(WARNING: THIS IS A LONG POST! I’m going to be kind enough to provide this quick Executive Summary for readers who aren’t into long form. Here you go; Inspirato’s Crescent unit at Stein Eriksen Residences is wonderful, 10 out of 10. We loved the ski-in/ski-out location with ski valets. Delicious breakfast is included at SER so don’t preorder groceries for breakfast like I did! Dad/daughter trips are awesome. Gratitude is super important. First Pass trip was a HUGE success! Thank you Inspirato! Next stop on Pass, the Lotus residence at Pelican Hill on February 2.)
Okay, now for those of you who may be tempted to read the long form…
Analyzing and explaining the in’s and out’s of Inspirato Pass on this blog seems so much easier to capture and contain in a post than summarizing a most beautiful vacation experience like the one that I enjoyed last week with my youngest daughter Sophie, my good buddy Robert, and his daughter Samantha.
This time around, you won’t be reading about the economics of Pass, return multiple on monthly subscription fees, triggering trips, etc. Obviously, as the creator of this blog, I enjoy analyzing all of those angles. But, I’m putting that all aside for a bit here. This post is about the simple joy of being a dad…on a ski vacation…with my 14 year-old daughter…and some dear friends…at a beautiful Inspirato home.
Our vacation was a 4-night stay in Inspirato’s Crescent unit at Stein Eriksen Residences.
To be clear, we didn’t need to stay in Inspirato’s Crescent unit at the luxurious Stein Eriksen Residences (“SER”) in Deer Valley, indulging in its 5-star service and amenities to have a good ski trip together in Utah. BUT, it sure was fun to watch my daughter and her friend enjoy every aspect of the service and amenities that SER had to offer. These girls did not need the ski valet, TJ, to help them put on their ski boots each morning. They didn’t need Eduardo to make sure they had fresh hand warmers before setting foot outside into the cold mountain air. They didn’t need Dan to carry their skis out and set them on the snow so that all they had to do was step into their bindings to be on their way. They didn’t need little white SER logo slippers to slide on upon our return to the ski lobby each afternoon. They didn’t need the Jacuzzi on our private patio or the spectacular indoor/outdoor perfectly heated pool at the spa. They didn’t need any of that. BUT, it sure was super fun and special for them, and an experience they LOVED having together (of course with their incredibly cool dads too!). I hesitate to sound cliché, but this trip did create memories that will last a lifetime, both for the girls and us dads.
I told my daughter and our friends very little about where we’d be staying in Deer Valley. I did mention it would be a nice place, but that’s about it. So, I couldn’t help but smile as we stepped out of the car at the porte cochere upon our arrival, observing their big, wide-open eyes as they tried unsuccessfully to conceal their giddiness about being at such a beautiful spot. Those big smiles were pretty much fixtures on their faces for the duration of our four day trip.
Here’s a bit of a daily breakdown…
We had an early morning flight on Delta out of Orange County at 7:15. This smooth and easy flight, on which the gate agent bumped us up to Delta Comfort (not a huge deal but sure makes things easier on my knees to have those extra inches), arrived right on time at 10:15 in SLC. We arrived at SER before noon, knowing well that check-in time was not until 4:00. I had requested an early check-in, which in response SER concierge kindly offered to do their best to get us in as early as possible.
Jennifer, the very kind and professional concierge working the front desk, mentioned that they were working hard to clean and prep our room but that they would still need some more time. She offered to give us a tour of the property, which was helpful as it gave us all an immediate familiarity with the services and amenities offered on property. Then, rather than sit around and wait for our unit, we decided to jump on the SER shuttle and head down to Main Street in Park City for some shopping and lunch. SER has a free shuttle that departs every half hour and takes you most anywhere you’d need to go in the Park City area.
I’ve been going to Park City/Deer Valley since I was a kid. I love Main Street. It’s nostalgic for me. So many memories with my family and the friends we often traveled with. We walk, shop, and eat on Main Street at least once each and every trip. Our family favorite spot, for as long as I can remember, has been Wasatch Brew Pub, right up at the top of Main Street. I loved Wasatch years before I was legally able to imbibe on their craft creations, and I love it even more now that my meal can be accompanied with a Snap Down India Pale Lager, my personal favorite beer offering at Wasatch. We called for the SER shuttle to pick us up after eating and a bit more shopping on Main St. We were back on property around 2:00 and our unit was now ready for us.
In Summary, Crescent is a beautiful, thoughtfully designed unit. Well-appointed, tasteful, elegant, contemporary, and comfortably luxurious. One important thing to mention, not shown in the walk through, is that this home’s kitchen is stocked with every small kitchen appliance imaginable, from a Vitamix blender to a slow-cooker, and everything in between. It’s a lot easier to show you a video walk through of the unit than it is to describe every detail, so here you go.
