The snow fell early and in great abundance in Utah so far this winter. Here’s why I head west to Utah’s ski slopes when the thermometer heads south.
1. Easy access. As your plane begins its gradual decent into Salt Lake City, it’s obvious: the mountains are so close you know you can be floating through powder before the lifts close. Eleven mountain resorts, lined up from north to south, each with its own inimitable character and vibe, are located within an hour radius of the airport.
2. It’s all about the snow. Utah is powder paradise. Soft snow sparkles under an azure sky as you click into your skis or strap on your board. You can count on the feather light quality, consistency and annual abundance of snow. On your first run down the mountain you’ll be amazed at how much you improved since the last season. Admit the truth: it’s not your skill, it’s the quality of the snow.
3. There are resorts that I enter and never want to leave, like the Stein Erickson Lodge at Deer Valley, Sundance and the Alta Lodge. Each lodge has the feel of a European Alps chalet with ski-in and ski-out convenience, fine dining and spectacular views of the mountains.
4. Great places to après. Mosey on into the High West Saloon in Park City for locally crafted whiskeys. Order “Dead Man’s Boots” and sip by the copper still. At Sundance it’s a quick walk from the bottom of the lift to the cabin-like Owl Bar. Grab a stool at the 1890’s wooden bar, occasionally patronized by Butch Cassidy himself, Robert Redford. Or hangout with the locals at the Sitzmark Bar in the Alta Lodge.
5. Powder to palate. Utah’s tastiest fare features locally sourced dishes. Make reservations in advance for the highly sought after #1 Zagat-rated Mariposa Restaurant at Deer Valley. Or indulge at one of my favorites —The Empire Canyon Lodge. Multiple courses are served from five stone fireplaces. The number one choice is Swiss Raclette – a warm pool of melted Swiss cheese with all the local trimmings, including the resort’s homemade fig mustard. Or try the fire-roasted leg of lamb roasting over the open hearth or medallions of venison served with homemade huckleberry jam. After a chocolate Grand Marnier Fondue dessert, snuggle up on a horse-drawn sleigh ride at the base of the slopes.
This is just a taste of what Utah has to offer, in addition to some of the best powder snow on earth. Book your rentals before you head to the mountains by visiting Ski ‘N See. Happy skiing!