Utah claims to have “The Greatest Snow on Earth”, is this really true? According to the 2011-2012 resort rankings from Ski Magazine four of the top 20 resorts are in Utah. Topping the list was Deer Valley which has ranked as the #1 resort in North America for an unprecedented five years in a row. The other three in the rankings were Park City Mountain Resort at #6, The Canyons Resort at #16 and Snowbird at #20.
Deer Valley, Utah
SKI magazine's reader resort survey has ranked Deer Valley first overall for five consecutive years: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. In the history of the survey, it has been the only resort to achieve this. In the 2011 survey, the resort received first place ratings in the categories of grooming, service, weather, on-mountain food, lodging, and dining. In addition, Deer Valley was rated in the top 10 in the categories of snow (10), lifts (2), access (2), après-ski (8), off-hill activities (8), digital programs (3), family programs (2), and overall satisfaction (3). With some other large ski resorts nearby, Deer Valley competes by catering to a more upscale audience than its neighbors, offering amenities such as free ski valets, free parking shuttles, fine dining and boutique shopping in the main lodge. The resorts mid-mountain lodge, the Stein Eriksen Lodge, offers luxury accommodations and spa facilities. Deer Valley uses more grooming equipment than other Wasatch ski areas, and limits access to avoid overcrowding; as of 2006, the resort limited ticket sales to 6,500 per day. Deer Valley's total uphill lift capacity of 46,500 skiers per hour is about 50% higher than the capacity of its larger neighbors Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons. Deer Valley has 21 chair lifts, including 11 high-speed detachable quads and an enclosed 4-passenger gondola.
Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
Park City Mountain Resort has been a major tourist attraction for skiers from all over the United States. Park City contains several training courses for the U.S. Ski Team, including slalom and giant slalom runs. Park City Mountain Resort has managed to keep the balance between modern and homey. The historic town at the base is connected by a ski bridge to the Town Lift. Within minutes, you’re delivered to a state-of-the-art six-pack accessing 3,300 acres of groomers and back bowls.
The thrills are everywhere at Park City, i.e. skiing, snowboarding, tubing, sledding, laughing, and screaming. It has been named among the top 10 family resorts in North America every year. There truly is something for every member of the family, including cruising down the Alpine Coaster and enjoying the mountains in a horse-drawn sleigh.
Canyons is the largest ski resort in Utah with over 4,000 acres of ski-able terrain. It is also the third-largest in the United States and stands in easy reach just north of Park City, Utah. It sprawls across nine mountaintops in plain site. Well funded and smartly buffed with $50 million in upgrades including a 20-million-US-gallon snow making pond and the base terminal of the gondola was relocated. Two new high speed quads were installed, one of which replaced the Golden Eagle double. The other opened 300 acres of new terrain on Iron Mountain. This master-planned resort delivers wide-open cruising, slope side lodgings, swift lifts and delicious eats.
Snowbird’s après options are basically limited to beer and billiards and there are barely any off-hill activities or dining options. But none of that stops throngs of serious skiers from invading the resort each year. In past years Skiing Magazine has ranked the Alta-Snowbird ski area second in North America overall and first in the United States. In 2002 Snowbird ranked 20th in North America with Gold Medals in snow, access, challenge, terrain, scenery, weather, and lifts. In specific categories it was ranked third in North America for snow, fourth in North America for challenge, and fifth in North America for terrain. More recently, Outside named Alta-Snowbird the number one ski destination in North America for the 2008-09 season. Also, the ski school at Snowbird is well regarded.
Access to Utah's Slopes
Of all the accolades, the most telling is access, no where in the world will skiers find better access to world-class skiing than in Utah. There are seven resorts within 30 minutes of the Salt Lake International Airport, and 11 within an hour's drive. A group of Utah skiers could hit all 11 resorts in a single day. You could surf in the morning in California and fly to Utah and ski in the afternoon. Other options would be to golf in Arizona and ski in Utah on the same day or fly into Utah in the morning from New York and return in time for a late-evening dinner.
Utah Skiing Facts
— The Salt Lake City International Airport is situated within a 2 1/2-hour flight from half of the United State's population. — The airport served over 21 million passengers in 2011. There is nonstop service to all of Salt Lake City's top 50 markets. — In 2011, the airport was ranked third in the United States for on-time departures and first for on-time arrivals. — In 2010, the facility was ranked 24th busiest in the United States. — There are more than 800 scheduled daily flights from the facility serving more than 100 cities with nonstop flights. — More than 73,000 daily airplane seats are available through Salt Lake City. — The airport is located within 60 miles of 11 world-class ski resorts. — Convenient access to five national and 46 state parks.