Deer Valley might be known for their groomers and cruisers, but don’t be fooled!
This mountain quietly offers some of the most legitimate expert terrain in Utah.
Where? The Daly Chutes.
In this post, I’m sharing all the insider’s info about these legendary runs at Deer Valley Resort.
What are the Daly Chutes?
The Daly Chutes are a series of ten chutes off Deer Valley’s Empire peak.
These chutes offer some of the most challenging skiing not just at Deer Valley, but arguably in all of Utah.
The runs feature sustained pitches of serious steepness, mixed with narrow, tricky entrances which require skiers to plan out their turns. Coverage can be hit or miss, so the chutes are often filled with natural obstacles like trees, shrub brush, and huge moguls.
The chutes do flatten out a bit after their tricky entrances, often rewarding those skilled enough to enter with lots of the freshest snow on the mountain!
Make no mistake though, these double black ski runs aren’t of the “pretend” variety that you might find at some other ski resorts. The Daly Chutes are legitimate expert terrain!
Speaking of which…
How steep are the Daly Chutes at Deer Valley?
The chutes feature sustained pitches of a legitimate 44-45 degrees of steepness. In case you were snoozing in math class, that’s steep!
In fact, not many ski resorts can honestly claim such a pitch. The legendary Jupiter Bowl at Park City next door maxes out around 31-34 degrees, depending on which line you’re taking. Even the iconic Alf’s High Rustler at Alta can’t quite crack 40 degrees, instead maxing out at 39 degrees of pitch.
Only the very steepest of the steep – Baldy Chutes at Alta, Berry Berry Steep at Snowbird, and the avalanche-beacon-requiring Big Couloir at Big Sky are in the same range of Baldy Chute’s 45 degree pitch. This is legitimately some of the steepest terrain in the country!
How to find the Daly Chutes
To get there, you’ll want to head up the Empire Express chairlift and ski down Orion, hugging the ski area boundary to your right. Eventually, you’ll see an access point with information about the chutes, and hopefully, and “open” sign.
This area will allow you to traverse through Anchor trees. It will then open up into Daly Bowl – not to be confused with the Daly Chutes!
To get to chutes, keep traversing over the top of the bowl until you start seeing signs for the chutes.
Congrats! You’ve found them.
From there, you can check the signs and choose your line on any number of the ten different chutes. But bewarned! They do come with different difficulties. More on that in the next section…
An Expert Skier’s Progression to the Daly Chutes
If you’re looking for a guided route to work your way up to skiing the Daly Chutes for the first time, I have good news and bad news.
- Good news – although the whole area is legitimate double black diamond terrain, some of the chutes are easier than others.
- Bad news – Difficulty-wise, the Daly Chutes sit on a bit on an island at Deer Valley. Simply put, they’re a lot harder than the next hardest terrain on the mountain, so dropping in for the first time will certainly require a leap of faith.
- Badder news – If you’re shaking in your boots after skiing up to the chutes for the first time, there’s no easy bail out.
To hopefully avoid the latter situation, here’s a few suggestions to cross off before attempting any of the chutes, although the previous warning about their relative difficulty definitely still applies.
- Take Empire Express and take a few warm up laps on Empire Bowl / Conviction / Domingo / Solace. All of these runs are only about 30 degrees of steepness, so a lot flatter than the Daly Chutes, but if you struggle with these, you’ll at least know that continuing onto the Daly Chutes is a very, very bad idea.
- Take Empire Express again and traverse over to Daly Bowl. Again, you’re still looking at another 10+ degrees of steepness to go until the Chutes, but at least the bowl has a similar orientation to give you rough idea about snow conditions.
- If you tackled all that with confidence, you might be ready to take a leap of faith into the Daly Chutes. Keeping in mind that the chutes are much more narrow and steep than the bowl, with significantly more obstacles and potential hazards.
What is the easier Daly Chute?
If the rest of this article hasn’t been clear, I’d caution that none of them are “easy.”
That said, Daly Chutes #1 & #2 are probably the easier of your ten options. They’re most similar to the terrain and steepness found in Daly Bowl, just with a much more narrow path.
Which Daly Chutes are the hardest?
Chutes 4 and 7 are considered the hardest Daly Chutes.
In particular, Chute 4 has a reputation as the hardest of the chutes, mostly because it has a tendency to build up a serious cornice, which can create an intimidating drop-in followed by a very tricky, narrow entrance at the top.
Here’s a video of a guy skiing Daly Chute 4 at Deer Valley on a particularly snowy year. (Not me! Although he does have the same skis as I do…)
Keep in mind that GoPro videos are notorious for making even the steepest runs look flat. If this video looks steep to you, know that it looks 10x as tough in real life!
Other Trivia – Who are the Daly Chutes named after?
That would be John Daly.
According to the Park City Museum, he was a prominent miner turned banker who owned the Daly Judge Mining Company and Daly West mines in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Today, his name appears on both the Daly Bowl and the Daly Chutes.
Hopefully you found this guide helpful in some way.
Good luck at the Daly Chutes! And feel free to share this guide with someone you think should check out this iconic Deer Valley terrain!