Utah is home to the greatest snow on earth and many toadally awesome ski destinations. Thanks to the lake effect, the ski resorts benefit from that famous powder that falls from the sky and fills the canyons and ski runs. Which are the best Utah ski resorts? It’s so hard to choose, but the best ski resorts are easy to get to and each offers something unique. Keep in mind that two of these resorts do not allow snowboarding, so riders will be limited to the other great choices.
All of these locations are an easy drive from Salt Lake City airport and are within 40 miles or less from downtown. That makes it easy to resort hop from day to day if you want to check out a variety of resorts. The multi-resort passes such as the Ikon Pass and Epic Pass make resort hopping even easier (although more resorts are on Ikon Pass than Epic Pass in this state)! With so many amazing options, you really can't go wrong with any of these Utah ski resorts.
Your Guide to the Best Utah Ski Resorts
If you are planning your first trip to Utah, it can feel overwhelming to decide which resorts to visit. On our first trip many moons ago (before tadpoles), we stayed in Salt Lake City and resort hopped to a different resort each day to get a feel for each location. Then we enjoyed dining downtown in the evening. Utah road signage is so hopful! You cannot get lost between the resorts and the city.
Once the tadpoles joined in on the fun, we began staying at one mountain. Ski in/ski out locations or ones with a short walk to the lifts, such as many Park City hotels at the Canyons, make it too easy to stay at one resort. But if you want to explore more Utah ski territory, you can take easily take a day off from your resort to ski at a Big Cottonwood or Little Cottonwood Canyons destination because these frogtastic family ski resorts are a relatively quick drive from one another and from Park City. You can even ski between a few of them! In fact, advanced skiers can ski up to six resorts (and the backcountry in between them) in one day with the Ski Utah Interconnect Tour. (Sorry snowboarders. This one's for just the skiers.)
The following Utah ski locations are either on the Epic Pass or Ikon Pass. Some mountains have limited days on these passes, so read up and plan carefully. Purchase a pass in the summer or fall for the best savings and then ski your way through Utah! We have more tips for when to book to save on a Utah ski trip, as well as tips for flying with skis.
If you hoppen to be traveling to Utah ski resorts in 2022, it's smart to research what to expect at these destinations. Our guides on What to Expect at the Ikon Pass Ski Destinations and What to Expect When Skiing at the Vail Resorts (that's Epic Pass) should bring you up to speed on mask policies, although things are quickly returning to normal. The individual mountain websites also are a great source of updated information.
Park City Area
Park City is home to Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort. Conveniently off I-80, it’s an easy drive to Park City from Salt Lake City and the airport. There's a lot more hoppening besides skiing in this historic and artsy town. Want to know the best time to ski Park City? Our month-by-month guide to skiing Park City will help you narrow down when to visit.
Deer Valley is the other Utah resort that’s exclusive to skiers only. Park City snowboarders can head to the neighboring Park City Mountain Resort. Deer Valley is the most posh and luxurious of all the best Utah ski resorts. It has an old-school but refined vibe, with some of the nicest (and priciest) on-mountain accommodations. It’s a peaceful resort with uncrowded groomed runs in its 2,026 aces and ski valets to help you with your equipment. Don’t want to carry your skis? This is the resort for you! I do love some pampering when skiing with the family. Deer Valley is on the Ikon Pass. It’s a nice place to learn to ski with 27 percent easy, 41 percent intermediate and 32 percent difficult runs. If you want to try tree skiing, it's a great place to learn.
Come summer, mountain biking, hiking, a children’s adventure program and summer concerts provide plenty to do.
Park City Mountain Resort
Park City Mountain Resort is like two resorts in one with the Park City side and the Canyons side. The two make up the largest US ski resort. Hop over to our hopful Family Insider's Guide to Park City for all the details. At a glance, the destination has 7,300 skiable acres, eight peaks and about 365 inches of annual snowfall. There are two villages and you can ride down runs that take you right into the heart of the historic downtown Main Street.
Park City is a great intermediate and expert mountain with 8 percent designated green runs, 42 percent intermediate and 50 percent expert runs. We frogs have found that the Park City definition of a blue intermediate has a broad range, from beginner-friendly to more challenging. On powder days, beginners should stick to the most groomed runs. A deep powder day can turn an easy blue into a more challenging experience when ungroomed. Park City is on the Epic Pass.
Park City is a year-round resort. Many visitors come in summer to mountain bike, hike, zip-line, enjoy music and have a whole lot of other fun.
If you are an advanced skier who wants to experience up to six ski resorts all in one day, it's possible. The Ski Utah Interconnect Tour guides skiers only (sorry snowboarders) ages 15 and up through the Park City, Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyon resorts (and the backcountry terrain between them)!
Big Cottonwood Canyon Area
Both Brighton and Solitude are on the Ikon Pass. They are a short drive from Salt Lake City, Utah. You can rent a car (four-wheel drive with snow tires) or hop on the Utah Mountain Shuttle to get there. You can ski between the two mountains via the Sol-Bright trail or travel via the Intra-Canyon shuttle for a small fee.
