"Known around the world for its dry, champagne powder, skiers and boarders flock to the state of Utah winter after winter. The smaller resorts that were once local secrets have ripened into massive snow sport empires. Parking lots populated with license plates boasting Utah’s slogan, “The Greatest Snow on Earth” are now packed between a colorful conglomeration of out-of-state tags. But despite its increasing popularity, the state boasts a plentiful number of impressive resorts that still hold their own secret stashes of powder, glades, and that remote feeling otherwise only found in the backcountry.
Park City Ski Resort has long since ceased being a local secret. On powder days, the majority of the crowds vie to get in line for the lifts that carry you up to the Jupiter Peak area. If you’d rather ski than wait in line while the crowds clear, head over to Ski Team Ridge and tackle a few warm-up runs before you seek out your powder stash up high.
Canyons Village and Park City Village are the main resort base areas, but there are other, less congested ways to get onto the mountain. The Town and Silver Star lifts are well-kept local secrets, with the Silver Star lift offering easy access via Park City’s free bus service.
For a busy resort like Park City, apps that show wait times at lifts around the resort can be game-changing. The Epic Mix app is a popular choice for this purpose.
Known for being steep and craggy, Snowbird Ski Resort offers some of the best terrain in Cottonwood Canyon. It also attracts more snowfall than many of Utah’s other resorts, which makes it a great option for powder-seekers. If you’re looking for a long run with tons of options to hop off the groomed snowpack and make your own lines, put Chip’s Run off the Tram near the top of your list.
Mineral Basin is located on the backside of Snowbird and is a great option for those seeking out a big powder bowl with lots of room for traversing around and making new lines. If that gets skied out, a short trip over to Peruvian Gulch is sure to award you with some leftover lines woven between pockets of trees.
While beginners are likely to spend most of their time in Lower Gad Valley, its upper areas boast treasure troves of powder pockets after a fresh dump for more experienced skiers and riders.
Although its popularity is growing, Solitude Ski Resort is still regarded as one of Utah’s better-kept secrets for skiing and riding. Its lack of crowds make for short — if any — lift lines. Averaging 500” of snow every year, Solitude is also one of the snowiest ski resorts in North America.
If you’re an experienced skier looking to shred some seriously gnarly terrain, don’t miss out on Fantasy Ridge. The knife-edge, cable-cable-assisted walk to the top of the ridge is more than worth it — the terrain up there stays good for days after a powder dump.
If you’re looking to stay on the groomers, you won’t be disappointed. Solitude’s groomers are fast, long, and winding — with the crown jewel being Honeycomb Canyon/Warren Miller — a 2,000 ft run that takes you from top to bottom.
If you haven’t heard of Brian Head Ski Resort in the mainstream, you will soon enough. It’s still enough of a local secret to fly under the radar, but if you’re in the area, it’s worth a visit. Brian Head boasts the highest base elevation of any ski mountain in Utah. The lack of crowds here mean fresh powder tracks for days.
Be sure to take a ride down Powder Run, located off the Alpen Glow lift. It’s rarely crowded and a great option on stormy days, as it’s well protected by trees. Expert skiers shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to travel up the Roulette or The Dunes — two lifts above the Giant Steps Express that offer access to the best of Brian Head’s expert terrain. "