit: deervalleyspecialists.com
Nestled in a canyon on the western side of Deer Valley, the Montage Deer Valley offers a private, luxurious getaway. Photo credit: deervalleyspecialists.com

The other standout location is The Montage Deer Valley, tucked up higher in the western part of the resort. This 220-room palace also offers ski-in/ski-out access for guests and a view down into Park City. It has large event spaces and quick access to much of Deer Valley’s best terrain, including the newer Lady Morgan Expansion.

What else is there to know about Deer Valley? A great deal. This former Winter Olympics venue is still used for training and competitions today by athletes from around the world, and the Olympic legacy lives on at the resort lodges. Guests can ski down the runs utilized by Olympians, which are labeled on the trail maps. Many of the runs are carefully groomed for a great cruising experience; however, if speed is not your thing, there are also areas the locals love which are home to plenty of Utah powder.

Deer Valley holds a unique position in skiing. It is consistently rated #1 or near #1 for resorts in the United States, and the guest experience shows. This place, with its beautiful wintertime ambience and fun summertime activities, including the Deer Valley Music Festival, is a favorite destination for VIP Limousine and for people from around the world.

Going Local: Solitude Mountain Resort

The secret of this place? It's in the name. Photo credit: kutv.com
The secret of this place? It’s in the name. Photo credit: kutv.com

As the hot summer still beats down on Utah and we’re regularly hitting the high 90s and 100s, many of us have thoughts that turn to cooler weather. And by cooler weather, we mean snowy and cold. And snowy and cold in Utah, we mean the ski season. “Going Local” is going to highlight northern Utah’s biggest attractions in a series of blog posts, and we’re starting with what is definitely a local favorite: Solitude Mountain Resort.

Tucked up in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Solitude’s secret is in the name. It often gets passed up for some of the bigger local names, but that is exactly what makes it appealing. In the experience of our company, VIP Limousine, Solitude is devoid of annoying lift lines and crowded slopes. The chairlifts are mere steps away from the parking lot surface, and there is no interruption besides a lift ride separating one from enjoying the slopes.

Solitude is highlighted as one of the more family-friendly resorts in Utah. The mountain has a high degree of beginner and intermediate terrain, with a dedicated learning area or “bunny hill” near the main lodges. The gentle chairlift and slope are excellent for those who are wanting to try skiing or snowboarding for the first time, which are also good for building confidence. Expanding beyond this area to other slopes and lifts yields yet more gentle and undulating terrain as well, so the transition from beginner to beyond is easier.

This does not mean, however, that Solitude is boring. One look at the craggy peaks above tells any visitor that this place is anything but. Those undulating groomers are great for ripping quickly down the various faces of the resort. A glance to the left off of Eagle Express, the first high-speed quad chairlift in Utah, reveals some great drops coupled with a fantastic view. A ride up the new Summit Express lift is also very revealing in regards to Solitude’s terrain…in part because not only is one not always going up (there are portions where the lift actually descends due to terrain features), but also the chutes and cliffs belie the friendly-looking beginner slopes.

Turning right at the top of the Summit Express leads to a hidden gem: Honeycomb Canyon. A long, steep, varied section of the resort tucked away behind the faƧade seen from the parking lot, this canyon is beset by avalanche danger. This also means that it is often swamped with that famous Utah powder. Consider it lift-accessible backcountry. Once at the bottom, the Honeycomb Return chairlift brings any and all powderhounds back up to the ridge above the Eagle Express.

Solitude has only a recorded 1,200 acres of skiable area, but the layout and altitude make it ski bigger than it actually is. The lift layout easily manages uphill traffic and access to various points of the resort. Plus, a trip down the SolBright connector allows a transition between Solitude and its neighboring resort, Brighton. Passes are available which cover both areas in one deal, expanding the skiable area and allowing visitors a taste of two different areas.

Accessible in the winter by Utah Transit Authority bus lines, personal car, or your local private car and limo service, Solitude is also open for summertime activities. New ownership under Deer Valley Resort has not dampened Solitude’s family-run character established by its former owners, the DeSeelhorst family. The company has done some upgrading, including some work on the lodges and installing the new Summit Express chairlift, but it remains distinctly different from its more famous sibling resort on the Wasatch Back. We at VIP Limousine really do believe that Solitude Mountain Resort is a great escape.

Random Acts of Kindness, Episode 2

Surprise! We’re breaking our every-two-weeks rule with a special new episode of Random Acts of Kindness by VIP Limousine!

Our social media manager, Philip Keeve, hit the streets of Salt Lake City with videographer Brianna Platt and a group of local church volunteers to go pass out cookies in Salt Lake City and spread some cheer! Check out the clip above.

If you like what you see here, have a cause you want our help with, or have any questions about our charitable efforts or services, contact us by email or call us!

Going Local: Ruth’s Chris Steak House

This location of Ruth's Chris Steak House is inside of Hotel Park City, right next to the world-class skiing of Park City Mountain Resort. Photo credit: prophoto.com
This location of Ruth’s Chris Steak House is inside of Hotel Park City, right next to the world-class skiing of Park City Mountain Resort. Photo credit: prophoto.com

Under most circumstances, “Going Local” does not focus on chain businesses based in other states, especially when it comes to food. However, we at VIP Limousine will make an exception without hesitation when it comes to Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Why? Simply put, each location is unique and we personally recommend their restaurant for a delicious and special night out. So we would like to explain why we, like the local KSL NewsRadio host Doug Wright, recommend Ruth’s Chris.

Each individual establishment of Ruth’s Chris has its own atmosphere designed to take in the surrounding area and themes to fit in. The Salt Lake City location (pictured below) is nestled in the heart of downtown, and has a modern style inside and out to meld into the city.

