Family Ski Resort Guide | Solitude Mountain Resort

Family Ski Resort Guide | Solitude Mountain Resort

Local Lexi

By Local Lexi \ December 16 2019

Like many Utah resorts, the slopes of Solitude Mountain Resort first caught the eyes of silver miners when mining activity in Big Cottonwood peaked in the 1870s. Rugged silver miners first gave the area its name in the early 1900’s.

Legend has it that the impetus for creating Solitude arose when the original owner was prevented from using the restrooms at Alta which were reserved for lodge guests. Robert M. Barrett went and purchased a huge chunk of land in Big Cottonwood Canyon in 1956. Solitude Mountain Resort began spinning chairs in 1957 with two chairlifts.

Nowadays, Solitude is famous for its steep, fall line tree skiing, deep snow, sweeping groomers, approachable beginner terrain, and unbeatable powder stashes in Honeycomb Canyon. With two distinct villages, Solitude has great dining options, cozy nooks to relax and ample slopeside lodging.

Solitude has the feel of a local’s mountain. Friendly faces abound and you’ll often hear gleeful cackles in the lift line from the regulars stacking laps. Even though powder hounds congregate here to worship the greatest snow on earth, Solitude is often praised for its mellow vibe.

The Solitude Nordic Center is located between Solitude and Brighton resorts and offers snowshoeing and cross country skiing trails. The 13 trails cover 12 miles and offer terrain from easy to moderately difficult. The Nordic Center also offers over six miles of snowshoeing trails for those who want to take it slow and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Lessons, clinics, and workshops are offered throughout the winter.

Solitude Mountain is located just 29 miles from downtown Salt Lake City and it is possible to ski between Solitude and Brighton. Approximate driving times (in favorable driving conditions) and distances are listed below: 
Salt Lake City: 29 miles – 40 minutes
Ogden: 65 miles – 1 hour, 10 minutes
Provo: 54 miles – 1 hour, 10 minutes
Logan: 110 miles – 2 hours
St. George: 311 miles – 4.5 hours

 

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In a 5th Grader’s Words:
“You can get candy and go on the chair rides, then do some jumps, and there’s hot chocolate too.”
Ridge, age 10


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TERRAIN & MOUNTAIN STATS

Skiable Acres: 1,200 Acres
Vertical Drop: 2,030 Feet
Number of Runs: 77, 13 Nordic Trails, 6 Snowshoe Trails
Terrain: 10% Beginner, 40% Intermediate, 50% Advanced, Nordic Center
Chairlifts: 8 and 1 Conveyor Lift
Night Skiing: No

Solitude Mountain Resort is the first resort you’ll encounter when heading up Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s the western neighbor to Brighton Resort and the two resorts connect via the SolBright connector trail.

Solitude is famed for its laid back and family-friendly atmosphere and it’s a great place to learn or hone your skills on skis or a board. Families just getting started should opt for the Moonbeam Lodge to get oriented and begin their day. Turn right into the first Solitude parking lot to locate the Moonbeam Lodge. If you are planning on visiting Solitude on the weekend, it is recommended to arrive early as the lot fills quickly.

Newbies can head for the Link Chairlift near the Moonbeam Lodge. This lift has the gentlest terrain and the spot to learn the basics is the Easy Street run. The Moonbeam Express is ideal for more confident riders and the myriad trails in and around the trees offer big fun for young children. Try the Same Street run, a winding green for good fun. Home Run and Last Run are steeper blues to work towards. The Apex Chairlift harbors access to slightly longer blue runs and it is a bit steeper in spots than Moonbeam. For a peek into the Link and Apex chairlifts from a kids perspective, watch Growing a Skier at Solitude.

Intermediates will find ample blue runs to explore off the Eagle Express chairlift. Wanderer offers excellent views and a gentle, winding path back to the base area. If your child is ready to tackle a black diamond run, Rhapsody is a short and steep (often mogul covered) pitch accessible from the top of Eagle.

Advanced and expert skiers will find more challenging runs off the Powderhorn and Summit chairlifts, with Honeycomb Canyon being the perennial favorite of powder hunters. Dynamite is a steep yet fun blue run to inspect the terrain accessible from the Summit Express.

Note that Solitude does not have a terrain park nor does it offer night skiing. You can ski between the Moonbeam Base Area and the Solitude Village by using the Link Chairlift or riding the complimentary shuttle.


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PARKING & PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Big Cottonwood Canyon can experience road delays in the event of big storms or necessary avalanche mitigation. You should always check the road conditions in inclement weather and never attempt a drive up either of the Cottonwood Canyons without 4-wheel drive or chains. For current road status, you can check Canyon Alerts.

Note that Solitude has made changes to their parking policy and beginning with the 2019-2020 season, Solitude will charge a fee for guests to use their parking lots. This initiative has been spearheaded by Solitude to encourage guests to use public transit and carpool, alleviating congestion problems in the canyon. It will be $20 to park at Solitude, however to encourage ride sharing, carpools with three or more riders will be charged $10 and carpools with 4 or more riders will be charged $5. All season passholders will be provided with free access to the UTA busses. For those looking to carpool or ride the bus, there are two lots at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

In the winter months, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), runs daily service from November or December until March or April. Routes 953 and 972 service Big Cottonwood Canyon at 15-minute intervals during peak hours from West Valley, Midvale, Downtown, Cottonwood Heights, and Sandy. Check the UTA website for a current schedule and read our Guide to Riding the Ski Bus.


