The 10 Commandments of Utah Skiing
A state that puts “The Greatest Snow on Earth” on their licence plate is a must-visit ski destination.
1. Meet Thy New Apostles
Deer Valley, Brighton, Solitude, Alta, Snowbird, Park City, the Canyons, Snowbasin, Sundance, Powder Mountain. All within an hour of Salt Lake City. So, as a result…
2. Thou Shalt Never Spend More Than an Hour Driving to a Ski Hill
Snowbasin is 55 minutes north of Salt Lake City. Park City and Deer Valley are 40 minutes to the northwest, Alta and Snowbird are 45 minutes west-northwest; all are reached by wide, cleared, beautifully engineered freeways as if the ski hills were thought out first and the city followed to bask in their greatness.
3. Thy On-Hill Accommodation Shall Be the Nicest in the World
The Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley is a legendary mountain hotel that’s topped the list of best mountain hotels for ages. And it’s the third-nicest hotel at Deer Valley. The new St. Regis has its own funicular to transport you to its exclusive lobby, and it’s still not as nice the new Montage Deer Valley.
4. Snowboards are the Devil’s Playthings
At least according to Deer Valley and Alta, two of the three resorts in North America that continue to ban the board. (All of which only inspire boarders everywhere to sneak on the hills and post thousands of YouTube videos of them “still stickin’ it to the man.”)
5. Thine Bathrooms Shall Be Fit for a King
At least at the criminally underused Snowbasin resort, where the mid-mountain John Paul lodges not only have marble and wood WCs that look like they’ve been airlifted from the Waldorf Astoria, but also elevators and a great view of the 2000 Olympic Downhill course—what is this, Europe?
6. Thou Shalt Not Wait in Line
The beauty of having 14 ski resorts within a short drive of Salt Lake City is that if one ever gets too crowded, people just move to the next one. There’s no such thing as waiting in line for 25 minutes down here. Deer Valley goes one better by capping the number of lift tickets they sell—a novel idea when you’re charging someone more $100 per day to ski.
7. Your Breath Shall Be Thin in My Presence
At 8,530 feet, the base of Alta is 400 feet higher than the peak of Whistler, so prepare to spend a few days sucking air when doing even the most basic of tasks, like hauling your skis the 20 feet from the rack to the lift. Drink lots of water.
8. Thine Snow Shall Reign Supreme
You can argue all sorts of indicators of skiing greatness. But what you can’t argue is that there’s a place where the snow is as light and fresh as Utah.
9. Thou Shall Have Après Ski with Some History
The perpetually packed Peruvian at Alta opened in 1948. Park City’s amazing No Name Saloon opened in 1903. The Shooting Star in Huntsville (near Snowbasin) 24 years before that. You can drive up and down the Rockies and you’ll never find three better bars than these, and they’re in Utah no less. Now that’s hospitality.
10. And on the Seventh Day (as well as the first through sixth) We Shall Go Skiing. Amen.