I moved to Salt Lake 2 years ago and this is the first season that I've been able to ski 3x a month. I have been trying to sample each resort in the Salt Lake area and have been to 6 so far. It also important to note that I am a blue/double blue/groomed black skiier who has not learned how to ski deep powder or double blacks yet. So amenities like restaurants and hotels are unimportant to me, and so is expert only terrain like 9990. (I am not a bunny slope skiier though, as many on this board accuse Canyon critics of being.)
The canyons has its appeal: It is the most deeply discounted Park City area resort at local discount ticket outlets ($99 for 2 tix at Costco). The ski areas on the far left and far right of the map had the right type of terrain for me and no crowd issues at all. However, I have more complaints about the Canyons than I have for other local ski resorts.
1) Dispersed Layout: it takes 4 or five different lift rides to zig zag your way from one side to another. And if you do decide to zig zag, you only have a couple of trail options that will work. You really have to plan, and a good portion of these traverses will feel like a means to an end, rather than feeling like truly enjoyable ski runs. You need to pole and then walk to get from the Super Condor area to the base.
2) Condo development: Skiing on veritable roads through McMansion development is only moderately more enjoyable than driving though McMansion Development. Compared to skiing in unspoiled Wasatch nature, its downright obnoxious. And The Canyons is the biggest offender in Utah.
3) The Vertical: is not that impressive, per run. About 900-1,200 feet per lift, no exceptions. That Gondola should go all the way to the top of the mountain.
4) Snow Quality (for Utah): The Park city side gets about 40% less snow than The cottonwoods, and the Canyons snow seems to be slightly worse than the other Park City resorts in the blues. In addition to the lesser grooming, the snow seems to be crunchier and more granular, despite the fact this year has seen some monster snowfall.
5) Trail Rating: This helps me plan an enjoyable day. There are essentially no greens on the trailmap. But a survey of the blues finds plenty of runs that should absolutely be green, but also some steep slopes with vicious fields of muguls. You can get trapped on inappropriate terrain again and again with the indiscriminate blue square ratings.
Note: This is comparing Canyons with 5 other world class resorts I've been to in the Salt Lake area. Utah has made me spoiled. The Canyons is still a great resort and a valuable asset to Northern Utah.