Ski Utah 3 ways: The best resorts for every type of skier

Best Utah ski resorts

Lured by sparkling powder, charming ski towns and some of the most luxurious lodges found this side of the Alps, snow-seekers descend on Utah every ski season to take advantage of its winter playground. With more than a dozen mountain resorts scattered around the state there’s a hill for everybody, whether you’re a daredevil who prefers to tackle untouched backcountry trails, or the type who thinks that après is the best part of a snow day.

So which hill is best for you? Here’s how to ski Utah three different ways.

The Old School Skier: Deer Valley

Deer Valley is best described as the country club of ski resorts. This posh property in Park City caters to folks who enjoy the finer things in life, like high-end dining options, luxuriously appointed lodges and classic decor (think dark wood panelling, chess boards and plenty of comfy couches for relaxing between runs). The resort prides itself on its impeccable service, which includes curbside valet service where staff will unload your skis, complimentary ski storage, and limiting the number of guests per day to ensure a good experience. Even their eco-friendly trail maps are fancy, and printed on paper made from reclaimed stone which makes them waterproof and tear-resistant.

Best Utah ski resorts

Deer Valley Resort

Best Utah ski resortsDeer Valley is known for keeping its runs groomed in tip-top shape, as well as for not allowing snowboarders—a trait that frequent guests appreciate (nearby Alta mountain resort is also a ski-only hill). Spectacular lookout points offer panoramic views of the Wasatch Mountains and Park City, particularly on runs like Jordanelle which looks out over the Jordanelle Reservoir.

Best Utah ski resorts

A scenic view overlooking the Jordanelle Reservoir

Deer Valley

When tackling the trails, it can sometimes feel like you’re passing through a ritzy neighbourhood versus skiing down a mountain, as runs pass beside multi-million dollar homes frequented by celebrities, former presidents and dot-com billionaires. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Deer Field Gondola, which one homeowner with money to burn built to connect their home to the hill—even though the actual distance is less than a couple hundred feet!

Best Utah ski resorts

This just might be the world’s shortest gondola ride

Best Après:

Besides serving up divine hot cocoas, the Stein Eriksen Lodge is the place to see and be seen. Head here for celeb-spotting, and chances are you’ll also see a few well-dressed non-skiers lounging around hoping to land a millionaire (seriously, it happens).

Best Utah ski resorts

Hot cocoa at the Stein Eriksen Lodge

Don’t miss:

One of the best dining experiences in Park City is at the Empire Canyon Lodge, found 8,300 feet up. Their Fireside Dining offering is straight out of the Alps, in a gorgeous timber-framed room warmed by grand stone fireplaces. The four-course meal includes charcuterie paired with mouth-watering cheese fondue, hearty stews, mains such as beef short ribs and lamb, and a dessert station complete with chocolate and lemon-flavoured sauces.

Family Fun: Park City Mountain

Holding bragging rights as the largest ski resort in America, Park City Mountain is like two resorts in one. There are two different bases leading to 7,300 skiable acres of terrain: Park City Mountain Village which is home to ski in/out lodging, rental shops and restaurants, and Canyons Village which has a fun gathering spot complete with a fire pit, bars, foosball tables and plenty of shops. The hill has more than 300 trails, a super pipe and 13 different bowls, making it a great option for families with different skill levels.

Best Utah ski resorts

Best Utah ski resorts

The Canyons Village

Heated chairlifts at Park City Mountain

Parents can hit the slopes with their kiddos, or leave the lessons to the pros and send their children to ski school (because who doesn’t love getting an early start on après). There are also daycare options available for those who aren’t quite old enough yet to strap on skis, and activities include a gondola ride up the mountain to a snow-covered play hill. Need the young ones to burn off even more energy? Send them on an adrenaline-fuelled ride down the Flying Eagle Zip Line, or the Alpine Coaster where toboggan-style cars are controlled by handbrakes, making it a fun, safe activity for all ages.

Best Utah ski resorts

Park City has staff available to help guests navigate the trails

Best Utah ski resorts

Best Après:

On a sun-soaked day, the St. Regis Deer Valley is the most happening spot in town for après, thanks to its massive outdoor patio. There’s also a champagne sabering demonstration every day at 5:30 p.m.

Best Utah ski resorts

The St. Regis Deer Valley

Don’t miss:

The Viking Yurt transports diners to Scandinavia with its Nordic-inspired fare. Found along the Homerun trail under the Bonanza Express chairlift, this cozy spot is warmed by a wood-burning stove that guests can gather around while sipping a steaming mug of mulled wine. For a truly unique experience, reserve a spot for their dinner experience which starts with a ride 1,800 feet up the mountain on a sleigh pulled by a snow-cat, and includes a six-course gourmet dinner accompanied by tunes from a baby grand piano.

