Ready to spend the season of a lifetime at a Utah ski resort, but don’t quite know which one is right for you? We’re here to help!

We’ve put together the A to Z Guide to Utah Ski Resorts to help you learn more about all of the best Utah ski resorts. Each resort has its own culture, terrain, and housing situation, and we dialed into each one.

Use this guide to inform where you want to be, then check out our comprehensive overview of ski resort jobs to learn more about what you can do when you get there.

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Table of Contents

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Steep powder skiing in Alta

Alta

For skiers only, Alta’s no-frills dedication to the sport is befitting an area that consistently sees amongst the highest snowfall totals in the U.S. The mountain is located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, a 30-minute drive from Salt Lake City on most days and just a few minutes past Snowbird.

The Mountain:

Don’t let the lack of “expert” designated terrain fool you, Alta only has one category for advanced. The lack of distinction means you’d better know ahead of time where you’re headed unless you’re up for anything. For those who are, there’s plenty to keep you busy, thanks to aggressive steep lines and some of the lower 48’s most consistent snowfall. For true skiers (sorry no snowboarders allowed), this is a must-visit resort that belongs on every skier’s bucket list.

The skiing itself is nothing short of spectacular. In fact, the Salt Lake Tribune once wrote that “no single run symbolizes Utah skiing to the rest of the world quite like Alf’s High Rustler.”

Summer is spectacular as well if you choose to stay year round. Little Cottonwood Canyon is known for some of Alta’s best wildflowers, making this prime real estate for hiking, biking, and camping. If you can live without a bigtime nightlife (or just don’t mind commuting a bit to get to it), then Alta is a sure bet for the avid skier.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: 2,583 ft.
  • Base: 8,530 ft.
  • Acreage: 2,614 acres
  • Difficulty: 16% beginner, 30% intermediate, 54% advanced
  • Longest run: 1.3 miles
  • Annual snowfall: 545 inches
  • Snowmaking: 140 acres
  • Terrain park?: No

The Local’s Lowdown:

There’s not much to this area beside skiing, but in a way that actually makes it easier to work here. You just have to be willing to commute a bit. While Alta does have a limited number of on-site beds for full-time essential employees, many employees make use of the free Utah Transit Authority (UTA) ski bus pass that is included in their benefits package.

The perks don’t stop there. Employees get free skiing at Alta with their employee ID, and qualifying employees get are eligible for one Snowbird day pass per week. Spouses and dependents get discounted ski cards as well.

The Verdict

For the dedicated skier looking for a seasonal job in a true skier’s paradise, or anyone looking for an authentic skiing experience, there might not be a better option than Alta. With 2,600 acres of skiers-only terrain averaging almost 550 inches per year of snow, the real question is where else would you go?

Beaver Mountain

Beaver Mountain is a small, family-run ski resort located about 2 hours north of Salt Lake City. Not many people know about Beaver Mountain, and that’s just fine with the people who ski there. Ask any local, and they’ll describe an intimate mountain experience, without all the pomp (and crowds) of today’s mega-resorts. The cheap lift tickets say it all; a day pass to Beaver Mountain only costs $50.

The Mountain:

Beaver Mountain is a great option for intermediate skiers, looking to build their skills without getting knocked over by other skiers all day. While the mountain is relatively small at 828 skiable acres, the lack of crowds makes it feel larger. There are also two terrain parks for freestylers, and regular night skiing from 5:00-9:00 pm.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: 1,700 ft.
  • Base: 7,100 ft.
  • Acreage: 828 acres
  • Difficulty: 35% beginner, 40% intermediate, 25% advanced
  • Longest run: 0.8 miles
  • Annual snowfall: 400+ inches
  • Terrain park?: Yes

The Local’s Lowdown:

Beaver Mountain’s remote location near the Idaho border means there’s not a whole lot of city life nearby. The closest sizeable town is Logan, home of Utah State University, about a 45-minute drive away. There’s also Garden City on the edge of Bear Lake, about 20 minutes to the east.

