A long-kept secret, amazing snow
Difficult to get around on-piste
Solitude? The resort gets a “huh” from many people who haven’t been to Utah. It’s not as renowned as neighboring Snowbird or Alta. It’s not as favored by locals as Brighton. But it’s still a great resort to get some terrific turns in at. And you really can’t beat the price.
Solitude’s front side is small but boasts terrific terrain with groomers galore. My favorite frontside run—Sunshine Bowl—is a great little intermediate run that wide and soft, and even when the rest of the resort was wind-blown and icy, Sunshine Bowl was still soft and snowy. But the gem in Solitude’s crown isn’t it’s frontside or groomers—it’s the backside, and specifically, Honeycomb Canyon.
Honeycomb Canyon is anything any skier type wants it to be. If you’re like me—an intermediate to advanced skier, wanting to break the groomer trend and get into something a little bit more advanced—Honeycomb Canyon is your answer. Traverse along the bottom of double blacks to get the edge of expert terrain without the cost (hiking). Or, if you are an expert skier, strap on your skis and hike the ridgeline to ski some shoots that empty into an advanced cat track that goes right down the middle of Honeycomb. The snow is always fresh and deep in Honeycomb, even when the wind is whipping the snow off the frontside. Honeycomb can be handled by intermediate to expert skiers alike, and is well worth the three-lift return trip (Honeycomb Return to Sunrise to Summit chair).
Solitude’s base village is new and improved as well, although seating is still limited. The lift ticket system seems to be a good idea, but I had a hard time making it work, until I realized you have to wave your pass in front of the metal part of the gate; not the white part. I never got a chance to use the vertical lift data thing either (that’s why I have a ski watch!). The lifties are friendly as well, although their job is almost fazed out by the wireless ticket gates (you get a ticket with an RFID chip in it that allows you to pass through the gate), they seem upbeat. The wireless ticket system makes liftlines nearly non-existent at the mid-mountain lifts, although the base lift areas tend to be busier as people struggle to figure out how to make the wireless lift tickets work.
Solitude, for the money, is a great place to go if it’s a weekend, because you can bet Honeycomb Canyon won’t be nearly as busy as the rest of the Cottonwood canyon resorts (unless it’s a powder day). If you are looking for a great groomer experience, the groomers usually are windswept and icier that most other resorts, plus the few selection of groomers makes it less of an option. If you want groomers, check Snowbird or the Park City resorts instead. But if you want some great powder turns days after a storm, get your cheap lift ticket and head back to Honeycomb Canyon.