Utah is one of the few ski and snowboard destinations in North America where you can depart our efficient and swanky international airport and find yourself on snow in under an hour. In fact, many folks opt for an AM flight in order to score a couple of afternoon turns and begin the adjustment to our high altitude mountains. Aside from the primo airport access, here are a few more tips for skiers and snowboarders to arrive safely on the slopes in Utah.
With snow comes snowy roads. All 15 of Utah's glorious ski areas will be impacted by inclement driving weather from time to time, it's simply part of the price we pay for the "The Greatest Snow on Earth." Before we break it down, let me leave you with another helpful guide on travel efficiency from Ski Utah blogger, Annie Davis - click here.
TRANSIT TO UTAH SKI AREAS
Most ski resorts in Utah have some form of public transit or shuttle service. In addition, there are a handful of shuttle companies that can provide comfortable transport to our resorts in a safe and speedy manner. This is especially useful for folks who may not be comfortable with winter driving conditions. Unfortunately, unless you specify a 4WD or AWD vehicle with your rental car company, chances are you'll be equipped with a used car from Florida with well-loved tires that provide approximately the same amount of traction as slippery bologna. The amount of accidents caused by unprepared drivers with not-so-winter-road-worthy vehicles is not insignificant. Trust me, you really don't want to be the bologna tire guy causing a 3-hour traffic snarl. To avoid this dreaded outcome, upgrade your rental car or plan to use public transit or one of our great local shuttle services.
Utah roads can be pretty deceptive. You may depart on a gorgeous sunny morning only to discover full-on nuclear winter driving conditions have arrived prior to your departure. You *ALWAYS* need to be prepared and capable of extreme winter driving conditions. If that makes you uncomfortable, rely on a professional!
Check out our comprehensive Ski Bus Guide - Click Here
Brush up on your winter driving tips - Click Here
Recommended shuttle services include:
PARKING AT UTAH'S SKI RESORTS
Each ski area in Utah has a different parking policy and further information will be found on their websites. Some resorts do require parking reservations, others charge for parking, and some provide valet or premium parking upgrades.
In general, know that securing parking will be more difficult on holiday weekends and the peak visitation periods of mid-December to mid-January and Spring Break. You can alleviate the problem by carpooling or choosing public transit or one of our shuttle options (see section above). Weekends are obviously more crowded than weekdays and arriving on the earlier side will help you snag a spot. Another suggestion is to avoid travel during peak times from 8am–12pm. An afternoon arrival or a night skiing session will provide primo access to parking spots as day trippers head home.
Check out our comprehensive Ski Resort Parking Guide - Click Here
WHEN TO TRAVEL
If you're heading up during a holiday weekend it can pay to either arrive early or consider an afternoon session. Traveling during off-peak hours will result in a less crowded skiing or snowboarding experience on the slope and will alleviate parking demand. The roads are also far less crowded during off-peak hours so you stand to benefit from safer driving conditions as well.
Lots of ski resorts in Utah offer awesome night skiing or tubing activities. A weeknight night skiing session is an ideal time to hit the slopes after work or school, there will be fewer crowds and more turns for you! Be sure to check the resort's operating schedule and hours as night skiing operations are often inconsistent and some resorts will only offer night skiing on select days of the week or weekends.
Check out our comprehensive Night Skiing Guide - Click Here
UPHILL TRAVEL AT UTAH RESORTS
Uphill travel policy at ski resorts across Utah can differ and some resorts only permit uphill travel before or after their opening and closing day. It is your responsibility to understand and adhere to the policies set forth by the resort before you head uphill. There may be specific hours or time slots for uphill users. Uphill use may also be dependent on current weather conditions. The policies are in place to keep everyone safe as there are unmarked hazards and heavy machinery being operated across the mountain. RESPECT CLOSURES!
As with any backcountry adventure, you should approach uphill travel with avalanche gear and the knowledge of how to use it and perform a backcountry rescue. Ski patrol may not be on hand to provide assistance. You need to have the training, equipment, and forecast in order to make smart decisions.
Check out our comprehensive Uphill Travel Guide - Click Here
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Checking out a new-to-you ski area in Utah? Ski Utah has a host of helpful guides to get you oriented. Find tips on parking, great dining options, ski school, and recommended ski runs in our Ski Utah Family Guides. Having a little overview before you head to the hill can make for more fun and an easier time navigating around the mountain and the various amenities on offer.
Check out the Ski Utah Resort Guides - Click Here
Utah Ski Resort Parking Guide - Click Here
Uphill Access at Utah Ski Resorts - Click Here
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