The downtown Salt Lake City location of Ruth's Chris Steak House. Photo credit: gastronomicslc.com
The downtown Salt Lake City location of Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Photo credit: gastronomicslc.com

Once inside, the restaurant bathes its guests in dark wood, bright linens, and modern finishes which rival the class of any other high-end establishment. Guests feel right at home with their hospitable service and even the private dining area. See for yourself!

The main dining room at Ruth's Chris Steak House Salt Lake City, with private dining in the background. Photo credit: tomstuart.com
The main dining room at Ruth’s Chris Steak House Salt Lake City, with private dining in the background. Photo credit: tomstuart.com

Northern Utah does have a special blessing, however; we are home not just to one Ruth’s Chris location, but two! Tucked up high in the Wasatch Mountains is the Ruth’s Chris Steak House Park City, located inside of Hotel Park City along Park Avenue. This location is right next to the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort and delivers mining-town charm and luxury in spades at the same time. It’s only a 30-minute drive from Salt Lake City itself, making it quite accessible from the Wasatch Front.

Stepping inside the Park City location continues the local design theme. Along with the crisp white linens and high-end place settings is ski lodge decor, complete with natural rock and wood. The dining room windows open up with a spectacular view of the mountains, giving an airy feel to the space.

With a lodge-inspired design, the Park City location will make you feel right at home in the mountains. Photo credit: dishingpc.com
With a lodge-inspired design, the Park City location will make you feel right at home in the mountains. Photo credit: dishingpc.com

After all of this talk about appearance, atmosphere, location, etc., why does VIP Limousine highly recommend Ruth’s Chris?

It comes down to the food. At each of these two locations, the food is consistently stunning. Since 1965, the restaurant has operated with extraordinarily high standards at every location, sourcing the finest in meats and catering to each customer to make each experience mouth-watering and memorable. We can vouch for the goodness of their steaks, which arrive still sizzling and with simple seasoning allowing the flavors of the meat to speak freely with every bite.

Their other courses are no less desirable. The drinks are freshly-squeezed and other plates are cooked to order where appropriate. The chefs treat the side dishes with great care, allowing flavors to pop. And of course, there’s a dessert on the menu for every appetite…even if you’re stuffed, you’ll somehow manage to make room for more!

With unique locations, consistently high service standards, and glorious food, we at VIP Limousine don’t hesitate to recommend Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Our clients are regular and satisfied patrons of both Utah locations, and we count ourselves among those who have had the pleasure of eating there. So get dressed up; grab a significant other, family, or friends; climb aboard a classy ride; and be transported into the world of great steaks at Ruth’s Chris.

9th and 9th. Salt Lake City: Our Home, Part 10

Not to be overlooked, the compact 9th and 9th neighborhood is a hidden gem in Salt Lake City. Photo credit: Utah Realty Association
Not to be overlooked, the compact 9th and 9th neighborhood is a hidden gem in Salt Lake City. Photo credit: Utah Realty Association

So far, VIP Limousine has explored some fairly obvious parts of why we love Salt Lake City and are proud to call it home. But as we continue on our virtual tour, we want to highlight one that might get overlooked. That area is the rather simply-named 9th and 9th neighborhood, and there’s a good reason why the locals love it.

The area gets its name from the intersection at its heart, which is the meeting point between 900 South and 900 East; locals refer to these streets more simply as 9th South and 9th East, based on Salt Lake City’s grid system and street naming methods. It’s also at the intersection of two Utah Transit Authority bus lines, the 9 and the 209. The shops are all small, independent, and local, and include a gelateria, a jeweler, dry cleaners, a pub, and an independent movie theatre, The Tower, run by the Salt Lake Film Society.

The focus of the neighborhood is around one particular corner, so everything is easily walkable. It’s also well-decorated, with a lot of custom pieces standing in for otherwise standard utility fare. This includes the bike racks and the street lights, as well as decorative concrete around the crosswalks and sidewalks. You can tell this place is special to its local residents.

If you want to escape from Salt Lake’s downtown, we recommend having a look at 9th and 9th for a unique flavor of our hometown.

Going Local: Pig & A Jelly Jar

With southern charm, local attitude, and great food, Pig & A Jelly Jar delights all bites. Photo credit: 10best.com
With southern charm, local attitude, and great food, Pig & A Jelly Jar delights all bites. Photo credit: 10best.com

Nestled on a street corner near downtown is a small establishment. It’s not much to look at initially, it seems, but a closer glance is not only revealing, it’s fully merited. Pig & A Jelly Jar is a funky, charming restaurant full of southern flavor and charm, with local attitude and fantastic food.

Founded by a restauranteur from the south who now calls Utah home, Pig & A Jelly Jar is a newcomer to the Salt Lake City dining scene. After a fire within its first year of operation, the business rebuilt the destroyed section of the building and kept on moving forward. This did not stop them from starting to serve up great food.

The restaurant sources from local growers and producers and does all of their work in-house. Their orange juice, for example? Fresh-squeezed.

Everything on the menu is available at all business hours, and they have a great special on Thursday evenings. A particular favorite is a Pennsylvania Dutch and soul food hallmark: chicken and waffles. This is a staple in southern cuisine, originally sourced from the Belgian/German influence in New York and Philadelphia as well as African-American heritage and culinary history. The rendition at Pig & A Jelly Jar is definitely worth a try. And by the way, it’s the aforementioned Thursday evening special.

We at VIP Limousine, love to highlight what our other local businesses offer, and Pig & A Jelly Jar has become a favorite amongst our staff and families. Give them a try and be prepared to be blown away by one of the best restaurants in Salt Lake City. They also have a new location in downtown Ogden with the same charm and menu, beginning to spread the gospel of southern food along the Wasatch Front.

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