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The 7 Best Utah Ski Resorts

The 7 Best Utah Ski Resorts - UPDATED 2021/22
Jack Lee
Written by Jack Lee / Photos by Greg Burke
Last updated October 1, 2021
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Utah is truly a snow mecca in the US, boasting 14 ski areas, 10 of which are conveniently located within an hour drive from the city. Utah ski resorts are known for their monster dumps of fluffy powder bolstered by the Great Salt Lake effect. That's why we've curated the top ski resorts in Utah so you can decide what’s best for you!

Updates to Utah 21/22 ski season:
To protect the health and safety of staff and guests, Utah ski resorts have adopted cleaning and disinfection protocols for all areas of their operation. The State of Utah requires face coverings whenever physical distancing cannot be achieved at ski areas, except when eating or drinking. Stricter guidelines may apply to specific ski resorts in Utah.

1. Park City

Map View

Known for

One of the largest ski resorts in the US, with an unbeatable ski town

Highlights

  • You haven't skied Utah until you've skied Park City!
  • Sheer volume of runs and great intermediate skiing
  • Endless entertainment and dining options in historic town
  • Susceptible to major crowds

Opening and Closing (21/22 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Nov 19 2021
  • Closing Date: Apr 12 2022(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Salt Lake City Intl. Airport - 37 mi (45 minute drive)
view from red pine gondola park city
View from Red Pine Gondola, Park City

Why Park City

Park City is one of the largest ski resorts in the U.S. and offers plenty more than just skiing. The resort combines two ski areas, Park City Mountain and Park City Canyons, with varied but mostly intermediate terrain. Its Old West mining town has heaps of winter attractions and endless entertainment and restaurants. You’ll find activities including sleigh rides and the Alpine coaster in town, or tubing and bobsledding at Utah Olympic Park just a short drive away. The resort can attract some sizable crowds as it’s a popular destination among families and large groups.

Where to stay

You can stay in the vibrant Historic Park City town or in one of the two areas at the base of the mountain, Mountain Village and Canyons Village.

Town:
The town’s Main Street is the best option for dining, nightlife, and shopping out of the three areas. The lively town is located on one end of the mountain and you can access the slopes via the Town Lift, which is about a 10 minute ride.

Base:
Stay in one of the base areas to be close to the slopes. Mountain Village is a good option for beginners as there are more green trails. The area has a small market for the bare necessities, but the town is roughly a mile away. Canyons Village is a 10 minute drive away on the other end of the mountain. There’s more terrain here, made up of mostly blue and black trails. You'll find a number of après options and a small market for the basics. For more food and supply stores, the Kimball Junction area is just a 10 minute drive away.

Getting around

To get around the area, the Park City transit system operates a free bus service with routes throughout the resort, to neighbouring Deer Valley and the nearby town Kimball Junction. To get to and from Salt Lake City, there are a number of private shuttle services available. You can also catch a bus from downtown Salt Lake City to the Kimball Junction area and then transfer to a bus to the resort.

2. Alta

Map View

Known for

Old school skiers-only mountain with access to Snowbird on the AltaBird pass

Highlights

  • World-class extreme terrain
  • Compact base area is easy to navigate
  • Good beginner terrain
  • Lodging, nightlife, and shopping options are a bit lacking

Opening and Closing (21/22 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Nov 20 2021(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: Apr 26 2022(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Salt Lake City Intl. Airport - 32 mi (40 minute drive)
view of alta backside from Sugarloaf
View of Alta's backside from Sugarloaf

Why Alta

Alta is a skiers-only resort, so unless you’re a snowboarder, you can enjoy all the extreme steeps, chutes and tree runs that it’s known for. That being said, there is terrain for all abilities and the mountain has a family-friendly vibe. Alta refers to itself as a ‘ski area’, rather than a resort, so you won’t find many dining, shopping or après options. The base is relatively compact, with just two base areas connected via a transfer tow. The Albion base is closer to beginner-friendly terrain, while the Wildcat base area is closer to advanced trails. If more skiing is what you’re after, you can upgrade to the AltaBird pass and ski over to neighbouring Snowbird.

Where to stay

The five lodges at the base of the mountain offer close access to the slopes and most have meals included. There are also condos located around the resort that are a couple minutes drive to the slopes at most. If you don’t mind the commute and are looking for cheaper lodging, stay in Salt Lake City. It’s about a 40 minute drive, but you’ll have access to more nightlife, dining and shopping options.

Getting around

The roads within the resort aren’t designed for pedestrians, but if you’re on skis you can use the transfer tow between the base areas. Some of the lodges offer free shuttles to and from the slopes for guests. Parking is available but paid reservations are required on weekends and during holiday periods. To travel between Alta and Snowbird, the UTA operates a free bus route. To get to and from Salt Lake City, private shuttle services are available. You can also catch the light rail from downtown Salt Lake City to Midvale and then transfer to a UTA ski bus to Alta.

