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Ski in Utah : a list of Big/Little Cottonwood Canyon Resorts and candid highlights of their history

Updated on February 4, 2014

Map of Ski Resorts in Utah


Utah ski resorts: Cottonwood Canyon & Park City

A strong vertical fault line gave rise to the peaks of the Wasatch Mountain range we wonder at and enjoy today. Long hailed as having "the greatest snow on earth" these Utah summits are a destination for travelers and adventurists the world around and notably were the scene of the winter Olympics In 2002.

Utah ski resorts can be separated into two categories: Cottonwood Canyon and Park City

Cottonwood: Big & Little Cottonwood Canyons are close to the city with easy access between each other.

Alta / Brighton / Snowbird / Solitude

Park City: an hour drive from SLC airport, Park city is a small community offering a peaceful getaway. Home to Sundance Film Festival the area is well known for it's charm.

The Canyons / Deer Valley / Park City Resort

This article focuses on the Big & Little Cottonwood Canyon resorts

Have you skied Utah before?

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ALTA ski resort

Alta ski resort is nestled in the Wasatch mountain range. The shape of the mountain has been carved by glaciers of the past, forming the resort's 116+ ski trails with difficulties given at 25% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 35% advanced.

The Alta legacy has reached 75 years as of January 15th! Initiated with the Collins lift on January 15, 1939. Alta's ski lift was the first on the Wasatch range, the fifth in the United States, and most likely fifth in the world.

Mountain Stats for Alta

Base Elevation
8,530 ft. (2,600 m)
Top Elevation
10,550 ft. (3,216 m)
Vertical Drop
2,020 ft. (617 m)
Skiable Acres
2,200 acres (890 hectares)
Number of Runs
Average Seasonal Snowfall
560" (1,422 cm)

BRIGHTON ski resort

The original 80 acre homestead of Brighton was settled by William Stewart Brighton and his wife Catherine. This modern day resort got its start as an in-between stop for those traveling to or from Park City and Alta - mining towns in the late 1800s.

Today's Brighton Resort is known for immaculate trails and easy access for all ranges of difficulties, where friends and family can ride the lift together, each take a separate trail to best suit their ability, and meet again at the bottom. Another quality Brighton boasts is having the most night skiing terrain in Utah with 22 trails and 200 acres open after hours.

Mountain Stats for Brighton

Average Annual snowfall
Vertical, lift-serviced drop
1,745 ft.
Base Elevation
8,755 ft.
Top Elevation
10,500 ft.
Skiable acres

SNOWBIRD ski resort

Snowbird's beginning is linked to the fortune in the town of Alta. In 1856 when a U.S. Army soldier successfully prospected for silver, miners flocked to Little Cottonwood Canyon. This find and the subsequent construction of 'Emma Mine' led to the extraction of more than $3.8 million in silver.

Many of Snowbird's trails are named after its rich history. Ted Johnson opened the resort in 1971. Today it offers 85 runs, 27% beginner, 38% intermediate, 35% expert.

Mountain Stats for Snowbird

Top Elevation
11,000 ft.
Base Elevation
7,760 ft.
2,500 acres
Vertical Drop
2,900 ft.
Average Snowfall

SOLITUDE ski resort

When Robert M. Barrett (uranium tycoon from Moab, UT) was passing through Alta resort and denied the use of a restroom - reserved for guests only - he was more than a little annoyed. Soon after, in 1956, he opened his own ski resort in the neighboring canyon. Thus began Solitude Mountain Resort.

70% of Solitude's 64 trails are beginner or intermediate, the highest percentage of the Cottonwood Canyon resorts. It was named a Top 20 Family Ski Resort for two consecutive years, 2007-2008.

Mountain Stats for Solitude

Average Snowfall
Top Elevation
10,035 ft. (3,059 m)
Base Elevation
7,988 ft. (2,435 m)
Village Elevation
8,175 ft.
Vertical Drop
2,047 ft.(624 m)
Total Acreage
1,200 acres

Distance from SLC airport to Cottonwood Canyon

SLC airport:
Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), 776 North Terminal Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84122, USA

get directions

Cottonwood Canyon:
Alta, UT, USA

get directions

Be prepared for your next winter vacation


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