Champagne and Sunshine: Skiing the Stein Way
I grew up skiing. Like every good New Englander, I made a North-bound trek to Vermont or New Hampshire almost every winter weekend growing up. I have so many memories of spending my weekends on the (mostly ice-covered) slopes of New England. I completely took it for granted that I got to go skiing with my family every weekend. While I have so many great memories from the slopes of my youth (first time I ever had champagne was on a family ski trip), I also remember secretly hating so many aspects of skiing.
For one, it's cold. And usually windy. And barring a good snow storm, the snow conditions are never consistently great in New England. Not to mention, all that gear. It's so heavy. And is there anything less comfortable in the entire world than ski boots? Did I mention, it's cold?
I will forever be grateful for those Friday afternoons my parents spent in the car driving up North with us singing along to our Discmans in the back seat, because for all that complaining, at least now I know what skiing ought to be. And it ought to be exactly the way it is at the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley.
The first time I went to the Stein Eriksen Lodge I was quite young and with my parents. But even then, I realized that the Stein Eriksen was a different type of skiing. Sure, it isn't exactly the hardcore kind of skiing that my dad insists you have to practice as a New Englander. But the Stein Eriksen and Deer Valley make up for all the things about skiing that we all hate (my dad would never admit it but I know even he does too).
This year, I went out to Deer Valley and experienced skiing the way it ought to be - bright blue skies, sun shining on the fresh powder and afternoons spent drinking magnums of champagne by the outdoor fire overlooking the mountain. Here is the thing I realized about skiing out West at a young age, there is actually sun. In fact, I got tan in Deer Valley this year.
The Stein Eriksen is everything I love - old school, classic luxury with five star amenities, staff and services. It is luxurious and decadent without being too flashy. Maybe it's the pragmatic New Englander in me, but there is something amazing about resorts like the Stein Eriksen, that retain tradition and have absolutely perfected the guest experience down to every minute detail without seeming like it's a resort suitable for flashy Russian oligarchs. So perfected is the experience, that it takes every hardship of skiing and turns it into a wonderful experience. For instance, how annoying is it to shove your feet into your ski boots in the morning and force the buckles closed? The ski valets at the Stein Eriksen Lodge do that all for you. They put your heated boots on in the morning for you and walk you out the door to your skis that are resting at the crest of the slope, so you can pop in and ski right on down to the lift.
And every afternoon when you return, you are greeted with hot chocolate and slippers as the valets take your boots off your weary ski feet. And then you can head to their magnificent deck which overlooks the slopes of Deer Valley for whatever your heart desires by their outdoor fires (but I recommend the blueberry mojito or their bloody mary topped with steak and bacon).
Their lunch buffet is just as decadent, too. And the signature chili isn't like regular chili, or even gourmet ski chili. It is filled with wild game meats and is truly the best chili in the world.
And of course, after all the exertions of skiing and imbibing, when one wants to retire to your room, they will come within seconds to light your massive wood burning fireplace and you can enjoy soaking your sore ski-legs and champagne-soaked bones in your private hot tub on your private balcony that overlooks the mountain. And let's face it, some nights after skiing and one too many cocktails at apres, all you want to do is stay in and watch a movie. At the Stein Eriksen, the chef will bring you just about anything you want to your room 24 hours-a-day (truffle mac and cheese included). I even had the kitchen whip me up some fresh potato blinis to accompany my champagne and caviar well past my bedtime. Even a night in is perfectly luxurious.
Since moving to New York after college, I have had less and less of a desire to ski. Living in New York is already enough of an everyday feat. Now, when I want a vacation, I want to get out of the city to relax, not to deal with the hassles of skiing. And, where I have always been an outlier from my yankee roots, I want to indulge in pure luxury. That is what skiing in Deer Valley and staying at The Stein Eriksen Lodge does - it combines classic ski traditions with indulgent luxury and there's no shortage of sun there either. Spring skiing the Stein way is one of the best ways to experience all of the best parts of the sport. You can sit out on the deck in a t-shirt, or like me, throw on a bikini top for apres to really get a tan.
If you want to get away to ski in style the Stein way, head to Deer Valley. The ski resort is open until the end of April and the Stein Eriksen Lodge is open year round for the discerning visitor who values classic, old school luxury.