5 Reasons Utah is One of the Greatest Ski Destinations

Newsroom Travel 5 Reasons Utah is One of the Greatest Ski Destinations

Sponsored by the Utah Office of Tourism

Utah, home to 15 ski resorts, is without question a world-class ski destination. Skiing is at the core of what makes Utah—well, Utah. Home to The Greatest Snow on Earth®, Utah averages an impressive 500 inches of snow annually. Combine that with unmatched terrain and an average of 125 sunny days per year in the Salt Lake Valley alone, and you’ll see why it’s so magical. Utah is the stuff of skiers’ dreams.  

But Utah’s allure extends beyond its legendary snow. Wide-open vistas, historic main streets, and storied Olympic venues invite exploration by day, while Utah’s après-ski scene comes alive by night, offering a perfect blend of world-class vintage taverns at mountain resorts and modern bars near downtown hotels. Join us on this journey as we delve into the heart of Utah’s winter treasures, discovering why it stands as one of the greatest ski destinations on Earth. 

Bluebird day in Utah with mountains covered in snow
©Utah Office of Tourism, Wasatch Mountains

Why Utah Is One of the Greatest Ski Destinations

The Greatest Snow on Earth® 

The Greatest Snow on Earth® isn’t just a tagline. A combination of climate conditions makes the Wasatch Range one of the snowiest ski regions in America. When storms roll in from the northwest, warm, moist air is closely followed by cold air that creates the low-density fluff skiers refer to as “cold smoke” powder. This, plus Utah’s high altitude and low humidity, results in snow that’s not only abundant but also incredibly light. It doesn’t get better than this on a powder day. 

The best way to experience that deep Utah powder is by sending it down steeper terrain, which Utah has plenty of. The Wasatch Range, home to 11 of Utah’s 15 ski resorts, is chock-full of steep angles and long vertical drops, creating pristine riding conditions for powder hounds. 

Amie Engerbretson skiing through powder on a bluebird day in Utah
©Adam Clark, Alta

Utah’s Easy Access 

Skiers and riders can see the slopes as they fly into Salt Lake City International Airport. And those ski resorts in the Wasatch Range we mentioned? Ten of them are within an hour’s drive of the airport. The storied Big and Little Cottonwood canyons, home to Brighton, Solitude, Alta, and Snowbird, are about 45 minutes from baggage claim. A little further east, and you’re in reach of Deer Valley, Park City Mountain, and Woodward Park City. North, you’ll find Powder Mountain, Snowbasin, and Nordic Valley. And to the south is Sundance Mountain Resort, Robert Redford’s Utah paradise. 

Top Ski Towns 

Utah’s charm extends beyond its slopes to its vibrant ski towns. From the urban edges of Salt Lake City to the historic streets of Park City and the welcoming small town of Ogden, there’s a town to suit every traveler’s taste.  

In Salt Lake City, it’s easy to balance city life and outdoor recreation, a rare attribute that sets it apart from other U.S. ski havens. Whether you’re looking for an upscale cocktail bar, a local brewery, a lively music venue, or a divey pool hall, Salt Lake City’s après-ski scene has it all. And public transportation makes access easy — UTA Ski Buses provide seasonal service to ski resorts along the Wasatch Mountains. 

Ogden is a genuine small-town experience, yet overflowing with great accommodations, restaurants, bars, and shops. Plus, it’s just 30 minutes from three ski resorts and 12,000 acres of skiable terrain. Park City is your ultimate mountain town. A charming but robust Main Street hangs on to its mining town roots and is brimming with upscale dining and shopping experiences with a mix of local haunts. Park City’s Town Lift directly connects Park City Mountain to historic downtown Park City, making an après-ski experience in town more accessible than ever. 

Group of friends enjoying food and drinks on a ski resort patio in Park City
©Michael Kunde, Park City Mountain

Off-Resort Adventures 

Winter isn’t just about skiing in Utah. Beyond the slopes, open vistas beckon. Discover the thrill of dog sledding, explore snowshoe trails, or simply soak in the breathtaking scenery. Take a detour to the Ice Castles at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center (home to the 2002 Olympic Nordic venues) in Midway. Or, pop off your skis and hop on a fat tire bike for an active and exciting way to explore Utah’s many remote trails, ridges, and valleys. Snow tubing is fun for the whole family, and Woodward Park City has an incredible course. When you’re done outside, their indoor park offers foam pits and trampoline fun for aspiring freestyle athletes and families alike.

Group of friends tubing down a snow tubing lane
©Michael Kunde, Soldier Hollow

Spend the day out of bounds, tracking turns on untouched snow in the backcountry with the help of Utah’s many guided cat-skiing, heli-skiing, and snow-kiting adventures. Rent a snowmobile and have an expert lead you around Utah’s wide-open spaces before returning for a toast at one of the great local ski towns. With so much to do, Utah ensures that skiing is just the beginning of your winter adventure. 

Elevate Après-Ski 

Whether you’re grabbing a pint at the mountain tavern or seeking out fine dining in downtown Salt Lake, there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and unique nightlife experiences to explore in Utah.  

Catch a band and shoot pool with locals at The Hog Wallow Pub at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon, or head downtown, and watch a game while sampling beer and cider from all over the Mountain West at Beer Bar. Duck into the Peruvian Bar or Tram Club in Little Cottonwood Canyon to fraternize with Freeride World Tour athletes and Utah visitors alike. Or make a reservation in Park City at High West Distillery — the world’s first ski-in and ski-out distillery — for a taste of some of Utah’s best spirits before heading to The Spur on Main Street where you’ll find live music every night. Pop champagne at the St. Regis Deer Valley, or cuddle up at a heated rooftop bar in downtown Salt Lake City like Van Ryder or the Crown Bar.   

Utah’s winter wonders extend far beyond its reputation for The Greatest Snow on Earth®. From easy ski slope access and top-tier ski towns, to off-day adventures and unforgettable après experiences, Utah makes for the ultimate winter getaway. Start planning your trip at visitutah.com/welcome-to-winter. 

Hero image ©Scott Markewitz, Snowbird

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