Local’s love Beaver Mountain for what it is, a no-frills, no-tourists, family-run skiing operation in a spectacularly gorgeous part of Utah. If you watched Aspen Extreme and immediately decided to move out west, this probably is not the mountain for you. There is no Starbucks, no St. Regis, and to the best of our knowledge, no famous people. Just like-minded visitors who care first and foremost about skiing, riding and the outdoors.

The Verdict

The location and size of Beaver Mountain make it feel like an entirely less touristy destination than the larger resorts in Utah. Add 400+ inches of snowfall per season, and at times it can seem like you’ve got a backcountry playground all to yourself. Beaver Mountain doesn’t quite have the steeps, so there’s definitely a tradeoff. But for dedicated skiers looking for a quiet local’s mountain with a family-run vibe, Beaver Mountain is a terrific option.

Brian Head Resort

Brian Head

In an age of larger and increasingly expensive ski resorts, Brian Head might be the anti-resort resort. Much like Beaver Mountain above, it is a relatively quiet and peaceful town, without all the lavish accommodations of Park City. The mountain itself is certainly a step below the more well-known competitors in terms of challenging terrain, but it still has plenty to offer beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders.

The Mountain:

Given its location in the southern part of the state, you might be surprised to learn that Brian Head has the highest base elevation of Utah’s ski resorts at 9,600 ft. The resort is fairly small, at only 650+ skiable acres covered by 8 lifts. The terrain is divided between two peaks, Brian Head and Navajo, with Brian Head being the more difficult of the two. While perfect for families and beginner to intermediate skiers, expert skiers may find the challenging terrain to be limited. Given the smaller crowds, however, everyone will be happy on a powder day.

Facilities are less extensive than the mega-resorts as well, but there are still two major lodges at the base with plenty of retail. Oh, and Brian Head does have a Starbucks. Take that, Beaver Mountain.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: Lift-served 1,320 ft. / Hikeable 1,548 ft.
  • Base: 9,600 ft.
  • Acreage: 650+ acres
  • Difficulty: 30% easiest, 35% more difficult, 35% most difficult
  • Longest run: 0.6 miles
  • Annual snowfall: 360 inches
  • Snowmaking: 216 acres
  • Terrain park?: Yes

The Local’s Lowdown:

Brian Head is another gem for skiers and riders who want to escape the frenzy that often surrounds skiing’s mega-resorts. Quality of life in Brian Head is ideal for outdoorsy types who prefer the quiet sounds of nature to the excitement of more commercial areas.

Brian Head and its surroundings are also much more affordable than other areas as well. A 1-day lift pass at Brian Head costs only $59 on weekends (and $42 on weekdays!), setting the tone for almost everything else from hamburgers to beer to rent. For anyone who wonders if the ski resort world has gone crazy, Brian Head is a perfect respite.

The Verdict

Brian Head is another great option for skiers and snowboarders who want a laid back experience without crowds or ostentation. If you’re looking for a wholesome, authentic outdoor experience (winter or summer, summer is spectacular in Brian Head, too), then look no further. It may be ideally suited for skiers and snowboarders looking for less-than-extreme offerings, but Brian Head’s affordability and lack of crowds make it a perfect option for those building up their skills. Those characteristics also make it one of the best Utah ski resorts for families.

Brighton

Brighton is the oldest ski resort in Utah, located in Big Cottonwood Canyon about 30 minutes from Salt Lake City. It and its neighbor, Solitude, are probably the two lesser-known SLC area ski resorts, with skiers more likely to be locals from the area rather than tourists from outside the state. That’s just fine with locals, however, who love the cheaper lift tickets, smaller crowds, and world-class snowfall.

