By Wendy Pan
Utah has thirteen world-class ski resorts that boast the “Greatest Snow on Earth.” Ski resorts in the Wasatch Mountains receive up to 500 inches of dry, fluffy snow that lends itself to some of the best skiing and snowboarding conditions in the world. The Great Salt Lake is the direct reason for the quality of snow found in Utah. It creates a weather phenomenon known locally as the “dreaded lake effect.” Salt water does not freeze so during Utah’s winters, cold air settles over the lake. There, the air is warmed by the lake’s temperature. As the air warms, it rises over the peaks of the Uintas along the Wasatch Front, where it cools and sends flurries of snow into the canyons. This creates optimal snow conditions for snowboarding in Utah.
Snowboarding in Utah is restricted at Alta Ski Resort, one of only a handful of resorts nationwide that have placed restricitons on snowboarders. Alta’s sister resort, Snowbird does allow snowboarders. There are runs that link between the two resorts, so if you are a snowboarder, be sure to follow Snowbird’s runs to avoid being banned at Alta’s lift lines.
You may need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to access some of these resorts in January. Make sure to place chains on your tires before heading up Logan Canyon.
Beaver Mountain in Logan – A beginner-friendly resort.
Powder Mountain in Ogden – This resort as the most acres of any resort in America with over 5,500 acres and a half-pipe.
Snowbasin in Ogden – Has a Superpipe for snowboarders.
Wolf Mountain near Stoddard – Far away from Salt Lake City and is less crowded than other Northern Resorts
Ski resorts are found in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Little Cottonwood Canyon and up Parley’s Canyon. All of these canyons are extremely dangerous to drive in the winter. Your best bet is to park in one of the parking lots at the bases of these canyons and take the bus to the resorts. Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and all of the Park City resorts have on-site lodging.
Brighton in Salt Lake City – This is the best snowboard resort near Salt Lake City. Has a popular half-pipe.
The Canyons in Park City – Six half-pipes for boarders. Upscale and pricey.
Deer Valley in Park City – Prices here are good for locals.
Park City – Intermediate runs for snowboarders.
Snowbird in Salt Lake City – Don’t buy the AltaSnowbird One Pass if you’re a snowboarder. Alta is forbidden to boarders.
Solitude in Salt Lake City – An average resort with two high-speed lifts.
Brian Head is near Dixie National Forest and Bryce Canyon. If you get a chance, make sure to drive by and take a look at the scenery. You can find lodging for Sundance in Midway or Heber City.
Sundance in Provo – One of the prettiest places to shred.
Brian Head in Cedar City – This is the only resort in Southern Utah.
Get some great specials and be close to all the resorts!
Great skiing and close proximity to several resorts. Very nice accommodations, nice to have a garage and large living area – big T.V., and an X-Box! YES!!- Jim Jacobs from North Carolina