This comprehensive guide will reveal everything you need to know for an unforgettable Utah ski trip. The state’s best resorts and runs? Check. Its enviable après-ski options and other top winter activities? You bet. How about local tips and insights to help you have the best possible time? We’ve got those too! The only thing left to do is dive on in…
5 Tips for the Ultimate Utah Ski Trip
Winter sports enthusiasts will inevitably be in their element in Utah. But there are still certain things to remember to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip. Here are 5 top tips to help with the task:
Choose Dates Wisely to Avoid the Crowds
The skiing in Utah’s so good that the resorts draw huge crowds yearly – especially between Christmas and New Year’s Day. If you want to avoid them, consider skipping the slopes on holidays and weekends; go skiing on weekdays, when the resorts are much quieter. You could also choose to ski in the afternoons, which is usually when the crowds begin to thin.
Go When It Snows
It’s a balance, though, right? You don’t want huge crowds to ruin the vibe. But you also want to time your trip for the best snow conditions, which is when most people are bound to go! Thankfully, 500 inches of snow falls on Utah’s mountains yearly, which means you’re unlikely to go home disappointed. Still, December through April tends to be best, with February and March being particularly primed for powder.
Respect the Mountains
Mountains can be dangerous, so winter sports always come with risks. Skiing in Utah is no exception, so be sure to respect closed terrain and ski within the limits of your ability. Likewise, be conscious of everything you take to the slopes. The less trash that’s left behind, the better.
Make Sure Your Vehicle’s Prepared
The heavy snowfall that makes Utah’s mountains so incredible for skiing also poses serious driver risks. That’s why your car or truck must be well-equipped to drive in icy, snowy conditions. Having a 4WD vehicle with snow tires and chains is obligatory at times! Go slowly, respect road closures, and always check the weather forecast before leaving your accommodation.
Pack the Right Clothes, Rent the Right Gear
Seasoned skiers already know what to pack for a successful ski trip. For those newer to the sport, though, make sure you take plenty of layers that’ll help you mix and match according to the temperature outside and your activity level.
Base and mid-layers should be insulating and breathable; top layers should be high-quality and waterproof. As for ski gear, you can rent everything you need when you arrive – including the skis that are best suited to Utah’s unique snow conditions.
7 of the Best Ski Resorts in Utah
From the all-popular Alta Ski Area to the vast Park City Mountain resort, this magical place has slopes for all abilities. Furthermore, with 10+ ski resorts within easy reach of Salt Lake City, you’re spoiled for choice regarding where to go. In this section, we’ll highlight 7 of the very best:
Alta Ski Area
Boasting 118 runs, over 2,500ft of vertical, and 2,600+ skiable acres, the Alta Ski Area’s a dreamy resort reserved for skiing (no snowboarding’s permitted). It’s also located just 45 minutes from Salt Lake City and toward the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon.
The result is an easily accessible resort with a welcoming atmosphere in a stunning location. Small wonder people return here year in and year out! Newbies note that the slopes (and, therefore, the skiers) tend to be more advanced.
The aptly-named Snowbird is right next door to Alta Ski Area and less than 45 minutes in the car from Salt Lake City International Airport. Another paradise for ski lovers, it boasts 140 runs, a whopping 3,240ft of top-to-bottom vertical, and 2,500 skiable acres.
Better still, its ski season lasts longer than anywhere else in the state! You can usually ski there from before Thanksgiving all the way through Memorial Day. Some seasons have even lasted until the 4th of July.
If you’re an intermediate skier hoping to avoid crowds, Solitude could be the ideal mountain resort for your trip. Once there, you’ll find huge amounts of snow, a laidback environment, and runs for all abilities (including exciting off-piste opportunities), but with an emphasis on mid-level skiing.
Get ready for 2,000 vertical feet, 1,200 acres, 65 runs, and 8 lifts – plus a charming village full of first-rate lodging options and a range of winning amenities both on and off the mountain. You’re also just 30 minutes from Salt Lake City.
Park City Mountain
Welcome to one of the most popular ski resorts in Utah! This world-renowned destination’s more expensive than other places on this list. But it’s located right above the vibrant downtown area of Park City, which blesses it with incredible accessibility and unbeatable amenities.
