The X4 2020 guide to skiing around Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is not only home to the incredible X4 Summit, but at 4,000+ feet above sea level, it offers some of the greatest skiing in the world. Here’s your guide to hitting the slopes while in Utah’s capital city.
Love to ski? Look no further than Salt Lake City. Utah’s capital city is renowned not just for the amount of snow that falls here, but the quality of the powder: fine, dry, fluffy and lightweight.
So where to go? From the Salt Palace you’re perfectly placed to visit the best ski resorts in Utah. That includes the largest ski resort in the United States, Powder Mountain: just an hour’s drive away. And Park City Mountain Resort, the second biggest US ski resort, is only 30 minutes by car.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or expert — all skiing levels are catered for in and around the aptly nicknamed Ski City.
Best ski slopes for beginners
Distance from X4: Around 30 mins by car, 29 miles southeast.
Still unsteady on the slopes? Or visiting with young kids? Then Alta is a great choice. It’s also a solid option if you’re traveling with a mixed-abilities group as it offers slopes for all aptitudes — from the greenest of beginners to the most daring of rippers.
One of the oldest ski resorts in the country, it opened its first lift in early 1939. Located within the town of Alta in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, it has a skiable area of 2,614 acres with rises up to a whopping 11,068 ft. Don’t worry if that altitude leaves you a bit breathless, it has beginner lifts that you can get access to for the bargain price of $10 for all 3. These include: Sunnyside, Albion and Cecret.
One thing to note is that Alta is strictly for skiers. Snowboarders are verboden.
Distance from X4: Around 2 hours by car, 112 miles north.
This family-friendly ski resort is 75% green or blue trails. Consider starting on the (adorably named) Little Beaver Lift for these starter slopes. From the top, there are 7 different trails to choose from – 4 of which are green for beginners.
Cotton Tail: a wide run ideal for those wobbly on their skis
Goat Trail: a narrow path that cuts across the mountain
Whooziwatzit: not just a funny name — a gentle slope with a few trees to help you get to grips with turns
Gentle Ben: you can easily access several other green runs from this easy-to-navigate slope. Take Harry’s Dream Lift from the summit to midway on the mountain, where you can catch Blind Bull’s green run to the base.
Distance from X4: Around 1 hour by car, 50 miles southeast.
Robert Redford’s famous resort offers more than just the film festival. Sundance’s ski trails on Mt. Timpanogos offers excellent rides with stunning views across the ranges. Ray’s and Jay’s lifts will take you to green trails. Plus, if you’ve never skied before, you can use the beginner’s ski lifts and rope tows — perfect if you’re a bit nervous about catching T-bars.
BRIAN HEAD RESORT
Distance from X4: Around 3 hours 30 mins by car, 244 miles south.
Brian Head is spread across two mountains and provides 71 runs – 65% of which are beginner or intermediate. Stick to the Navajo Mountain, which is nearly all green slopes.
Best ski slopes for intermediates
Distance from X4: Around 1 hour by car, 54 miles north.
With more than 7,000 acres of skiable terrain, Powder Mountain has the biggest ski area in the United States. Known as “Pow Mow” by its fans, its devotees come back repeatedly for its quiet slopes and chilled atmosphere.
Bonus: From the top of Powder Mountain, you can look out over 4 states: Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada.
Distance from X4: Around 30 mins by car, 28 miles southeast.
As it’s located next-door to the Alta resort, Snowbird has very similar conditions to its neighbor — and because of this, it’s easy to flit between the two resorts. “The Bird” averages around 500 inches of snowfall every year, so you can expect deep powder.
Distance from X4: Around 40 mins by car, 33 miles east.
Host to the Winter Olympics events of downhill, jumping and sledding, the US ski team makes its home here. The Park City Mountain Resort has the most intermediate terrain of any other ski resort in Utah. Ideal for fairly experienced skiers who maybe want to brush up on their skills — its ski school is highly rated and has instructors from around the globe. It’s renowned for its huge halfpipe and terrain parks. The higher runs are the least crowded.
Distance from X4: Around 40 mins by car, 30 miles southeast.
Solitude is unsurprisingly famous for just that: solitude. You can expect quiet slopes and zero queues. But not only that, the resort has some great powder bowls that you can almost always count on finding something untracked. Although ideal for experienced skiiers, it’s also family-friendly and caters for all abilities.
Best ski slopes for experts
Distance from X4: Around 45 mins by car, 34 miles east
Deer Valley is known for its elegant amenities, fewer skiers and smooth, manicured runs. This is a great choice if you want a bit of luxury. However, it’s also ideal for expert and advanced skiers, thanks to its varied and diverse terrain. Ski off any of the three high-speed lifts on Flagstaff, and you'll find fun stretches of trees to duck into, great bump runs, and the Ontario Bowl.
SNOWBIRD’S FIELDS OF GLORY
Distance from X4: Around 30 mins by car, 28 miles southeast.
Deep and steep — this slope is only for the most advanced of skiers. Fields of Glory is well known for its cliff drops and arrow chutes. That’s why it hosts some of the world’s most daring freeskiing competitions, such as the Freeride World Tour.
Avoid the long tram lines on powder days and head straight to the Peruvian Express lift, which will get you to the slope quicker. From the lift you can cut into the High Baldy Traverse and access the Fields of Glory.
BRIGHTON’S MARY CHUTES
Distance from X4: Around 45 mins by car, 32 miles southeast.
The Mary Chutes zone is an iconic area of Brighton, and one of the only places in Utah to ski a pillow line. Wait until you get a good thick snowfall in order for the pillow lines to form. Strictly for expert skiers, as although it’s easily accessed from the resort, this area is not patrolled by the resort. There’s also no avalanche-control work done here. The payoff is some of the best skiing in Utah, but be warned: you’ll need to take a buddy and the right gear.
Travel light, rent on site
Forgot something? Don’t despair. In fact, you might be better off renting your gear in Salt Lake. After all, there are tons of places to rent your equipment from. All the resorts listed offer rentals, with some offering discounts on packages. Give them a call before heading up to make sure they have your sizes in stock.
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