Defying Gravity at St. Regis Deer Valley: Trampoline Snowboarding, Elevated Cuisine and a Bear of a Spa Experience

From www.justluxe.com, by Susan Kime
Defying Gravity at St. Regis Deer Valley: Trampoline Snowboarding, Elevated Cuisine and a Bear of a Spa Experience

I couldn’t resist the idea of joining an anniversary party, especially since this was the celebration of the high-altitude, high-end St. Regis Deer Valley. It is just 39 miles from Salt Lake International Airport and one mile from Park City’s historic Main Street. Being nearly 8,000 feet above sea level, I felt as if I were in another world; lighter, away from the pull of gravity.

the st. regis deer valleyPhoto Credit: The St. Regis Deer Valley

As I live in Utah, I knew the snow situation or lack thereof in December. So I wondered, going to Deer Valley among the highest locales in the Park City area, what the snow would be like. Could I go skiing? snowshoeing? Or would the anniversary celebrations and three days of activities not include snow? I shouldn’t have worried, though, since the snow was plentiful, due in part to recent natural snowfall, but also The St. Regis’s excellent snow-making machinery. The runs were groomed and open, and people were skiing.

The St. Regis Deer Valley is on a mountainside that spans across 12 acres. For those who have been to other St. Regis properties, this one offers the same Butler Service, as well as great Ski Valet services. There is a signature Jean-Georges Restaurant, a 14,000-square-foot Reméde spa with pools, a Val d’Isere-style ski beach, and world-class wine cellar; everything necessary for a spectacular weekend.

the st. regis deer valleyPhoto Credit: Susan Kime

The first evening was spent meeting the many guests at the event, and learning more about the new Ruinart Champagne partnership that St. Regis announced at the celebration. Ruinart is the oldest established Champagne house in the world, and been producing bubbly since 1729. Founded by Nicolas Ruinart in the Champagne region of Reims, the house is today owned by the parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA. And really, what is a great anniversary party without great Champagne?

And great food! The JG Grill provided sampling plates and fondue pots with chunks of bread, while th music was provided by the Jean Baptiste jazz group. As if this weren’t enough, we watched the beginning of the Ice Castle that was being built outside in one of the patio pavilions.

the st. regis deer valleyPhoto Credit: The St. Regis Deer Valley

The next day dawned clear and cold, though still no snow in sight. We were introduced to the group of Olympians and U.S. Ski Team members that the property had recruited for its Ski Ambassador program, giving hotel guests a chance to ski with some of the world’s top skiers. Half-day packages for the program start at $1,995. Kris “Fuzz” Feddersen, one of the ambassadors, is a three-time Olympian in freestyle skiing and a recent inductee into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. Joining Fuzz was a talented group of athletes including two-time Olympian Kaylin Richardson, a veteran of Warren Miller ski films; current U.S. Freestyle Team member K.C. Oakley; two-time Olympics moguls competitor Jillian Vogtli and Mac Bohonnon, age 18, who represented the U.S. in freestyle aerials at Sochi last year.

the st. regis deer valleyPhoto Credit: Susan Kime

We were also introduced to a new type of winter activity: trampoline snowboarding. We didn’t do it, but we watched the four young men, Bohonnon being one, on the All-American Aces Trampoline Snowboard Team do some amazing things, in the air, defying gravity, all the while on a snowboard.

The St. Regis Deer ValleyPhoto Credit: The St. Regis Deer Valley

Another major experience, where I felt as if I were again defying gravity, was the new two-hour Bear Experience Spa treatment. I was one of the first to receive it. It utilizes indigenous ingredients and Ayurvedic philosophies. It begins with dry brushing and body exfoliation, then your face is cleansed and massaged. Next, you’ll go through a series of deep muscle movements to release joint pain and increase mobility. You are then massaged with oil and warm poultices containing specialized indigenous herbs to deeply relax and detoxify muscles. Finally the Bear Dance Ritual concluded with a nourishing, clay scalp treatment and massage.

the st. regis deer valleyPhoto Credit: Susan Kime

That evening was our last meal celebrating The St. Regis Fifth Anniversary, and the great Executive Chef Richard Samaniego pulled out all the stops, during the six-course tasting menu. The evening began with Mirin Marinated Salmon, Wakame (edible seaweed) and Zipang Sparkling Sake. We then moved to Hamachi Sashimi with radish and avocado, painted with Uvaggio Vermentino; Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon with a citrus salad, paired with Chateau La Riviere Sauternes; then a Thai Basil Roasted Maine Lobster, rice and a pea shoot salad, paired with Morgan Winery Highland Chardonnay. Next was a Rocky Mountain Elk Loin paired with a Château Aney, Haut-Médoc. For dessert, we enjoyed Ovaltine Kulfi with a caramelized banana and a spiced milk chocolate sauce, paired with Warre’s Otima Ten Year Tawny.

The St. Regis Deer ValleyPhoto Credit: The St. Regis Deer Valley

The next day, never ever wanting to eat or drink again, I still knew (from the professional journalist perspective), I was missing just one thing: tasting the St. Regis Bloody Mary. I had written about all the different St. Regis Bloody Mary’s before—as each property is unique—the variation being the use of the local products of the area in the drink’s preparation.

The St. Regis Deer Valley signature drink is the 7452 Mary, so named for the bar’s elevation. It starts with the original recipe, but then takes it further, topping it with wasabi and celery froth and a dash of cayenne pepper. The glass is rimmed with black lava salt, reflecting the color of coal, a nod to Park City’s rich mining history. While sipping my cocktail, I spoke with General Manager Edward Shapard. He reflected on the meaning of the fifth anniversary of the St. Regis.

The St. Regis Deer ValleyPhoto Credit: The St. Regis Deer Valley

“We have just begun,” Shapard shared. “It usually takes about five years to form the basis for a great brand to move forward. With the St. Regis, we are doing that, and we have many differentiators, but here are just three: We have a slope side address, you can just get up, walk outside and ski away. As far as back country skiing goes, we take the skiers outback in our G Class Mercedes wagons. Other resorts don't have vehicles that would be able to handle that terrain.”

“And finally, Deer Valley has agreed to purchase Solitude Mountain Resort and will begin operating the resort as of May 1, 2015,” Shapard continued. “Deer Valley is our home, and we are excited about our St. Regis guests discovering the beauty and peace found at Solitude, in addition to finding it here. We are looking forward to the future, with all the new experiences it will bring.”