Utah for skiing with the family?

I’m looking for education on the Utah ski resorts for families.

I’ve skied a lot in my lifetime, but never Utah for some reason. This trip will be with my wife (still a beginner despite a few trips) and my 5 year old daughter for her first trip skiing. I’m a pretty advanced skier, but this trip will not be about me. This will be a family trip and it will be important for my wife and my daughter to have a good experience.

Since I’ve never skied in Utah, I’m kind of clueless about the resorts and how they generally are geared. I know Alta is for serious skiers (not us on this trip) and Deer Valley is known for luxury, but that’s about it. Overall we’re flexible on accommodations, but generally get a condo.

Bonus question: Is BYO allowed in Utah?

I’d recommend Park City for a family, without hesitation. You have three resorts to choose from - Park City, Deer Valley, and The Canyons - all of which have a wide variety of terrain and several hotels to choose from. All are family friendly, with plenty of beginner and intermediate terrain and are quite close to one another. It’s easy to stay at the base of one mountain and take a shuttle to any of these three resorts from your hotel, so you can explore a few during your stay.

Park City is also a fun town to walk around, with plenty of restaurants, shops, art galleries, and photography studios. While not nearly as steep as Alta, Snowbird, or Solitude, any of these Park City resorts would offer you some great runs if you have time to sneak in a few on your own. That being said, I would highly recommend a separate trip to Alta or Snowbird at some point in your life - skiing waist deep powder at these mountains is what dreams are made of. Maybe you can bring your daughter there in 10 years!

Surprisingly, corkage is legal in Utah (if the restaurant has a wine/liquor license). Interestingly enough, I believe it is illegal for a server to taste wine, but may be off on this.

Have a great trip!

Alta actually has pleasant beginner and intermediate terrain. Since its inception it has been considered a family resort.
No nightlife, however.
Skiing at Park City is annoying unless you take a series of lifts to the back bowls. Same with Canyons.
Deer Valley has the best dining options, but it is not called Doe Valley for nothing. Why be frustrated.
Brighton/Solitude have something for everyone, but as the closest SLC destination, it is packed on weekends.
There is great backside skiing when conditions are good. Food pretty much sucks.

Just from my family’s perspective, we have tried all of the above, and Snow Basin too, multiple times. We settled on Alta/Snowbird.

P Hickner

Thanks to Adam and Peter!

I don’t quite understand the layout of the Park City area resorts. At Park City, what is the access to the ski area like? Is ski in/ski out much of an option or necessary? And, what makes it annoying? (FWIW, I consider Breckenridge to be the most annoying layout of any of the Colorado resorts but I stopped even considering it 17 years ago.) Can we stay in the city of Park City and easily access the ski area? (emphasis on “easily”)

I assume Deer Valley has easy slope access for most lodging, but correct me if I’m wrong. And, it being Doe Valley might be good for us on this trip. We will not be a family that is “all about the skiing”. (those are my “guys’ trips”.) Plus, my wife will want some decent dining options. But, we won’t mind a short drive either. Just for a Colorado perspective, my wife likes the ease of Beaver Creek.

Interesting about Alta and the family perspective. But, while we won’t be enjoying “nightlife”, the dining situation is important.

Ski school for my daughter will also be important. Wife needs some more lessons too.

I think we’ll avoid the near SLC resorts. I avoid the front range in Colorado for the same reason.

Thanks again!

There is a lift right out of town in Park City. I guess it has to be the most accessible area from lodging in general. The problem is that all of the runs near to the base are side runs down a ridge, and you have to take a series of three lifts progressively back before you get to the peaks and bowls.
As far as the city, I hate shopping, so that is a bias. I’ve not been impressed with a dozen or so restaurant meals in town.
Strangely enough, the Utah State liquor store has an interesting wine selection, best in Utah.

You can, with some effort, including skinning or hoofing it, find expert runs at Deer Valley as long as the coverage is good.

P Hickner

I have been to UT a fair number of times for ski trips. Have never stayed or skied DV or Alta cuz my wife and I were those punk snowboarders that DV & Alta like to keep out until switching back to skiing last year. I’m actually working on setting up a trip to DV as I write this. I have a 7 y/o daughter so I was acutely aware of ski school, not anymore cuz she skis with us now, but I can def give you that perspective. For me, proximity and convenience to ski school was priority # 1 when setting up a ski trip when my daughter was learning to ski, just made life easier.

