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Utah Ski Resorts

Updated on January 5, 2013

Utah Ski Resorts Have the Greatest Snow on Earth

We will cover each of the major ski resorts in Utah including Ski Trail Maps, resort amenities, and overall impressions -- including ability to provide feedback on the resort. And, links to discount ticket sources, lodging, and ski equipment.

Utah Ski Resorts
Utah Ski Resorts

Greatest Snow on Earth

Thoughts On Why I Love Skiing in Utah

Utah bills itself as having the "Greatest Snow On Earth". And, while I admit to being biased towards Utah skiing, it's actually true.

Why ... because of the snow conditions.

Utah is blessed with a combination of three things that you won't find anywhere else on the earth that make for great powder snow conditions.

First ... the mountains. The Wasatch and Unitah mountain ranges are the western most portions of the Rockies. So, weather fronts bringing snow in from the Pacific will dump huge amounts of snow. This is great ... especially if you like to ski off-piste in the trees as I do.

Second ... dry climate. The low humidity levels in Utah (and Colorado) means the water content of our snow is lower than Eastern ski resorts. So, we just don't experience the same icy conditions that you'll find back there.

Third --- and biggest reason ... the Great Salt Lake. The Great Salt Lake has a salt/mineral content of up to 28%. As weather moves across the lake, it picks up moisture that has a high mineral content. So, when the snow dumps on the mountains it won't condense as much. That means light, fluffy powder. If you try to make a snowball with our snow, I've found it takes 2-3 times the snow volume to make an equivalent sized snowball as back East.

Snow aside ... access to the resorts is also makes Utah one of the best places to ski. We have 18 ski resorts in the state. And, most are within an hour or less from the Salt Lake airport. The three ski resorts in Park City, Utah (all three are ranked by Ski Magazine in the Top 10 in the US) are only 30 minutes from the airport. So, catch an early morning flight into Salt Lake City and be on the slopes that morning. Try doing that from Denver to any Colorado ski resort. Or, driving from any major California city to a Mammoth or Tahoe in the same amount of time.

And, of course Free Skiing for tourists: The Park City Chamber of Commerce sponsors a program called Quickstart (link at the bottom of the lens) that will let you ski for free the same day you arrive at one of the Park City Ski Resorts (PCMR, Deer Valley, and Canyons). You'll need to visit the chamber website for info. But, essentially, fill out their form and take it with your boarding pass to the ticket window to get a free lift ticket. It's only good on the day you arrive ... and, you'll need to follow the Park City Chamber of Commerce instructions exactly!!!

Discounts on Lift Tickets - Liftopia


With Lift Tickets reaching over $100 per day at some resorts, you'll want to shop around for ticket prices. One of the best all round sources we've found is Lifttopia ( go to or click the picture above to take you to their website). You'll get huge discounts (over 40% for some resorts) on single and multi-day packages over the resort ticket window prices. As a side note, discount ski tickets are available for resorts throughout North America and Europe via Liftopia ... so, its a good resource for non-Utah resorts as well.

Ski Free: 5th and 6th Graders - Ski Utah Sponsored Program

Your 5th and 6th Graders can ski free at each of the 14 Utah ski resorts with Ski Utah's Ski Passport. And, they'll so get special deals for ski and snowboard rentals, lessons, PowerAide, and lots of other cools stuff.

You'll need to complete an application (click the picture of the kids to go Ski Utah's application page) that includes uploading a digital photo of your child and a credit card (there is a $25 processing fee, $35 after Jan 31st, 2013). At the bottom of the Ski Utah, their is a application link for each grade group.

5th graders (10 - 11 years Old) will get three days of free skiing at each resort. 6th graders (11 - 12 years Old) will get one day of free skiing at each resort.

Ski Gloves

Keep your hands warm and you'll have more fun on the slopes

Deer Valley Ski Resort - Consistently Ranked as the First or Second Ski Resort in the US

Deer Valley Trail Map
Deer Valley Trail Map

Deer Valley has a well-deserved reputation as a luxury ski resort. If you want high quality service, impeccably groomed slopes, and fabulous on-mountain restaurants this this ski resort for you.

