The 7 Best Utah Ski Resorts

The 7 Best Utah Ski Resorts - UPDATED 2020/21
Jack Lee
Written by Jack Lee / Photos by Greg Burke
Last updated May 15, 2020
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Utah is one of the snow meccas in the US, boasting 14 ski areas, 10 of which are conveniently located within an hour drive from the city. It’s known for its monster dumps of fluffy powder bolstered by the Great Salt Lake effect. We've got an insider’s rundown of the area but here are our picks:

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Known for

Largest lift-served terrain 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

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

At 7,300 ac, Park City is the largest resort in the US, enough territory for you to explore for days without getting bored! It’s great for groups or families who are interested in more than “just” skiing. After all, Park City itself is an authentic Old West mining town with plenty to see, do, eat and drink. The snow here is consistently fresh and the resort’s popularity often results in some sizable crowds. Even though the resort is huge, there’s not a lot of vertical so if you’re really looking for deep and steep, you may be happier at Snowbird or Alta.

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Known for

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

Highlights

  • World-class extreme terrain
  • Easy to navigate resort layout (minimal walking)
  • One of the best ski schools in the US and good beginner terrain
  • Lodging, nightlife, and shopping options are a bit lacking

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

This no-frills skiers-only resort offers pure skiing at its best. The powder is incredible, especially as it layers the steep ungroomed chutes and trees which characterise Alta. It borders Snowbird and you can buy a ticket to ski both, but you’ll find Alta a bit less crowded – either because it’s another mile up the canyon or because no snowboarders aren’t allowed on the lifts. It’s also a much better option for beginners compared to Snowbird and with a fantastic resort layout, you’ll be surprised how little walking you’ll do to get around. That said, there’s not much of a village with only a handful of lodges right at the base of its lifts offering an array of overnight accommodations and inclusive dining packages.

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Known for

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

Highlights

  • Great challenging terrain for intermediate and experts 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

Closest airports

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

A haven for expert skiers and powder-hounds, Snowbird like its neighbor Alta, gets tons of snow on a north-facing aspect that keeps the powder fresh and light. Unlike Alta however, Snowbird isn’t constrained by the Forest Service and can stay open as long as the snow is there – sometimes deep into the summer! The terrain starts you off on blue groomers and relatively easy blacks before it throws you into the deep end. Off the slopes, there’s not much of a ski town – certainly not like there is in Park City. With only a few options for dining and lodging, Snowbird is your best choice if your focus is on the snow and rugged terrain!

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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

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

Luxury is the name of the game at Deer Valley, where customer service is widely held to be the best in the industry. It's one of the last skiers-only resorts where grooming is world-class, the ski school is one of the best in the country, and the food and lodging are both exceptional. Of course, all of the pampering comes at a price so Deer Valley isn’t the most economical of Utah’s resorts. Families – especially those with little ones – will no doubt appreciate the convenience that comes with all that 5-star customer service and ski-in/ski-out lodging. Best of all, the resort limits the number of tickets sold per day, so crowds aren't an issue.

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Known for

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

Highlights

  • Lots of powder (all in the name)
  • Cheap Cat Skiing
  • Restricted number of daily lift tickets sold, limits crowds
  • Slightly out of the way and has limited amenities

Closest airports

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

Powder Mountain deserves a place on our list. The resort limits daily ticket sales to 1,500 skiers and riders – which makes it a marvelously private and uncrowded experience. With a small number of skiers across such a wide area, it’s no surprise that the all-natural powder lasts for days after a dump. Admittedly, Powder Mountain lacks dining, lodging, shops, entertainment, and off-the-slope activities so if that's what you're after, this may not be your spot – at least, not yet. In the meantime, Powder Mountain is definitely worth checking out for anyone – families, couples, friends, lone wolves – who are “all about skiing!”

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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

Closest airports

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!

Boasting a collection of beautiful on mountain lodges built for the 2002 Olympics, Snowbasin serves some of the best cafeteria food in ski country. On a clear day, you can see the neighbouring states from the top and enjoy tons of vertical on the way down top-notch groomers. It’s also relatively uncrowded compared to other Cottonwood Canyon ski areas, despite being just 10 minutes further away from downtown. The only thing Snowbasin is really missing is a base village and slopeside accommodation.

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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

Closest airports

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

Brighton is Utah’s first ski area and one of the oldest in the US. It’s always a reliable choice for good snow and less crowds compared to Park City or Snowbird. While Brighton is a small ski area, its four distinct parts of the mountain offer a great variety of terrain. The food options and lodge facilities are far from the standards of Deer Valley or Snowbasin, so you’ll probably end up in Salt Lake and make the short drive every morning. But, the value – especially for families – is hard to argue with since kids under 10 always ski or ride for free.

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