We Love the Ski Salt Lake Super Pass 

Some families will fly into Salt Lake and make this Utah visit their one big, blowout family ski holiday. If you don't want to be limited to only one mountain, yet need to sample all of the resorts in both Cottonwood Canyons at a reasonable cost, the best value is the Ski Salt Lake Super Pass.  With this pass you get lift tickets to any of the four Cottonwood  Canyon resorts plus daily bus service to and from. 

The public UTA (Utah Transit Authority) buses serve all four resorts from downtown Salt Lake City.  If your kids are over age 10, the Super Pass rate is the best option for a family skiing any one resort, as well.  Over four days of skiing in the 2009-2010 season, an adult would save $45. For children from 7-12 the savings is $36. Add in lodging at one of their participating hotels, and the fourth night is free for both lift tickets and lodging.  It's quite a good deal. (Note: For the fourth-night-free option, you must book by December 15 but this may get extended.)  Be advised that Alta does not allow snowboards. For more information and to purchase advance tickets, please visit their website or call 800/541-4955.

Also, until December 15, you can take advantage of the Gold Medal Podium Package that is being offered in light of Salt Lake's Olympic Legacy. If you purchase a Ski Salt Lake Pass along with a four-night stay at one of the participating properties, your fourth day of skiing and lodging are free. To check out the 22 hotels that are included in this package please visit Ski Salt Lake.

Cheap Hotels in Utah Ski Country

The downside? Lodging is limited at Brighton, as are dining choices. The Brighton Lodge (800/873 5512 x120) offers 20 basic rooms without TV or phone but with ski in/ski out accessibility; however, there is a comfy common room with big-screen TV.  Mount Majestic Properties (888/236 0667) has condos within walking distance, some with ski in/ski out convenience. The eating options are thin in both cases. 

The most economical option for the budget-starved family is the lodging in Salt Lake City. Brighton is only a 40-minute drive from downtown; the UTA's regular bus service will get you there in about an hour, as well.  There are several chain hotels offering good value in the downtown area where there is a lively nightlife with a wide variety of restaurants. 

The liveliest night life centers around South 300 Street (a.k.a. "Broadway") where much of the nightlife and eating life is to be found.  The UTA (888/RIDE UTA) bus service stops at 10 hotels in downtown and takes you to the parking lot at the bottom of Big Cottonwood, where you can connect to the shuttle to Brighton for $7, or continue on the same bus to Snowbird and Alta in Little Canyonwood.

Among the Salt Lake City hotels with UTA bus service are these family-friendly picks. The  Hyatt Place Salt Lake City (888/492-8847) has much to offer families.  It's very close to the Gateway Mall, the Utah Planetarium, the Utah Children's Museum if you're traveling with little ones, and the Energy Solutions Arena for Jazz basketball.  Wi-fi and continental breakfast are free.

The Embassy Suites and Hampton Inn Downtown are always good family choices, with both offering large rooms (in the case of Embassy Suites, rooms with a living area with pullout sofabed), free breakfast and convenient locations. 

Also centrally located in Salt Lake City with bus service access, the Grand America and Little America hotels offer a more upscale option.

Other downtown choices include branches of all the major chains -- Hilton Salt Lake City Center, Crystal Inn Downtown, Super 8 Motel, Hilton Garden Inn, Sheraton Salt Lake City,  Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City, Sheraton Salt Lake City, Shilo In Hotel-Downtown Salt Lake City, but the former have the edge on them when it comes to value and number of guests per room.

An easy way to book your lodging with or without the Super Pass, and to learn more about the area, is the Salt Lake Tourism Office website.