Where to Ski in Utah to Find More Powder Than People
When planning a ski trip, there are usually two types of vacationers: those who immediately find themselves looking at annual snowfall averages, weather forecasts, and snow density statistics, and those who look for the nearest dining options and lodging accommodations.
With snowfall amounts that generally surpass those of neighboring Colorado, it is surprising that many people head straight to the Colorado resorts without giving Utah a second thought.
If you prioritize neck-deep powder (should we be so lucky) to fancy meals and aprés cocktails, then these Utah resorts should definitely be on your radar.
With the recent addition of 1,000 acres of skiable terrain (for a total of 8,464 skiable acres) accessed by two new lifts, Powder Mountain is home to the largest amount of in-bounds skiable terrain in the U.S.
What’s unique about this resort is the 1,500-ticket cap on daily sales, eliminating the need to arrive hours before lifts start spinning in order to have a chance of enjoying one of the many powder days throughout the season.
The resort’s close proximity to Salt Lake City International Airport makes it easy for visitors traveling from all over to take advantage of the 500 inches of annual snowfall and 2,522-foot vertical drop. After a day on the slopes, head to New World Distillery for a tour and tasting of fine spirits.
When most people hear the name Sundance, Park City’s renowned independent film festival usually comes to mind. Thirty miles from Park City, however, on the side of 12,000-foot Mt. Timpanogos, lies the Sundance Mountain Resort.
One of the smaller and more mellow ski areas in the state, Sundance still offers a good combination of steep, spacious bowls along with family-friendly groomers spread across 450 acres of skiable terrain. With the smaller size and lower profile comes less crowds; leaving the 320 inches of annual snowfall and 2,150-foot vertical drop for those who prioritize fresh lines over popular mega-resorts.
Grab a bite to eat at the lift-accessed Bearclaw Cabin — the only mountaintop lodge in Utah — and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Wasatch Mountains.
With an impressive 500 inches of annual snowfall, it is not uncommon to see at least one 12-inch day – sometimes two or three – per week at Solitude. The resort’s 1,200 skiable acres and 2,030-foot vertical drop hardly experience the crowds that Utah’s more popular resorts such as Alta and Park City see.
The more experienced skier/rider will love the steep, challenging terrain that the mountain encompasses. While in the area, swing through the town of Park City and take a stroll through the Main Street Historic District for a bite to eat.
Brighton’s high snowfall average (another 500-incher) combined with a wide variety of terrain ranging from beginner to expert make it a great resort for the family vacationer and the powder hound alike. Of the 1,050 skiable acres, more than 200 are available for night skiing and riding.
Another appealing aspect of this hill, in addition to the smaller crowds and great terrain, is that Brighton is the only resort in the state with 100 percent of its terrain accessible by high-speed quads, which means more time will be spent shredding fluffy powder than riding lifts.
While many skiers flock to Alta for its renowned terrain and impressive snowfall averages, many overlook Snowbird, which is located only one mile from Alta. As Alta is a skiers-only hill, snowboarders and skiers can both get a taste of the same light and deep powder, gnarly terrain, and overall classic Utah winter experience with a lower density of people. The resort boasts an impressive combination of terrain and snowfall with 2,500 skiable acres, a 3,240-foot vertical drop, and more than 500 inches of snow annually.
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These factors contribute to Snowbird frequently having the longest ski season in the state. Once the burn in the legs from a solid day of shredding powder becomes too much to handle, head over to the Wildflower Lounge for a beer and wings or grab a drink and catch some live music at the picnic tables just upstairs from the Tram Club, near the tram entrance.