top of page

SKI UTAH. Why Choose Just One Resort?

Amanda Stuermer

Senior Travel Editor

Instagram: @amandastuermer

Photos: Utah Office of Tourism + Deer Valley Ski Resort

With 11 ski resorts along the Wasatch Range, Salt Lake City is the perfect ski destination for those who like options. Trust us, there is something for everyone—from ski valet service at Deer Valley to a vintage two-seater chairlift at Alta. Let our resort guide help you decide which to choose and, by all means, choose more than one. It’s the Utah way.

Deer Valley

Located just a hop, skip, and ski valet away from Park City is Deer Valley. Sure, we’ve all seen the memes of that time Gwyneth Paltrow won a ski collision case and whispered the infamous phrase, “I wish you well,” but Deer Valley has more to offer than just glitzy courtroom drama. There’s also glitzy ski fashion. For those of us who remember skiing in jeans and gaiters, the world of haute couture ski fashion may be one fur-trimmed parka too far. Apart from all the glitz, Deer Valley offers endless groomed-to-perfection runs, delicious cooked-to-perfection meals, and one of the best ski schools in the country. Snowboarders are not allowed, but fashion faux pas are—no one said anything about the ten-year-old parka inherited when my son went off to college that I wore proudly in the lift line next to a woman with an American flag–themed zip-up one-piece complete with rhinestone embellishments.

The bottom line: If you prefer your outdoors a little on the swanky side and revel at the thought of miles and miles of ego-boosting groomers, Deer Valley has you covered.

Park City Mountain Resort

Park City is the quintessential laid-back mining town that many have come to love (and many transplants have come to call home). Because you can easily access the resort right from downtown, the entire town is virtually ski-in, ski-out. If that isn’t enough, Park City offers the most skiable terrain (7,300 acres) in the United States, with over 330 trails, 43 lifts, and 6 terrain parks.

There’s even a ski beach area for those who’d rather slosh down a beverage by a fire pit than swoosh down one of the powder-laden back bowls. One important thing to note: only 8% of the resort is made for beginners, so it’s a better spot for intermediate and advanced skiers. Also noteworthy: The U.S. Ski Team often practices here. The town itself evokes a bohemian, cowboy vibe. On Main Street, you’ll find as many saloons as bars and as many cowboy boots as ski boots.

Sundance Mountain Resort

Sundance is where film enthusiasts and powderhounds meet—in abundance each January. The resort is ideally situated at the base of 12,000-foot Mt. Timpanogos and is blessed with 5,000 acres of protected wilderness. It offers up skiing, snowboarding, night skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing—not to mention the largest film festival in the U.S. Imagine skiing steep bowls all day and then catching a film premier or grabbing a drink at the Sundance Owl Bar, which features the original 1890s Rosewood bar that was frequented by Butch Cassidy’s Hole-in-the-Wall gang. Ahem, yes, that’s a nod to Robert Redford, who famously founded both Sundance Resort and the Sundance Film Festival and also famously starred in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as, you guessed it, the Sundance Kid.


Located at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta is for the die-hards, not the try-hards—those who like their slopes seriously steep, their powder seriously deep, and whose ski attire may include a few duct-tape-covered rips and tears from their last backcountry adventure. Alta often gets bragging rights on the most snow in the state at 550 inches annually and offers up 2,200 acres of skiable terrain. Be forewarned, this is some of the steepest terrain in the Wasatch; 55 percent of the mountain is meant for advanced skiers, and none of it is meant for non-skiers (no snowboarders allowed). Alta still has a vintage two-seater chairlift in operation and an après-ski bar, the Alta Peruvian Lodge, that will make you swear you’ve time-traveled back to the 1980s. If you like to ski like a local, Alta is the place for you. But get there early, especially on a powder day—the hardcore Alta-heads will have everything tracked out by 10 a.m.


Snowbird boasts “The Greatest Snow on Earth” for good reason. This past season, they received over 70 feet of the fluffy white stuff. Snowbird (aka: The Bird) is conveniently located right next door to Alta, and thankfully, for those who prefer to ride, allows snowboarders. The resorts offer a joint pass called the Alta-Bird, so you can hit them both on the same day if your legs allow it. Snowbird is famous for its aerial tram, which takes you from the base at 8,100 feet to the top of the mountain at 11,000 feet in about eight minutes. The views are stunning, but remember, you’ll have to ski down. Snowbird, like Alta, is also famous for being steep and deep. The rugged terrain includes white-knuckle chutes and hair-raising cliff drops, but it’s the off-piste options that will really get your heart racing. Never fear, if “adrenaline junkie” is not part of your dating profile, the resort also offers highway-wide groomed runs and a few mellow meadows to shred with the kids, along with a stellar ski school.

Bottom line: If you like the overall local vibe of Alta but also like the option to ride or ski, The Bird is the word.


We don’t know of a resort with less auspicious origins than Solitude. Supposedly, a wealthy Moab uranium miner, Robert Barrett, was denied access to the restrooms at Alta and got so “pissed off'” he vowed to start his own resort. And Solitude was born. Located in Big Cottonwood Canyon, few tourists tend to find their way here—and those who do find it should probably buy a lottery ticket because their luck has rolled in. Solitude offers near-non-existent lift lines (or bathroom lines) and is affordable (by comparison). The mountain is actually quite a bit bigger than it appears from the base, with 1,200 skiable acres, 82 runs, and an impressive 500 inches of annual snow. The name really says it all. Solitude is known for its uncrowded slopes and less-commercial vibe. It also provides a more varied spread of terrain than its Little Cottonwood Canyon counterparts, giving the resort more family-friendly clout. Plus, they allow snowboarders. If you’re looking to experience some of that Wasatch winter magic, but the thought of crowds “pisses you off,” Solitude is your place.


bottom of page