After last year’s trip to Vail, we all know that I just don’t do well in the cold – I’m awkward on skis, slip on the ice, and it’s almost impossible for me to get warm, no matter what environment I’m in. I’ve been known to turn the heater on in the middle of the summer and sleep in hotel robes on top of PJ’s while under several blankets. My mother, on the other hand, loves to spend a few days every year in the middle of a snowy setting – since it’s her birthday month, we’ve started going somewhere cold and Christmas-y for a few days every year.
I certainly don’t mind this new tradition when I’m able to stay in the warmth of a hotel like the St. Regis Deer Valley. Located in Park City, Utah – just a short hour’s drive outside of Salt Lake – Deer Valley is an incredible escape for just about anyone, with the exception of snowboarders (it’s one of just a handful of destinations in the US that does not allow snowboards on the mountain). When we arrived, right after the area was hit by a big winter storm, it felt just like walking into a Christmas card.
For the first couple of days, we enjoyed staying in the hotel, walking around Main Street in Park City, and popped over to check out my other partner property, the Montage Deer Valley. We even rode on the St. Regis’ funicular, a word I’d never heard until seeing it on signs throughout the hotel.
On our second day, I met with my fantastic St. Regis Deer Valley rep, Joye, who showed me around the hotel and introduced me to J&G Grill’s unbelievable homemade sodas (I would expect NOTHING less from a Jean Georges restaurant, my all time favorite!).
I’ve always had a soft spot for the St. Regis brand in my heart – maybe it’s because they’ve managed to summarize their unparalleled brand in just one word: bespoke. Or maybe it’s just because they offer fantastic service, beautiful accommodations, and manage to go above and beyond for each and every guest – like the homemade brownies they delivered to our room in celebration of Mom’s birthday.
Even as I sit in the cozy library of the St. Regis, watching the snow fall outside of the window and writing to my heart’s content, the staff just threw open the doors beside me to reveal a full hot chocolate set up…WHOA WHOA WHOA – is that complimentary?! I’m doing that thing where I’m going to watch other guests out of the corner of my eye before going to get some. I don’t want to seem too eager but….
Okay I’m back from getting a cup of hot chocolate. Great timing, St. Regis staff.
On top of this, they have a s’mores station every evening in front of the outdoor fireplace – I might have stopped by each night to steal a Hershey bar or two. Sorry if I left you with a disproportionate amount of Graham Crackers to Hershey Bars, St. Regis.
After two days of nestling tightly in the warmth of the hotel, venturing out only for food and shopping, we decided to go snowmobiling. And by “we” I mean my father booked a snowmobiling trip to appease my mother’s question of, “We can’t come all this way and not at least do something in the snow, right?” You’ll notice the absence of my involvement in this decision. I could’ve come all this way and stayed indoors just fine.
Plus, we needed a photo for this year’s Christmas card (yes, I do realize it’s the middle of December already) and the top of the mountain that the snowmobile would take us to would be perfect.
On the (hopefully) short list of things that put me in an absolutely terrible mood, being outdoors in the freezing cold for an extended period of time is definitely in the top three – along with anything that disrupts my sleep in the middle of the night, like 2 AM flights to Korea, and when people expect me to participate in recreational sporting events, namely anything that requires hand-eye coordination.
With a considerable amount of work piling up and a high of 8 degrees, if someone had asked me if I’d prefer to have a quick root canal or to spend 2 hours in the freezing cold, I really would have debated that decision. I could just photoshop myself into the family Christmas card, right?
However, once we started on the drive to the snowmobile site, which would take us into the Wasatch Range and through the Uinta National Forest, I had a change of heart. Even when we put on three extra layers of gear and started into the cold on the back of the snowmobiles, surrounded by absolutely breathtaking scenery, I continued feeling this change of heart.
I continued to feel this change of heart all the way up until I could no longer feel my fingers. And then I could no longer curl them. And then my nose disappeared… or at least it felt like I disappeared. Right around that point in my life, I would have chosen the root canal.
But, prior to all of this, I really enjoyed the snowmobile tour! And it did make me feel a little bit of sadistic satisfaction when, after waddling, frozen, back into the van, my mother turned to me and said, “I’m so cold – I will never ask to do this again.”
We all know this isn’t true. She just won’t ask to do it again for another year. And maybe then I’ll show her this blog post to remind her that, really, we belong by a nice fireplace, watching the snow fall and enjoying unlimited complimentary refills from the hot chocolate bar.
Ironically, we managed to take our Christmas card photo, not while out on the snowmobile tour….but right in front of the St. Regis.
Merry Christmas from the Epperly’s.
To begin planning your own wintery weather vacation – where you can, of course, choose to freeze or stay inside by the fire, – email firstname.lastname@example.org