3. Snowbird

Map View

Known for

Amazing intermediate and expert terrain with access to Alta on the AltaBird pass

Highlights

  • Great challenging terrain for intermediate and expert skiers
  • Connected to Alta (only good if you're a skier)
  • Efficient lift system and long ski seasons
  • Not suited for beginners along with limited dining, nightlife and lodging options

Opening and Closing (21/22 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Nov 24 2021(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: May 24 2022(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Salt Lake City Intl. Airport - 32 mi (40 minute drive)
Snowbird Tram
Snowbird Tram taking us to the top!

Why Snowbird

Snowbird is truly for the adventurous, with challenging terrain and world class snow that often lasts until May. Mineral Basin, on the backside of the mountain, is where you’ll find all the powder bowls, chutes and cliffs. It has some unique lift systems, with an aerial tram that travels straight to the peak, as well as a tunnel with a conveyer belt connecting the two mountain sides. There are a handful of restaurants and bars, but Snowbird’s base area consists mainly of a few lodging buildings. Skiers can get access to neighbouring Alta on the AltaBird pass, where you can find better beginner-friendly terrain.

Where to stay

There are four lodging options at the base of the mountain. The Cliff Lodge is on the west end of the resort and is closest to the Aerial tram and the beginner’s area. The other three lodges are located more centrally in the base area and are also close to the lifts. There are condos located between Snowbird and Alta that are about a 5 minute drive from the slopes. For an array of dining, shopping and nightlife options, lodging in Salt Lake City is about a 40 minute drive away.

Getting around

Some parking lots require a paid reservation. To travel between Snowbird and Alta, the public UTA bus operates a free service. There are private shuttle services to get to and from Salt Lake City. You can also catch the light rail from downtown Salt Lake City to Midvale and then transfer to a UTA ski bus to Snowbird.

4. Deer Valley

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Known for

Skiers-only mountain with top-notch ski-in/ski-out lodging and five-star service

Highlights

  • Superb customer service and luxury facilities
  • Exceptional grooming
  • Limited number of daily lift tickets sold, reduces crowds
  • Expensive and no entry for snowboarders

Opening and Closing (21/22 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Dec 05 2021(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: Apr 11 2022(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Salt Lake City Intl. Airport - 38 mi (45 minute drive)
Top of Empire Express looking across the Daly Bowl and Daly Chutes Deer Valley
Top of Empire Express looking across the Daly Bowl and Daly Chutes

Why Deer Valley

Luxury is the name of the game at Deer Valley, a skiers-only mountain with top-notch facilities and grooming. It’s quite popular among families, with an excellent ski school and a range of terrain spread across six mountains. The resort limits the number of daily lift tickets sold, which reduces crowds and adds to the exclusivity. Deer Valley can get quite pricey but you’ll enjoy convenient lodging, upscale dining and five-star customer service. There isn’t much nightlife at the base, but it’s conveniently close to downtown Park City.

Where to Stay

There are three areas to stay in Deer Valley: Snow Park (Base Area), Silver Lake (Mid-Mountain) and Empire Pass (Upper-Mountain). Each area is close to the lifts and has a few dining options. The Snow Park area is a convenient choice for families as the ski school, children’s center and beginner ski area are located here. It’s also just a 5 minute drive to Park City’s Main Street, where you’ll find plenty of restaurants, shops and nightlife. The Silver Lake and Empire Pass areas are better for accessing a wider variety of terrain.

Getting Around

Many accommodations offer a complimentary Cadillac shuttle service within the resort. The Park City transit system also operates free routes throughout the Deer Valley area and to downtown Park City. To get to and from Salt Lake City, private shuttle services are available. You can also catch a bus from downtown Salt Lake City to the Kimball Junction area and then transfer to a bus to Deer Valley.

5. Powder Mountain

Map View

Known for

Humble but huge ski mountain, your best bet for an uncrowded experience

Highlights

  • Lots of powder and the largest skiable terrain in North America
  • Cheap Cat Skiing
  • Restricted number of daily lift tickets sold, limits crowds
  • Slightly out of the way and has limited amenities

Opening and Closing (21/22 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Dec 13 2021(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: Apr 09 2022(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Ogden-Hinckley Airport - 25 mi (45 minute drive)
Salt Lake City Intl. Airport - 56 mi (1.5 hour drive)
skiing Powder Mountain Utah
Introducing Powder Mountain!

