Snow, Lack of Crowds, Vibe
Few Groomers, Becoming more generic
Solitude is "it"! I had a pass at Solitude for 6 of the 8 years that I lived in UT and I still make a return trip to ski there every year because it is simply "it"! All of skidom will tell you that Alta is the place but just ask all the "Altaholics" where they go when either Little Cottonwood is closed or it's a weekend powder day and they'll all tell you Solitude. Although there aren't a lot of groomed options at Solitude the ones that are there are interesting and anything but mundane. The advanced terrain is unmatched for a resort of this size and if the trail sign has a double diamond then you had better have your skills together or else you may find yourself in big big trouble. One really cool aspect of Solitude is the backcountry access (probe, shovel, beacon and knowledge REQUIRED). When the Highway To Heaven gates are open then the world is your oyster with unlimited untracked lines through some of the sickest terrain you will ever see. Pretty much all of the terrain that is in your line of sight from the gate is easily accessable and there is a return trail from Brighton that will bring you back around to the Solitude base...that reminds me, don't bother with the Solitude-Brighton combo ticket, just ski one or the other on any given day and save your money, its just not worth it. Speaking of tickets the resort offers a ticket that is good for either 10 or 20 rides that can be spread out over several days making the backcountry options sweeter! The beginer stuff is a little short but it is somewhat separated from the other terrain making it a pleasant environment for novices and families. If you arrive at the resort with your ticket already in hand (you can purchase discounted lift tickets at the ski shop at the mouth of Big Cottonwood canyon, next to the 7-11) then you should enter the lower parking lot and go all the way to the right where you can put your skis on and ski down to the quad chair and then at the end of the day you can just catch the Postcard run and ski right back to your car with no walking. If you are staying in the village then you're all set, that is unless you were looking for something to do after skiing. That being said, the Thirsty Squirrel is a fun (but expensive) bar and there is also Molly's up at Brighton (a mile up the road, there used to be a shuttle bus but I'm not sure about that anymore). If you're looking for breakfast or lunch, the Silverfork Lodge (about a mile down the road from Solitude) is a very nice off mountain option...much more local flavor, not so "resorty" feeling. The couple of restaurants that are right in the village are quite good but I've never been too sure about the food at the Moonbeam base lodge. The mid-mountain Sunshine Grill is an awesome place to catch some rays and grab a burger on the deck. Although the owners have tried to make Solitude into just another resort with the ubiquitous base village and destination tourists they have failed to rob the place of it's oldtime feel and local vibe which is the main reason that Solitude is "it"!