Slope Dope | City Guide | Salt Lake City Weekly

Slope Dope 

Eleven ski resorts times 500 inches of powder equals a Rocky Mountain high.

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Powder Mountain - JOHN SHAFER
  • John Shafer
  • Powder Mountain
Few cities claim such good fortune as to have 11 ski resorts within a one-hour drive that get over 500 inches of snow annually. Take a short drive on Interstate 80 up Parley’s Canyon to get to Park City, home to Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons. Head south on Interstate 15 to I-215, and then east up Big or Little Cottonwood canyons to ski Brighton, Solitude, Alta or Snowbird. North of Salt Lake City is Ogden Valley, home to Snowbasin, Powder Mountain and Wolf Creek. To the south in Utah County is Provo Canyon, home to Sundance Resort.

While Utah’s world-class snow and slopes are worth the trip alone, another reason to hit the resorts is the variety of food and lodging. Since people go to resorts for an array of reasons and with diverse amounts of cash, our guide divides food and lodging into three categories based on how thick your wallet is: Ski Bum, Standard Ski Addict and Superstar.

Deer Valley Resort
2250 Deer Valley Dr. South, Park City, 800-424-3337 or 435-649-1000,
Worth Noting: Deer Valley has been named the best ski resort in North America by the readers of Ski Magazine for three years running.
New This Year: St. Regis Deer Crest Resort, complete with restaurants, spa, ski beach and infinity pool, has opened just off the Deer Valley runs. The Spa at Stein Erickson Lodge at Deer Valley has more than quadrupled in size.
Vancouver-Bound? Deer Valley will host 2010 Olympic hopefuls at the Visa Freestyle International World Cup, Jan. 14-16.
Lift Tickets: $86 full-day adult, child 4-12 full-day $53.

Park City Mountain Resort
1310 Lowell Ave., Park City, 435-649-8111,
Worth Noting: Will host the U.S. Olympic Halfpipe Qualification Grand Prix Tour on Jan. 22-23.
Deals: The Utah Resident EZ Access Pass offers 10 days on the slopes for $540 with no blackout dates. The same deal is available to non-residents for $650.
Learning: The Start Now program lets Utah residents take up skiing or snowboarding for just $25. That small fee brings a first-time lesson, rentals and lift ticket, not to mention the chance to come back later at the same price.
Women’s Snowboard Camp: A 3-day women’s only snowboard class run by female instructors will be held Jan. 29-31. The $495 cost includes lift tickets for all three days.
Freestylin’: Adults can learn to freestyle and use PCMR’s terrain parks at a 3-day camp from Jan. 29-31. The $495 cost includes lift tickets for all three days.
National Ability Center: PCMR works with the National Ability Center to provide ski and snowboard lessons to people with physical and cognitive disabilities. Call 435-649-3991 or visit
Lift Tickets: Adult day pass $50, youth 7-12 $30, 6-and-under free.

The Canyons
4000 The Canyons Resort Drive, 888-CANYONS or 435-649-5400,
New This Year: The Waldorf-Astoria Collection comes to Park City in the form of the Dakota Mountain Lodge, a ski-in, ski-out resort that includes Spruce Restaurant and Golden Door Spa.
Deals: A Winter Bed and Breakfast Package at Canyons Resort offers lodging and breakfast for two for $98 per night during the ski season.
Other activities: Try dining in a Viking yurt or go on a dog sledding adventure.
Lift Tickets: Adult day pass $81, youth 7-12 $48.

Life Off the Slopes: Park City
Ski Bum
During the ski season, holidays or when Sundance is in full swing and many restaurants are gouging locals and out-of-towners alike for everything they can get, Davanza’s (690 Park Ave., 435-649-2222, is a place where you can always count on finding pizza slices for $2.75 and handmade tacos for $2.25. Local and student specials also apply. Cheap suds are available at O’Shucks (427 Main St., 435-645-3999, probably the only place in the whole area set up for people who just want a beer. For lodgings, it seems like the impossible dream, but a bed and breakfast can be found at Chateau Apres (1299 Norfolk Ave., 435-649-9372, What you get is a dorm or hostel-style bunk bed for about $40, but the location is within walking distance of Park City Mountain Resort, so the price is right for those who just care about being on the slopes. Private rooms are also available for $125.

