Words by Melissa Fields
Planning a ski vacation—especially for a group—can be a challenge. Do you satisfy your clan’s hard chargers by heading to the resort known for the steep and deep or should you cater to the beginners in your crowd by heading to the mountain with the most smooth-sailing, green-circle runs? And then do you book a stay at the picturesque slope-side hotel with a so-so nightlife or stay in a city with plenty restaurants, bars and shopping, but that’s an hour-plus drive from the lifts? Thankfully there is a ski destination that isn’t a matter of weighing one priority over another: Salt Lake City, better known as Ski City.
As your plane make its final approach into the Salt Lake City International Airport, it becomes clear: the mountains are right there. Utah, in fact, boasts 15 mountain resorts, including four that are located within just a 30-minute drive of metro Salt Lake City, aka the Ski City resorts: Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude Mountain Resort.
From the moment it was founded a little over 80 years ago, Alta has been all about the 547 inches of light, fluffy snow it receives every winter; now that blankets terrain ranging from steep chutes and wide-open bowls to sun-splashed groomed runs. Snowbird is home to Utah’s longest season and the Tram, which, in just eight minutes, whisks skiers and riders up 2,900 vertical feet to the 11,000-foot Hidden Peak, the highest point to some of the most revered ski slopes in the U.S. Not-too-steep runs peppered with plenty of natural terrain features has earned Brighton street cred with snowboarders from around the world. And, finally, Solitude's quaint base village and intimate, tree-lined runs drip with a European charm you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
To seamlessly sample each world-class Ski City resort during a single ski vacation, you need the Ski City Super Pass. This pass works just like a lift ticket, meaning you can walk past the ticket windows and directly to the lift at Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude. The pass is available in increments of three to 10 days (at a daily price that’s less than what you’ll find at the ticket window). Every Super Pass comes with free access on Utah Transit Authority ski buses and TRAX light rail lines as well as discounts at select equipment rental locations. And skicity.com is the best place to check out other curated winter getaways deals, like one running now that gives you your fourth day of skiing free when you book four nights of lodging at a Ski City-participating hotel between now and December 15, 2019.
A Ski City winter vacation really gives you the best of many worlds. After spending a bluebird day gliding through a storybook-like alpine landscape, you can spend the evening watching a Broadway musical or NBA game, sipping a lovely vintage at an intimate wine bar or shaking your booty at a live show. The variations are truly endless, but just to get your planning juices flowing, here’s a sample four-day Ski City itinerary that checks all the boxes:
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