The resort features over 2,000 ski-able acreage accessed by 21 lifts and elevations between 6,750 to 9570 feet. And, they have great on-mountain snow making equipment ... so, they can keep conditions up to the standards expected by a very affluent ski clientele. One of the things that makes Deer Valley nice to ski over holidays is they control the number of skiers on the mountain. They also base those numbers on the weather conditions with goal of ensuring that the restaurants won't get to crowed if the weather is nasty and everyone can find a seat.

Their staff is also well trained and very customer focused. Part of that is their high year-to-year staff retention rates and just plain quality of the staff you'll meet. Chances are pretty good the guy helping you with your skis will be a retired corporate executive who retired to Park City.

The restaurants are also exceptional from ultra-fine on-slope dining at Stein Erkisen to the the three on-mountain lodges. Make sure you try the famous Deer Valley Turkey Chili at Empire Lodge -- it's the ski resorts signature dish and the deck on Empire Lodge is one of my favorite places to eat lunch.

Deer Valley also boasts some of the nicest luxury homes with direct access onto the Deer Valley ski slopes. It's fun sometimes to ski those trails just to see how the other site lives. If you're looking for a ski property, then is good place to start your search.

Few tips on the resort:

-- Free Skis: If you want to try out the latest skis for this season for FREE, stop by the Rosignold Yurt next to Empire Lodge. They let you try out any of their new skis for two hours with no charge (and, if their not busy, you can sometimes keep them longer). It's a great way to find out if a ski suits you before buying.

-- If you want Powder, bee-line over to Lady Morgan bowl. After a good snow dump, you can often be skiing in waist deep powder.

-- The Northside lift can get a bit crowded around mid-day ... try heading over to the other side of the mountain and take a couple of turns on Steins Run instead.

Park City Mountain Resort

PCMR Trail Map
PCMR Trail Map

Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) is located in right in Park City with the main resort area being just north of Main Street. The Town Lift actually start on the bottom Main St -- keep it in mind if you want to take a lunch break at one of the restaurants or meet up with none skiers.

PCMR was ranked the number four ski resort for 2012-13. I have a season pass at the resort and think the reason they've jumped to number four is their grooming. It's improved significantly last season .... many times I found it better groomed than Deer Valley (which is really tough to do).

The resort is home to the US Ski and Snowboard Team and their mascot is Peak-a-boo Streak (the Olympic ski racer) -- the run named after her can curl your toes coming down it at speed.

Canyons Ski Resort - Great Terrain for Off-Piste Skiing

Canyons Ski Resort
Canyons Ski Resort

People that ski the Canyons either Love It or Hate It. There doesn't seem to be anyone who sits on the fence about this resort. Personally, I'm in the Love It category ... and ,so was Ski Magazine when they rated it the 10th best ski resort in the US.

In my opinion, the Canyons is the best place to ski on a heavy powder day (Alta is also great). Head left off the Gondola (drops you off at Red Pine lodge) to the south side of the resort. You'll find lots of ungroomed trails and tree skiing. The one difficulty for riders is the flat terrain as you leave the lodge area ... but, once beyond that, it's worth the effort.

Skiers and riders who don't like the resort will generally talk about the lack of grooming and amenities (the resort needs to build a few more on mountain eating places). If you're an on-piste skier, then stay on the North side of the resort ... the Canyons seems to do a much better job of grooming that side of the mountain. And, you find three restaurants:

Red Pine Lodge: located at the top of the Gondola. It's a cafeteria style restaurant with a traditional American menu (burgers, pizza, etc.)

Sun Lodge: located above the Sun Peak Express lift. It's also a cafeteria style with traditional American menu

Lookout Cabin: located at top of Lookout Peak and serviced by Orange Bubble Express or Short Cut lifts. Sit-down fine dining and bar.

What's Your Favorite Utah Ski Resort

What's your favorite Utah Ski Resort -- and, to help folks not familiar with Utah resorts, let us know why

See results

Local Area resources

These are links to resources that you'll find helpful in planning your ski vacation in Park City or the other Utah ski resorts.


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