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BASE AREA & MAIN LODGE

Solitude has two main base areas, the Moonbeam Base Area (Entry 1) and the Solitude Village (Entry 2). The Solitude Snowsports Academy and rental shops each have locations at both base areas. It is best to park at the Moonbeam Lodge as Solitude Village has very limited parking and the covered parking is designated for lodging guests. The best beginner terrain is also accessed via the Moonbeam Base Area. The Moonbeam Lodge is a fantastic place to get ready for lessons, warm-up, grab a snack, or post up to wait for kiddos to finish shredding. The greatest diversity of dining options and the Thirsty Squirrel bar will be found at Solitude Village.

 

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SOLITUDE SNOWSPORTS ACADEMY

The Solitude Snowsports Academy is located in the Moonbeam Lodge. They offer high-quality lessons with small class sizes in a variety of formats. Solitude is well-known for its wonderful program and the wide variety of lessons and programming available. For this reason, Solitude is one of the best places to learn to ski or snowboard in Utah.

Adult Ski & Ride Lessons
Private or group lessons are available for guests over the age of 14. Private lessons can be arranged in 1, 2, or 3-hour blocks, or all day to focus on specific skills or desired areas of improvement. Holiday rates apply during peak times. Adult group lessons are determined by ability level and include student-led goal setting and personalized feedback. Lessons are available in the AM, PM, or full-day sessions.

Adult Specialty Clinics
Women on Wednesdays
Women who wish to learn in a stress-free environment can join Solitude’s Women on Wednesdays clinic series. Professional female instructors lead clinics for women of all skill levels. (No snowboarding clinics are available at this time.) Call to reserve a spot.

Adaptive Lessons
Solitude partners with the National Ability Center to provide fun, meaningful, and educational adaptive skiing lessons. Adaptive equipment for rent and any special requests can be arranged with Solitude. Call the resort to make a reservation.

Youth Ski & Ride Lessons
The Moonbeam Kids’ Program offers children an exciting environment, games, and confidence-inspiring coaching. Children are divided into groups based on age and group or private lessons are available. Note that due to lift safety policies, private lessons are limited to only 2 children per lesson for riders under 6 years of age.

Explorers (7-13 Years)
Skiing and snowboarding lessons are offered for Explorers in full or half-day lessons. Packages for rentals or lessons from 3 or 5 days are also available.

Junior Explorers (5-6 years)
Skiing and snowboarding lessons are available for Junior Explorers. Group size will reach a maximum of 4 students with instructors who are specially trained to work with young children. Full and half-day lessons are available along with rental packages. A lesson package of 3 or 5 days is also offered.

Mini Explorers (3-4 years)
Ski lessons are offered for Mini Explorers at a ratio of two students to one instructor. Ski, snow, play, lunch, snack, and inside activities are determined based on your child’s energy and interest. Full and half-day lessons are available along with rental packages. For full day packages, the day is divided into two separate, one-hour lessons. A lesson package of 3 or 5 days is also offered.

Hidden Tracks: A Guided Service
Explore the diverse, world-class terrain of Solitude with a unique guided tour. Advanced skiers or boarders over the age of 14 who are comfortable riding off-piste can book a full or half-day tour. Advance reservations are recommended.

Nordic Lessons
Over 20 kilometers of trail can be accessed via the Solitude Nordic Center. Private lessons, group lessons, clinics, workshops, and snowshoe tours are offered out of the Nordic Center. Skate or classic equipment can be rented.


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SKI SHOP & EQUIPMENT RENTALS

Canyon Fever
Find logo items, gloves, goggles, gifts, and snacks daily at both the Solitude Village and the Moonbeam Base Area.

The Village Store
Open 24 hours, The Village Store is a general store located in the Solitude Resort Lodging check-in area in Solitude Village. Beverages, snacks, and basic groceries can be found here along with a state-owned liquor store.

Solitude Mountain Resort Rental & Repair Shops

Located in the Powderhorn Adventure Center in Solitude Village and the Moonbeam Lodge, the rental and repair shops offer a full line of ski and snowboard equipment from top brands as well as a repair shop. Online reservations for rentals from Rossignol and other popular brands are available. Solitude offers the following rental gear:
  • Full Package (skis or snowboard, boots, and poles)
  • Boots
  • Helmet
  • Poles
  • Snowshoes
  • The Nordic Center
Accessible from Solitude Village, the NordicCenter offers rentals for both skate and classic styles of Nordic skiing. Half and full-day rental packages are available and performance gear upgrades are offered. The Nordic Center rents the following equipment:
  • Skate Skis
  • Classic Skis
  • Poles
  • Boots
  • Chariots (tow-behind sleds for children)

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LODGING AND DINING OPTIONS

If you’re keen on first tracks, Solitude has a plethora of lodging options from condominiums to townhomes, lodges, and private homes. Ski-in and ski-out access is available from the Inn at Solitude. Lockers are provided to all lodging guests as well as access to hot tubs, heated outdoor pools and the fitness center, game room, and movie theatre at Club Solitude. Visit Solitude’s website to view lodging specials and package deals.

