words by Monique Beeley
Utah is home to 15 mountain resorts, each having their own personality. Finding those places that sync with your family’s vibe may take a bit of trial and error. Being a Utah native I have seen many changes over the last few decades in Utah’s ski resort scene. The secret is out, and Utah’s outdoor recreation playgrounds are becoming hot in every season. Venturing out and exploring a new resort with kids in tow can be daunting. To help ease some of your planning woes when it comes to checking out new resorts with the fam, it can be a bit easier (and cheaper) when you use the Ski Utah’s 5th and 6th Grade Passport, which offers 45 ski days (three at each resort) for 5th graders or 15 ski days (one at each resort) for 6th graders.
Here is what we love about some of Utah’s small resorts that serve up big-time rewards.
Topping my list, (as well the state) is Beaver Mountain. This is where I learned to ski, learned to race, and fell head-over-heels in love with skiing and being in the mountains. This small family-owned, and operated resort is located in the heart of the Uinta-Wasatch Cache National Forest in Logan Canyon, about 110 miles north of Salt Lake City, 27 miles northeast of Logan City, and 12 miles east of Garden City/Bear Lake. If you are looking for a low-cost mini “ski-vacay," the off-season/winter rates in the Bear Lake area are a great value. Why do I love skiing the Beav? It’s like taking a step back in time, even for those that didn’t grow up skiing there. Starting with the ticket office, where you will most likely be greeted by Marge Seeholzer, the resort’s matriarch, who at over 80 years old, still loves to welcome skiers at the ticket window. The resort has 75% beginner/intermediate terrain, four chairlifts, 48 ski runs and two terrain parks. Learn more about Beaver Mountain and experiencing it as a family here.
Cherry Peak is located in Cherry Canyon in Richmond near the Utah/Idaho border. It is 100 miles north of Salt Lake City and 15 miles north of Logan. This small family-owned resort features 3 chairlifts, 29 runs (30% green, 45% blue and 25% black), a five-lane tubing hill, night skiing and ice skating. We spent most of our time exploring the blue runs off of the Vista and Summits chairlifts. We loved cruising the long wide-open blue runs, which we had mostly to ourselves throughout the day. Next time we visit we plan to do some night-skiing and check out the tubing hill. NOTE: Cherry Peak is not open on Sundays. For more information on skiing at Cherry Peak, check out our family guide.
Overnight options in northern Utah: Logan makes the perfect overnight basecamp to explore both Cherry Peak and Beaver Mountain. Offering a variety of lodging options from national hotel chains to historic B&Bs and everything in between.
Heading south our first stop is Eagle Point, which is 200 miles south of Salt Lake City (240 miles north of Las Vegas) located in the Tushar Mountain Range just east of the small town of Beaver. This small, independently-owned resort has a base elevation of 9,100’ and a summit of 10,600’. Open Thursday through Sunday, Eagle Point is the perfect locale for families; with five lifts and 40 runs offering a variety of terrain as well as an opportunity to escape the fast-paced action of some of the larger mountain resorts. The Skyline Chairlift is great for beginners — with five green runs and one blue run, it provides the perfect playground for young skiers. Our favorite place to explore was the blue runs off the Monarch Chair. Be sure to check out the lodging and ski options, many include free skiing for kids 17 and under. For more tips on skiing Eagle Point, click here.
Brian Head Ski Resort is Utah’s highest elevation resort with a base elevation of 9,600’ and a summit of 10,970’. This southern Utah destination is also uniquely located in the heart of red rock country, providing majestic views of Cedar Breaks National Monument from the chairlift. The resort is divided into two areas; Navajo Peak is the perfect beginner area, where you may even feel comfortable letting the kids do laps on their own, and Giant Steps, which offers a full range of terrain options and terrain parks. The resort also has two epic tubing hills, three terrain parks and offers night skiing (perfect for those kids who don’t want to quit when the sun goes down). Brian Head has 71 runs (30% green, 35% blue, 35% black) and eight chairlifts, making it the king of Utah’s small resort scene. Our favorite place to explore at Brian Head is the tree skiing off the runs on the Dunes (#7) Chairlift. We have been lucky and have had several epic powder days here over the years. Not to be missed is the view from the summit — this is where the white snow and brilliant red rock converge, creating magnificently unforgettable vistas. More on family skiing at Brian Head can be found in our family guide.
Overnight options: Both Eagle Point and Brian Head offer ski-in/ski-out options that are surprisingly affordable. There are also many hotel options in both Beaver and Cedar City.
What are you waiting for? Purchase your child's 5th or 6th grade Passport today for a winter of fun.
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