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Get the Outside In - Utah Terrain

Top Ski Resorts

Mark Pyper

Posted on December 23 2018

Top Ski Resorts

Long before “Life Elevated” became Utah’s official state slogan, the motto “The Greatest Snow on Earth” graced Utah’s license plates. While neighboring Rocky Mountain states, New Zealand, and South America may argue who should receive the crown for top skiing destination, there’s no doubt that Utah is one of the world’s premier skiing locales. And “Greatest Snow on Earth” may seem like just another clever marketing slogan, but there’s science to the claim. In fact, several books have been written about why Utah’s climate and geography combine to create perfect conditions for fluffy, buoyant “powder”. We won’t bore you with the technical stuff, suffice it to say the frequency and quality of snowfall in Utah has skiers and shredders of all levels salivating in their boots as ski season approaches each year.

Without further ado, this is our list of top ski resorts in Utah, ranked in no particular order. We have no set of particular criteria to classify Utah’s ski resorts. Your particular needs and preferences – family considerations, beginner skiing, or price – might take you to different resorts. These are just our favorites.

Solitude

This resort is aptly named as you simply can’t beat the fact that it is relatively uncrowded compared to neighboring Alta, Snowbird, and Brighton ski resorts. Given it’s close proximity to Salt Lake City, tons of snow, and lack of crowds, Solitude sets you up for lots of great skiing. If you’re not into long lift lines and just need good skiing, put Solitude at the top of your list. One reason that Solitude may be uncrowded is that its dining options, nightlife, and shopping are relatively narrow, so if you’re looking for tons of Après ski opportunities, this may not be the resort for you. Although Solitude is relatively small, it’s great for all levels of skiing.

More Information: solitudemountain.com

Powder Mountain

Like Solitude, Powder Mountain (or Pow Mow for short) remains relatively undiscovered and offers no frills skiing. However, where Solitude may be relatively small, Powder Mountain is a monster and is the biggest ski resort in the U.S. in terms of acreage. Many visitors report that even after a week of skiing there are still trails that they didn’t hit. While Powder Mountain is the resort on this list that’s furthest away from Salt Lake City, it’s still relatively close to a major airport (particularly compared to Colorado’s well-known resorts!). With ample snow, tons of runs, and a no-nonsense, “just here for the trails” attitude, what’s not to like? If there is a knock on Powder Mountain, its lifts are old and few and far between for the mammoth expanse of trails it offers.

More Information: www.powdermountain.com

Alta

Alta (where the “AL” is not pronounced like “AL-titude” but rather Paul Simons’ classic, “You can call me AL”) is simply world-class and constantly makes it onto top ski resort lists. Celebrating its 80th Anniversary in 2019, Alta is prestigious and old which means no snowboarders – sorry, dudes! While Alta is family-friendly, it also accommodates the most advanced skiers as well. Many skiers of all levels leave this resort with the impression that it’s the best skiing they’ve ever experienced – it’s that good. However, two small knocks on Alta: On crowded weekends, trails can get a little tracked out by the end of the day. Also, because of the old world charm, there’s not the luxurious overnight accommodations that you’d expect from a world-class level of resort.

More Information: www.alta.com

Deer Valley

Deer Valley may be the most well-rounded of the resorts on this list because in addition to great trails and powder, it also has plenty of elegant ambiance when the ski day is over. Also, as it's in Park City, there’s plenty to do here. While some of the other resorts might be for the hardcore, no-nonsense skier, Deer Valley is more geared for the intermediate level skier who wants a balance of good skiing and resort-style fun off the slops. The deluxe resort is quite pricey, though, and practically no one would call Deer Valley a steal of a deal!

More Information: www.deervalley.com

Park City Mountain Resort

This resort makes our list because it is one of the best all-around resorts in Utah. It’s close to a major airport, great ski-in ski-out lodging, very good intermediate terrain, and, of course, the Park City amenities, nightlife, and off-slopes entertainment. Also, the resort was recently snatched up by Vail Resorts which decided to merge the nearby Canyons Resort into one ski destination. Translation? More lifts and trails. While Park City may not get as much powder as the nearby Cottonwood resorts, for the average skier this effect is negligible. As a bonus, what other ski resort has a nearby Olympic class bobsled run – a thrilling diversion for any ski trip!

More Information: www.parkcitymountain.com

Snowbird

Last, but certainly not least, on our list is Snowbird. This may be it – the Valhalla and Holy Grail of powder in Utah. With steep and varied terrain, the trails here will challenge even the most seasoned skier – that’s why Snowbird is often the “go to” resort for expert skiers and snowboarders looking to either test or show off their skills. Some say Snowbird is the true showcase for “the Greatest Snow on Earth.” The Wasatch range gets plenty of fresh, dry powder, but because Snowbird’s altitude is higher than neighboring resorts, the fluffy snow’s quality is even more enhanced here. Because the resort caters to more advanced skiers, this may not be the best experience for beginners. However, on the flip side, the expert-heavy skiing often translates into less crowded trails for the beginner.

More Information: www.snowbird.com

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