Utah has some of the best ski resorts, copious snow, sunshine, gorgeous on-mountain lodges, and a relaxed western attitude amid all this high altitude skiing. We love Deer Valley, Alta’s Rustler Lodge and Snowpine, The Cliff Lodge at Snowbird. We also love how Utah ski resorts are so close to Salt Lake City airport, and to each other. In a week you can ski Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, plus Snowbasin and Powder Mountain, or Park City and Deer Valley.
Our favorite luxury ski resort in Utah is Deer Valley – hands down. Deer Valley located in Park City, is the most upscale ski vacation out west. Lift ticket sales are limited, snowboarders are banned (sorry riders – same goes at Alta in the next canyon) and Deer Valley has the best on mountain dining of any ski area. Lodging at Deer Valley, you can choose from The Montage, St Regis Deer Valley, or the Stein Eriksen Lodge and Spa. Deer Valley is the resort of legend where valet carry your skis, and they groom to perfection, except on those frequent fresh powder days.
Snowbird and Alta in Little Cottonwood Canyon have some of the best Utah skiing, big mountains, steeps and typically ample soft blower snow. Snowbird is legendary for its terrain served by an awesome base to summit 3,000′ vert Tram, with a dramatic new Summit Lodge at 11,000′ and the iconic Cliff Lodge at the base. Snowbird is connected to Alta – which is more time revered, old-school for skiers only, no snowboarders allowed, with serious chutes and steep terrain, with terrific luxury slopeside lodge at Alta’s Rustler Lodge or Snowpine Lodge at Alta.
Solitude is Utah’s secret ski resort, great snow and not many skiers and riders enjoying the slopes and the lovely mountain village. Deer Valley has purchased Solitude, and made it a bit more sophisticated, its on the IKON pass so a few more folks are finding their “solitude”.
We also love Snowbasin and Powder Mountain near the towns of Eden and Ogden. Snowbasin is sister resort to Sun Valley, this ski resort is posh and plentiful, with over 3,000 acres of skiing on six peaks served by swift gondolas, big snowmaking, and beautiful lodges. Snowbasin was home of the 2002 Olympic downhill, so yes, there’s some steeps too. Stay at Compass Rose Lodge in Huntsville.
Powder Mountain is now owned by Summit Group, this elite ski group is building an exclusive ski village of tech-execs and entrepreneurs – a high intellect, high alpine environment – pretty cool. The skiing at Powder is high and mighty too- with cat skiing and over 7,000 acres of terrain accessible – some served by bus when you ski beyond lift-service. Powder has remained real and rustic, and open to the public, despite the influx of yuppies and power-execs with their private pod homes being built around the mountain. There’s also a heli and cat ski operation near Powder – Whisper Ridge Backcountry – if you want to book a day of cat skiing in these vast Utah mountains.
Park City is Utah and the country’s largest ski resort, with 17 peaks and 14 bowls, 7,300-acres of skiing and riding, plus two great base villages – Park City and The Canyons at Park City Mountain Resort. This expansive Utah ski resort is owned by Vail Resorts, part of the Epic Pass on one lift pass.
Wasatch Peaks Ranch is Utah’s newest private resort, near Snowbasin and Powder, a 12,740 acre private golf and skiing community, including a planned 3,000 ski-able acres of terrain with nine lifts serving 4,600′ vertical. The private ranch resort has plans for up to 750 member homes, designed as a Utah utopia for uber-wealthy skiers, with the special appeal of a hunting and fishing preserve with a network of nature trails for recreational hiking, biking.
Utah’s drinking laws are weird, but won’t stop you from having après ski, you can order liquor, beer and wine wherever you go (just tell the hostess you “intend to eat”, you can drink shots (one at a time) after skiing powder shots, just be wary of tap beer with only 3% alcohol, ask for the hi-test.
“The best thing about skiing backwards is you can see where you’ve been.” – Warren Miller