Alta is for skiers only – no snowboards – and shares Little Cottonwood Canyon with Snowbird. Fortunate geography blesses Alta and Snowbird with more snow than other Salt Lake area resorts. Alta is great for no-nonsense advanced skiers, but beginners and intermediates will also find plenty of runs at their level. Alta is sometimes described as “steep, deep, and cheap,” a skier’s ski resort with not too much emphasis on dining or nightlife, although you can certainly find plenty of good food and drink.
Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon is a hip, elegant resort and an advanced skier or boarder’s paradise, with piles of Utah powder and acres of challenging terrain. Along with Alta, it gets more snow than any other Utah resort, with the season sometimes extending from October to May or even June. It’s truly one of the best ski areas in the country and has repeatedly been rated number one in top ski magazines and websites. One tip: the ratings on Snowbird’s runs are a little low – their greens would be other resorts’ blues, their blues other resorts’ blacks, etc.
Brighton is an SLC locals’ favorite for its low prices, kids ski free policy, and popular ski school. Many Salt Lake residents learned to ski at Brighton, continued to ski or board there as high school and college students, and now take their own children for skiing and boarding lessons. Brighton has a great mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain. It shares Big Cottonwood Canyon with Solitude.
Solitude, in Big Cottonwood Canyon, lives up to its name with uncrowded conditions and untracked snow, especially in its famed Honeycomb Canyon. Like Brighton, the other Big Cottonwood resort, it supplies a good mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain. Solitude includes a small village.