So, you’re dreaming of heading over to a winter wonderland for a few days of skiing, snowboarding, and wintery relaxation, are you? When most people think of ski trips, glamorous getaways to high-roller destinations like Whistler, Vail, and Park City come time mind. And while a luxurious suite and the see-and-be-seen Apres Ski life does sound aspirational, it comes with a price tag well out of reach of many.
What some might not know is that a far more affordable, laid-back, but still absolutely phenomenal ski or snowboarding trip is well within reach in lesser-publicized Utah canyons, accessible via Salt Lake City.
Why Salt Lake City is a better Ski Destination
More to do
If you book your stay in the Salt Lake Valley, you grant yourself access to a whole city’s worth of world-class bars and Salt Lake restaurants, rather than limiting yourself to pricey hotel fare. There are also a whole host of Winter weather festivities in Salt Lake, from Christmas Markets to outdoor ice skating — fun for the whole family.
Just to drive it home — why stay in a many-hundreds-per-night condo when you can book an affordable and cozy airbnb in Salt Lake for less than half the price? Utah ski resorts in Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon are only a 30 to 40 minute drive from most locations in Salt Lake.
More laid back
While SLC-side ski resorts still boast the same amazing snow as luxury places like Deer Valley and Park City, they tend to sport a more local, laid-back vibe. Head up for a day of snowboarding without the stress, crowds, and tourist traps.
How to Plan a Salt Lake City Ski Trip
Pick Your Resort
Every ski resort boasts a different vibe and offers different terrain, so do a little research to decide which resort you’d love. In Big Cottonwood Canyon, Brighton Resort boasts a laid-back atmosphere that is highly snowboarder friendly (although skiers love the varied terrain and powdery snow, as well). Solitude offers less crowded slopes and unmarred, backcountry-style tree runs (with plenty of good groomers for beginners, as well).
In Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird offers a huge selection of lifts with varied terrain that skews advanced, but is beloved by adrenaline junkies everywhere. Alta is a skiers-only resort with an old school feel.
The beauty of your SLC-based vacation is you don’t need to limit yourself to just one resort — feel free to book tickets for two or more over different days, to experience all the Wasatch Front has to offer.
Find Your Accommodation
Airbnb has a huge selection of affordable homes, condos, and apartments in the Salt Lake Valley. Book in advance if you’re coming during ski season, and keep the neighborhood in mind: Downtown stays will give you more activities nearby, but a longer trip to the resort. Cottonwood Heights, Sandy, and Murray are good neighborhoods for quick ski resort access.
If budget is really an issue, consider booking a budget stay on Hostelworld— but you might want to bring your own bedding, just in case.
Plan a Spa Day
For some champagne luxury on a beer budget, head up to Snowbird’s The Cliff Spa for a day of rest and relaxation. You don’t need to book a pricey hotel stay for access to the luxury rooftop with radiant heat decking and a steaming pool and hot tub — day passes for non-guests are $35. Spend all day dipping in the pools, enjoying complimentary yoga classes, and alternating between the Sauna and Steam Room. While you lay out on the deck with a view of the snowy mountains above you, you’ll feel like you’ve truly “made it.”
Get Your Grub
Salt Lake has something for everyone when it comes to food and drink. If you want a world-class experience at a mid-range price, make reservations in advance at The Copper Onion for hearty, New American fare that would rival any coastal town. You’ll find mouthwatering burgers at loveable dives (21+) like Lucky 13 and The Cotton Bottom. For a sampling of local drinks, head to Fisher Brewing for $3 craft beers at Utah’s oldest brewery.
In Salt Lake City, an affordable, incredible mountainside vacation is well within your reach — and budget.