Best Utah ski resorts

Made for Millennials: Powder Mountain

Millennials love to get off the beaten path, which is why those in-the-know leave Park City and head to Powder Mountain instead. Based in Eden which is a one hour drive from Salt Lake City, this hidden gem gets back to basics by focusing less on appearances and more on the terrain—though some might find certain aspects almost too old school, like the one chairlift that doesn’t have safety bars. You won’t find any ski bunnies here, and the unpretentious, laid-back vibe can be a welcome change from Park City’s swanky scene. Lift tickets are also much cheaper at PowMow compared to hills around Park City…which means millennials can keep more of their money to fund that avocado toast habit.

Best Utah ski resorts

Best Utah ski resorts

With 8,400 skiable acres and a daily ticket limit of 1,500, it always feels like you have the whole place to yourself, and the views of the surrounding valley are magical, particularly after a fresh snowfall.

Best Utah ski resorts

Best Après:

Jam out at Powder Keg, located in the Timberline Cafeteria at the resort’s base. With a large selection of beers on tap and live music, it’s the perfect place to keep the fun going after a day on the slopes.

Don’t miss:

As if there weren’t already enough runs to tear down at Powder Mountain, the backcountry is also accessible thanks to their famed cat skiing expeditions. The full-day, guided tours grant access to another 3,000 acres of untouched terrain, in Davenport and Gertsen Canyon. Reservations are required.

Globe Guide hit the slopes as a guest of Visit Utah. As always, hosts have no editorial influence on articles.

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14 Responses

  1. Eric Gamble says:

    So I am not the biggest Skiier or Snowboarder but Park City in Utah looks amazing. I would love to stay in one of those Ski Resorts especially the Viking Yurt resort areas. I love all of the white blanketing the area and all the great views of the valley!

  2. Chris Bloomfield says:

    Well right off the bat I like the sound of Deer Valley because they limit the number of skiers and offer so much luxury. I like the idea of dining at 8,300 feet at the Empire Canyon Lodge, though that all sounds a bit out of my pay grade. The snow covered play hill sounds awesome and I am sure my kids would love the Alpine Coaster at Park City Mountain. Well all of the places sound great and I think the smart move is to visit them all!

  3. Megan Jerrard says:

    I love hiking through Utah in the summer, but havne’t yet visited in the winter. Thanks for this overview of your favorite ski resorts – I love the sound of the unpretentious, laid-back vibe of powder mountain bahaha and you got me on the avocado toast habit – guilty 😀 Feeling as though you have most of the back country to yourself when you’re out is a huge selling point for me – I like my space and privacy!

  4. Debra Schroeder says:

    We used to ski every winter. Many decades ago my hubby worked in Mammoth so we love the mountains. It’s been awhile since we skied in Utah. We went to Alta because it was a little bit more affordable than Deer Valley or Park City.

  5. Kavita Favelle says:

    How cool that there’s something for everyone in Utah ski resorts. Deer Valley sounds ace for high end restaurant options and more traditional. For sheer scale, I guess Park City Mountain would fit the bill, 300 trails to ski is so impressive and something to suit kids of all ages and the adults as well. Then for the younger crowd, or those seeking more adventure, Powder Mountain gives them the hidden gems and laid back vibe!

  6. Ami Bhat says:

    I don’t really know how to ski but would love to try out. I suppose, Deer Park seems ideal for me – for one, I love the views you have shown here. And the second – there seems to be a bit of a traditional approach here. I suppose they might go easy on a beginner like me.

  7. Anda says:

    Great guide for the ski resorts in Utah! We love skiing there. They have the best snow on Earth. Like butter! We used to go to Deer Valley every year. It’s so great when you don’t have to cross paths with the snowboarders. Lately though we began skiing more in California. It’s closer to home and thus cheaper.

  8. Lauren says:

    I love that you highlight the apres ski as well as the skiing itself! I am not much of a skiier, although I’d like to change that. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been – I need to stop putting off going and just do it! Beautiful resorts in Utah, too.

  9. Himanshu says:

    Tamara – Let me first compliment you for gorgeous picks. No doubt Alps offer best ski resorts in the world for it has the best quality of powder well suited for skiing. Deer Valley resort looks awesome. Sight of Jordanelle Reservoir is fabulous. You must visit Gulmarg in Kashmir some day which is touted as the best ski resort of Asia and trust me you would fall in love with Himalayan beauty.

  10. Samantha Sparrow says:

    I don’t ski at all, but I actually ended up staying at Sundance Resort for a few days for a work thing and the surrounding nature and lodge style accommodation was so lovely, and I’ve often thought about returning to Utah to see more. That’s why I’m so pleased you’ve picked out the best apres ski too, that’s where you’d find me – I love the sound of the Viking Yurt!

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