Planning Your Big Snow Trip
Let’s plan a powder ski trip to Utah and even help you save some time and money while you’re there. Just answer these three questions: Who? When? How much?
Who is going on this trip?
Experienced powder skiers, families, snowboarders, nonskiers? Utah has a wide range of resorts in urban to remote locations catering to beginner to Olympic skiers and snowboarders looking for powder paradise and everything else. Although there’s no guarantee you’ll see fresh pow, especially if planning your vacation months in advance, there are seasonal indicators (i.e., El Niño, La Niña) that may help predict which areas of Utah are more favorable for big storms. Check Utah ski weather forecasts for daily and long-range reports and go ahead and bookmark Ski Utah’s Official Utah Snow Report.
Yes, you can stay at one resort and chase powder at another! Transportation and lodging options are plentiful throughout the state making it easy to become a Utah powderhound. So, stay a few nights in Park City and, if a storm is predicted in the Cottonwood Canyons, then move to a lodge there and wake up to powder.
Although snowplows and avalanche patrols clear the highways as quickly as possible (Utah schools rarely close for snow), winter driving conditions should always be monitored and respected.
All-wheel drive cars, SUVs or chains are required in the Cottonwood Canyons all season long and recommended everywhere else in Utah. Request one in advance when renting. If you don’t want to drive, then consider a transportation shuttle service, Lyft, Uber or Uber Ski (with ski racks). The UTA Ski Bus can take you from Salt Lake Valley to the Cottonwood Canyon resorts and, in Park City, the city bus is free as well as a great way to find out where to ski, dine and listen to great music. During the Sundance Film Festival, you might also run into a celebrity or two.
If you have nonskiers, then the Cottonwood Canyons resorts (Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, Brighton) near Salt Lake City or Snowbasin and Powder Mountain near Ogden provide numerous entertainment, cultural and shopping activities to give them a fantastic vacation while you’re snorkeling through the State’s deepest powder. Also, although Deer Valley and Alta are skier-only resorts, snowboarders will find their big snow bliss at adjacent Park City and Snowbird.
If you want powder, powder and more … then consider catskiing at a resort for one run or an entire day, or reserve a spot for heli-skiing and a luxe yurt at Whisper Ridge, Utah’s only backcountry ski resort.
For someone hoping for a beach vacation, suggest the Southern Utah resorts including Brian Head and Eagle Point. These aren’t on the beach, but if you fly into Las Vegas and spend a few days by a pool in St. George or canyoneering near Zion National Park before you dive into the nearby powder, they might forgive you.