Utah ski resorts say they have “the best snow on earth”. This is a hefty claim, but the 8 world-class ski resorts located within 100 miles of Salt Lake City give you many options for experiencing this snow. 

To help you plan your ski vacation here is a list of the 8 most popular ski resorts in Utah. So whether you want to ski expert-only terrain in bottomless powder or cruise long groomers with the family there is a resort perfect for you.

Little Cottonwood Canyon

Snowbird Ski Resort

Snowbird Ski Resort

Snowbird is the first resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon. It has been operating since December 1971 and is known for its steep runs and iconic Aerial tram.

The Mountain:

Being located in Little Cottonwood Canyon this resort, along with Alta receives the most snowfall in the Wasatch range. It is known for light and fluffy snow and cold temperatures averaging 500 inches per year. An adult lift ticket costs $130.

Snowbird has 169 runs comprising 2500 skiable acres. 27% of which are green, 38% of which are blue, and 35% are black.

The most popular areas on the mountain are Mineral Basin, on the backside of Snowbird, and The Cirque, located directly below the tram.

The Culture:

Snowbird is known for being a mountain that mixes serious alpine culture with a luxurious resort experience. It is best suited to intermediate and expert guests. It is perfect if you are looking to ski very difficult terrain all day but relax in the spa with a multicourse dinner at night.

Lodging and Amenities:

Snowbird has four on-mountain lodging options. The Cliff Lodge is the main and most iconic. It has multiple dining options, a spa, and a heated rooftop pool open year-round. The Lodge offers condominium accommodations within walking distance of the base. 

If you do not want to stay on the mountain there are accommodations at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon. These will be cheaper, however you will have to drive up the canyon or take the park-and-ride each day. This is a great option if you would like to ski Big Cottonwood Canyon during your trip as well.

Getting There:

There are multiple options to choose from when traveling to Snowbird as it is only 41 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport. 

You can easily take a Rideshare, rent a car, or use a third-party shuttling service. If you are not staying at the resort you can also take the UTA ski bus up the canyon from the park and ride each day. 

Keep in mind though that the traffic in Little Cottonwood Canyon gets very, very backed up on weekends and powder days.

Alta Ski Area
View from the High Traverse looking down LCC

Alta Ski Area

The second ski resort located in Little Cottonwood Canyon is Alta. It’s first lift opened in 1939 and is known worldwide for its skiers only policy.

The Mountain:

Alta shares the same climate as Snowbird, however it receives a little bit more snow averaging 545 inches per year. Its base is located at 8,530 feet. An adult lift ticket costs $125.

It has 116 runs. 15% of these runs are greens, 30% blues, and 55% are blacks. However, it does not have as much access to vertical elevation change as Snowbird, 2,538 compared to 3,240 ft.

Two of the most popular areas are the High Traverse and the Wildcat Lift. The High Traverse provides great access to fall line skiing and the Wildcat Lift is known for being a natural terrain park.

The Culture:

Alta is known for being the skier’s mountain. It has a down to earth European ski town vibe. Its culture is centered around skiing hard and having fun. Its slopes have produced many professional skiers and you can easily find yourself on the chair with a freeride world tour competitor if you know how to spot them.

Lodging and Amenities:

There are five main on the mountain lodges at Alta. Most of which are European style and include breakfast, dinner, and sometimes lunch. The highlights of the on-mountain lodging include The Alta Lodge, The Alta Peruvian, and The Rustler Lodge.

There are also many condos to rent in the town of Alta between Snowbird and Alta. You can find these via Alta’s website or sites like Airbnb and VRBO. Like with Snowbird you can also stay outside of Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Getting There:

Alta is only 41 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport.

There are many ways to get to Alta including rideshares, buses, and third-party services. Again before booking your trip remember that Little Cottonwood Canyon can get backed up so travel during off-peak hours.

Big Cottonwood Canyon:

Solitude Mountain Resort

Solitude Mountain Resort

Solitude Mountain Resort is the first resort up Big Cottonwood Canyon. This resort opened in 1967 and is a family-oriented mountain.

The Mountain:

Solitude Mountain Resort is at 8000 feet. While it does not receive as much snow as the resorts in Little Cottonwood Canyon it still averages 500 inches a year. An adult lift ticket costs $115.

It has 66 trails with 1200 acres of skiable terrain. 50% are blue and greens, the best beginner-friendly ratio of the resorts near Salt Lake.

The popular areas on the mountain are Eagle Ridge and Honeycomb Canyon, which provides access to steep skiing.