The Mountain:

Utah’s oldest ski resort has stuck to its roots, offering a truly no-frills skiing experience. There’s no true village, very little lodging, and limited dining options. What it does have, however, is a wide variety of terrain for all ability levels, especially families focused on improving their skills.

While expert level skiing is limited, Brighton’s side and backcountry offer plenty of additional terrain. In addition, the ski area is interconnected with Solitude, offering even more inbounds acreage (and some of the inbounds expert terrain that Brighton lacks on its own).

Brighton’s longstanding commitment to the sport is evident through the prominence of its ski and snowboarding school, one of the most highly regarded in the state. Hundreds of Salt Lake City parents shuttle their kids into Big Cottonwood Canyon every weekend, to have their children taught by some of the best in the business.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: 1,745 ft.
  • Base: 8,755 ft.
  • Acreage: 1,050 acres
  • Difficulty: 21% beginner, 40% intermediate, 39% advanced
  • Longest run: 1.2 miles
  • Annual snowfall: 500 inches
  • Snowmaking: 200 acres
  • Terrain park?: Yes

The Local’s Lowdown:

Brighton has a tremendous amount to offer as a ski & snowboarding destination, but nightlife and glam are definitely not reasons to visit. It is truly a local’s destination, made by skiers and snowboarders for skiers and snowboarders. That also means that most opportunities for employment in Brighton are directly related to skiing. Winter positions generally revolve around ski & snowboarding school, on-mountain food and beverage, lift operations, and maintenance.

Since there are few living accommodations available in Brighton, most employees live in Salt Lake City and commute into Big Cottonwood Canyon. Many employees take advantage of the regular ski shuttles that go back and forth throughout the day, avoiding the need to drive themselves. This also makes rents more affordable than they would be on site.

The Verdict

Brighton is one of our favorite resorts in Utah because it meshes so well with our own personal style. There’s no pretension or glam in Brighton. You won’t find great sushi, high-end shopping, or a trendy nightclub. And the truth is, no one there would want it anyway. Instead, you’ll find a deep passion for skiing and snowboarding, and high-quality terrain that always makes for an exciting day out.

Cherry Peak

Cherry Peak is a locally-oriented ski facility in northern Utah not far from the city of Logan. The ski area is relatively new and was first used for skiing in the 2015-2016 winter season. Cherry Peak is smaller in size, with ~200 skiable acres serviced by 3 lifts and one magic carpet.

The Mountain:

Cherry Peak is by far the smallest ski area on our list, but it is a fun option for daytrippers coming in from the Logan area. The mountain itself has two core areas, an easier area under the Vista and Summit lifts mostly consisting exclusively of greens and blues, and then a more challenging face under the Gateway lift that also includes some blacks.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: 1,265 ft.
  • Base: 5,775 ft.
  • Acreage: 200 acres
  • Difficulty: 21% beginner, 45% intermediate, 34% advanced
  • Annual snowfall: 300 inches
  • Snowmaking: Yes
  • Terrain park?: Yes

The Local’s Lowdown:

Given Cherry Peak’s size and lack of accommodations, it is unlikely that tourists would make the trek from out of state. Thus, Cherry Peak visitors consist mostly of locals, and Cherry Peak carries a distinctively local vibe. It is also the cheapest resort on our list, with an adult full-day weekend ski pass costing only $40. The area is popular with students, particularly from Utah State University nearby in Logan.

The Verdict

At only ~200 acres, Cherry Peak is somewhat of a different animal. It is clearly not the right choice for a hard-charging expert skier with one week of vacation from the office. But for a developing skier local to the area, or even a seasonal employee just looking for a ski area with a great culture, Cherry Peak has plenty to offer. And given that it’s only 4 years old, who knows what it will look like when it’s given some time to grow?