The Inn at Solitude
Soak up the feel of old Bavaria in this comfortable lodge that offers the amenities of a nice hotel. Enjoy ski-in and ski-out access from the center of Solitude’s village. Guests can enjoy exclusive activities such as early lift access and wine tastings.

Creekside Condominiums
Enjoy slopeside lodging with stunning vistas complete with ski-in and ski-out access. Units are available in one, two, and three-bedroom floor plans and include amenities such as rooftop hot tubs, gourmet kitchens, balconies, and wood-burning fireplaces. 

Crossings Townhomes
For groups or families looking for a bit more space, the multi-level townhomes at the Crossings provide stunning views and your own, contained space. Fully stocked kitchens, fireplaces, hot tubs, balconies, a heated garage, and laundry are just some of the amenities at the Crossings Townhomes.

Eagle Springs Lodges
Inspired by the beauty of Tuscany, the one, two, and three-bedroom accommodations at Eagle Springs incorporate stone and timber construction to create a cozy and rustic atmosphere. These condominiums feature private balconies, gourmet kitchens, gas fireplaces, and underground parking.

Powderhorn Lodge
The natural elegance of Solitude is captured in the spirit of the Powderhorn Lodge. One, two, and three-bedroom condominiums include kitchens, fireplaces, and access to an outdoor hot tub.

Private Homes
A select number of private, luxury homes set the scene for an unforgettable stay at Solitude. The homes, located steps from Solitude Village, offer close access to the chairlifts, privacy, and luxurious amenities.

To match its ample lodging, Solitude also boasts a huge diversity of dining options for resort guests. The wide variety of food and drink will be sure to please the pickiest of children. There are several eateries spread across the mountain and throughout the Solitude Village.

For a convenient option, the Moonbeam Lodge has a full-service cafeteria offering breakfast, lunch, and après food selections. This is likely the quickest and easiest option for families. The Roundhouse, up on the slopes, offers amazing Indian food as well as Wasatch-inspired mountain fare. If you crave some spice, the Last Chance Southwest Grill serves chili, tacos, soups, and nachos out of the Last Chance Lodge near the base of the Apex Express Chairlift.

For dining in the Solitude Village you’ll find three bars, fine dining, and delicious pizza. St. Bernard's, located in the The Inn at Solitude, features a buffet of European fare for dinner and a continental breakfast. Stone Haus Pizzeria and Creamery serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a diverse menu featuring burritos, pizzas, panini sandwiches and more. This is an easy option for kids with a casual dining atmosphere and quick service. Lunch and dinner is available in the Honeycomb Grill, the closest eatery to the slopes, near Apex Express. Enjoy big views and a dynamic menu of contemporary American cuisine, craft cocktails, and a tempting wine list.

For adults on the hunt for après, the Argenta Pub, on the second floor of the Moonbeam Lodge, delivers cold beer, appetizers, and a cozy après atmosphere. The (in)famous Thirsty Squirrel located at the heart of the Solitude Village, offers hearty appetizers, good times, pool, and live music. The Library Bar adjacent to St. Bernard’s boasts a varied and fine wine list, creative appetizers, and a solid beer selection. Settle in to the oversized chairs and enjoy the upscale atmosphere and unparalleled views. Patrons of all three après spots must be 21+ in age. 


 

CHILDCARE 

Solitude does not offer childcare. However, children as young as three can be enrolled in ski school.

 

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POINTS OF INTEREST

For a memorable visit, consider these unique points of interest when planning a trip to Solitude.

Silver Fork Lodge
Before pulling into Solitude, consider a hearty breakfast at the historic Silver Fork Lodge & Restaurant, open at 8:00 AM, 7 days a week. Brunch here is superb! The mining history in the area dates back to 1850, when a sprawling tent city housed miners and sawmill workers. The northwest corner of the Silver Fork Lodge was once a general store. This is also a great lodging option.

Solitude Avalanche Dog Demonstration
On select days throughout the winter season, the Solitude Ski Patrol will provide a demonstration with a pack of their amazing avalanche dogs. This opportunity should not be missed as it provides an interesting first step into avalanche education and fosters a deep appreciation for the skills and training honed by ski patrol and their pups. Kids enjoy this chance to learn about the dogs and will also have the opportunity to watch the dogs perform a mock rescue. Visit the Solitude website for dates and times.

Solitude Nordic Center
Over 20 kilometers of groomed trails await Nordic enthusiasts at the Nordic Center. The beautiful scenery and fresh mountain air of Solitude can be easily appreciated with a jaunt on skate or classic skis. Lessons, clinics, and rentals are available for those who want to learn or hone their skills. Snowshoe rentals are also available to explore the many trails around Solitude.

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