With the lightest density snow in North America and a ski culture that’s just the right amount of kooky, Utah is the stateside destination for skiers and riders itching for the ultimate ski vacation.
Contrary to popular belief, you can enjoy many delicious alcoholic libations in Utah; you can also enjoy its smoky light powder, which boasts a water content of 5-7%. That’s half the amount of western neighbor Tahoe.(Tahoe, we love you, but Utah takes the game on super light snowy goodness).
Add up to 500” average annual snowfall for most resorts, easy accessibility from Salt Lake City International Airport, and resort giants that offer sultry slopes with stunning views of the Wasatch Mountains, and you’ve got plenty of reason to book a trip to Utah. Since its humble beginnings in the 1930s, when locals of Salt Lake City headed into Little Cottonwood Canyon for weekends of outdoor recreation, Utah ski resorts have developed into world-class destinations with impeccable infrastructure, top-notch grooming, and amenities that range from simple and budget-friendly to over-the-top luxurious (see Alta for the former, Deer Valley for the latter). That said, Utah has managed to maintain its low profile as an it ski destination, which makes crowds a lesser concern than in neighboring Colorado.
Whether you’re looking for cheap digs and the best après party in the state, or a family getaway complete with nature exploration and luxury dinners out, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we will outline the top ski resorts in Utah; you’ll learn where to stay, what to do, and how to get around; we’ll offer you insider tips on the best shopping and nightlife spots, activities with kids, luxury dining and cheap eats. Read on for the ultimate guide to skiing in Utah!
Fly into Salt Lake City International Airport in the morning, and load the lifts by early afternoon. Resorts in Park City, as well as Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, are a 45-minute drive (or less) from the airport. Shuttles, taxis, and buses run several times a day from SLC to major Utah resorts.
Allegiant Air provides service to Provo Municipal Airport from Scottsdale, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. This offers the most direct access to Sundance Ski Resort. Schedules change frequently.
Exploring Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is nestled between the buoyant waters of the Great Salt Lake and the towering peaks of the Wasatch mountains. It’s one of the Rocky Mountain hubs for arts and culture, delectable dining, and stress-free shopping in the easily navigable streets. If you have an extra day and night on either end of your ski vacation, consider spending it soaking in the attractions of the city.
Theater and performing arts are big draws, while interactive educational programs for kids offer activities for the whole family. Visit the 2002 Winter Olympic venue for a look into recent sports history, or absorb some of the geologic phenomena of the Great Salt Lake at Antelope Island State Park.
Between transportation apps and the public transit system, getting around is easy. Bus and rail rides are free within the downtown area, and Temple Square, the main historic district, is pedestrian friendly. If you’ll be spending multiple days around Salt Lake City to explore surrounding areas, consider renting a car.
Salt Lake City Dining
Find modern steakhouses, sushi, and international cuisine at any of the fine dining spots downtown; come back in the summer for the gourmet food truck scene. Head to Bambara in the Hotel Monaco for new American fare in a beautiful, classy setting. Indulge in the multi-course tasting menu at Forage, which sources ingredients from local farms and ranches, as well as wild surroundings. Martine Café has been crafting fine tapas inspired by Spain, Provence and North Africa since 1999; the setting is intimate, classy, and frequented by more than a few familiar faces. Staying in Salt Lake CityFor easy access to restaurants, bars, and shopping, stay downtown; family- and budget-friendly options are available in the area. Book a room at the Grand America Hotel for a luxury stay with mountain views in prime downtown location.
Hip, modern, and affordable, Hotel Monaco features rooms with bold style, flat-screen TVs, and yoga mats; walk to Temple Square is 10 minutes. Opt for the Little America Hotel for simple rooms and family-friendly service at excellent value; shopping and attractions are a walk or short taxi ride away.
Salt Lake City Activities
If you need a city fix before or after your stay in the mountains, enjoy the booming arts and cultural offerings of Salt Lake City. Catch a stand-up comedy show at Wiseguys, which brings in internationally-famed talent and fosters up-and-coming comedians. Explore wildlife and rich geological history of the Great Salt Lake area at Antelope Island State Park.
Take the kids to The Leonardo, a contemporary science, art, and technology museum with hands-on possibilities and unique exhibits.