Standard Ski Addict
Legends Bar & Grill (1310 Lowell Ave., 435-658-5812,, not far from the PayDay lift at Park City Mountain Resort, is a popular apres ski spot thanks in part to the Legends’ burger and chop chop salad. At Butcher’s Chop House & Bar (751 Main St., 435-647-0040,, there are plenty of good deals to be had in the bar, such as a steak sandwich, Monterey bleu cheese chips or lobster bourbon soup, all for $12 or less, to go along with a fun selection of martinis. In the evening, most of the beers at the Spur Bar & Grill (352 Main St., 435-615-1618, are $5 or less, while most of the live bands play solid barroom rock and blues. When it’s time to call it a night, the Washington School Inn (543 Park Ave., 435-649-3800, is a unique bed & breakfast in a building that was once a schoolhouse. Ski season rates start at $185 per night, and there are also a number of specials that can be found on the school’s Website.

If you want to be in the Main Street area, the Riverhorse on Main (540 Main St., 435-649-3536, offers appetizers such as goat cheese wontons and entrees such as pistachio nut-dusted Utah red trout. A number of top restaurants are available in the Deer Valley area, including the award-winning Glitertind Restaurant at Stein Eriksen Lodge (7700 Stein Way, 435-649-3700, Pair up the pinot noir risotto with an actual pinot noir from the selection of 750 wines available. For night life, there are plenty of hip, cool and incredibly expensive places to try in PC, but let’s face it, any time you go outside Utah, the place people have heard of is the world-famous Harry O’s (427 Main St., 435-655-7579,, and if you’re cool enough, you’ll get on the guest list for a VIP private party. There are also plenty of top-notch places to stay, but the Silver Star at Park City Mountain Resort also offers its “Highest Form of Living” program in the form of a personal concierge who can book everything from a personal chef, butler, ski instructor or jet. If that’s not enough, phone Resorts West (877-214-0102, to book the “Ski Dream Home,” a 14,000 square-foot, six-bedroom, 10-bathroom ultra-luxury home that sits at 8,000 feet on the top of Deer Valley’s Little Baldy Peak.

Brighton Resort
12601 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, 801-532-4731,
After Sunset: Brighton offers night skiing on 200 lighted acres, along with a terrain park.
They Love It: Brighton was ranked the No. 3 resort in a SKI Magazine reader’s poll.
Bring the Kids: Two kids 10-and-under ski free with a paying adult.
Lift Tickets: Adult day-pass $58, night pass $32, or super pass from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. $65.

Solitude Mountain Resort
12000 Big Cottonwood Canyon, 801-534-1400,
Worth Noting: Solitude is adding the only new lift in the state—its third new quad in two years. The Powderhorn II lift begins mid-mountain and goes to the top, so advanced skiers and snowboarders who want to stay on the challenging runs don’t have to go to the bottom every time.
Unique Yurt Experience: Take an evening to cross-country ski or snowshoe approximately three-fourths of a mile through a forest lit by lanterns to arrive at a Mongolian yurt where a chef will have a gourmet five-course meal waiting.
Lift Tickets: All-day adult pass $62, junior ticket 7-13 $39, 6-and-under free.

Alta Ski Area
Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon, 801-359-1078,
Ski Free: Skiers can hop on Alta’s beginner Sunnyside lift for free any day after 3 p.m.
More Free: Kids under 18 can stay and eat free at the Alta Lodge during the early and late portions of the season.
Facelift: The Albion Day Lodge has been remodeled.
Lift Tickets: Adult day pass $66, kids 12-and-under $34.

Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon, 800-232-9542,
March Madness: Snowbird will host the Junior Freeski Championships, March 13-14, and the National Freeski Championships, March 17-20.
Wired: Wi-Fi is now available in the Snowbird Center and in most of the pedestrian village.
Let It Snow: The resort has added new snowmaking capabilities on the lower mountain for increased coverage during the early and late season.
Stay Over: Rooms are available at $79 per night on select dates.
Lift Tickets: All-day tram and chair passes $72, chairs only $62, children 7-12 $39, 6-and-under free—chairs only.

