There are 10 ski areas just outside Salt Lake City, but only one of them, Park City, is a proper ski resort. It’s a good all round resort with a charming old main street full of enticing shops and restaurants, but the places with the best ski areas and snow records are Alta, Brighton, Solitude Snowbasin & Snowbird. However, these have little in the way of off-slope accommodation or amenities. So you can ski at Park City, and the skiing is ok but nothing special. It’s particularly disappointing for intermediates. Or you can stay at Park City to enjoy its facilities and use it as a base from which to visit some of the other ski areas by car. Or you can stay at Sandy, a town between the city and the mountains which sits at the junction of the two canyons that house most of the best ski areas. It’s got lots of facilities because Sandy is home to the largest shopping mall in Utah, and is better located for skiing the best ski areas. Or you can even stay in the city itself – lots of facilities and you’re pretty much equidistant from all 10 ski areas. Some clients ask us about Deer Valley. We have rates there but it’s not a true resort – it’s a luxury complex where the rich & famous like to hide themselves away. There are no shops or any real resort infrastructure, and the skiing is the least good of the 10 Utah resorts in the region.
Park City is quite expensive whereas staying in Sandy or Salt Lake City is very inexpensive, so deciding where to stay is about value for money as well as what ski-itinerary you wish to follow. You can stay at a large 4 and a half star luxury hotel with all mod cons in Salt Lake City for less than the cheapest little 2 star in Park City. But if you think that would involve too much driving, Sandy is a great happy medium. Don’t even think about staying in Park City the last week in January. It hosts America’s equivalent of Cannes, the Sundance Film Festival, The place is absolutely heaving – you’ll have to queue for restaurants, bars, shops. And some of the film people are notoriously lacking in manners. The slopes will be empty though – everyone’s watching films all day!
“I love the skiing in Utah but it doesn’t really lend itself to the usual “ski-in-ski-out” sort of holiday. It’s best done with a car, skiing a different ski area each day. The problem is Park City & Deer Valley have disappointing skiing. But if you don’t want to do too much traveling around, I’d stay in Park City but ski The Canyons, just a couple of miles along the road. It’s a far better ski area than Park City or Deer Valley. Snowbird & Alta are awesome but you need to be advanced to get the most out of them. 2002 Olympic ski venue Snowbasin is my favourite, but Brighton, Solitude & Powder Mountain are great too, and even little Sundance (the Robert Redford-owned ski area) is worth a day out. Personally I’d stay in Sandy, but that’s just me.”