Solitude is the first resort you’ll come to in Big Cottonwood. With 1,200 skiable acres and an average of 500 inches of snow per year, at Solitude, the terrain is 10 percent beginner, 40 percent intermediate and 50 percent advanced/expert. It’s a good intermediate mountain with short lift lines. Advanced skiers and very strong intermediates will find Honeycomb Canyon to be a pretty sweet spot in the world.
Brighton is tucked away about seven minutes past Solitude and 35 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City (depending on traffic and road conditions). It’s easy to get around this resort’s 1,050 acres with 100 percent of the terrain accessible by high-speed quad lifts. It makes it easy for family members of different abilities to ride up together and choose their own path down to the lift. This works out great for the Frog family, as Leap and Lily are still getting used to their ski legs while snowboarder Tad and I enjoy more of a challenge.
Brighton has a laidback locals vibe that’s popular by word of mouth. It has terrain for every skier and rider with 21 percent green beginner, 40 percent intermediate and 39 percent advanced. It’s popular with snowboarders for its natural cliffs and jumps, but it also has four terrain parks. Brighton brags of having the best terrain parks in the area for all abilities (along with PEEPs: Park Etiquette and Education Program). The resort keeps it fresh by changing it up all the time.
The mountain receives an average of 500 inches of snow each winter, which means plenty of fresh deep powder. Don’t worry, beginners: The beginner (and most intermediate) runs are groomed nightly. The main expert runs are also groomed, but there is plenty of untouched powder left for those in search of the deep stuff.
If you like to ski at night, Brighton has 22 night ski runs on over 200 lighted areas. With the 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ticket, you can ski or ride until you collapse. You can ski with an arborist or even go ski biking.
Little Cottonwood Canyon Area
Due to the makeup of the canyon, Little Cottonwood Canyon is the place to find deep powder, as these mountains receive an average of 500 inches of snow per year! Alta and Snowbird are connected via lifts — that is, if you are wearing skis and have a pass good for both resorts. Day ticket buyers can upgrade on the day of use. Both resorts are on the Epic Pass. Keep an eye on road conditions, as the highways can close due to avalanche control. Sometimes the only people to access an epic snowfall are the people staying at a resort lodge. The Utah Transit Authority has two busses that bring skiers to the slopes. You may want to stay on property or arrive early.
With 2,500 skiable acres and a vertical drop of 3,240 feet, Snowbird is the first resort you'll encounter in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Explore the backcountry with Snowcat skiing and even helicopter skiing. This year-round resort offers summer fun too. It has four lodges, a spa, arcade, pools and a rooftop spa.
Snowbird is for skiers and riders of all abilities with 27 percent of the mountain easy terrain, 28 intermediate and 35 percent difficult. Snowbird holds the title of the longest season in Utah. Skiers have been known to enjoy the snowy slopes on the Fourth of July some years!
Alta is six minutes past Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon. This resort is just for skiers. Sorry snowboarders: You'll have to stop at Snowbird. All that Alta powder (on average about 551 inches per year!) is just for the skiers. This resort harkens back to the old days of skiing. It's one of the oldest ski resorts in the U.S. and opened its first lift in 1939.
Alta has a nice beginners program and is also a favorite of experienced skiers and powder hounds for its terrain, huge annual snowfall and light power. You can find some nice tree skiing and powder stashes. Alta has 25 percent beginner, 40 percent intermediate and 35 percent advanced terrain. It has 2,614 skiable acres and 2, 539 feet of vertical rise.
Best Utah Ski Resorts Near Ogden
Near Ogden, and about 40 minutes north of Salt Lake City, Snowbasin is the one ski destination we're exploring that is a bit separated from the other Salt Lake City and Park City ski resorts, but that’s OK. You'll enjoy this hidden gem. With short lift lines, high-speed gondolas to keep you warm on your way up and the nicest ski bathrooms you'll ever use, you’ll be living it up at Snowbasin.
Did you know that Snowbasin Resort is one of the oldest operating ski areas in the U.S.? It opened in 1940 as a winter playground. Fast forward to the 2000s, it hosted the downhill, super G and combined races for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. That brought the resort into this century and very nicely done too. Ikon Pass holders can now use the pass at Snowbasin for a select number of days each season (depending on the pass).
Snowbasin has four terrain parks, 3,000 acres of skiable terrain, 11 lifts and its longest run is 3.5 miles long. There’s something for everyone, but experienced skiers will do best with 7 percent beginner, 37 percent intermediate, 47 percent advanced and 9 percent expert runs. The resort receives, on average, 300 inches of snow each year.
Snowbasin is not entirely alone in its ski area. Powder Mountain is about 35 minutes away and has more beginner terrain. It is not part of Epic Pass or Ikon Pass, but on a powder day, its low crowds make it a fan favorite.
Are you planning to visit one of the best ski resorts in Utah? Your froggy friends can help you save some green. Before the ski season is underway in summer or fall, purchase an Epic Pass or Ikon Pass to save on lift tickets. The passes offer further savings on rentals and lessons. These multi-resort passes are also good at the best Colorado ski resorts and best Lake Tahoe ski resorts! You can save on Park City ski hotels, as well, when you book through Undercover Tourist. Bundle your stay with a rental car purchase to unlock more savings!
Related: The Absolute Best Ways to Save on Flights to Utah Ski Resorts