Powder Dreams 3-Day Ski Itinerary

A three-day ski vacation with quick access to three distinct ski areas and a choice of seven resorts.

A three-day powder dream ski vacation with quick access to three distinct ski areas and a choice of seven resorts — all known for their seemingly endless stashes of deep powder. In “Ski City” and Ogden, you can ski or ride all day then relax slopeside for the night, or make the short trip back to the city for a night on the town.

Salt Lake City isn't your regular ski town. It's the only Ski City. With big city, world-class amenities galore and 10 different resorts within an hour of Salt Lake City International Airport, Salt Lake City, Utah ski trips can  satiate any skier's or snowboarder's lust for powder. And not just any powder. Utah’s own brand of powder, the fluffy stuff with perfect floatation we call The Greatest Snow on Earth®.

Best of all, living your powder dreams can be budget-friendly, or can tap a metropolitan lifestyle and high culture. This three-day itinerary visits your choice of Ski City’s four resorts, plus makes the short drive north for a bonus day on one of Ogden’s resorts. Once you get a taste for Utah ski trips — and once you realize how close it all is — you may never want to ski anywhere else.

 


  

Day 1: Salt Lake City to Big Cottonwood Canyon

Big Cottonwood Canyon delivering the goods. Photo: Adam Clark
Big Cottonwood Canyon delivering the goods. Photo: Adam Clark

Stay in: Salt Lake City or slopeside at Brighton or Solitude.

The Drive: It’s less than 10 minutes from SLC International to downtown, and roughly 30–40 minutes to the top ofthe canyon. Add a few minutes for canyon ski traffic on the weekend.

The Resorts: Brighton Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort

Choose from 150 hotels for a base camp in Salt Lake City, which offer the best access to the city’s culture, nightlife and 1,000+ restaurants (taste some of the best in The Perfect Meal), while lodging at the resort offers cozy mountain accommodations at great rates and the shortest path to first chair if you’re less of a morning person and want the extra 30 minutes of sleep.

Ski City's Big Cottonwood Canyon resorts — Solitude and Brighton — are the closest to Salt Lake City — each only a little more than 30 minutes from downtown. Big Cottonwood Canyon resorts each see an average of over 500 inches of The Greatest Snow on Earth per year.

The amenities, accessibility and affordability make Brighton and Solitude a great deal – it’s no stretch to say they’re some of the best family ski resorts on Earth.

While you and your family can enjoy one incredible day at either resort, they also offer the combined Sol-Bright Pass, which enables skiers to access your choice of 15 lifts and over the resorts’ combined 2250 skiable acres and 130 named runs. The Sol-Bright access trail is from the Milly lift in Brighton, though less-experienced skiers may opt for the short bus trip.

Brighton has one of Utah’s longest ski school traditions, multiple terrain parks for riders and excellent night skiing. Milly Bowl is a powdery playground that can keep you interested all day.

Deer Valley’s recent acquisition of Solitude is ushering in an era of legendary customer service and incredible dining experiences in the resort’s European-style village and base (complete with Nordic center and ice skating) and mid-mountain. Don't miss Honeycomb Canyon.

The City: Visitors to downtown may ride TRAX light rail and buses for free in the Free Fare Zone, including between the family friendly ice skating of Gallivan Plaza, the holiday-season lights of Temple Square, City Creek retail shopping, and the Vivint Smart Home Arena where the Utah Jazz play, and near the children's museum, Discovery Gateway.

With a family and extra time to explore, consider spending a day indoors at one of many museums, including the Natural History Museum of Utah, where you can explore everything from dinosaurs to gems to ancient history and the wonders of the sky.

Read: Family and Budget

 


  

Day 2: Salt Lake to Little Cottonwood Canyon

Keep your tips up in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Photo: Paul Morrison
Keep your tips up in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Photo: Paul Morrison

Stay in: Salt Lake City or slopeside at Alta or Snowbird.

The Drive: Return to Salt Lake base camp after skiing Big Cottonwood Canyon or head straight to a lodge or hotel up Little Cottonwood. It’s about 35 minutes back downtown, or 45 minutes to the top of the neighboring canyon. Add a few minutes for canyon ski traffic on the weekend.

