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St. Regis Deer Valley offers opportunity to master moguls with Olympian Shannon Bahke

Posted by Hilary Nangle  January 6, 2012 07:02 AM

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This season, guests at the ski-in/out St. Regis Deer Valley in Park City, Utah, can—for a price—ski with two-time Olympic medalist Shannon Bahrke (left) on the mountain where she won her 2002 silver medal. A half-day with the mogul queen is $400 per person, including lunch at Jean-Georges' J&G Grill; a full day is $800 per person, including dinner and drinks at J&G. For groups of four, the rate is $1,500 half day, $2,400 full day. For corporate clients, a half day is $5,000 for up to 12 people with lunch; a full day is $10,000, including cocktails and dinner. For those unable or unwilling to make the splurge, Barhke schmoozes with all guests about once a week over free afternoon s'mores on the hotel's Astor Terrace.

While the programs with Bahrke are open only to hotel guests, anyone can watch the daily sunset champagne sabering demonstration, when a restaurant employee pops the cork on a bottle of champagne by whisking a sword up its neck (a great party trick, if you master it). Best way to access the hotel is via the free funicular from Deer Valley's Snow Park Lodge. The heated, glass-walled cars climb the cliffside and deliver panoramic views of the mountain and valley.

After the sabering, stick around for cocktails—the signature 7452 Mary, a bloody Mary distinguished by a wasabi-celery foam and named for the hotel's elevation—and perhaps dinner in the St. Regis Bar & Lounge or Executive Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's J&G Grill (two must-orders available in either location for lunch or dinner: black truffle pizza with fontina cheese ($12) and steamed shrimp salad with local greens and avocado champagne dressing ($12).

For those unable to ski with Bahrke, she offers the following tips for mastering those pesky moguls:

-- Look ahead, read the terrain, and interpret it: Look for a pattern in the moguls and plan four or five turns ahead.

-- Plant your pole after you've hit the mogul, not before. That keeps your hands in front, allowing you to keep moving forward and linking turns without getting twisted or in the back seat.

--Be relaxed: Let your legs come up

--Control speed: Don't slam on the brakes, instead, make little hockey-style checks in the troughs between moguls to slow your speed.

--Don't give up: So many people give up on moguls because it doesn't feel good, but if you stick with it, you'll get it.

--Surrender control: Mogul skiing isn't about control. You have to surrender, let your body go, and be okay with it.

During ski season, a superior guest room at the hotel ranges $519-$1,649 per night, which includes ski and boot valets, who assist with equipment and warm boots overnight. Car service to nearby Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons is available. For those who prefer to not lift a finger while vacationing, butler service is available (worth the splurge if only to task him with making everything fit nicely back in your suitcase when it's time to depart).

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