Ski Utah

“The Greatest Snow on Earth”

What is “The Greatest Snow on Earth?” It’s the lightest and driest fluffy precipitation in the world and it blankets the Wasatch Mountain Range in Utah. Each winter season, from November through April, the heavenly powder drifts across the mountains of the state. While this type of snow may happen elsewhere, in Utah it is a consistent gift from above; and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. While most of Utah’s 14 ski resorts average 300-500 inches of snow per year, up to 700 inches may fall during the season in a few of the lucky ski areas.

The quality of the snow is reliable and the amount is dependable. However, all the ski resorts in Utah are different and unique from one another. Most of the ski areas are within an hour drive from Salt Lake City International Airport, making it one of the more convenient ski destinations in the country.

Park City Area

Just 36 miles from the airport is the town of Park City, home of the Sundance Film Festival. Here you will find three ski resorts, shopping, and a variety of dining options.

Deer Valley is the top-end resort for luxury and glamour. No snowboarders here, this is a ski-only area ranked the nation’s #1 resort for five years running. Everything is full-service.

Intermediate skiers and snowboarders may want to spend time at Park City Mountain Resort; it has the most intermediate terrain of all the resorts in Utah. For a big rush, wander over in your ski boots to jump on the Alpine Coaster Ride. Be brave and don’t use the hand-break. You’ll be tempted to slow down – resist pulling on the break – just hold on, yell, scream and enjoy. This resort is family friendly and has four terrain parks to keep the wild ones busy.

The Canyons, also in Park City, offers the largest skiable terrain with more advanced runs in Utah than any of the other resorts. The on-site Canyons Resort Village has everything a visitor needs during his or her stay.

Little Cottonwood Canyon

Also very close to the airport, in Little Cottonwood Canyon, are the resorts of Alta and Snowbird. Alta is the other skier-only resort in Utah and it’s been that way for over 70 years. Tradition, scenic views, and powder will almost overwhelm. Alta has a nice variety of terrain for any level of skier. The locals live for “powder days” and if it snows the night before, arrive early to take advantage of all that virgin terrain.

Snowboarders go to Snowbird, next to Alta. For skiers, they offer an Alta/Snowbird combo pass for those who want a lot of variety. Snowbird also has the longest season of all the resorts in the state and has the highest vertical drop serviced by a lift.

Big Cottonwood Canyon

Between Little Cottonwood Canyon and Park City, are the less-crowded resorts of Solitude and Brighton. Just a couple miles apart from each other, both are located in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Brighton is “The place where Utah learns to ski and snowboard.” This family friendly resort has three terrain parks and the entire area is accessible by their high speed quad chairlift. Brighton is definitely popular with the locals.

Nearby Solitude lives up to its name and almost never has a lift line. It may feel as if you have the mountain to yourself at times. Between runs, stop and take in the view, it is tranquil.

Head South …

South of Salt Lake City is two resorts that are bucolic and value oriented. Sundance Resort is an hour from the airport and offers an intimate setting and rustic atmosphere. Brain Head Resort is best accessed from the Las Vegas International Airport. It is one of Utah’s friendliest resorts for families on a budget. And it is well designed for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders.

Up North …

Scattered to the north of Salt Lake City, discover Utah’s other ski resorts. Family owned and operated Beaver Mountain is another family friendly value resort. Powder Mountain has the most skiable terrain in Utah with equal amounts of area for all skill levels and offers budget prices. Wolf Creek Mountain is one of the smaller Utah resorts. However, they have the best prices and night skiing. Starting its second season is Utah’s newest resort, Eagle Point. They have a vision to be “a family-friendly, high-quality snowsports destination.”

And My Personal Favorite

Snowbasin, sort of off on its own, is just a half an hour drive from the airport. They have everything, including two high speed gondolas for a quick, enclosed 12 minute ride to the top. Attentive and courteous staff is around every corner.

You have so many options in Utah with skiing and snowboarding. Shuttles run to many of the resorts from the airport, so you may want to opt-out of renting a car. Utah is a great destination all year long. However, to experience “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” go this winter.

Gateway Airport: Salt Lake City International (SLC)

For snow reports, travel planning, and links to all 14 resorts, visit the Ski Utah web site:

(801) 534-1779

Michael Dwyer is a freelance writer and travel columnist. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

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