With 11 resorts roughly an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City, there’s a lifetime of skiing for locals. And skiers worldwide can’t call themselves snow aficionados until they’ve dipped a pole into the area’s unique powder, made possible by our heavy, consistent snowfall and low water density. Before your knees grind to a halt or your heart explodes from one too many tram laps, make sure to tick these expert runs off your list:
Daly Chute No. 4 @
Deer Valley Resort
This impressively steep but short chute full of consequences will kick your powdered ass.
Drop the meaty cornice if you’re feeling frisky or take the side entrance. Its shady aspect holds enough soft snow to ensure confident turns. Race your cascading sluff down to the tree-choked crux, where an early-season 10- to 15-foot drop calls out to hucksters. Timid skiers can exit skier’s right. Once you’re clear, take big celebratory turns below the chute and seek out remaining tree stashes on your way back to mountain luxury.
2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City, 435-649-1000, DeerValley.com
Silver Fox @ Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort
The site of the Freeskiing World Tour, this steep, upper-mountain test-piece will tickle your rad bone. Find your line.
Once through the gate, stay right for fast, open turns or veer left into a series of tree-lined chutes. Halfway down, the run doglegs left into a maze of cliffs, skinny chutes and stunted trees. This mini-golf zone demands that you choose your own destiny with a variety of sphincter-testing drops and straightlines. It flattens below, so feel free to shift into ludicrous speed. Bomb down Chip’s, and repeat.
Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird, 801-933-2222, Snowbird.com
Grizzly Downhill Course @Snowbasin Resort
Grizzly is wildly fast and scenic, and it served as the men’s downhill course for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Spandex is optional.
Although it was groomed for the Games, the men’s start holds some of the resort’s deepest fluff and allows sensuously smooth arcs in its open bowl. Let your speed carry you onto the groomed Grizzly Downhill and dig your edges into the twisting, Swiss-designed Ã¼ber piste. Feel your cheeks flap and your legs beg for mercy as you charge down one of the fastest downhill courses in the world. Don’t stop until you skid into the bronze moose-themed base area.
3925 Snow Basin Road, Huntsville, 801-620-1000, Snowbasin.com
Black Forest @ Solitude Resort
This often-deep tree run provides a unique Wasatch perspective and countless stashes. Weekdays = powder.
Plunge into the infamous Honeycomb Canyon, the deepest, loneliest and most consistent fluff in the Wasatch. Weaving weightless turns through the eerie dead trees, you’ll feel as if you’ve slipped into a post-apocalyptic powder paradise. Though it’s not super-steep, this area features small cliffs that require billy goat-like navigation or tried-and-true landing gear. Once you reach the bottom, take in the looming Fantasy Ridge as you cruise to the return lift; you’ll realize why locals keep quiet about Solitude.
12000 Big Cottonwood Canyon, Solitude, 801-534-1400, SkiSolitude.com
Main Chute, Mount Baldy @ Alta Ski Area
After a steep and sweaty hike from Alta, Main Chute rewards you with a one-of-a-kind alpine descent. Bring avy gear and a partner.
Find your Zen on Mount Baldy’s summit, and then carefully peek over the edge into Main Chute. After you inch your way through the chalky entrance, you’ll see it’s not terribly steep and that it’s wide enough to make comfortable turns. As you make soft, easy arcs, the rock walls surround you as if you’re skiing down a snow-filled alley in a frozen city. Once you start contemplating the otherworldly nature of the alpine, you’re already at the bottom.
Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta, 801-359-1078, Alta.com