Deer Valley Ski Resort

Deer Valley

If the resorts above are meant to be quaint, locally focused ski areas, Deer Valley is pretty much the exact opposite. Deer Valley is a luxury-first resort, wholly focused on delivering an upscale experience with an exclusive feel. Even the mountain layout maximizes adjacent real estate, making it the best ski in ski out resort in Utah. That luxury comes at a cost, and you can expect a trip to Deer Valley to put a decent sized dent in your wallet. But for discerning visitors who expect the very best in customer service, there’s no place better in Utah than Deer Valley.

The Mountain:

Deer Valley may cater to wealthy out of towners, but that doesn’t mean the skiing is not the real deal. In fact, at over 2,000 acres, Deer Valley is one of the larger ski areas in the state. That size is magnified by Deer Valley’s policy of limiting the number of tickets sold per day, which substantially limits overcrowding during peak season.

The mountain offers a wide variety of terrain but is best known for intermediate runs that always seem to be perfectly groomed. Expert terrain is somewhat more limited, so the truly adventurous may find it worthwhile to drive over to Park City Mountain for some more aggressive inbounds terrain. You might find yourself driving over there to snowboard too. Deer Valley doesn’t allow it.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: 3,000 ft.
  • Base: 6,570 ft.
  • Acreage: 2,026 acres
  • Difficulty: 27% beginner, 31% intermediate, 10% advanced, 32% expert
  • Longest run: 2.8 miles
  • Annual snowfall: 300 inches
  • Terrain park?: No

The Local’s Lowdown:

Deer Valley’s high-end offering and proximity to Park City make it a terrific option for seasonal employees looking for work. Each year, Deer Valley hires hundreds of candidates into service-oriented positions like food & beverage, hospitality, and on mountain service. These are competitively paid positions that generally include a strong perk package. For example, Deer Valley Resort employees ski for free at Deer Valley and enjoy discounts on Deer Valley services and retail offerings.

As is the case for all ski resort areas, housing can be tricky, but Deer Valley does have some employee housing available for those who qualify. For those who don’t, a short commute to Kimball Junction (20 min) or even eastern Salt Lake City (40 min) can go a long way towards lowering your rent bill.

Know in advance, however, that this is a luxury-focused employer. Expect higher grooming standards (no long hair or visible tattoos for men, similar restrictions for women) and some high maintenance customers.

The Verdict

Deer Valley is well known as a top luxury vacation destination for skiers, but it’s also a terrific option for seasonal and resort area employment. Employees can expect a very well run organization with competitive pay and strong benefits, not to mention access to one of the most exclusive ski areas in North America. For those thinking ahead, the Deer Valley brand will look terrific on anyone’s resume. Just don’t move there if you’re planning on snowboarding.

Eagle Point

Eagle Point Resort is a 650-acre ski area in the southwestern quadrant of Utah, about a 30-minute drive from the town of Beaver. Despite a history dating back to the early 1970s, the current ski area was reopened as Eagle Point in 2009 with a commitment to staying true to its unique charm and appeal. That means a family-oriented experience at a fraction of mega-resort prices.

The Mountain:

At 650 acres, Eagle point is on the smaller side of Utah ski resorts by acreage, but still has plenty to offer. The acreage is fairly evenly dispersed between beginner, intermediate, and advanced, meaning there’s something for everyone short of the cliff-jumping freeride crowd.

The ski area is actually 2 areas that have been combined (Mt. Holly and later Elk Meadows). Beginners can stick to the Skyline double chair and Monarch triple chair for rolling green and blue groomers, while the more advanced skiers and snowboarders will find more challenging terrain serviced by the Lookout quad chair.

Walk up rates for an adult lift ticket range from $35-$70 per day, depending on the day of the week. That’s an absolute steal if you catch a powder day, especially considering the consistent lack of crowds.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: 1,500 ft.
  • Base: 9,100 ft.
  • Acreage: 650 acres
  • Difficulty: 20% beginner, 35% intermediate, 45% advanced, 0% expert
  • Longest run: 0.9 miles
  • Annual snowfall: 350+ inches
  • Terrain park?: Yes

The Local’s Lowdown:

Even with the drive, Eagle Point is a local favorite on powder days. In fact, because Eagle Point is only open on weekends and holidays, many will head over for “powder Fridays.” Those occur following weekdays of heavy snow when lucky skiers get to enjoy all the powder that accumulated while the resort was closed during the week. And even without them, Eagle Point’s relatively small crowds mean powder sticks around longer than it otherwise would.

