When Lia suggested celebrating my 30th birthday with a weekend snowboarding in Utah, I was dubious. After all, we’re only a few hours away from some world-class snowboarding in Lake Tahoe, a fact I bring up regularly the minute it’s October and the promise of snow dangles promisingly in the 80-degree air that we inexplicably always get here in the Bay Area in October.
But, as Lia pointed out, Salt Lake City is only a hop, skip, and short plane ride away from our home in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Still, maybe I’ve lived on the California coast for too long, but when someone says “we’re going snowboarding,” I imagine a lot of effort. There’s usually a road trip involved – mountains and road trips have always gone hand in hand in my life growing up on the beach. So I wasn’t sure how much time on the mountain we could actually squeeze into a weekend trip.
Then we did the math: Lake Tahoe is a four-hour drive from our house in Oakland; Salt Lake City is a 1:40 direct flight on Southwest. Even factoring in airport time, it’s a draw.
“But what about getting to the actual resorts?” I pointed out like a smart a**. Lia whipped out Google Maps like a pro and showed me that there are 10 freaking ski resorts with an hour of the Salt Lake City airport.
I was sold.
It turns out that in Salt Lake City – nicknamed “Ski City” – the Wasatch Mountains are mind-blowingly (coined it) close to the city. You can see their snowy peaks waving at you while you’re sipping your morning coffee, beckoning you to come explore them, like jagged, snow-topped sirens.
Now would be the appropriate time for a well-placed John Muir quote, but I don’t have time – the mountains are calling. Eh, see what I did there? Ehhh? The bad jokes are only gonna get worse from here, you guys.
To put things into perspective, downtown Salt Lake City is only one hour from Powder Mountain,the largest ski resort in the United States at 8,464 acres. It’s only 30 minutes from Park City Mountain Resort, the second biggest with 7,300 acres. And within 45 minutes, you can visit Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, and Brighton for another 6,000 acres of skiable terrain.
Those four are the Salt Lake City ski resorts that I’ll be covering in this guide. If you’re looking for the ski resorts in nearby Park City, including Deer Valley, head on over to our Park City guide.
A weekend was definitely not enough to see and do everything in Salt Lake City – especially considering how much time I spent on the slopes – but it was enough to convince us that we’ll definitely be returning to Salt Lake City many, many times for snowy weekend getaways.
I mean, where else can you spend all day on a mountain and then drive back to your hotel – right smack downtown in a major city? No, really, where else? Cuz I want to go there, too.
In this post we’ll be sharing everything you need to know to visit the four best Salt Lake City ski resorts, with plenty of tips for a perfect, budget-friendly weekend getaway!
Table of Contents
Psst: Looking for more adventures near Salt Lake City? Check out our other guides:
- The 25 Best Breweries in Salt Lake City
- Weekend Getaway Guide to Park City, Utah
- How to Plan an Amazing Lake Tahoe Winter Trip (on a Budget)
Salt Lake City Ski Resorts FAQ’s
Before we dive into details for each of the four best Salt Lake City Ski Resorts, here are some commonly asked questions:
Q: How to get to Salt Lake City Ski Resorts?
The easiest way to get as close to the action as possible is to fly directly into Salt Lake City International Airport, which is located less than an hour’s drive away from 10 different ski resorts. Yes, 10.
That number includes the four in this post plus Park City and a few others, too – here’s the full list. Utah is EPIC, y’all! Like, you can pretty much roll out of the plane and be skiing or snowboarding within an hour. Mind blown.
Getting to the resorts from Salt Lake City International Airport is a little trickier. The roads leading to the resorts do tend to get bogged down with snow, especially in winter, so driving to the resorts yourself isn’t a great idea unless you’ve got a solid 4×4 or some snow tires, which you can rent from Hertz, Dollar Rent-A-Car, or Enterprise Rent-A-Car at the airport.
When we went in early April, it was snowing pretty heavily – but the roads were clear and we were perfectly fine driving in our rental car, which was a Jeep (we felt very cool).
If you’re not keen on driving through the snow, book a shuttle with Canyon Transportation. They’ll pick you up from the airport any time of the day and take you to any of the Salt Lake City ski resorts in a 4×4 van. Their rates are reasonable and you can rest assured that you’ll get there safely, even in the snow!
