Utah's Ski Resorts Have Finally Reopened — Here's Where to Stay, Eat, and Shred Safely
After the longest ski resort closure in Utah’s history, all of the state’s ski areas are now open for everyone to enjoy the "best snow on earth." On March 16 — when Utah resorts closed due to the coronavirus pandemic — ski areas began to carefully establish plans to make the 2020-2021 ski season as safe and socially distant as possible. All ski areas have established cleaning and disinfection strategies, physical distancing guidelines, and strict mask requirements.
Utah has always been a favorite ski destination — most resorts are within an hour of the airport, the terrain is accommodating to every skier, and each season there’s an average of 40 feet of light and powdery snow. Utah resorts have taken hints from New Zealand and South America’s summer ski season and banded together to create a streamlined safety plan that was presented and approved by state health officials to keep locals and tourists safe and distant this winter.
Where to Ski
Deer Valley Resort is one of three ski-only resorts in the nation. This year, they stand out again by eliminating day-of ski tickets and limiting the number of ski reservations in order to keep the slope and ski village well below capacity. Plus, all dining is reservation only to keep everyone safely distant while enjoying lunch or dinner. Snowbasin has set up warming yurts where skiers can take breaks and warm up and brought in food trucks to allow for outdoor dining.
All the resorts in Utah have similar safety guidelines in place, along with après ski activities that follow CDC and NSAA guidelines and have been carefully designed to ensure the safest experience possible.
Where to Stay
It's hard to beat The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection a naturally socially-distant property hidden amongst the Park City mountains. The resort has stringent measures in place to create a safe and comfortable stay during the COVID-19 era and beyond. Aside from its accommodations, the property offers a multitude of incredible winter activities from private wood fire dinners at a mountain top yurt to private heli-transfers to local ski resorts with line-skipping passes to clay shooting led by an ex-teacher of the royal family. Another great option is The Washington School House Hotel—a sophisticated and charming historical gem steps from Main Street in Park City. The artfully restored 1889 school house has gone above and beyond to establish COVID-19 protocols that make every guest feel safe. There's hand sanitizer and masks in each room, private room entrances, and upgraded amenities. Upon request, the hotel can set up in-room work stations with a printer, notepads, and even complimentary snack deliveries. There is even the option to have a private dinner prepared by executive chef Ryan Frye in-room or virtually anywhere on the property. But most hotels in Utah have adopted strict guidelines to ensure a clean, safe, and social distant stay — including popular options such as Goldener Hirsch Inn, St. Regis Deer Valley, and Montage Deer Valley.
Where to Eat
One of the best places for a bite after a long day on the slopes has long been the High West Saloon — and it still is as they have implemented better-than-recommended guidelines to their indoor dining and will add an Alpenglobe later this month for isolated dining. High West’s nearby prix fixe restaurant, The Nelson Cottage, also has heated outdoor dining. Hearth and Hill quickly transitioned to an awarded curbside program and has a menu that will please the whole family. The Stein Eriksen Lodge is installing four Alpenglobe deck dining additions this winter that will be perfect for après ski. They will be available to reserve for a 90-minute dining experience.
How to Help
Plan ahead. Most resorts are operating on a reservation system, so make sure you have reservations for both parking and for your ski ticket. It’s vital to do your part by always wearing a mask and following all marked protocols. Ski Utah has put together a comprehensive list of expectations for all resorts in Utah that will be helpful to review prior to any Utah ski vacation this winter.