The Verdict

Eagle Point is a small, affordable resort that still manages to pack in some great skiing. While it is a little further off the beaten path than the Salt Lake area resorts, that distance helps keep the crowds down and the powder fresh. The resort has made huge strides since coming under new ownership in 2010 and continues to add new features and attractions. If you don’t mind the drive to get there (3 hours from both Salt Lake City and Las Vegas), you might find you have it pretty much all to yourself when you get there.

Nordic Valley

Nordic Valley is the smallest ski area on our list, with skiable acreage of only 140 acres. The resort changed hands in the early 2000s and briefly changed its name to Wolf Mountain. Following a 2010 bankruptcy, new ownership returned its original name and began plans to expand. Current ownership plans include a new gondola, new lifts, and a retail village to accommodate year-round activities.

The Mountain:

There’s a lot packed into Nordic’s 140 acres, including some of the best night skiing in Utah when the entire mountain is lit on Fridays and Saturdays until 8 pm. The runs are mostly intermediate level terrain, making it a great place for beginners looking to learn or improve their skills. There’s also a terrain park with beginner and intermediate features for budding freestylers.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: 965 ft.
  • Base: 5,400 ft.
  • Acreage: 140 acres
  • Difficulty: 35% beginner, 45% intermediate, 20% advanced
  • Longest run: 0.4 miles
  • Annual snowfall: 300 inches
  • Snowmaking: 84 acres
  • Terrain park?: Yes

The Local’s Lowdown:

Nordic Valley is well known for its ski school, one of the best ski schools in Utah. The mountain’s smaller size (and smaller crowds) make it a uniquely comforting place for new skiers to make their first tracks.

For employees, the key to Nordic Valley is its proximity to Ogden, a decent-sized city of almost 90,000 people, about 25 minutes away by car. Ogden provides plenty of housing and lodging opportunities so that employees don’t have to pay resort priced rent every month.

The Verdict

While Nordic Valley’s small size means intermediate and advanced skiers might outgrow it in just a day or two, the resort’s prime location near Ogden makes it part of a network of local areas that add up to some really great skiing. Powder Mountain and Snowbasin are both nearby, giving locals a variety of options to choose from, and visitors, if they’re staying for a few days, can check out all three.

For beginners, Nordic Valley has an outstanding learning center, where people have been learning to ski in affordable programs for decades. It’s the perfect place for new skiers and boarders to learn their sports.

Park City Gondola

Park City Mountain Resort

At 7,300 skiable acres, Park City Mountain Resort is the largest lift-serviced ski area in the United States and easily the most recognizable in Utah. The behemoth ski area was created in 2015, shortly after Vail Resorts purchased Park City and connected it by gondola to the Canyons. The mountain sits right above the town of Park City, which is a vibrant attraction in its own right. With its massive acreage and first-rate ski town, Park City provides Utah’s answer to Colorado’s Aspen and Vail.

The Mountain:

Park City Mountain Resort is second to none in the U.S. for sheer acreage and variety of skiing. It would take months even to really learn every nook and cranny of this massive ski mountain. And unlike Deer Valley next door, Park City allows snowboarders.

The mountain itself is really two ski resorts interconnected by a gondola. The Park City side rises directly up from the town of Park City, one of the most interesting ski towns in the U.S. For those looking for a ski town with nightlife, Park City is the best Utah has to offer. The Canyons side funnels down to Canyons village, a quieter more family-oriented resort area mostly made up of hotels.

