Lesser known than their Colorado cousins, Utah ski resorts quietly boast some of the best skiing mountains in the United States. Less crowded than the Colorado and New England resorts, Utah ski resorts get a huge blanket of powdery snow each season - an average of 500" - and offer some of the most challenging skiing in the country. Among the most popular resorts are:
Located about 30 miles east of Salt Lake City, Park City - along with its neighbor Deer Valley - was the site of the ski competitions at the 2002 Winter Olympics. The quiet former mining town of about 8000 permanent residents is lined with charming 19th century restored buildings and is the home of one of the venues for the annual Sundance Film Festival.
The skiing at Park City is some of the area's - and indeed the world's - best. The resort's 3300 acres of skiable terrain is spread out over seven peaks and nine bowls. Park City has 104 ski trails, 50 percent of which are designed for intermediate skiers and 33 percent of which are geared towards advanced skiers. In the summer, vacationers enjoy the area for its hiking, golf, and temperate climate.
Alta, located in central Utah about 25 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, is a small town and a unique ski resort. Opened in 1938, Alta is a skier's resort; no snowboarding is allowed. The 2200-acre ski area gets an average of 500" of snow each season and is known for its fine powder. The resort's runs are divided into 25% for beginners, 40% for intermediate, and 35% for advanced skiers. Alta also offers extensive Nordic ski trails and a luge run. The resort offers an interconnecting lift to the Snowbird Resort (see below) and a popular "Ski Free after 3" program.
Deer Valley is located adjacent to Park City (see above), about 23 miles from Salt Lake City. The 2200-acre ski resort opened in 1981 and boasts 21 lifts and 91 ski runs. Like Alta (mentioned above), Deer Valley is a ski-only resort; no snowboarding is allowed. With Park City, Deer Valley hosted the ski events at the 2002 Winter Olympics.In the summer, Deer Valley is home to the Utah symphony and the annual Deer Valley Music Festival, held each July and August. Summer visitors also flock to the area for its hiking, fishing, climbing, and kayaking.
Snowbird, located just east of Salt Lake City, is considered (with its sister resort, Alta) to be among the best ski resorts in the world. The area gets an incredible average of 500" of snow each season and is known worldwide for its fine powder.
Visiting Utah Ski Resorts
All of the resorts mentioned above are easily assessable by flying into Salt Lake City. Accommodations vary widely from large resort hotels to ski-in/ski-out condo units to charming bed and breakfast inns. A car rental is a good idea, since all of the resorts are within driving distance of one another.