Thanks to its interconnection with the neighboring Canyons Resort, it’s enormous too. In total, you’ll find 7,300 skiable acres, 341 runs, 17 peaks, and a total of 3,200 vertical feet there. This grand array of slopes has something for everyone, although elite skiers may not find its terrain sufficiently challenging.
Regarding expensive resorts, powderhounds hunting for a luxury ski experience in Utah should consider the wonderful Deer Valley. Unashamedly upscale, it offers exceptional amenities, an exclusive family-oriented atmosphere, and outstanding service (with a price tag to match).
Deer Valley’s another skiers-only resort, so you won’t be sharing its well-groomed slopes with any snowboarders either. Instead, you’ll have its 100+ runs, 3,000ft of vert, and 2,000+ skiable acres to yourself – along with a highly regarded ski school on hand if you need any tips.
Powder Mountain is nothing if aptly named. Known as Pow Mow for short, this is arguably the best ski resort in Utah if you want to avoid the crowds and find your own piece of powder-filled paradise.
That’s partly because it boasts a whopping 8,460+ skiable acres, which makes it the biggest ski resort in America. But it’s also because Powder Mountain remains relatively unknown versus Utah’s big-name resorts. Combine that with the limited number of daily tickets that get released, and you should have plenty of space!
Nordic Valley Resort
An hour north of Salt Lake City Airport and about 25 minutes east of Ogden sits the magical Nordic Valley Resort. Once known as Wolf Mountain, it’s another world-class ski destination in Utah. Yet with just 32 runs and 450 skiable acres, it’s a far cry from the nearby Powder Mountain in terms of size!
Thankfully, fun terrain and rural charm are present in abundance. You’ll find runs for beginners and seasoned skiers alike, too. And the friendly staff, laidback family vibes, and epic snow make this another awesome place to go skiing in Utah. Just be aware that there’s no accommodation at the resort itself. Your best bet for lodging is a place called Eden, which is 2 miles away.
5 Additional Activities to Enjoy When Skiing in Utah
Wondering what to do in Utah after a long day of leg-burning ski runs? Here’s a quick rundown of 5 unmissable winter activities to enjoy on your ski trip to Utah:
Good news: Utah isn’t actually a dry state! Despite the myth that it’s illegal to drink there, you’ll find plenty of bars to enjoy a well-earned beer (or two) after a long day of skiing in Utah. The apres-ski options are endless, from the Powder Keg at Powder Mountain to the Viking Yurt at Park City Mountain.
Go Cross-Country Skiing
If you want to skip the resorts for a day and try a different kind of skiing in Utah, why not go cross-country skiing instead? A brilliant way to witness the Beehive State’s natural beauty and backcountry, you’ll find ski tracks in national forests across the state and at higher elevations in places like Bryce Canyon. Park City is also a popular location for the sport.
Check Out Midway’s Ice Castles
Looking for something unique to do with the family? Check out the stunning castles, mazes, tunnels, and sculptures at Midway’s Ice Castles. Handcrafted from millions of pounds of ice and backlit with multicolored lights, it’s an interactive art display that’ll provide amazing memories and even better Instagram opportunities.
Visit the Homestead Crater
Packing your swimsuit for a ski trip to Utah might sound silly. But you’ll be pleased you did! The Utah Crater is a 65ft deep geothermal hot spring that has an average temperature of 95 degrees. It’s open year-round for soaking, swimming, snorkeling, and even scuba diving.
Visit the Olympic Park
Utah may have hosted the Winter Olympics over two decades ago, but the Olympic Park built for it is still there to be explored! It’s well worth visiting, too. Located in Park City, you’ll be able to learn about Utah’s Olympic legacy, go on real-life bobsled rides, ice-skate at the Olympic Oval, and much, much more.
Time to Go Skiing in Utah
Utah is known for many things, from its large Mormon community and Great Salt Lake to the Bonneville Salt Flats and mind-blowing national parks. However, for the winter sports enthusiasts of the world, its beautiful mountains, top ski resorts, and insane amounts of snowfall are undeniably the main attractions.
If you’re skiing in Utah soon, we hope this guide will help you have the best possible time! Keep the insights in mind, and it won’t be long before you’re carving down powder-covered slopes and making treasured memories at every turn.
Want to explore somewhere else in the US? Check out these 20 New York State Parks.
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