While some say Park City lacks some of the most challenging inbounds runs you might find at Alta or Snowbird, those (and Brighton, Solitude, and Snowbasin) are around an hour away, although you will have to buy a different ski pass.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: 3,226 ft.
  • Base: 6,800 ft.
  • Acreage: 7,300+ acres
  • Difficulty: 8% beginner, 41% intermediate, 28% advanced, 23% expert
  • Longest run: 3.5 miles
  • Annual snowfall: 355 inches
  • Snowmaking: 500 acres
  • Terrain park?: Yes

The Local’s Lowdown:

Park City has something for everyone, making it an easy area to recommend to vacationers and seasonal employees alike. The skiing and snowboarding speak for themselves; one need only glance at a trail map to understand what a unique offering Park City provides. But the nightlife and cultural offerings also set Park City apart.

Like any major ski resort area, finding an apartment can be a challenge for seasonal employees. However, there are some feasible options. Rent begins to get cheaper as you drive towards Kimball Junction nearby, and even the eastern outskirts of Salt Lake City are a legitimate option at only 30-35 minutes away.

The Verdict

If you’re thinking about spending a ski season in Utah, there’s really no safer bet than Park City. The skiing is phenomenal, the town is exciting, the nightlife is lively, and there are plenty of jobs to go around. Park City is the hub of Utah skiing and snowboarding. You won’t be disappointed.

Powder Mountain

How could you know nothing about North America’s largest ski area by acreage? That’s right, a ski area even bigger than Park City? That’s because Powder Mountain takes no-frills skiing to another level. This is a mountain with 6 chairlifts, only one of which is high speed and 3 tow bars. Some acreage is serviced by bus and snowcat. That’s right, by bus. Skiers and snowboarders here don’t care though; this mountain is all about snow.

The Mountain:

Powder Mountain is as unique as it is large. First, the layout almost seems upside down with three base areas at the top of the mountain. It gets more unusual from there. While there is a substantial amount of lift-serviced terrain, the best stuff is on the back side of the mountain. Skiers on the back side are shuttled back to the top, not by a ski lift, but by a school bus. Other areas of Powder Mountain are serviced either by snowcat or by hiking.

As a result, you’ll probably find you don’t log as many runs as you might elsewhere. But the size of the mountain and the lack of crowds means you’re likely in for some of the best runs of your life. Powder tends to last longer at Powder Mountain, and that’s all these skiers and riders care about.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: 3,346 ft.
  • Base: 6,900 ft.
  • Acreage: 8,464 acres
  • Difficulty: 25% beginner, 40% intermediate, 35% advanced
  • Longest run: 3.5 miles
  • Annual snowfall: 500 inches
  • Snowmaking: 0 acres
  • Terrain park?: Yes

The Local’s Lowdown:

There are fewer tourists here, and the locals aim to keep it that way. With fewer on-mountain services comes fewer jobs, so seasonal employees looking for work should apply early. Housing options near Powder Mountain are pretty much nonexistent, but you’d be better off finding something in Ogden anyway.

The Verdict

Powder Mountain is definitely not for everyone. If you’re looking for dozens of on-mountain dining choices, vibrant nightlife, or even just a gondola, Powder Mountain is probably not for you. But if your main concern is getting some fresh lines in before the tourists carve it all up, then Powder Mountain might just be a perfect fit.

Snowbasin Ski Patrol

Snowbasin

Snowbasin is a year-round resort located just outside of Ogden, approximately 40 minutes north of Salt Lake City airport and only 50 minutes from Park City. Best known as the home of the downhill during the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Snowbasin is also the Ogden area’s most complete resort offering.

The Mountain:

Snowbasin has a diverse offering of terrain across its 3,000+ acres and 6 peaks. This ski area is a bit better suited for intermediates than beginners, as there are really two green-only routes down from the lifts (and they funnel together early into the run).

