Oct 9 2013
Oct 9 2013
The number one question I’ve gotten as a permanent resident of Utah is at the same time the easiest and hardest to answer.
You all want to know “Which resort is the best?”
And I want to answer “All of them!” because it’s true.
The resort you are going to like the best depends on you, and I haven’t met you personally (yet). Every ski trip and experience you get (as a local or visitor) will depend on what you’re in the mood for. Let me stress that I know there might be a few lists and a few suggestions you might read elsewhere trying to point you in a certain direction or sell you a mountain. I’m trying to tell you something new - something you may not hear anywhere else.
In addition, after starting this list of quick thoughts, I realized I have so much more information I can share, so stay tuned for in depth commentary on the resorts all season long, and a breakdown of the resorts by region.
DISCLAIMER - I wrote this, not the resorts, not Ski Utah. It’s just my personal opinion so take from it what you will. I hope it helps. If not, tell me what I missed in the comments!
ALTA - for SKIERS. This might sound like a no-brainer, but if all you care about is the steep and deep, Alta is the place for you. I’d suggest you know what you are doing and what to expect, it can be daunting for a first timer. That being said, the level of intensity on this mountain is hard to beat. If skiing is what your skiing is all about, you belong. This is also the place for an advanced lesson. Enjoy the Alta-tude.
BEAVER MOUNTAIN - for DECOMPRESSING. Not wanting a giant resort? How about wondering what it would feel like if your family owned the place? You might see the owners of this resort selling you a ticket, or cooking you lunch. Beaver has a feel good down home atmosphere that will make you forget what traffic and stress are all about. Work too hard and want your trip to feel like a big warm hug of relaxation? Ski the Beav.
BRIAN HEAD - for TOURISTS. Not tourists like you drive badly and take too many pictures, tourists like you are so rad you want to ski AND hop in a rental and take a short ride to VEGAS. Two things to consider about this gorgeous resort (straight from their website, so I’m not making it up) “From California’s “Inland Empire,” it takes less time to drive to Brian Head than it takes to drive to Mammoth Mountain” and “Even in the heart of winter, excellent interstate highways are virtually free of hazardous conditions and provide easy connections”. Stew on that when you consider booking a trip - why not fly in to Vegas? I’ll be doing just that this winter so stay tuned to hear all about it.
BRIGHTON - for BOARDERS. Brighton is Utah’s answer to the fact that Alta and Deer Valley don’t allow boarders. To tell you the truth, I really love Brighton. The groomers are consistently quality (big deal coming from a DV skier) and the stashes are everywhere - meaning you can find powdery pillow lines even if you aren’t jogging to score first chair. I actually have had crazy nightmares they make this hill boarders only.The atmosphere is fun, light, and chill. The terrain? “Brighton is Utah’s only resort that can boast that 100% of its terrain is accessible by high speed quads” Also, kids 7 and under ski free - bonus for those of you with littles.
THE CANYONS - for BRAGGERS. This mountain is big. And getting bigger. You have to be the guy that wants to go home and tell everyone about riding North America’s first heated enclosed chair lift. About skiing brand new acreage. About chilling on the new beach. I’d also suggest this for first timers. Everyone I’ve taught loved the open greens serviced by their own chair lift. Super un-intimidating. Also great for an all inclusive trip. You could never leave the hill, and have it all.
DEER VALLEY - for FOODIES. Everyone knows Deer Valley has won Ski Magazine’s readers poll 4 years running. It’s a skiers dream, with gorgeous, perfect corduroy runs, and tree lines everywhere. To me, the bonus is knowing no matter where you pop off your skis and pop in for food, it’s going to be the best. Any lodge or hotel on that mountain will blow your taste buds away. If you are the type to show up early and stay late, take an hour or two for Stein’s skier buffet and enjoy a cocktail. Literally nothing is bad.
EAGLE POINT - for DISCOVERERS. This is a new resort opening this winter. I look forward to seeing what it has to offer, and so to me, that’s what should entice you too. Renovations and new amenities are always fun to try.