Life Off the Slopes: Cottonwood
Snowbird has a diverse collection of eateries appropriate for any taste and budget.
Ski Bum
Start the day at the Forklift (Snowbird Center, Level 3, 801-933-2440) with a plate of “Dave’s Power Spuds”—onion-dill hash browns topped with sautéed mushrooms, cheese and bacon—for only $7.50. For lunch, grab a sandwich at General Gritts deliEl Chanate (The Cliff Lodge, Level A, 801-933-2025) for $3 margaritas and $2 beer pints. 

Standard Ski Addict
Try the Lodge Bistro (The Lodge at Snowbird, Pool Level, 801-933-2145) for their much-loved Caesar salad, or dishes such as Maine mussels, coconut shrimp or braised beef short-rib. The Wildflower is known for Italian dishes such as cornmeal-crusted calamari and five-cheese meat lasagna. The Wildflower lounge is also a popular gathering place apres ski.

Order the “Filet Oscar”—a filet topped with Alaskan king crab, homemade béarnaise sauce and served on steamed asparagus—at the Steak Pit, or enjoy the view from the 10th floor of the Cliff Lodge at the Aerie Restaurant (801-933-2160). The Aerie has won a number of awards, including Utah’s Most Romantic Restaurant and Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.

3925 E. Snowbasin Road, Huntsville, 888-437-5488,
Just Dew It: Snowbasin will host freeskiers and snowboarders performing in slopestyle and superpipe in the Winter Dew Tour, Jan. 15-17.
Tubing Too: Even if you can’t stay up on skis or a snowboard, you can go flying across the same spot where the 2002 Olympic Downhill race finished—but in an inner tube. It costs just $5 to take a trip down Snowbasin’s tube hill.
Lift Tickets: Adult day pass $65, youth 7-12 $40, 6-and-under free.

Powder Mountain
8000 N. 5100 East, Eden, 801-745-3772,
Snow-Kiting: Powder Mountain is the only North America ski resort with an in-bounds snow-kiting school.
Sunset On Snowcats: After a day on the slopes, take an early evening snowcat ride to enjoy mountain-top sunset views while dining alfresco.
Lift Tickets: Adult day pass $58, children 7-12 $31. Locals can get mid-week discount passes for $45.

Wolf Creek Utah
3900 N. Wolf Creek Drive, Eden, 800-771-7037, 801-781-4155,
Under The Lights: Wolf Creek is lit up nightly, with $15 adult passes on weeknights and $20 on weekends.
Family Night: A family of four can ski for $40 on Sunday or Monday nights.
Lift Tickets: Adult day pass $26 week days, $32 weekends, children $16 week days, $20 weekends.

Life off the Slopes: OGDEN
Ski Bum
The Shooting Star Tavern (345 E. 200 South St., Huntsville, 801-745-2002) is the longest-operating bar in Utah, having been open in Huntsville since 1879. Stop by for a beer or one of their famous burgers and celebrate the history of the Beehive State.

Standard Ski Addict
Wolf Creek Resort (3900 N. Wolf Creek Dr., Eden, 800-771-7037, 801-781-4155, is offering a “Kids Ski and Stay Free Package,” where $80 per night gets lodging and lift tickets for two adults and two kids under 12. The Red Moose Lodge also has special nightly rates starting at $59.

This counts as a luxury package since you’ll be staying at Utah’s first five-star hotel—the Grand America in downtown Salt Lake City—but it won’t hit your pocketbook that way because the price is only $199 per night as part of Grand America’s “Executive Value Package.” Enjoy valet parking, spa, a Snowbasin lift ticket and a welcome gift. You can even take a shuttle up to the resort.

Sundance Resort
8841 N. Alpine Loop Road, Sundance, 866-259-7468,
In The Evening: Sundance now offers night skiing from 4:30-9 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Season passes for night skiing can be purchased for $150. Or try Full Moon cross-country skiing or snowshoeing for $27 per couple.
Butch Was Here: The Owl Bar, a restored 1890’s night spot formerly frequented by Butch Cassidy and his Hole in the Wall Gang, is a great place to hit after night skiing.
Dining: The Tree Room and Foundry Grill are both Zagat rated. The Foundry features what Zagat’s has called “brunches to die for,” on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Lift Tickets: Adult day pass $47, children 6-12 $25.

Geoff Griffin & Kathleen Curry are Salt Lake City freelance writers.

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