If you’re not keen on driving through snow and also trying desperately to cling to every last penny you have so that you can spend it on more skiing (or more post-snowboarding-beer, no judgment) there is a bus which takes you from Salt Lake City directly up to the mountains.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t go straight from the airport, so you’ll need to take a UTA TRAX light rail from the airport to the nearest bus stop. This is by far the cheapest option for getting up the slopes at only $4.50 per ticket, or free for Super Pass holders.
The buses will also take you from one resort to another – here’s a full guide. Isn’t public transportation the best?
Q: What are the Salt Lake City Ski Resorts lift ticket prices?
Your best bet is to purchase a Ski City Super Pass, which gives you access to all four resorts for anywhere between 3-10 days.
The super pass helps you save more money the more days you are using it. If you’re skiing for 3-4 days it will cost you $100 a day, if you’re there 5-6 days, it will be $95 a day, and if you spend a week or more there, the price will be $90 a day. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use all the days in a row – just make sure you use them up within a 14 day period.
It makes sense to purchase this pass if you will be spending more than a day or two on the slopes because most of the individual lift ticket prices at the resorts are over $100 per day for adults.
But if you live nearby or plan to visit multiple times throughout the season (you baller, you) it might make more sense to purchase a season pass from your favorite Salt Lake City ski resort. Most individual lift tickets offer access to at least one of the other resorts as well, or at least a discount.
- Budget-Friendly Tip: Get your tickets before your trip! They’re much cheaper if you purchase them in advance. Plus, you don’t have to stand in line, and you’re a busy, important person who has no time for LINES when there is POWDER to explore.
Q: When do Salt Lake City Ski Resorts open for the season?
The opening and close dates vary each year depending on snowfall and weather.
The typical ski season at Salt Lake City resorts lasts about 5 months. Generally speaking, they open from late November or early December until late April or early May of the next year, which is great because you can do things like spend your Spring Break soaking up the
sun snow (yes, this is exactly what we did this year. Jeremy’s birthday falls during his school’s Spring Break, so he gets to choose where we go, which means it’s probably what we’ll be doing every year for the rest of our lives).
The predicted season dates for 2019-20 are:
- Alta: November 23rd – April 28th
- Brighton: November 21st – May 21st
- Snowbird: November 23rd to May 24th
- Solitude: December 1st to April 21st
Q: What is the cheapest place for learning to snowboard or ski near Salt Lake City?
So you’re new to the powder, eh? Throw on your favorite 80’s ski suit, find some guy named Scooter to be your arch-nemesis, come up with a weirdly specific and unnecessarily dangerous competition, and let’s get ready for your personal Ski School Montage. *cue cheesy 80’s music*
Also, look, I’m going to be making a LOT of cheesy ski jokes throughout this post, so let’s just get this out of the way. Please take a moment to enjoy this absolutely awful Ski School movie trailer. Thank you.
OK, here are the prices for ski school:
- Alta: 2 hour group lesson $80 | 2 hour private lesson $220
- Brighton: 2 hour group lesson $55 | 2.5 hour private lesson $245
- Snowbird: 2.5 hour group lesson including rentals and lift tickets: $115 | 3 hour private lesson $490
- Solitude: 2.5 hour group lesson: $85, or $115 for a beginner with lift tickets included | 2 hour private lesson: $290
The winner: Brighton has the cheapest lessons and thus is the best setting for your 80’s Ski School Montage *cue saxophone riff*.
- Budget-Friendly Tip: to save even more money, consider visiting during January, which is learn to ski and snowboard month in Salt Lake City, and most resorts offer special discounts. Also, look for budget-friendly bundles: sometimes booking a lesson will help you save on lift passes or rentals, too. And before your visit, be sure to check the current deals for beginner skiers and snowboarders!
Q: Where to rent skis or snowboards near Salt Lake City?
We rented from Christy Sports Patio and Ski on our way out to the mountains. They offer extremely reasonable ski and snowboarding rentals (we’re talking like, under $50 a day) AND patio furniture, so you can cross that off your list at the same time. So convenient! They’re located 18 minutes away from the airport directly on your way to all four Salt Lake City ski resorts.
If you’re not driving, Christy Sports does offer delivery service, which is rad. You can also just rent from the resort you’re staying at for ease. Keep in mind that rentals typically take about an hour to iron out, so try to do it as soon as possible so you don’t eat into your time on the mountain.