After getting all settled in, Robert and I decided to hit the gym. We’re both Peloton guys and were immediately excited to see a couple of bikes sitting in the fitness area by the windows, looking out at the incredible mountain views. We logged in, clipped in, and got in a couple of great rides. After getting a workout done, I felt I could now rationalize spending the balance of my afternoon and evening in the pursuit of leisure and relaxation. So, off to the pool. This pool is awesome. I can be prone to hyperbole, but this was my favorite pool ever (okay, maybe 2nd to the Coliseum Pool at Pelican Hill if I’m honest, which happens to be our next Pass destination). You slip off your incredibly comfortable SER robe and enter the warm water of the fully enclosed portion of the pool, feeling none of the freezing cold air waiting for you on the other side of the glass partition. Then, with a quick swim under the glass, you exit and are in the outdoor, open air portion of the pool, steam rising into the frigid air as you look past the infinity edge and out over the Wasatch range. Yeah, this was nice, really nice…and it became my routine each and every afternoon. Après skiing at its finest.
There were lots of fancy shmancy elements to our vacation at SER. However, remember that us dads were in charge here. So, what else would we do for dinner our first night but order pizza and wings to be Door Dashed to our unit. Robert and I ate and watched NFL playoff games while the girls made, what seemed like hours and hours of, Tik Tok videos (if you know, you know). It was a perfect way to end a long but wonderful day. Dads were beat and went to bed early. Daughters stayed up late and I fell asleep to the background noise of their continuous laughter drifting in from the other room.
Ski Day 1 of 2. We were fired up to get the ski part of this ski vacation underway. We got up early to hit the included breakfast buffet, which was replete with eggs benedict, cinnamon French toast, oatmeal bar with all the toppings, fresh berries, salmon, cereal, bagels, and more! My only issue is that we had no idea that such an incredible breakfast (or any breakfast for that matter) would be included with our stay. I had ordered a significant amount of groceries through concierge for our 4 breakfast mornings in Deer Valley, conveniently purchased and placed in our pantry and frig prior to our check-in. It could have been a total waste, but you’ll see how we turned lemons into lemonade here. IMPORTANT NOTE: if you head to Stein Eriksen Residences with Inspirato, keep in mind that a delicious breakfast is included with your stay for all occupants…quite a deal! Probably a good idea to confirm with your Inspirato Team that this continues to be an offering going forward.
We were eager to ski and finished up our breakfast quickly and walked right downstairs to the onsite ski rental and Deer Valley ticket kiosk. It was all SO easy and we were ready to hit the slopes in no time! Again, the assistance of our wonderful ski valets made everything move so smoothly.
We hit the slopes right as they opened. We skied, and skied…and skied, making only a quick stop at Silver Lake Lodge for bite of lunch. That’s generally our regular spot for lunch while on the mountain. It’s fine. It’s good. But, that’s about it. We hit the slopes again as snow began to fall. We got about 4 inches during our afternoon session. It was beautiful. We had a ton of fun skiing all together and kept at it until the lifts closed on us.
Arriving back to SER pretty beat, I hit the spa pool after kicking off my skis and changing into my bathing suit and the SER provided plush robe and slippers. I opted out of a workout this afternoon but Robert still had enough energy to jump on the Peloton to get a quick workout in. I didn’t know that working out after a long day of skiing was even a thing! Great job Robert!
So, remember that I had ordered a bunch of breakfast groceries from concierge that it turned out we had no need for? Well, how about breakfast-for-dinner guys? All four of us cooked up bacon, eggs, pancakes and accompanied them with sliced avocados and apples. It couldn’t have tasted any better. It was a special evening with our girls. I went to sleep feeling especially thankful for being at this incredible place and for having this experience with my daughter.
Ski day 2 of 2. With our skis left overnight in the ski locker, we had a bit more leisurely breakfast and were still able to hit the slopes right as they opened. The ski valets literally lay your skis on the snow for you and you just walk up, snap into your bindings, and off you go. It didn’t take long to get used to this service! I’ve skied Deer Valley many, many times over the years, and the home where we usually stay is just around the corner from SER. But, it’s a bit of walk to the slopes down the icy street with your skis slung over your shoulders, trudging slowly to avoid slipping on the ice in your ski boots. Ski valets were a first for me. And I’m so, so down with ski valets going forward.
When you pay Deer Valley lift ticket prices and ski with this dad, you get the most out of your ski day! And the awesome thing was, all four of us were on the page and wanted to keep skiing and skiing. After the day prior’s snowfall, and this day’s full sunshine, ski conditions were perfect. Rather than lunch at the ski lodge, we opted to ski-in to SER and eat at our unit. Oh, what’d we have? You guessed it, breakfast-for-lunch! Don’t get me wrong, our lunch was epic. We gave ourselves 30 minutes for this lunch stop as this was our second, but already last day of skiing. We all took a prep assignment and our teamwork quickly delivered platefuls of B.L.T.A.E (bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, egg) sandwiches topped off with some Balsamic Vinegar on freshly sliced sourdough. And heck yeah, I highly recommend this mid ski-day lunch. Who would’ve thought?! At this point, we were feeling pretty happy about the whole snafu with buying breakfast foods for the week. Okay, our 30 minutes are up, let’s go!
Back on the slopes. Skied until 4:30. Lifts closed on us. Skied back into SER. I hit the pool. Robert hit the Peloton (making me feel like a bit of a slacker yet again). The girls jumped in the jacuzzi on our private patio for an hour or so. Life was good.