The Resorts: Alta Ski Area and Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort

 

Big Cottonwood Canyon’s not-so-little sibling to the south, Little Cottonwood Canyon, also offers quick metro-to-mountain access and the same option to pick a single resort, or purchase a combined pass. Both offer extensive lodging options and amenities, ranging from inexpensive dorm-style rooms at Alta and rustic bars to the fine dining and renowned rooftop spa of Snowbird’s Cliff Lodge. You’ll also find plenty of gear rental outfitters if you don’t have your own equipment.

The AltaSnowbird Pass enables skiers to access both resorts' terrain via a connection gate at the saddle separating Alta's Albion Basin and Snowbird's Mineral Basin. The result is a combined 4,700 acres and some 283 runs. Though there’s a good balance among beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain (with the edge going to intermediate and advanced), both resorts offer some of Utah’s best steep and deep.

Alta Ski Area is a skier's paradise (no snowboards allowed) that receives 550 inches of the fluffy white stuff per year on average and features a vertical drop of more than 2,000 feet and some of Utah’s most storied ski runs, like the infamous High Rustler.

While there’s great terrain for beginners at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, expert skiers and riders can carve first tracks in wide-open bowls, fly down steep chutes, and make their way through the mountain itself on North America's only ski tunnel. Be sure to hit the 1,200 vertical feet and 40-degree pitch of North Baldy. New for 2016 is the 23,000-square-foot Summit Lodge on Snowbird's Hidden Peak, which offers a local-inspired menu with an 11,000-foot view.

The City: When the sun goes down and the ski slopes empty out, head downtown and soak up the metropolitan culture and nightlife of this world-class city. Some of the best bars and restaurants are conveniently clustered downtown. Arts lovers will enjoy catching a performance at the Utah Symphony or Utah Opera. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir also dishes up world-class performances on Temple Square while dance aficionados can enjoy ballerinas performing at Ballet West or take in a contemporary dance performance.

Read: Culture Élevé

 


 

Day 3: Salt Lake to Ogden

Equally enjoyable snow and views at Powder Mountain. Photo: Chris Pearson/Ski Utah
Equally enjoyable snow and views at Powder Mountain. Photo: Chris Pearson/Ski Utah

The Drive: On I-15 northbound, it’s less than an hour to the Ogden Valley. It’s about 30 minutes back to downtown Ogden.

The Resorts: Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, Nordic Valley


The Ogden Valley is currently home to some 10,500 of skiable acres with nearly 300 named runs — a number that’s growing as one resort, Nordic Valley, expands. Spend a day on the slopes of one of three resorts, then grab an early meal in Ogden Valley or extend your night on the historic, lively and artsy 25th Street area of downtown Ogden.

During the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Snowbasin was the site for men and women’s downhill, super G and combined races. You'll see why this epic resort was selected for three competitions with its 3,000 skiable acres, 3,000 vertical feet and luxurious day lodges. The view into the Ogden Valley from the Gondola is alone worth the ride up the mountain.

The largest of the three Ogden ski resorts, Powder Mountain, offers prime powder stashes on this sprawling mountainscape with 7,000 acres of skiable terrain. Skiers relish in both the groomed slopes and the sidecountry and backcountry acres like the incredible Shug’r Bowl. Steep, untouched and unbelievable, Shug’r Bowl is pure mountain bliss. Accessible only by snowcat, it’s like a VIP room for powder hounds and exactly what you would expect from a resort with powder in its name.

Work is underway to grow this boutique resort to 2,000 acres from its current 500. For now, you’ll enjoy the intimate slopes of Nordic Valley that still showcase great variety, excellent night skiing, and a terrain park with more than 20 features.

The City: The Ogden ski resorts aren’t the only attractions in town. Be sure to check out historic downtown Ogden during your time in the valley. The downtown district offers prime dining, entertainment, and nightlife. Select from more than a dozen independent art galleries and museums, including Ogden's Union Station which includes four museums, two galleries, and the town's historic train station. Foodies should make a note to visit Hearth on 25th and Pig & A Jelly Jar, a Salt Lake favorite that recently opened up shop in Ogden.

Read the Ogden City Quick Guide to learn more. You can find the latest snowfall reports on our Ski and Snow Sports page.

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SLC to Ogden

Ski City's four resorts are 30 to 45 minutes from downtown but it's only about an hour to the Ogden area's three resorts.