Once one of America’s best-kept skiing secrets, Utah has become a go-to snowsports destination since hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics. Although resorts like Vail and Aspen in neighbouring Colorado tend to draw the big crowds, Utah’s quantity and quality of snow is legendary: the powder is so good that the state has trademarked the slogan ‘The Greatest Snow on Earth®’.
Skiing in Utah means heading into the Rocky Mountains, high above the iconic red sandstone deserts that the state is renowned for. Get ready to plan your adventure with our quick guide to skiing in Utah.
Park City Mountain Resort became the USA’s largest linked ski area when it merged with its neighbour, Canyons, in 2015. Although nearby Powder Mountain claimed the title in 2016, Park City still has an impressive 324 runs across 7,300 acres.
The majority of trails at Park City fall into the blue (moderate) and black (advanced) categories, although there are a few green (easy) trails: mainly along the valleys and ridges. It’s easy to while away your ski holiday on the 15 Signature Runs – advanced trails which are groomed on a rotating basis, so you can cover more of the mountain on the freshly groomed snow.
Snowboarders will also find plenty to keep them entertained in the resort’s seven terrain parks, while the Adventure Alleys are ideal for younger skiers. Choosing a hotel in Park City’s colourful base town gives you easy access to the resort’s sprawling ski area, but just in case that’s not enough variety it’s also within easy striking distance of Deer Valley, Alta and Snowbird.
While you’re in the area, don’t miss a visit to the Utah Olympic Park which is located in Park City. The 400-acre venue was built for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games and is home to Nordic ski jumps, a Winter Games museum and a range of adventure activities, such as extreme tubing, bobsled and rope courses.
It’s also within road tripping distance of Las Vegas. Driving to Park City from Sin City gives you the chance to pass through incredibly diverse scenery like Dixie National Forest and Zion National Park – you can even take a detour to the Grand Canyon. With our Las Vegas and Park City tour, we handle all of the logistics so you can relax and enjoy your ski and city break.
Voted the best resort in North America by readers of SKI Magazine, Deer Valley is right next door to Park City – so it would almost be rude not to pop in for a few days. The resort has a luxurious reputation, with nightly grooming keeping the slopes smooth and pristine. If you visit during the Sundance Film Festival there’s a high chance you’ll spot a few A-listers swooshing down the slopes. Lift tickets are limited, leaving the runs beautifully uncrowded.
Advanced skiers will find plenty to keep them occupied in Deer Valley, with ungroomed gladed trails on the north side of Bald Mountain and challenging runs off the Empire Express which start in open terrain before sweeping into the tree line. Hop on the Lady Morgan Express lift for easy access to more than 200 acres of black-diamonds.
Less than an hour from Park City, Alta and Snowbird are two connected resorts with 4,700 acres of skiable terrain between them. Alta is best-known for its lightly wooded trails and is beloved by expert skiers for its chutes and steep slopes. There’s plenty for beginner skiers too, with half-hour-long ranger tours every Sunday and holiday. The ranger tells you all about local geology, history and wildlife as you ski down an easy run at Cottonwoods Canyon.
Over on Snowbird, you’ll find the appropriately named Mach Schnell – German for “do it fast” – a speedy run that goes straight down through the tree line. A ride on the Aerial Tram to the top of Hidden Peak takes just ten minutes and covers 2,900 vertical feet. At the top, you can eat at The Summit restaurant while taking in the rugged peaks.
As well as the pistes and bowls of Alta and Snowbird, the resort is perfectly placed for thrilling off-piste skiing in the Wasatch backcountry. Snow cat and helicopter tours are available so you can reach some seriously out-of-the-way trails.