Steve Graff: Making Mountains into Playgrounds

written by: Tony Gill

photo by: Adam Finkle

Whether you’re at Deer Valley laying edges into perfect corduroy or peeling off tire knobs through a perfect berm, you can rest assured Steve Graff has a hand in your fun. Graff has been Deer Valley’s Ski Patrol Director since 2000 and he’s been steering Utah’s mountain-bike revolution since 1994.

1. You’re the Ski Patrol and Bike Patrol Manager. What’s the difference, besides shorts in summer?

SG: In the winter we do what you typically associate with ski patrol, but in the summer it’s more encompassing. I’m also in charge of bike trails and new trail construction. We’re spending a lot of time developing new trails for the mountain bike program.

2. What are you doing to help bring new riders to the sport?

SG: We’re making a big push for machine-built bike trails suitable for beginner and intermediate riders. We’re also encouraging more people to ride with our bike guides. No matter what level you’re at, you can benefit from riding with a guide who knows the trails.

3. What have you done to keep Ski and Bike Patrols humming?

SG: We have a really good retention rate and average only six to 10 new people a year. It helps with continuity, which we have because people love their jobs. A number of our former supervisors are still part-timers because they just couldn’t leave.

4. How do you stay passionate?

SG: I love that you never know what each day is going to bring. It’s always tough to see people when they’re hurt, but it’s a great, rewarding feeling to be able to be there and do what you can to make their situation better.

5. Does being in charge keep you off the hill?

SG: I make a point to get out every day. Even if I can only get out for a couple runs in the afternoon. Whether it’s chewed up powder or frozen slush, I don’t care. I just love being out there.

Deer Valley Resort: 2250 Deer Valley Drive, Park City, 435-649-1000.

Tony Gill
Tony Gill
Tony Gill is the outdoor and Park City editor for Salt Lake Magazine and previously toiled as editor-in-chief of Telemark Skier Magazine. Most of his time ignoring emails is spent aboard an under-geared single-speed on the trails above his home.

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