Former Olympic skier Heidi Voelker rules the runs of Deer Valley.Heidi Voelker, Deer Valley Resort’s official ambassador of skiing, made her Olympic debut in the 1988 Calgary games at the age of 18. By the time Voelker retired from professional ski racing in 1997, her list of accomplishments had grown to include six top-10 World Cup finishes, a 1994 national championship title in the giant slalom and a third-place finish in the giant slalom event at the 1997 U.S. Nationals. Put simply, she rips. American Way caught up with Voelker as she showed our Road Warrior contest winners the secret passages of this luxe Utah resort.
Heidi Voelker: I went to Stratton Mountain School, a ski school in Vermont, and I excelled in that training program. I got stronger. I was beating people I’d never beaten before. Once I realized I had potential to make the ski team, make the Olympics, make the World Cup, I became much more invested in my own potential.
AW: What do you attribute your success to?
HV: Competition comes naturally to me. When I was skiing competitively, everyone at that level has that natural talent. The winners are the ones who are completely focused.
AW: You joined the team in 1985, when you were just 15. Do you have any regrets?
HV: No regrets, but if I could do it again, I would [try to] just enjoy the process more. I put a lot of pressure on myself when I realized I could go far. I’d also try to be more in control of my destiny and stand up for myself more. I could have been more assertive. I usually did exactly what the coaches told me to do.
AW: What were the highlights of your racing career?
HV: Definitely the 1988 Olympics, because I was just 18 at the time and had only been on the ski team for three years. Also — and I’m probably the only professional skier who can say this — I’m featured on the Utah license plate.
Deer Valley’s communications coordinator, at (435) 645-6518 or
HV: The state legislature wanted a skier embossed on the plate, and the designing artist got a stock photo of a ski racer — me — from the local paper. As the design worked its way through the approval channels, the artist had to get a photo release. When he first tracked me down, I thought it was a prank call. Now I see myself everywhere, whenever I drive.
AW: Tell me something about Deer Valley that most people wouldn’t know.
HV: We pay impeccable attention to detail. We run the resort by the same standards of a five-star hotel, which means when you arrive, there are people to assist you with unloading your equipment. Mountain hosts are everywhere on the mountain to answer questions. You’ll always find a table when you go into the lodge at lunch, because we limit our ticket sales to 6,500 per day. A long lift line here is four minutes. And we don’t allow snowboarding.
AW: You have two sons, ages 9 and 6. Is the Park City area a good place to raise kids?
HV: It’s great. I like to say the winters brought us but the summers kept us. It’s beautiful here in the summer.