Just think: every second you waste not out on the snow, Scooter McGibbons and his crew of Douchey Ski Dudes are doing nefarious things and baggin’ all the babes! You’ve gotta don your neon jumpsuit and get out there! No, this joke will never get old. Why do you ask?
- Budget-Friendly Tip: If you book online in advance, you will receive a 20% discount off the usual price.
- Christy Sports Patio and Ski | Address: 3939 South Wasatch Boulevard, Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City Ski Resorts Comparison
For the purposes of comparison, you can lump together Solitude with Brighton, and Alta with Snowbird. Solitude and Brighton cater more to non-experts, while Alta and Snowbird are firmly in the “you really need to be good at snow sports” camp.
The 2 pairs of resorts are located within close proximity to one another and offer bundled lift passes so that you’re really getting 2 resorts in 1. Keep that in mind when you’re deciding which Salt Lake City ski resort to visit – chances are you’ll probably end up visiting 2 resorts, not just 1!
We’ve got more details on each of the four resorts down below, but here’s a quick round-up.
- Best for beginners: Solitude
- Best for snowboarders: Brighton
- Best for skiiers: Alta is ski only.
- Best for experts: Snowbird has the most challenging terrain for both skiiers and snowboarders.
- Best for non-skiiers and non-snowboarders: Solitude offers absolutely stunning snowshoeing for as low as $25 a day (including snow-shoe rental). Solitude is also home to a luxurious spa where they do not judge you for pampering yourself instead of doing athletic things (yes, we speak from personal experience).
- Best for tight budgets: It’s a tough call between Brighton Solitude. Solitude has by far the cheapest adult day lift tickets , which can be discounted to as low as $49.99. The other three resorts are all far more than that, with Alta and Snowbird both charging more than $100 per day for lift tickets. However, if you have children aged 10 and under, Brighton may be the best option as they are allowed to ski for free, and Brighton’s lodging is definitely the cheapest of all 4 resorts.
Psst: Planning to visit a few ski resorts this year? Check out the Epic Ski Pass, which includes unlimited access to this resort & a ton of others all over the world!
Salt Lake City Ski Resort Reviews
Each of the four Salt Lake City ski resorts is wildly different and appeals to a different class of outdoor adventurer. Here’s what you need to know when deciding which resorts to visit during your trip to Salt Lake City.
- One quick note before we jump in: I consider myself a beginner to intermediate snowboarder. I’ve been snowboarding for about 4 seasons, so I’m still fairly inexperienced. And Lia doesn’t ski or snowboard at all, because she is a walking disaster magnet. So keep in mind that our reviews are pretty heavily skewed towards non-experts, and as a result, we spent most of our time at Brighton and Solitude. But more on that below!
In the short time I budgeted for myself at Brighton Resort, I was blown away. With many of the ski resorts I’ve visited, Green/Easy runs can tend to feel like they were just tossed in willy nilly. They’re often way out in the open with minimal changes in route, which can get boring. It’s one of the things that, in my opinion, makes less experienced skiiers and snowboarders feel like an afterthought. And I definitely count myself in that category, so it’s definitely something I notice.
But at Brighton, there are several connecting Green routes (Upper/Lower Mary, Easy Street, Same Street) that will take riders down (AND UP!) hills, zipping across the main mountain, and whipping through trees on narrow pathways. The uphills especially made me push myself as a rider, because if I went too slow, I’d have to stop.
Simply put: if you’re trying to hone your skills, Brighton is the place for you.
We were staying in downtown Salt Lake City, so the morning of our visit to Brighton we slept in late – which is COMPLETELY unlike us (ahem), grabbed some fancy toast and coffee at Publik Roasters (SO GOOD) and headed towards the Wasatch Mountains. After just half an hour, our surroundings turned from warm and partly cloudy to a straight up blizzard. Located in the absolutely jaw-dropping Big Cottonwood Canyon, Brighton Resort is closer to Salt Lake City than most people’s morning commutes, but it feels like it’s worlds apart.
With the absence of crowds, the tall evergreens, the mountains all around us, and fresh snow falling around us, Lia and I both couldn’t help but notice that Brighton Resort is one of the most beautiful ski resorts we’ve ever seen.
Brighton doesn’t rely on all the amenities or luxury of the larger ski resorts. It has the basics – rental shop, restaurant, bar, etc – and doesn’t focus on frills. Just like a BBQ joint or a good taqueria, this absence of frills tells you you’re in the right place. Brighton is all about getting you out on the slopes, whether it’s with their affordable Ski School, ever-changing Terrain Parks for practicing your freestyle moves, or night skiing – there are 22 lighted runs!