I’m a sucker for nostalgia, and one spot we always hit as a family for years and years was Baja Cantina at Park City, right at the base of the mountain. I thought it’d be fun for the four of us to check it out. It was just what we needed. It was casual. Our waitress took great care of us. The conversation was fun, easy, profound, and refreshing. It’s funny how sometimes the simple act of creating a unique context for connection can lead to some deep relational times of growth. We all agreed that this night was special. Oh, and we stuffed ourselves on nachos, taquitos, enchiladas, and burritios.
We returned “home” after dinner and the girls baked some amazing homemade fresh chocolate chip cookies, the ingredients of which were ordered ahead of time from concierge and waiting for us in our pantry when we arrived. Unlike the breakfast foods, we actually did need our cookie ingredients! We all snacked on few, freshly out of the oven cookies and then the girls prepared a couple of plates of cookies, one for the front desk/concierge staff and one for the ski valet team. The plates of cookies, along with thank you notes from the girls, were hand delivered to the staff the next morning. Expressing gratitude is important to us, and we were all incredibly grateful for the team that made our stay so wonderful, and so grateful to be able to experience a trip like this together as friends and family.
It turned out that Robert and Sam had to leave a day before Sophie and I. After a last breakfast together at 7880 (SER’s restaurant), we said our good-byes and they headed down the hill to SLC airport.
Sophie and I originally had planned to go on a snow shoeing adventure this day. As it turned out, we were really tired and the day was more suited for taking it easy in our unit. This all worked out for the best as I ended up having to take care of a ton of work stuff on this day. After all, it was January 7thand the rest of the world had already returned to work after the holiday. I tried to delay my own return to the productive work world for a couple more days. But alas, conference calls, email responses, and the like, all reminded me that this was a post holiday trip. I embraced it and fully enjoyed Inspirato’s Crescent unit as my office for the day. At the same time, my daughter, who had been happy to miss her first few days of school after Christmas vacation, realized that getting some homework done to ease her return to school later in the week might be a good idea. This was a different day, but a good day nonetheless.
We did get a bit stir crazy by around 4:00. It was time to hit Main St. again. The SER shuttle proved perfectly convenient once more. We walked up and down the street, finding our level of shopping enthusiasm noticeably more muted than our first afternoon on Main St. with Robert and Sam. We could feel the trip winding down. We peeked our heads into probably a dozen or so different restaurants on Main St. We were like the three little bears. This one’s too quiet. This one’s too fancy. This one’s too cold. This one’s menu is weird. And then, our last peek was into Flanagan’s Pub. There was some mellow live music, a good crowd, and we’re both suckers for a good Shepherd’s Pie. Thus ended our trip. Just Sophie and I talking about life, reflecting on the last few days, all over a couple of Shepherd’s Pies at an Irish Pub on Main St.
Rode the shuttle home. Packed. I had some more work to do. Watched three episodes of Jack Ryan together until midnight. Slept.
Wednesday was an early departure for SLC. I had signed up for 6 free months of Clear that were included as a Pass promotion. It was the first time I had used it (they don’t offer Clear at Orange County) and it was great. On this occasion, it probably saved us 20 minutes or so. We were tired and welcomed not standing in a TSA line any longer than absolutely necessary.
We were soon home and filled with gratitude for such a great trip. We recognize what a blessing it is to be able to have an adventure such as this. And, in all honesty, I’m deeply thankful for Inspirato Pass, because this trip would have never happened had it not been for Pass. This was my “trigger trip” that led me to sign up for Pass in the first place. (You can read about trigger trips here)
All that to say, what a great way to start our journey on Pass! It will warrant a separate post, but I wasted no time in booking our next trip on Pass. We’re all set for a 7-night “Staycation” at the Lotus residence at Pelican Hill (Newport Coast) on Febuary 2. This time around, all four of us will be able to enjoy our first Pass trip together at a place we love!
As a post script, and in order to provide an unbiased review, I always want to mention any negative things about a trip experience or an Inspirato Pass unit. It was not easy to find a negative about this trip, but a couple of things that are fair to mention. This unit, for the most part, does not have great views of the mountain as it is an interior unit on the courtyard. That wasn’t a big deal to us, but good for people to know ahead of time. Fireplaces are all gas, which is to be expected these days, especially in more of a hotel-type setting. I mention that only because I love nothing more than a crackling wood fire when up in the cold, snowy mountains. Lastly, there was the “big” negative that we joked about every day. Ready for this?! The paper towels in the kitchen were those super chintzy rolls that rip in the middle of the towel every time you attempt to pull one off the roll and that you need about 4 or 5 towels of to equal the absorption power of a high-end paper towel. So, that’s it. That’s how Inspirato can still find one way to improve in this unit. Just add the Quicker Picker Upper and you’ll be done. 🙂
Thank for reading and stay tuned for a post about the booking of our next Pass trip!
Now, are you ready for your own dad/daughter trip, or dad/son, or mom/daughter, mom/friend, whatever! Join me and become a Passholder today!