Skiing is undeniably one of the most popular hobbies on our campus. With the University of Utah being nestled in the perfect location for the activity, many students relish the arrival of the cold weather because it means that ski season is just around the corner. In returning from Thanksgiving break and holding out for the end of the semester and the relief of Christmas break, ski resorts are opening up and many students are itching to get out on the slopes.
There are nine ski resorts within 50 miles of our campus, so it is only a quick drive to any resort of your choosing. With so many options to choose from, which resorts are the best to visit this season?
Mountains to Miss
Deer Valley, Snowbasin and Sundance
With Dec. 1 being the opening of many ski resorts, the hills are not yet in their prime. Several ski resorts will be waiting on snowfall until the New Year, including Deer Valley Resort, Snowbasin and Sundance. Deer Valley Resort, located in Park City, 34 miles from Salt Lake, boasts one of the largest vertical drops of any ski resort in the Wasatch Range. Its December snow quality leaves much to be desired, however. The same goes for Snowbasin Resort on Mount Ogden, 43 miles north of Salt Lake. Though a local favorite and one of the oldest continually operating ski resorts in the U.S., the best snow falls later in the season. Sundance Mountain Resort doesn’t even open until later in December. Located 50 miles from Salt Lake near Provo, Sundance’s snowfall is estimated to be the lowest of the ski resorts in the Wasatch. Though these three ski resorts have their pros, hold off until later in the year, or hold off entirely.
Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
Powder Mountain and Park City
North of Salt Lake in a town called Eden is Powder Mountain Ski Resort. One of the favorite ski hills for residents of the Wasatch region, Powder Mountain flaunts some of the best snowfall. It just comes later in the season, towards the end of January or early February. This resort covers incredible acreage and massive runs, but it is better to visit its majesty in the new year. Despite its overwhelming quantity of runs, Park City Ski runs have the same problem: It is probably one of the greatest resorts to visit, but the trip is better saved for February. Trust me, these hills will be worth the wait.
Secluded, but Solid Snowfall
Brighton and Solitude
Brighton Ski Resort is a rare gem. While many tourists take to the bigger names in Utah resorts over the holidays, this resort may feature some of the best powder this December. Only a short drive away, its snow quality is rivaled only by the biggest names in the Rocky Mountains, already gaining inches overnight. Solitude Mountain Resort is the same. It’s the shortest drive from Salt Lake, and it is usually the least busy of the Cottonwood ski areas on days where it gains some of the best powder for skiing. These two resorts are the overlooked gems that are the best to visit at this time of year. Plus, spring skiing is the actual best.
Best Overall Trips
Snowbird and Alta
Finally, everyone’s favorite resorts, ranking first and second in ZRankings Best Snow in North America: Alta Ski Area and Snowbird. Snowbird exhibits some of the best snow from their opening to their closing, with an incredible vertical drop and a wide spread of course difficulty. Snowbird is regarded as incredibly consistent, in both snow quality and runs, making it accessible to anyone at anytime. One of its most exciting qualities is the tram running from the base to the top, a feature not usually seen in American resorts.
For the true king of all North American ski resorts, the crown is given to Alta. Alta Ski Resort features snow quality ranked at 100 percent against any other resort at any point in the season. With incredible views and a legacy as rich as any hill, it’s the perfect place for novices or experts. Just be mindful of the 10,000 feet elevation if you’re new to the sport. It’s regarded for its mystique and status and, of course, the numerous powder days. So at only 29 miles from Salt Lake, it is an absolute must for any skier worth their salt.
Wherever you choose to ski this December, the U is the perfect place to be in proximity to some of the greatest hills on the continent. So, bundle up and get on out there!