PARK CITY MOUNTAIN RESORT - for EMOTIONS. The best thing to me about PCMR is coasting directly from the hill in to town après ski. The second best thing is any holiday or event there. Wanna ski Christmas day? With tunes rocking, this is the place to feel like you’re with 1,000 family members doing what you love. Everyone loves everyone and everyone loves PCMR. You’ll be high-fiving strangers in no time. If you are going for not just the turns, but for the experience, head here. You’ll be exhilarated.
POWDER MOUNTAIN - for TREASURE HUNTERS. If you like hidden gems and the thrill of the find, PM is for you! This diamond not only is a secluded paradise, it features gnarly kite and cat skiing to whet any dare devils palate. Not to mention the Mountain Adventure Tours - ask about the DMI...don't tell anyone you heard it from me.
SNOWBASIN- for FAMILIES. Where Powder Mountain has the advanced fun stuff, Snowbasin has the intermediate. Child care, tubing hill, dining and events (the Dew Tour is coming!) make this place worth checking out, you’ll be glad you did!
SNOWBIRD - for SKILLS. I took 10 guys last winter to 5 different resorts. For a group of all dudes, all levels, they loved it. No matter how you ski, your large group can set off and find each other hours later for epic story sharing. This hill makes you better at any level - most of my ‘firsts’, as in accomplishments, happened here.
SOLITUDE - for NATURE. Man it’s pretty here. Anyone that likes the view from 9000 feet loves all resorts, but Solitude takes my breath away every time. It also has that outdoorsy aesthetic - it’s my favorite place to brown bag a lunch and sit around and take in the scenery. Looking for that inner peace and outer grin? This is your mountain.
SUNDANCE - for LOVERS. It’s romantic. It’s quiet. It’s cozy. This is the perfect place for a newlywed couple or an anniversary. Roses, champagne, and spa at night kind of vacations. Best of all, Sundance makes you feel like you are Robert Redford.
WOLF CREEK MOUNTAIN - for OWLS. Night owls, that is. The entire mountain (yes, you are reading that right, but I’ll say it again) the entire mountain is lit up for night skiing. This is your mountain when you come stay, it’s like you’re making all the rules, calling all the shots, and staying up past your bedtime. Not too shabby.
So, what do you want to come home talking about, besides Utah’s incredible powder? This should help point you in the right direction.
follow me on Twitter @catskiutah
MuczkUNH \ 11.2 years ago
If you wrote an article about life we'd all reach enilghtemnent.
klbElZkeESX \ 11.2 years ago
What's it take to become a sbiumle expounder of prose like yourself?
sue \ 12.4 years ago
Lots of great information - can't wait for your next post!
Djinn Fizz \ 12.4 years ago
Excellent stuff as usual. My 2nd week Dec: Gad Valley near summit, quarter way down Regulator Johnson, take deep breath, gaze northwest at Salt Lake City beyond peaks of Little Cottonwood. Two days later exulting in earthly paradise of Solitude. Hope you tell us more of your crystalline moments in detail.
Powderhound Cat \ 12.4 years ago
So glad you found this list helpful! Don't forget to bookmark the blog and come back often for more great tips.
Greg \ 12.4 years ago
Found this site while surfing on google for places to ski. I never even knew this site existed!
I copied and printed out what you wrote and will use it when planning my trip to Utah! Thanks for the advice!
Jamie Charette \ 12.4 years ago
I have lived in Utah my whole life and haven’t had a chance to actually make it to all of the resorts. I do know as a snowboarder, who got my start at the Canyons you nailed it. That’s exactly what I tell our guest who come to ski or snowboard, experienced or not you will have a good time at the canyons. Very informative Cat you ROCK!
sarah \ 12.4 years ago
As a Colorado resident, I'm eager to see what Utah has to offer. Thanks for all the resort details. Booking my trip soon!