IMHO, the Park City area has the best combo of mountain, après, dining, etc. Not the best snow, I think Snowbird/Alta can’t be beat for snow, but there’s nothing at the base after skiing. Really depends on what you’re after. If it’s just skiiing and everything else doesn’t matter, stay at Snowbird/Alta and be done with it. If you want some fine dining, après and shopping, stay in Park City. I’ve never stayed at DV, but have close friends that go regularly. By all accounts, first class with prices to match. Aspen is the only other place that’s given me such sticker shock. I would not stay at the base of PCMR where ski school is located. Not a convenient location except to the base. In town, near the town lift is nice and I’ve done that before, but the lift drops you off mid mountain not at the base, so I wouldn’t recommend that if you have a child that needs ski school. Staying at Canyons is convenient to ski school and the resort is huge. But it’s 3 miles to town, although most condos/hotels at Canyons have a free shuttle to go back and forth.

I really believe Deer Valley is the best choice for your family. Uber luxurious and you’ll be pampered, your wife will love it. Mountain and ski school super convenient. That’s why I’m planning a trip there, since I’m part of the club now riding on two sticks.

Btw, we love Beaver Creek. One of our favorite resorts.

Go to Telluride :slight_smile:

Yes as Peter said, there is a very convenient lift from the center of town in Park City, opening up lodging options to a wide range of condos, hotels and apartments that are within a 5 minute walk of the lift. It’s a long slow lift and you’ll have to take a couple more to get to the heart of the resort, but convenient and a big savings over on-mountain lodging.

Won’t help this season, but on the drawing board for next is a gondola to connect the Canyons with Park City Resort, both now owned by Vail.

Another vote for Deer Valley. And this is going back to my pre-kids, early 20s years.

FWIW, While Alta is my favorite major US ski area I really can not say it would be where I would take a family nor beginners there. It is best for hardcore skiers who do not mind traversing or hiking for the fresh powder. Lodgings there are fairly spartan or used to be.

From what I have heard Park City and Deer Valley the best options. Food and nightlife are generally not the best in UT and if those are priorities better to visit CO.

I personally think Brighton would be great for you. I always see tons of little kids there and their ski school seems to do a great job. My wife, essentially a beginner, loves the mountain’s long, winding trails through the woods.

I rent a 4-wheel drive and stay in the valley (usually Cottonwood Heights or Jordan). It’s about 30 minutes to Brighton/Solitude and the same to Alta.

For dinner, I drive to SLC, 20 minutes or so, where there are several quite good restaurants.

I’ve skiied many times in Utah with and without the family. With the family there is only one choice for me:Park City. Easy highway access from the airport whereas snowbird/Alta & Brighton/Solitude can have serious road issues in a storm. Those two canyons have almost zero to do off the mountain, as well, while PC can provide entertainment for non skiers. DV, Canyons and PC mountains can provide enough entertainment for all levels of skiers. For the serious skier, you can always leap in a car and make a pretty quick run for alta from PC.

We usually stay in a condo near the Snow Park base of DV (I like the Pinnacle units because they have multiple level with game rooms and hot tubs so different members of the family can do their own thing). Also has own shuttle on call for 2 minute ride to the hill and you ca also catch the city bus (to town, PC Mountain or the Canyons), which is pretty good for getting around.

BTW, Snowbasin is often ignored, but is a fun big mountain that never ever is crowded. Worth a drive over to, if just to take a dump in the nicest bathrooms in any ski lodge I’ve ever been in :wink:

You can’t go wrong anywhere in Utah for skiing.

Thanks for all the advice!! Unfortunately, I’m going to have to bookmark this thread and start another. Forces greater than me have spoken (I’m married) and we’re now going to Whistler. I guess I’ll start one on that subject.

Seriously, thanks for the insight. I really will use this thread when we finally make it to Utah!



whistler is awesome!

+1. W-B is amazing.

Btw, I’m at Deer Valley now. Love it! Come here on your next trip.

+1,000!!! I only went one winter to Deer Valley…went 6 different years to Whistler! flirtysmile

Good endorsements! Thanks! My wife is very excited about the food options in Whistler as opposed to traditional ski town fare which even at the best of places isn’t that “fun”. Having 5 or 6 different sushi places and oyster bars to choose from has her really looking forward to this trip rather than grudgingly indulging me. Like I said, I need to start a different thread.