Another plus that we loved about Brighton? Kids under 10 ski free! We don’t have any kids yet, but the minute we do we’re strapping them to some tiny baby skiis (is that a thing?) and taking them to Brighton.
FAQ’s About Brighton Resort
- Distance from Salt Lake City: 31 miles (40 minute drive)
- Terrain: All levels!
- Best For: Skiiers or snowboarders looking for an affordable option with less crowds
- Where to Stay near Brighton Resort: Brighton Lodge offers private rooms for as low as $155 or dorms for $139, with discounts for multi-night stays. You’ll be right next to the slopes to ski in and out as you please – and even do a little night skiing. The rustic lodge is cosy and surprisingly affordable – sure, it’s not luxurious, but as far as value goes, staying right at a ski resort for this price is fantastic. Oh, and did we mention breakfast is included?
- Address: 8302 South Brighton Loop Road, Brighton, Utah
Solitude Mountain Resort
Just down the street from Brighton (seriously like a 3 minute drive through the canyon) is another fantastic resort: Solitude Mountain Resort. The name is not a coincidence; I saw less than a dozen other patrons in the short time I was there. Luckily you’re not completely alone (because being stranded on a snowy mountain is my worst nightmare), because they have an impressive amount of staff around the grounds.
The runs here make for a more gradual progression in your skills. If you are riding Green runs and Blue still seems too hard, Solitude has some easier Blues for you to sharpen your teeth (or board, or whatever) on.
Solitude also has a cute little Nordic Center, where you can go cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Lia, who famously nopes out of any athletically-inclined snow activities (not because she doesn’t love snow sports, but because she is notoriously accident-prone and enjoys having unbroken legs) LOVED the snowshoeing here.
The routes vary from 45 minutes to several hours in length. I feel like it’s no secret how slow we are at anything (i.e. Machu Picchu, Cataract Falls, every hike we’ve ever done ever) but we enjoyed a wonderful, leisurely meander around what we were told is usually a pond and managed to get lost minimal times.
It felt like we were exploring Narnia: everything was peaceful, quiet, snowy, and magical, and we were pleasantly surprised by how easy snow-shoeing actually is. By the end of our adventure, we were both skipping on top of the snow like Legolas.
Snow-shoeing is a fantastic way to play in the snow for non-skiers and snowboarders, and it’s fantastically inexpensive: $12 to rent snow-shoes for a half day, and $8 for a day pass (rate details).
We saved even more money by strapping our beloved Vivobarefoot weather-proof winter boots (mine, Lia’s) right into our snow-shoes. You guys: snow-shoeing in barefoot shoes is a CRAZY cool experience – and now we can say with complete confidence that these boots can handle absolutely anything.
Adorable Solitude Village has fantastic amenities, including a great spa (with fair prices!?), several bars/restaurants, and shops. After the one single snowy athletic thing she did (a whole hour of snowshoeing *ahem*), Lia booked herself a relaxing facial at the spa which was clearly very hard-won and absolutely deserved.
Solitude combined with Brighton would be the ultimate one-two punch for a fantastic ski/snowboard day in Salt Lake City. “But guys, who can afford two day passes?” you didn’t ask… Well if you purchase the Super City Pass you get access to Brighton AND Solitude, as well as Alta and Snowbird. All that’s left to do is don your neon ski suit and pick up some Ski Babes *saxophone riff* NO THIS JOKE IS NOT OVER YET IT WILL NEVER BE OVER
FAQ’s About Solitude Mountain Resort
- Distance from Salt Lake City: 29 miles (35 minute drive)
- Terrain: Intermediate to advanced
- Best For: Skiiers and snowboarders wanting to explore the slopes in peace and … solitude. Bad-dum-ssh.
- Where to Stay near Solitude Mountain Resort: The Inn at Solitude is the perfect Bavarian themed lodge for a lil treat-yo-self splurge. You’ll be located right in Solitude Village with access to the year-round heated outdoor jacuzzi, restaurant, bar, spa, all-inclusive activities organized for the guests and even guided tours to explore the surrounding areas. Plus, the slopes are RIGHT THERE with ski in and out access. Rooms start at $277 per night during the winter season. If you’re looking for a more budget friendly option, the Silver Fork Lodge is your best bet – rooms start at $130, breakfast is included, and there’s a free shuttle to both Brighton and Solitude.
