Salt Lake City is the main gateway to some of the best (and some of the gnarliest) Utah ski resorts! All resorts are within 45 minutes drive from the airport. Check out our pick of the top 5 best ski resorts near Salt Lake City.
Due to COVID-19, safety measures were put in place by the State of Utah and Salt Lake County which impacted the 20/21 ski season. These included physical distancing, mandatory mask-wearing and increased cleaning and disinfection protocols. In Salt Lake County, which is home to several key resorts including Park City, Alta, Brighton and Snowbird, there was limited capacity for indoor dining and advanced lift ticket purchases were strongly recommended. Such restrictions are not anticipated to continue into the 21/22 winter season.
While Park City is the largest resort in the US, it’s not just sheer vastness that makes Park City stand out. It’s the holy grail of excellent quality powder, consistent snowfall, and a distinct lack of wind that generally keeps the white stuff fresh, dry, and floaty. Its authentic Old West mining town vibe coupled with heaps of winter attractions, endless entertainment and restaurants, makes it quite a popular ski destination for families and large groups. However for these reasons, the resort often results in some sizable crowds.
If you want a vacation where you can focus on a full day shredding the slopes, Alta is definitely worth checking out; as long as you're on two planks since Alta is a skiers only mountain. It borders Snowbird so 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 snowboarders aren't allowed on the lifts. There are a handful of lodges at the base but no nightclubs or stores. On the other hand, the canyon isn't really that far of a drive (or public bus ride) to Salt Lake City, which opens the doors to an array of dining and drinking options!
Snowbird is where you’ll find incredible and challenging terrain with world class snow in both volume and quality. The terrain here is truly for the adventurous with double black runs of trees, chutes, and cliffs to keep advanced and experts busy. Yes, there's beginner terrain but it is very limited and does not have the best progression from beginner terrain to intermediate. There's not much of a town at Snowbird with only a handful of restaurants and bars in the small village. Nightlife and shopping is also limited here but luckily Salt Lake City is only a short drive or public bus ride away! This place is perfect if your focus is on the snow.
Deer Valley is an upscale, skiers only resort with a world class grooming and lift system and has one of the best ski schools in the country. At Deer Valley, you can enjoy the convenience of ski-in/ ski-out lodging and top-notch dining with outstanding customer service. There is a vast range of terrain, especially for intermediates and quite popular for families. Although Deer Valley doesn’t have much of a nightlife, it is within close proximity to the vibrant town of Park City. Deer Valley can get quite pricey but if you’re looking for exclusivity, it is definitely worth checking out!
Brighton has four distinct parts of the mountain which offer a great variety of terrain, with everything from smooth groomers to tree runs and narrow chutes. Compared to some of the other resorts in the area, Brighton is on the smallish side but less crowded than Park City or Snowbird. Being less than an hour from Salt Lake, the smaller number of visitors includes devoted locals who give it a friendly vibe. Although the accommodation and dining options are mediocre, the prices are also family friendly: kids under 10 always ski or ride for free!