The Culture:

Solitude is known for being a family-friendly mountain with terrain good for all levels. It is the least crowded resort in both of the canyons. No matter if you’re a beginner or expert you can find something fun to ski at Solitude.

Lodging and Amenities:

There are many different options for lodging available at Solitude. The options include hotels, condos, and townhomes. Highlights include The Inn at Solitude and Creekside Condominiums. You can also find Airbnbs and rentals up in the town of Brighton, these will require you to have a car or take the bus to get to the mountain.

You can also stay near the entrance of Big Cottonwood Canyon. There are many hotels here to provide easy access to the canyon. However, you will have to drive up or take the park and ride every day. 

Getting There:

Solitude is 42 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport. To get there you can either rent a car, use a rideshare service, book a third-party shuttle, or take the UTA buses from one of their many stops. Big Cottonwood Canyon also has a lot of traffic so travel on off-peak times.

Brighton Resort
A Brighton sunset

Brighton Resort

Brighton Resort is located 30 minutes from downtown Salt Lake. It was the first ski resort in Utah and one of the first in the country, built in 1936.

The Mountain:

Brighton is located at 8,755 feet and its average annual snowfall is 500 inches per year. An adult lift ticket costs $100 and this resort caters to families and the snowboarding crowd.

It has 1,050 skiable acres. 21% of the runs are greens, 40% blue, and 39% expert. It also has five terrain parks making it a great alternative to the more expensive Utah ski resorts.

The popular areas on the mountain are the terrain parks and the backcountry access. This resort also has great night skiing, though make sure to dress warmly.

The Culture:

Brighton is known as a no-frills resort. It is great for the family and is a far cry from the Vail owned mega-resorts. While open to both skiers and snowboarders this mountain is very popular amongst snowboarders. It’s common to find professionals in the trees and the world-class terrain parks.

Lodging and Amenities:

There is not a lot of lodging at the Brighton resort. But you can find some cabins for rent in the town of Brighton itself. The majority of guests stay in the surrounding area in either Salt Lake City or Cottonwood Heights. While it will take more effort to get to the mountain, staying outside of the canyon will be cheaper than lodging in the canyon.

Getting There:

Brighton is not far from Salt Lake City International Airport, just 45 minutes. To get there you can either rent a car, use a rideshare service, book a third-party shuttle, or take the UTA buses from one of their many stops. Big Cottonwood Canyon also has a lot of traffic so travel on off-peak times.

Park City Utah Ski Resorts

Park City Mountain Resort

Park City Mountain Resort

Originally opened in 1963, this resort started as a historic mining town and has now grown into a luxurious ski Destination. It hosted the ski jumping, bobsled, and luge events during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The Mountain:

Its base is located at 6,900 feet. Its annual snowfall average is 355 inches per year. After being recently acquired by Vail, lift tickets can range anywhere from $115-$209.

Park City Mountain Resort is gigantic. In 2014 when it was purchased by Vail Resorts it was merged with The Canyons Resort bringing the total skiable acreage up to 7,300. Out of the 344 runs, 7% are greens, 49% are blues, and 44% are blacks. However, keep in mind this mountain range is not as steep as a Little or Big Cottonwood Canyon so the blues here are comparable to the greens in those canyons.

There are many popular areas on this mountain and there are runs for all levels of ability. But like it’s namesake it is well known for its terrain parks.

The Culture:

The culture is a nice mix. It is a very luxurious ski mountain with a lot of families on vacation. But it also has roots in performance. It has generated many Olympic Skiers and you can find world-class and current Olympians in the terrain park and on the race course.

Lodging and Amenities:

There are many options for lodging , you can find five-star hotels, huge houses for rent, Airbnb‘s, condos, and budget motels. Highlights include The Apex Residences and Marriott’s Summit Watch. As a rule of thumb the closer you are to Main Street the more expensive it will be, the further away the cheaper it will be.

Getting There:

It is 40 minutes away from Salt Lake City International Airport. The majority of the drive is on the highway so it is an easy cruise up to the mountain. There are many options for transportation to suit different budgets. These include ride shares, third-party transportation services, and of course rental cars.

Deer Valley Resort

Deer Valley Resort

Deer Valley Resort is known for its upscale amenities, skier only policy, and for its world-class mogul skiing.

The Mountain:

Deer Valley was founded in 1981. Its base elevation is 6,570 feet and it averages 300 inches of snow a year. An adult lift ticket costs $115-$209.