- Address: 12000 Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Solitude Village, Utah
Alta Ski Area
Alta Ski Area is an institution: it's been serving up deep powder to skiers since 1938. It's known for stunning scenery - the resort is located in a protected watershed - and truly excellent snow.
That said, we didn't visit Alta Ski Area, for a couple of reasons. The primary reason is that Jeremy is a snowboarder, and the Alta Ski Area is for skiiers only.
The second reason is that Alta Ski Area is one of the two Salt Lake City Ski Resorts that attracts the best of the best. The snow is deep, the terrain is steep, and only 25% of the runs are built for beginners.
Lia and I are not the most athletically inclined people, and neither of us have any idea how to ski. But if you're a ski pro who's comfortable on challenging slopes, this could be the ideal Salt Lake City ski resort for you!
FAQ's About Alta Ski Resort
- One of the oldest ski resorts in the world
- Distance from Salt Lake City: 32 miles (60 minutes)
- Terrain: Mostly Intermediate and Advanced
- Best For: Skiiers looking for a challenge, or beginners who want to watch some incredibly good skiiers
- Where to Stay near Alta: Alta Lodge is a sophisticated (read: fancy shmancy) traditional lodge with a cosy atmosphere. Many of the rooms have fireplaces and stunning views of the mountains outside, including the High Rustler, Alta's most famous run. One of the coolest things about Alta Lodge is that there are dorm rooms! And they give you BATHROBES - even if you're staying in a dorm. Where do we sign up?! Rooms start at $125 (dorm room) or about $300 (private room).
- Address: 10230 E Hwy 210, Alta, Utah
Snowbird Ski Resort
Snowbird Ski Resort is a challenging, high-end resort that attracts really, really good skiiers and snowboarders. It has a lot of extreme terrain targeted at experts. We're talking like, Scooter McGibbons doin' backflips out of a helicopter levels of experts.
Suffice to say, this is not the resort for beginners. If you are an advanced snowboarder, however, go to town (and be sure to wave to us peons on the ground from your helicopter to epic powder-land).
We are, er, not advanced ... so we'll leave the rest of this review to the more qualified, like SnowPak.
FAQ's About Snowbird Ski Resort
- Snowbird is generally open for the longest times out of all the Salt Lake City ski resorts and gets a LOT of snow
- Distance from Salt Lake City: 27 miles (35 minutes)
- Terrain: Rugged, advanced
- Best For: Extremists and expert skiiers and snowboarders
- Where to Stay near Snowbird Ski Resort: There are 5 places to stay at Snowboard, with plenty of apres-ski options for dining, spas, and more. The Inn at Snowbird is one of the resort's finer accommodation options, with a heated pool, hot tub, steam room, and fitness facility, as well as complimentary hot drinks and wifi. There is also a business center and a movie and games room. Prices start from $230 for a private room
- Address: Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon Rd, Sandy, Utah
Where to Eat & Drink in Salt Lake City
If there's anything that works up an appetite, it's whizzing around the slopes all day. Once you're back to ground level, you're definitely gonna need something to refuel! In our too-short weekend in Salt Lake City, we discovered some awesome places to eat and drink
Reward yourself for doing athletic things with sizzling, smoky barbecue at R&R BBQ. Hey, it'll help you build those rippling ski muscles! We devoured our beef brisket and hush puppies - this place is so good, y'all. Plus, you can tell they have a great sense of humor here, which is always a plus for smart-a**es like us.
- R&R BBQ | Address:307 W 600 Salt Lake City, UT
After our delicious BBQ meal, we went to ... a vegan restaurant. I know, I know, weird, right? But we felt kinda guilty (pigs are so cute, why must they be so delicious?) plus like ... climate change, species extinction, etc. We wanted to offset our (delicious) meat-heavy meal at R&R, and Zest hit the spot.
Zest is all about fresh, organic food (and fresh, organic cocktails - vegans aren't saints, yanno). Somehow, the restaurant manages to be gluten free, soy free, AND vegan, which like ... I mean, that's REALLY hard.
But they have a whole menu of delicious food! With like, pizza and mac'n'cheese and jalapeno poppers! Like, HOW?! I was genuinely surprised by how good my Jackfruit Pizza was. Like, it totally tastes like meat! How do they do that?!