Why Powder Mountain

Powder Mountain is the furthest from Salt Lake City on this list, but the huge terrain can be worth the trip from the city. Daily ticket sales are limited to 1,500, and with the largest skiable terrain in North America, you’ll be sure to enjoy an uncrowded experience. The backcountry terrain serviced by snowcats is suited to the advanced, but there are trails for everyone. Admittedly, Powder Mountain lacks dining, lodging, shops, and off-the-slope activities so if that's what you're after, this may not be your spot.

Where to stay

Lodging at the resort is limited, but there are on-mountain cabins in the Lefty’s Canyon area that are ski-in/ski-out. You’ll find more lodging options in small towns like Wolf Creek and Eden which are a 15-20 minute drive away. Eden has a small number of dining options, while the city of Ogden is about a 40 minute drive from the resort and has plenty of restaurants and shops.

Getting around

Parking is available at the resort's three lodges. The Sundown Lodge is a good spot for beginners, while Timberline Lodge and Hidden Lake Lodge require you to ski down before accessing a chairlift. The UTA Ski Bus operates routes between Ogden and the resort and is also available from the ‘Park & Ride’ lot in Eden. Private shuttle services are available to travel to and from Salt Lake City.

6. Snowbasin

Map View

Known for

Best value resort in Utah with wide-open bowls and a friendly locals vibe

Highlights

  • Good mix of terrain with tons of vertical
  • Fewer crowds compared to resorts such as Park City
  • Luxurious day lodge and great on-mountain dining
  • No base village or accommodation

Opening and Closing (21/22 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Nov 26 2021(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: Apr 14 2022(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Ogden-Hinckley Airport - 22 mi (30 minute drive)
Salt Lake City Intl. Airport - 45 mi (50 minute drive)
top of strawberry gondola going down main street at Snowbasin Utah
Top of Strawberry Gondola going down Main Street at Snowbasin!

Why Snowbasin

As one of the Olympic venues for downhill skiing in 2002, Snowbasin has beautiful day lodges and a great mix of terrain. On a clear day, you can see the neighbouring states from the top and enjoy tons of vertical on the way down. The resort has a friendly atmosphere, relatively fewer crowds and some excellent cafeteria food. The only thing it’s really missing is a base village and slopeside accommodation.

Where to stay

There isn’t any lodging at the base, but the city of Ogden is just a 30 minute drive away with plenty of dining and shopping options. A more peaceful alternative is staying in one of the small towns in Ogden Valley, which are a 15 to 20 minute drive away. Salt Lake City is just under an hour drive away, with endless restaurants, shops and nightlife.

Getting around

If you’re staying in Ogden Valley, some of the properties offer guests a shuttle service to and from the slopes. The UTA Ski Bus operates routes from Ogden and Layton to the resort, and is available from some ‘Park & Ride’ lots in Weber and Davis County. A number of private shuttle services are available to travel to and from Salt Lake City.

7. Brighton

Map View

Known for

Laid-back local mountain connected to Solitude

Highlights

  • Affordable for families (kids 10 and under ski free)
  • Slope connected to Solitude Mountain on the Solbright pass
  • Less crowded than nearby popular resorts
  • Small base with limited food and lodging

Opening and Closing (21/22 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Nov 20 2021(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: Apr 20 2022(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Salt Lake City Intl. Airport - 35 mi (45 minute drive)
Millicent at Brighton Resort Utah
Millicent at Brighton

Why Brighton

Brighton is Utah’s first ski area and is a reliable choice for less crowds and terrain variety. The trails are spread across four distinct parts of the mountain, with express chairlifts making it easy to access groomers, bowls, tree skiing and terrain parks. There’s also night skiing available from Monday to Saturday. It’s small compared to other resorts in the area, but you can access Solitude Mountain on the SolBright Pass, where you’ll find more blue and black trails. Brighton can be a good family-friendly option too, as kids under 10 can ski or ride for free! Keep in mind that accommodation and dining options at the base are limited.

Where to stay

The Brighton Lodge offers ski-in/ski-out access to the slopes and is the only lodging available at the base of the mountain. There are a number of chalets just outside the base area that are about a 5 minute walk to the lifts. If you’re planning to ski at both resorts, Solitude is about a 5 minute drive away and has more lodging variety. Staying in Salt Lake City will give you more dining, shopping and nightlife options and is a 45 minute drive away.

Getting around

To travel between Brighton and Solitude, the UTA bus operates a free service. To get to and from Salt Lake City, there are private shuttle bus services available. You can also catch the light rail from downtown Salt Lake City to Midvale and then transfer to a UTA ski bus to Brighton.

The 7 Best Utah Ski Resorts
Park City
Alta
Snowbird
Deer Valley
Powder Mountain
Snowbasin
Brighton
Park City