Intermediate to advanced skiers will find plenty of suitable terrain, however, as over 80% of the mountain is made up of blues or above.

Lift tickets at Snowbasin are one of the better deals out there, in our opinion, given the breadth and quality of the skiing and the overall experience. An adult walkup day pass currently costs $120-$135, well below some of the more expensive offerings like Park City, Deer Valley, or Vail.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: 3,000 ft.
  • Base: 6,400 ft.
  • Acreage: 3,000+ acres
  • Difficulty: 20% beginner, 50% intermediate, 31% advanced
  • Annual snowfall: 300 inches
  • Snowmaking: 619 acres
  • Terrain park?: Yes

The Local’s Lowdown:

If you’re looking for something a little more full-service than Powder Mountain, and especially if you want lift-serviced steeps, then Snowbasin is your best offering north of Salt Lake City. Some will note that the fall lines may not be as even as Park City’s (true), but there’s plenty of opportunities to find great runs.

For seasonal employees, Snowbasin is a great place to work. The perks are competitive with other premium resorts, including a full season pass, lift tickets for family depending on status and length of employment, health insurance, and retail discounts.

Housing is also a positive for Snowbasin. Employees will find several decent options nearby in Ogden, along with plenty of restaurants, bars, and activities.

The Verdict

Snowbasin is a terrific option for vacationers that want a full-service resort with diversified skiing options at a more affordable price range. While not as big as Park City or as glamorous as Deer Valley, Snowbasin represents great value for the cost. For seasonal employees, it is a great option as well.

Snowbird

Snowbird is an intermediate to advanced mountain, that is generally considered by skiers and snowboarders to be Utah’s best ski resort for expert terrain with some of the steepest skiing in Utah. The resort is located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, about 30 minutes from Salt Lake City next door to Alta. The short driving distance from Salt Lake makes Snowbird one of the most convenient advanced skiing options in the U.S.

The Mountain:

Snowbird is one of our favorite places to ski here at PeakSeason. One run down Silver Fox, and you’ll understand why. The statistical trail breakdown is pretty misleading. When you’re skiing Snowbird, most everything feels like advanced level or higher. The mountain seems to perpetually have deep powder, and there always seems to be an interesting feature for a jump.

It’s not just for extreme skiers though. The Baby Thunder family area has a solid mix of greens and blues for those new to the game, and other lifts (including Snowbirds’ famous Aerial Tram)  tend to have a few blues for intermediates who want to head further up the mountain. But the blacks and double blacks are where Snowbird truly shines.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: 3,240 ft.
  • Base: 7,760 ft.
  • Acreage: 2,500 acres
  • Difficulty: 27% beginner, 38% intermediate, 35% advanced
  • Longest run: 2.5 miles
  • Annual snowfall: 500 inches
  • Terrain park?: Yes

The Local’s Lowdown:

Snowbird is the first choice for Salt Lake City locals on a powder day, thanks to its steep lines. Runs like Silver Fox, the Gad Chutes, and Great Scott can be hair-raising adventures, and as challenging as any inbounds territory around. Utah has plenty of outstanding ski areas, but Snowbird is consistently voted the most challenging.

What’s the best reason to work at Snowbird for the winter? The season pass. Not only do you get Snowbird’s 2,500 acres, but qualifying employees get one day a week next door at Alta (sorry snowboarders).

If you’re planning to spend a season there, your best bet is to find housing in the southeast areas of Salt Lake, as close to the canyon entrance as you can. There’s little housing available nearby Snowbird, but there are regular shuttles that can take you to and from work.

The Verdict

If you love skiing or snowboarding, then there’s no better place for a seasonal job than Snowbird. Besides getting free access to some of the best terrain in the lower 48, you have the convenience of living near a major city. That helps the balance between fun and affordability and will allow you to have a season you’ll never forget.