I may only be a part-time vegan, but if I lived near Zest, I'd probably be ... well, like, still part-time but probably more like 30 hours instead of 15 hours. You know what I mean?
- Zest Kitchen and Bar | Address: 275 S 200 W, Salt Lake City, Utah
The Copper Onion is a foodie spot. And y'all already know, we foodie AF, so a foodie place is like, our siren call. We love low-key weird menu items, like waygu bone marrow or braised octopus - and that's just the appetizers.
They even have house-made pasta! Get a fancy glass of wine and eat here as a special date night meal - and then like, tag us in your Instagram Stories so we can vicariously drool over your food from at home on our couch (that's not weird ... is it? Do other people do that?? Just us??? Whatevs).
- The Copper Onion | Address: 111 E Broadway, Suite 170, Salt Lake City, UT
Two words: fancy coffee. Incidentally, those are the two words we need to get out of bed at a reasonable hour, too.
We stopped at this beautiful, roomy craft coffee shop every single day before heading out to the mountains, and enjoyed the fancy avocado toast and smoked salmon toast for breakfast every day, too.
We've also made it a habit to stop here on every single road trip that happens to take us near northern Utah, so we've actually been here multiple times, even before this trip. I think they kinda like, low-key recognized us last time. Should we be proud or ... ?
- Publik Coffee Roasters | Address: 975 S W. Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah
Oh, by the way: there's tons of craft beer in SLC! We've got a whole post all about the best breweries in Salt Lake City. Check it out:
Where to Stay in Salt Lake City
We listed plenty of options for staying at ski resorts down below, but during our trip to Salt Lake City we actually stayed smack dab in the center of downtown! It was mildly jarring to travel from sunny 50-degree spring weather into blizzarding mountains every day, but we loved the ability to enjoy the big city and all of its perks - and restaurants, and fancy coffee, etc - while spending our days exploring the mountains. That unique balance is actually what we loved most about our trip! So if you're considering staying in the city, here are our picks.
We stayed at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco centrally located in downtown Salt Lake City. This was our first time staying at a Kimpton hotel, and MAN were we blown away! From the giant board game decorations in the lobby to the daily happy hour (FREE WINE AND SNACKS YASS) to the free DIY Hot Chocolate Bar (OH MY GOD) to the punny pillows on our bed (salt shakers pouring onto mountains - so cute!) to the beautiful vintage boutique deco and theming, the hotel was TOTALLY up our alley.
The vibe is fun and silly and boutique-y and unique and low-key luxurious, and the prices are super reasonable, starting at just $160 per night. We were immediately hooked - and we've been staying at Kimpton hotels ever since!
The one caveat for this spot is that parking isn't included, and it isn't cheap, either - so keep that in mind if you've got a rental car.
- Kimpton Hotel Monaco |Address: 15 West 200 South, Salt Lake City, Utah
For an even more budget-friendly option, try Hotel RL by Red Lion, also centrally located in downtown Salt Lake City. Prices start from just $94 a night and include perks like a free airport transfer (helpful if you're living that rental-car-free life), complimentary artisanal Victrola Coffee Roasters coffee and espresso drinks (YASSSS sold), and free bike rentals.
But one of my favorite things about Hotel RL is its philanthropic initiative, Project Wake Up Call. The project works in partnership with carefully vetted local charities and uses photography to raise awareness and fundraising for homelessness. In Salt Lake City, their partner charity is The Road Home, which works to provide shelter to homeless individuals and families with a focus on helping transition to permanent housing. You can get a free night at any Hotel RL location by making a donation of $100 or more to one of their partner charities (terms and conditions apply). How freakin' rad is that?!
- Hotel RL by Red Lion | Address: 161 West 600 South, Salt Lake City, Utah
What to Pack for Skiing or Snowboarding in Salt Lake City
Packing properly for skiing or snowboarding is crucial to ensuring not just your safety, but your enjoyment. Ever heard that saying, "there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing?" As snowflakes swirled around us in the mountains of Salt Lake City, I was reminded of that saying - and we stayed toasty warm during our trip!
Here are our tried and true travel essentials for snow sports.
- Warm Base Layer: Layering is crucial for snowy days on the mountain, and you’ll need to start with a layer of insulation on top and bottom! We love merino wool for its temperature and moisture regulating properties, and we recommend wearing a merino wool base layer (aka long underwear) underneath your clothing. We wear both a base layer top (this is mine and this is Jeremy’s) and Merino Wool Base Layer Leggings (Jeremy has this pair.) While our wool clothing is super soft and not at all itchy, if you prefer another material, we recommend silk as an alternative (women's top, women's bottoms, men's top, men's bottoms).
