words by Lauren Steele
The truth is, planning a weekend getaway at a ski resort isn’t always easy. There are reservations and rentals to be made, lots of planning to be done, and a bit of an investment to put in. But despite all the prep work it takes to plan your weekend ski trip, enjoying it once you arrive should be easy. Luckily, Solitude Mountain Resort makes it simple to enjoy good times—and even better snow. You just need a little bit of beta to maximize the fun, and we’ve got you covered on that. Here are our insider tips for a weekend trip to Solitude with your crew.
If you’re flying into Utah for your trip, the Salt Lake City International Airport
makes it easy. The airport operates more than 370 scheduled, commercial departures to and from SLC each day, serving close to 98 cities with non-stop flights.
From the airport, it is normally only a 35-minute drive to Solitude in Big Cottonwood Canyon, but winter weather and traffic can cause delays (especially on powder days and on weekends) — so be prepared for that. Also, the Utah Department of Transportation requires that all vehicles going up the canyon during winter weather have snow tires or traction devices (such as chains or studs). UDOT may also require all vehicles entering the canyon to have 4x4 or all-wheel-drive capabilities, so be prepared when booking rideshare, renting a car, or driving yourself!Pro Tip:
If you realize you need to pick up some gear last minute, we recommend visiting Lone Pine Gear Exchange
— the staff there knows their stuff and they have a great stock of new and consigned gear at fair prices. They're located just off the freeway on your way to Solitude. Or, if you are just hankering for some coffee or a sweet treat, Alpha Coffee
is a local favorite and located at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon.
SkiAh, you’ve made it to the mountains. And what mountains they are. Solitude boasts 82 named runs, eight chairlifts, and 1,200 acres of terrain that packs bowls, chutes, glades, ridges, gullies, pow fields, and groomers into the resort. If you know where to go, you’ll be sure to find nooks and crannies of untracked powder, even days after a storm.
The true gem of Solitude is Honeycomb Canyon, accessed by the Summit Express lift - and the most fun way to reach Summit Express is by taking the Powderhorn lift to the gate at Milk Run (just to your left when getting off the chair). Ski Milk Run (some of the steepest terrain at the resort) or traverse around the corner to the often-untracked Parachute and Middle Slope and rip down to the Summit lift. Here’s where the adventure really begins.
From the Summit Lift, all the goodness that is Honeycomb Canyon is yours to access. There’s a reason Solitude was named one of Ski magazine’s Top 10 Resorts in the Rockies. Straight off the lift is the crème de la crème of expert ski terrain in the Wasatch mountains: Fantasy Ridge. The truly adventurous can boot up the ridge to Black Bess Peak (a stout 10,479 feet) and drop the legendary Black Bess chutes. Follow the ridge a little further to the Honeycomb chutes. Otherwise, access Honeycomb Canyon through the gate to your right of the Summit Chair and follow the high traverse into powder fields, bowls, and open glades like Black Bess, Voltaire, and the Prince of Wales. The longer you stay on the traverse, the further away you’ll get from the crowds.
But note - Fantasy Ridge is for experts only, and both the boot pack and accessible terrain are of high consequence. Anyone accessing Fantasy Ridge is required to carry a beacon, shovel and probe.
And while the west side of Honeycomb Canyon gets the most attention (I mean, how could it not?), there’s plenty of sneaky pow riding to be had off the east ridge, accessed by taking a hard right traverse through the Honeycomb Canyon gate or a hard right traverse off the Honeycomb Return lift.
If cliffs, untracked powder, chutes, and traverses aren’t your thing, that’s okay too! Rumor has it that the steepest groomed black diamond run in Utah is Solitude's Challenger. The rest of the front, north-facing side of the resort has additional groomers ready to be ripped and more approachable slope grades that bring The Greatest Snow on Earth® to skiers of all abilities.
Pro Tip: With the Ikon Pass Adventure Package at Solitude, every pass holder gets a free pass to the Solitude Nordic Center — which gets you access to brand new rental equipment and over 12 miles of the best-kept-secret trails in the Wasatch. Even if you aren’t normally the gliding type, this is the place to stay an extra day and try the Nordic life out.
EatSomeone once told me that being at altitude makes you hungrier, and while I cannot confirm nor deny its scientific accuracy, I can tell you that from experience, I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. Fortunately, no matter how long you’ve been on the mountain or what time of day it is, Solitude has incredible food options to stave off rumbling bellies.
Located at the base of the resort, Honeycomb Grill is the perfect spot to enjoy wholesome, locally-sourced hearty meals — like the vegan grain bowl, fire-roasted veggie sandwich or the bison burger. If spicy food is your thing, you can’t go wrong with the taco bar vibes of Last Chance Southwest Grill, located right at the base of the mountain.
Mid-mountain, there’s a little Himalayan-inspired gem called Roundhouse, and inside you’ll find veggie curry, garbanzo bean-filled salads, and—brace yourself—curry fries. *Chef’s kiss*
If grab and go is more your style and you’re a sucker for sweets, the Little Dollies window in the Moonbeam base slings melt-in-your-mouth homemade liege waffles (incomplete without a cup of rich hot chocolate).
AprèsThe only way to end a fantastic day of great snow is with a proper après. And while “après” may translate to “party” to some and “relax” to others (it actually translates directly to “after,” but that’s beside the point), Solitude has options for everyone.
For those who are looking for refills that are not of the powder sort, Argenta Pub has the largest selection of deliciously cold beers at the resort, and even has a rooftop bar to enjoy on those bluebird days. But we have to say it: Thirsty Squirrel is indomitably the après bar at Solitude. This laid-back pub has nachos piled into mountainous heaps, craft beer, wine, cocktails, pool tables, and live music. How could you not want to après here?
The only thing that may be more tempting than a cold beer and pile of nachos after skiing is a soak in a chic hot tub. Enter: Club Solitude. Reserved for guests staying overnight at the resort, Club Solitude makes melting at the end of a cold day luxurious — featuring a heated pool, saunas, and multiple (ahem) hot tubs. After soaking, stick around and watch a movie in the theater or sit by the fire and sip on something cozy in the great room.
StayYou really can’t beat staying at Solitude Village (especially for the fact that waking up on the mountain allows you to beat the traffic). Modeled after the quaint, casual ski towns of Europe, the entire village is restricted to pedestrian use only (so no cars), allowing every single lodging option to be either ski-in/ ski-out access or slopeside access. Really, there’s not a bad room at the whole resort. You can choose from single rooms to five-bedroom condos, depending on how many friends you have along for the adventure. For most visitors, the most economical stay is making a reservation at the famed ski-in/ ski-out option: The Inn at Solitude, which has rooms starting at a cool $99 a night.
Pro Tip: Wanna make the most of some screaming deals? The Ikon Pass Adventure Package at Solitude allows Ikon passholders to save up to 25% on lodging. Additionally, if you book three nights of lodging at Solitude, you get the fourth night free. This calls for an extra-long weekend getaway.
This post is sponsored by Solitude Mountain Resort