It has 2,025 skiable acres. 27% of the runs are greens, 41% blues, and 32% black. It is known for its exceptional run grooming. You can also ski the exact same run, Champion, that hosted the 2002 Olympic mogul skiing event.  

The most popular areas on the mountain are Bald Mountain known for its blue groomed runs and the Silver Lake base area.

The Culture:

The culture at Deer Valley is a mix of a high-class luxury and serious European ski culture. The five-star lodges and luxurious meals appeal to the former. But with the help of Norwegian Olympian, Stein Eriksen, the ski school and quality runs maintain an alpine skiing heritage.

Lodging and Amenities:

There are numerous luxurious lodging options. Some highlights are the Stein Eriksen Lodge and the Saint Regis. However, since Deer Valley is further up the road affordable housing options will require more of a drive. If you want to do Deer Valley on the cheap you can stay in the nearby city of Heber and drive to the Deer Crest/Mayflower entrance.

Getting There:

Getting to Deer Valley is the same as getting to the town of Park City. The resorts are only a couple of minutes away from each other. I would recommend using a third-party transit service. Once you are at Deer Valley there will be shuttles and buses you can take to get around.

Northern Utah Ski Resorts:

Snowbasin ski resort
Snowbasin’s famous Lone Tree

Snowbasin

Snowbasin is north of Salt Lake City just outside of Ogden, UT. It is known for hosting the downhill and super g Olympic ski races in 2002.

The Mountain:

Snowbasin Resort opened in 1939. Its base elevation is 6,391 feet and it averages 350 inches of snow each year. Adult lift tickets cost $105.

Snowbasin has 3,000 skiable acres. It has 104 runs, 20% of which are green, 50% are blue, and 30% are black. This resort offers a nice variety of terrain from steep chutes to very long groomers.

The most popular areas on the mountain are Strawberry Fields, known for the wide-open runs, and John Paul for its prolonged groomers.

The Culture:

Snowbasin is a great mix of a luxury ski resort and a hometown ski mountain. Its amenities are top-notch and resemble its sister resort, Sun Valley Idaho. This resort is awesome because it has two gondolas, a small tram, and never gets as crowded as the mountains closer to downtown Salt Lake City. It’s also known amongst locals for having great bathrooms. This is a great family resort and a worthy alternative to the to the more luxurious Utah ski resorts if you are ok with no night-life.

Lodging and Amenities:

The resort does not offer any on-mountain lodging. Most guests either stay in Ogden, Salt Lake, Huntsville, or Eden. While this may not be ideal for a ski vacation it is one of the factors that contribute to the short lift lines. If you are renting a car and are ok with cooking your own meals renting an Airbnb in Huntsville or Eden is a great option. It will be a better value than a hotel and you will be closer to the mountain.

Getting There:

Snowbasin itself is an hour away from the Salt Lake Airport. But like with the other mountains there are many ways to get there, it will just take a little longer. This mountain and Powder Mountain are the two resorts where you will be best off with renting a car.

Powder Mountain

Powder Mountain

Out of all the Utah ski resorts, Powder Mountain is the furthest north. It mixes cat skiing and lifts to give guests access to the most skiable acreage out of any US ski resort, 8,464 acres.

The Mountain:

Powder Mountain opened in 1971. Its base is at 6,900 feet and it receives an average of 350 inches of snow per year. An adult lift ticket costs $100 dollars with the option of purchasing a single cat ride for $20. 

This resort has 154 ski runs. 25% of which are green runs, 40% are blue, and 35% are blacks. 

Some of the mountain’s most popular areas are only accessible via snowcat. These areas are Lightning Ridge and Cobabe Canyon.

The Culture:

Powder Mountain is a very grassroots compared to the other Utah ski resorts. The skiers here come to ski untracked powder run after run. It is unique because you easily hop on a snowcat for a quick cat skiing lap. This mountain also never gets too crowded because it is the furthest from Salt Lake. If you are looking for a backcountry like ski experience, this is your place.

Lodging and Amenities:

There are three options for on-mountain lodging, including Horizon Cabin and Copper Crest East. You can also stay in Eden, Huntsville, and Ogden, all of which will require a car to get to the mountain.

Getting There:

Pow Mow as it’s called by the locals is 1 hour and 20 minutes from the Salt Lake Airport. Getting here is best done by renting a car. Thankfully there is never a lot of traffic so you can travel any time of the day, just be careful not to hit rush hour out of Salt Lake. 

You can find me skiing pow in the winter, hunting loam all summer, stealing your coffee shop's wifi, and squeezing in a workout.

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