- Water-Resistant Snow Pants: Depending on your level of snow experience, you may or may not already own a pair of heavy-duty lined snow pants. If you do, you can skip this section! If not, read on. Lia has yet to find a pair of snow pants that actually fits her hips and allows her to walk like a normal human being , so her workaround is layering a pair of her water-resistant hiking pants over her base layer or a pair of lined leggings. Jeremy has a full-on overall situation, but for years he snowboarded in his base layer plus his hiking pants, too! It's so nice to stay dry and not have to schlep around in heavy pants.
- Wool Socks: Make sure you don’t just bring run-of-the-mill acrylic socks - they won’t keep your feet warm while you’re out in the snow! Instead, bring socks that are primarily made of soft, heat-regulating wool, like these or these.
- Packable Down Jacket: Your jacket is one of the most important things you'll wear while snowboarding or skiing. It has a big job – namely, keeping you warm but not sweaty, allowing you to actually move your arms, and letting you shred the gnar for hours without feeling heavy or restrictive. Some folks purchase special jackets just for skiing, but we're too stingy for that, so instead we use a combination of jackets we can wear year-round. We recommend wearing a lightweight, travel-friendly packable down jacket for warmth - I have this down jacket and Jeremy has this down jacket - and then cover our down jackets with a lightweight rain jacket (his & hers).
- Gloves: Don’t go snowboarding or skiing without gloves on! Jeremy and I both have these wool gloves that work with touchscreens, because I have a hard enough time using my phone without wearing gloves. Over those gloves we layer on a thicker pair for snow protection.
- Buff: Buffs are kind of like tiny, stretchy infinity scarves for outdoor activity. They're stretchy loops of fabric that keep your neck warm and can be pulled up over your mouth, ears and nose when the wind is bitingly cold! We both wear merino wool buffs.
- Winter Sports Gear: If you’re planning to go skiing or snowboarding on your trip, bringing a few things can easily be packed in your suitcase will save you cash on rentals. We recommend these goggles and these gloves for snowboarding, and these travel-friendly crampons for snowshoeing.
- Sweatband Headphones: These amazing bluetooth headphones are sewn into a sweatband and lie totally flat, so you can listen to music without uncomfortably squishing earbuds into your ears or letting cold air into your helmet. The fabric is soft and warm, so your ears will stay toasty even when you take your helmet off! We were already obsessed with SleepPhones for long haul flights, but when we tried them out while snowboarding, everything changed! You can pick up a pair on the SleepPhones website - use code PW10 for $10 off your first purchase - or from Amazon.
For more winter travel packing tips, head over to our Cold Weather Packing Guide.
I want you all to know that during the course of writing this guide, Lia and I literally went and looked at plane tickets to go back and visit again (verdict: very cheap, but there's no snow yet). We were totally surprised by Salt Lake City and we can't wait to go back again!
Which of the Salt Lake City ski resorts sounds like it would be your favorite? Are you a Brighton/Solitude type like us, or an Altra/Snowbird level expert (and, follow-up question, how many neon ski suits do you own, and how many times have you said to someone "I OWN this mountain" *cue sax riff*)?
For more information about the Salt Lake City ski resorts, check out this fantastic local's guide created by Wayfaring Views.
Psst: Looking for more adventures near Utah? Check out our other guides:
- The Ultimate Salt Lake City Brewery Guide: 25 Best Salt Lake City Breweries & Brewpubs
- Weekend Getaway Guide to Park City, Utah
- 6 Incredible Zion Day Hikes: A Hikers Guide To Zion National Park
- 14 Unreal Outdoor Adventures You Need to Try in Carson Valley, Nevada
Psst: did you find this post useful? Save it to refer to later on Pinterest!
Disclaimer: Our trip to was partially hosted by Visit Salt Lake. All bad jokes, opinions, and awful ski movie references are 100% our own and totally not their fault.
Get the FREE Travel Planning Guide
Need some help planning your next adventure? Subscribe and we'll send you our FREE 22-page Travel Planning Guide. The guide includes everything from the hacks we use to save money on travel to 3 printable packing lists. We'll also send our favorite travel tips straight to your inbox!