Utah Ski Resorts: Background
Utah -- just west of Colorado-- has terrific places for family snow vacations, including seven different mountains that are less than 40 miles from the Salt Lake City airport-- see profiles below -- and two more destinations that are also under an hour from the airport.
Top features of skiing in Utah include:
- Great Snow: they call it "The Greatest Snow on Earth", and Utah's slopes are known for dry, light "champagne powder"
- Airport to Slope Time: families can fly into a major airport and can then drive less than an hour to the slopes
- Variety: the nine Utah ski resorts within an hour of the SLC sirport offer very different experiences. Also, one is "ski-only" - a treat for skiers. Families can stay in affordable Salt Lake City and ski or board at a different spot each day.
Read more about Utah Ski Resorts, including Sundance, about an hour from Salt Lake City, and Brian Head in southern Utah, easily reached from Las Vegas. Keep in mind that Utah's mountains are part of the Rocky Mountain range, and with base elevations at, say, 8530' for Alta, some people have altitude symptoms such as headache; usually symptoms are mild and go away in a few days.
Utah Ski Resorts - near Salt Lake City
The Little Cottonwood Canyon has two ski resorts, Snowbird (30 miles from the airport) and Alta (32 miles.)
- 2500 skiable acres, 3240' vertical drop, 85 runs
- Base elevation: 7760 feet
- Aerial Tram takes skiers to a 2-1/2 mile run
- 600' tunnel with conveyor lift
- Small slopeside pedestrian village
- Look for Kids Ski Free deals
- Combined Alta-Snowbird pass gives skiers 4700 acres
- Local favorite; skiers-only!
- Top-rated in snow quality for its dry light snow
- 2200 acres, 2020 vertical drop, base elevation 8530 feet, over 100 runs
- Old-style ski lodge
- Ski into neighboring Snowbird (with the right pass)
- Day care, Children's Ski Adventure Center
The Big Cottonwood Canyon has two ski resorts, Solitude (33 miles from SLC airport) and Brighton (35 miles.)
- 66 runs, 1050 acres, 1745 vertical drop; base elevation 8755 feet
- combined Sol-Bright pass adds Solitude resort
- popular with teens and 'boarders
- known for terrain parks
- Voted #1 for Child/Family Friendly Terrain and Best Value by local parenting magazine
- look for "Kids Ski Free" promotions
- Affordable slopeside lodging at Brighton Lodge
- 64 runs, 1200 acres
- Attractive "village" has ski-in, ski-out condos and inn, restaurants, grocery store, ice-rink, Club Solitude club-house with heated outdoor pool and whirlpools, theatre that shows family movies, games rooms, and lounge
Park City Ski Resorts
Three more resorts are accessed by taking Interstate 80 from the airport and heading toward Park City, a good-sized place with lots of accommodation, an old town from historic mining days, and (yes, in Utah) nightlife.
A great deal, at all three Park City ski resorts: with Quick START Vacation*, visitors can ski free on the day they arrive in Utah; convert your boarding pass into a lift ticket.
(Some blackout dates.)
- So close to Park City that "Town Lift" is actually in the historic part of town
- more than 100 runs, 3300 skiable acres, 6-pack lifts
- 37 miles from SLC airport
- "Fast Tracks" pass lets guests skip lineups
- Multiple terrain parks, Olympic Superpipe
- Alpine Coaster toboggan slide with 4,000' of curves and loops
- Kids programs
- many services & lodging options including luxury at the St. Regis
A cool feature at Park City Mountain Resort is an online Mountain Planner: select your skiing level and type of trail you like, and get a map with a mountain tour.
- 90 runs, 1750 acres
- Known for top-of-the-line services
- Foodies' paradise
- 36 miles to airport
- childrens' ski programs, teen ski programs, child care starting with infants 2 months old
- cool programs such as First Tracks and GPS Ski Tracking
- Utah's largest ski and snowboard resort has 152 runs, 3700 skiable acres, 8 peaks
- 33 miles from SLC airport, 4 miles from Park City's historic Main Street
- Child care facility for ages six weeks to six years has gondola access to a sledding hill
- Slopeside lodgings from casual to AAA Four Diamond-rated Grand Summit Resort Hotel
- village has food, shops
Two More Ski Resorts Near Salt Lake City
Also under an hour from the SLC airport are Snowbasin and Powder Mountain ski resorts, and Sundance Ski Resort, which has night skiing. R
Find out more about Utah ski destinations:
About.com's Skiing website has details about skiing all the Utah ski resorts. Also, Ski Utah covers all Utah ski spots and has links to the web sites of individual resorts.
*Always check ski resort web sites for updates! And check recent visitor comments at a site like TripAdvisor.com.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary lodging and experiences at some of these areas, for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.