Outdoors

Why Salt Lake Is America’s Legendary “Ski City”

Imagine spending a full day skiing legendary powder and making it back to the big city in time for craft cocktails, artisan eats and world-class theater. This is Ski City — also known as Salt Lake City, Utah — a bustling urban center with four legendary ski resorts only 35 minutes away.

You can even hit the hills the same day you fly in — Utah’s Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons and Park City ski resorts are less than 45 minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Skip sleepy base villages and make Ski City your base camp for riding the “Greatest Snow on Earth.” From Snowbird’s big mountain riding to Brighton’s terrain parks and family-friendly landscape, there’s something in Ski City for every level of rider.

Brighton Resort

Tucked at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, Brighton was Utah’s first ski resort, opened more than 80 years ago, and today still focuses on the skier experience, not fancy amenities. Brighton’s 500 average annual inches of light, fluffy snow make it a powderhound’s paradise, and 100 percent of its diverse terrain can be accessed by high-speed quads.

Find family-friendly groomers, stellar steeps and excellent tree skiing — often all from the same chairlift. Affordable half-day tickets and plentiful night skiing make Brighton an ideal first-day destination.

Alta Ski Area

Some resorts beckon skiers with new lodges and massive villages, but Alta kicks it old school. This family-owned ski area harkens back to the golden era of skiing — and still bans snowboarders from its slopes.

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Steep slopes await in Alta. (Photo: Getty Images)

Head to Alta for unspoiled terrain, challenging steeps and limitless views. Averaging 40 feet of fluffy, stable snow per season, this is the place to ski the powder that’s made Utah famous.

Snowbird

Home to Utah’s longest ski season, iconic Snowbird is a must on any skier’s Utah bucket list. Take the famed Aerial Tram from the base with more than 100 new friends to Hidden Peak’s summit. In just eight minutes you’ll reach long, steep runs and powder pockets beloved by intermediate and advanced skiers.

salt lake city skiing
Take the famed Aerial Tram from the base of Snowbird. (Photo: Getty Images)

As an alternate to tram travel, ride North America’s only ski tunnel — the Peruvian Tunnel — to the Bird’s most legendary terrain. Jam out to music as you ride the conveyor belt lift through a mini Snowbird museum inside the mountain before arriving at Mineral Basin’s bowls on the other side.

Solitude Mountain Resort

The name says it all. Solitude is best known for its uncrowded slopes and powder stashes that keep days after a storm. Come for peaceful skiing with incredible mountain views and après-ski ambling in the European-style village.

And don’t let Solitude’s 1,200-acre size fool you into thinking it’s small. On powder days, Solitude’s Honeycomb Canyon beckons face-shot seekers with some of the Wasatch Front’s best in-bounds, off-piste terrain. Solitude’s big bowl, tree trails and long groomed runs offer endless entertainment — plus you’ll feel like you have the whole place to yourself.

Park City

salt lake city skiing
There’s no place better for apres ski. (Photo: Getty Images)

The revitalized mining town of Park City is home to North America’s biggest ski resort — Vail-owned Park City Mountain. A gondola linking two resorts into one created this behemoth, and its 41 chairlifts take you to 300-plus runs spread over 7,300 acres.

Welcoming to young families and experts alike, this resort deserves a ski day of its own but would take a lifetime to completely explore. Find diverse terrain ranging from easy groomer cruisers to forested steeps — plus eight terrain parks.

Looking to escape Ski City for a night in a mountain town? Park City is the place. From Marriott’s Summit Watch on historic Main Street, catch the first chair on the Town Lift — then ski all the way back to Main for après.

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This article appears as a part of a paid partnership with Visit Salt Lake.