Solitude

Little Cottonwood Canyon tends to get all the attention, but Solitude can hold its own nearby in Big Cottonwood. Solitude isn’t as large as Snowbird or Alta, but it makes up for it in premium terrain. And thanks to the focus on its neighbors, it often feels less crowded than the choices nearby.

The Mountain:

Solitude is another intermediate-to-advanced Utah ski area that’s all about the sport. The village is relatively subdued (although it’s a metropolis compared to Brighton), and most skiers and boarders will head back to Salt Lake at the end of the day. Prices are fair, an adult walkup ticket costs $115-$125 per day, very reasonable in the context of its competitors.

While only 1,200 acres on its own, Solitude is interconnected with Brighton, offering skiers and riders another 2,600 acres if they want. For us though, there’s plenty of terrain to keep busy. Beginners may find more variety next door at Brighton, however.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: 2,494 ft.
  • Base: 7,994 ft.
  • Acreage: 1,200 acres
  • Difficulty: 10% beginner,40% intermediate, 50% advanced/expert
  • Longest run: 3 miles
  • Annual snowfall: 500+ inches
  • Snowmaking: 150 acres

The Local’s Lowdown:

While you can’t go wrong at any of the Cottonwood Canyon resorts, Solitude is a great choice if you’re looking for aggressive terrain but slightly smaller crowds. The same advantages that exist for employees at other Cottonwood Canyon resorts apply here as well, namely a short commute from Salt Lake City and lower rent because of it.

The Verdict

Solitude chose the perfect name for itself, as its uncrowded slopes do feel calmer than many resorts of similar size. With ample lodging within 45 minutes and a free skier shuttle for employees, this is another great Cottonwood Canyon option for seasonal employees who want challenging terrain and affordable housing options.

Flathead Ski Lift at Sundance

Sundance

Sundance is a truly unique, year-round resort equally notable for its cultural offerings as well as its outdoor activities. Visitors are as likely to take in an art studio visit or catch some live music as they are to take in a zip line tour or, yes, go skiing.

The Mountain:

Sundance is on the smaller side, but it has something to offer everyone. Beginners will stay mostly below the main access lift called Hay’s, while intermediates can continue up the Arrowhead lift to the top. Up there, more advanced skiers will find a few black runs, as well as an area called Far East that has Sundance’s most extreme terrain.

Skiing Stats:

  • Vertical: 2,150 ft.
  • Base: 6,100 ft.
  • Acreage: 450+ acres
  • Difficulty: 33% beginner, 47% intermediate, 20% advanced
  • Longest run: 0.6 miles
  • Annual snowfall: 320 inches
  • Snowmaking: 112 acres
  • Terrain park?: Yes

The Local’s Lowdown:

Sundance is a different animal when it comes to Utah ski resorts. Skiing and snowboarding are just one of the offerings of this small town. Sundance Village was actually founded in 1969 by Robert Redford when he purchased land at the base of Mt. Timpanogogs.

Today, the stated goal of Sundance Village is to offer a community art and nature that would foster artistic pursuits and recreational activity while preserving naturally beautiful and unique environment of Sundance.

For those looking for a more culturally rounded experience, Sundance has plenty to offer. The town regularly hosts art shows, author series, and live music. There are also dozens of outdoor activities to take advantage of from night skiing, to zip tours, to Nordic skiing. Sundance is the small town you’ll never get bored of.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for a blend between outdoor activity and cultural stimulation, Sundance is probably what you’ve been looking for. You won’t find Park City’s nightlife or its massive slopes, but that’s not what Sundance is all about. If you just want a quiet, intriguing lifestyle with a strong outdoor slant to it, definitely check out Sundance.

The Perfect Utah Ski Resort is Waiting for You

Did you find the Utah ski resort you were looking for? Once you’ve found the perfect Utah ski resort, then it’s time to start thinking about winter job ideas. Or maybe you’d prefer to spend a winter season in Colorado instead?

What’s your favorite Utah ski resort? Let us know in the comments below!