A Guide to skiing the Wasatch Mountains in Utah
The sun peaks through the trees at Alta Ski Area | Photo: Zach Dischner | Cover: Park City Mountain

The Wasatch is the veritable birthplace of powder skiing in the United States and if you’re looking for a ski vacation with plenty of snow and easy access, this famed Utah mountain range is a spectacular option.

What To Expect

There’s a reason why the Utah state motto is “The Greatest Snow On Earth.” Just east of Salt Lake City, the Wasatch Range receives outrageous snowfall totals (Snowbird/Alta average 500+” each season).

With 7 world-class ski resorts less than an hour’s drive from the Salt Lake City airport, getting from the baggage claim to the slopes is a cinch, making this a prime-time destination for powder chasers and families alike.

The highest base elevation in the region is Alta Ski Area, which sits at 8,530’. If altitude is an issue, Deer Valley’s base sits at roughly 6,500’.


Skiing in the Wasatch Utah
A common sight in the Wasatch | Photo: Shaan Hurley

Whether you’re an adventure skier looking for steep + deep or a family skiing for the first time, there’s something for everybody in Utah.

When booking a Wasatch ski trip or any ski trip for that matter, it’s important to remember that traveling during the winter can prove difficult. Flight delays, cancellations, and road closures are common. It’s all part of the ski-trip experience.

When something does go wrong, Ski.com’s Mountain Travel Experts will do their absolute best to help get clients to their destination and into the fresh snow as quickly and safely as possible.

If this is your first ski trip ever, check out our FIRST TIMER’S GUIDE.

When To Go

The Wasatch is usually in mid-winter form by the Holiday Season. Starting in December, the Pacific typically churns out powerful storms that slam into Utah’s high peaks, delivering copious amounts of snowfall. That trend typically lasts through March and sometimes into late April, making this region one of the most reliable destinations snow-wise in the western USA.

Where To Go

Park City Mountain Resort

Park City Mountain Resort
A perennial favorite among parents | Photo: Park City Mountain

PARK CITY MOUNTAIN RESORT is the largest single ski area in the United States and as such, sports something for just about every skier or rider. Massive terrain parks, wide open glades, well manicured groomers and its own unique set of steeps are all part of the massive, 7,300+ acre ski domain.

After skiing and riding, the town of Park City is just as much a joy to explore as the mountain itself. If arts & culture are a top priority, Sundance Film Festival is a must-attend event and showcases the film industry’s most promising up-and-coming actors, directors, and filmmakers. Stay at the Waldorf Astoria Park City for next level, 5-star accommodations.

Stay here: Waldorf Astoria Park City

Deer Valley

Deer Valley ski resort
Deep at the Deer | Photo: Deer Valley Resort

DEER VALLEY RESORT is a posh, “skier’s only” destination that offers a plethora of fantastic tree skiing and groomed terrain. Just a 5 minute drive past Park City Mountain, Deer Valley is known for its uncrowded slopes, a plethora of luxury accommodations, and dining fit for a king.

The home mountain of ski legend, Stein Eriksen, Deer Valley also retains one of the best ski schools in the nation. For that person looking to escape the hustle and bustle, Deer Valley is the perfect getaway.

Where to Stay: Stein Eriksen Lodge


Alta ski area lodging
Off to work | Photo: Alta Ski Area

Perched above Salt Lake City between the dramatic peaks of Little Cottonwood Canyon, ALTA SKI AREA is a “skiers only” mountain that sees over 500” of snowfall on average each winter. The big attraction for Alta, besides its vastly underrated grooming, is the deep powder snow.  From the classicly antiquated Wildcat lift to the high speed Collins chair, the old and new world of skiing live in harmony at Alta.

For the apres enthusiasts, The Peruvian Bar is a must see experience. Just make sure to practice dancing in your ski boots prior to walking in the front door.

Where to Stay: The Alta Peruvian Lodge


Snowbird resort
The biggest and fastest lift in the Wasatch | Photo: Snowbird Resort

For advanced intermediates and experts, SNOWBIRD is a dream come true. Upon arriving at the base area, the first thing visitors will notice is the behemoth tram. From the bottom terminal, the ride to the top of Hidden Peak itself takes just 10 minutes and places its occupants atop some of the most challenging terrain in North America.

Beginners will be delighted by the expansive groomers accessed by the lower mountain lifts, Wilbere, Chickadee, and Baby Thunder.

Where to Stay: The Cliff Lodge


Solitude ski resort
Finding solitude in Big Cottonwood Canyon | Photo: Solitude Mountain Resort

The first ski area in Big Cottonwood Canyon, SOLITUDE MOUNTAIN RESORT is an amazing mountain playground for everyone from beginners to experts. In fact, 50% of its terrain is designated as either beginner or intermediate. This destination also features one of the best nordic ski centers in the state of Utah for those looking to break up their days with a little cross country in between downhill days.

Besides great skiing, Solitude offers more expansive than its down-home neighbor, Brighton. So if exploring Big Cottonwood Canyon is on your bucket list, Solitude is the best base camp from which to explore the area.

Where to Stay: Inn At Solitude


Brighton ski resort
Silky smooth groomers | Photo: Brighton Resort

BRIGHTON RESORT is a local’s favorite mountain near the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. What it lacks in amenities, this unique destination more than makes up for in amazing terrain. For a decade or more, Brighton has been home to a large snowboarding crowd thanks to its playful terrain, chutes, and multitude of terrain parks that are otherwise hard-to-come-by at other Utah resorts.

Brighton is also home to some of the best night skiing in the nation with 200 acres of illuminated terrain open Monday-Saturday.


Sundance ski resort
Big mountains and small crowds | Photo: Sundance Resort

Founded by movie star, Robert Redford, SUNDANCE MOUNTAIN RESORT is visually stunning and offers enough terrain to keep skiers and riders entertained for the entirety of their vacation. With approximately 20% beginner terrain, the resort caters mostly to the expert-minded.

For those looking to relax, the Spa at Sundance offers everything from facials to all-day wellness retreats, after which a customary cocktail at the Owl Bar is only appropriate.

Where to Stay: Mountain Chalet Home