Since opening the day after Christmas in 1981, Deer Valley Resort has garnered just about every accolade and award that can be given to a ski resort. It’s been justifiably recognized for the Resort’s stellar customer service, cuisine, accommodations, pristine ski conditions, hospitality, and much more. Oddly enough, the one thing that has never existed at the Resort is an adult-only, 21+ bar. Not that it’s ever been difficult to get a drink at Deer Valley; there are plenty of restaurants, lodges and lounges with fully stocked bars, and even award-winning wine and cocktail lists. But until last month, no adults-only venue ever existed at the family-friendly resort.
That has changed with the opening of Sticky Wicket, a rockin’, fun spot for lunch and apres ski, located mid-mountain on the second floor above Royal Street Cafe at Silver Lake Village. To some, Deer Valley might seem a bit stuffy – maybe almost too polished. But that notion goes out the window at Sticky Wicket, where guests are immersed in the spirit of 1970s and 1980s ski culture. Although it’s brand spankin’ new, Sticky Wicket already has the look, feel and vibe of a 100 percent legit apres ski bar of the type you’d find in Aspen, Jackson Hole, or Whistler.
According to Deer Valley Resort, “The design-focused concept, led by design firm Studio K, embraces the Golden Era of skiing with vintage footage from filmmaker Warren Miller and vintage decor sourced by Mountain Gazette editor Mike Rogge.” Indeed, Mike Rogge’s fingerprints are all over the walls at Sticky Wicket, and his incredible photographs and decor give guests the feeling that they’re imbibing in a ski museum, of sorts. The place is chock-full of ski memorabilia ranging from actual vintage skis, posters, apparel, and ski-themed license plates, to action photos of Canadian freestyle skier Wayne Wong, who was the center of attention at the bar’s grand opening.
Those of a certain age, like me, will remember those triangular metal frames to which we attached adhesive lift tickets for skiing at the resorts. Those frames are called wickets. I’m not sure, but perhaps “Sticky” refers to the stickiness of the adhesive lift tickets. I believe the term “sticky wicket” originally was a reference to a particularly difficult situation or circumstance in the sport of cricket. The new Deer Valley watering hole – Sticky Wicket – has a nice, irreverent ring to it.
So, Deer Valley now has a dedicated, raucous apres ski bar where you can order a 64 ounce table keg of beer and listen to vintage tunes from the likes of the Eurythmics, ELO, Blondie, The Police, and others. But keep in mind, this is Deer Valley Resort we’re talking about. So in addition to a party apres ski vibe where you can get cans and kegs of beer, guests can also enjoy more sophisticated libations such as Moët & Chandon Champagne, Whispering Angel Rosé from Provence, Austin Hope Cabernet from Paso Robles, and craft cocktails like the Mountainside Mojito made with Hamilton Rum, minted lemon, lime and blueberries. It’s the best of both worlds, where you can have your Pilsner and sip your Sauvignon Blanc too.
And then there’s the food. Not surprisingly, this is not your daddy’s bar food. Vice President of Food & Beverage Jacob Musyt and his talented team have created food menus at Sticky Wicket that will appeal to those wanting to get down and dirty with a Pastrami Burger or Pretzel Sticks, and also to foodies who would prefer Green Thai Curry, Mediterranean Salad, or Duck Confit & Truffle Fries to nosh.
My wife and I kicked off our visit with The Royal Street Guacamole at Sticky Wicket, which was a massive serving of homemade lime-spiced tortilla chips and guacamole made with roasted sweet corn, avocado, guajillo chile powder, microgreens and crema. Other tempting apres appetizers include Firecracker Shrimp with honey-gochujang aioli, ginger slaw, and tobiko; or Poke Mini Tacos – ahi tuna with pineapple salsa, chimichurri pesto, poke sauce, honey-gochujang sauce, and wonton taco shells.
My wife’s salad at Sticky Wicket looked like it could have come from one of Deer Valley’s more swanky restaurants, like The Mariposa. It was a generously portioned Baby Kale & Quinoa salad with wild rice, farro, beets, berries, sliced almonds, crumbled feta cheese, and a lovely orange-goji berry vinaigrette. She added grilled salmon to her salad; other protein add-ons include brisket, marinated mushrooms, grilled chicken breast, and marinated tofu.
In addition to the aforementioned Pastrami Burger, Sticky Wicket sandwiches include a Nashville Fried Chicken Sandwich, The Royal Ham & Cheese, and a Pistachio Turkey Burger, all of which come with a choice of parmesan fries, side salad, or chips and salsa. House Specialties include New England Clam Chowder, Deer Valley Turkey Chili, and Fish N’ Chips, which I couldn’t resist. My plate of fish n’ chips was plump, perfect beer-battered fried cod with tartar sauce and ridiculously delicious parmesan waffle fries. I’m not normally a waffle fry guy, but these spuds were sensational.
Deer Valley Resort President and Chief Operating Officer Todd Bennet doesn’t look like he’s old enough to drink at Sticky Wicket. Did anybody card him at the door? But he stopped by our table to visit and it was obvious that he’s very proud of Sticky Wicket and what it symbolizes for the Resort as its first adult bar. He mentioned that for some time guests and locals alike have been clamoring for a true apres ski venue that caters to the 21 and over crowd. Judging from the lines of folks waiting to get in – especially around lunchtime – I’d say Bennet and Deer Valley have a real hit on their hands. And by the way, I’ve been informed that the Resort plans to keep Sticky Wicket open during the summer season, so we can enjoy it for apres hiking or biking, not just during ski season. For now, Sticky Wicket is open 11:30 am to 6 pm Monday through Wednesday and from 11:30 am to 8 pm Thursday through Sunday. It’s the perfect addition to a world-class resort that isn’t easy to improve upon, but just another example of how Deer Valley Resort keeps growing and getting better and better.
Photos by Ted Scheffler
Culinary quote of the week: “Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” Harriet Van Horne