Park City, the Cottonwood canyons and Sundance. Local evidence proves Utah is home to the greatest snow on earth.
Within one hour of BYU campus, skiers and snowboarders can find more than eight resorts and hundreds of runs boasting feather-light snow and lots of it. Each resort charms its visitors with individual personality and features. But if you are new to the ski scene, then you may need a little local expertise to help you get started on the right foot — or ski.
Beginners should check out the “Start Now” program offered at Park City. For $40, a first-year skier or snowboarder will get free gear rental, a lift pass for one day, and three hours of instruction from an expert. This program is good any day of the year, up to five times.
“Last Christmas my husband bought me five Start Now lessons at Park City and I loved it,” said Michelle Johnson, a senior studying business management. “It is a great deal considering you get a full day on the slopes, rentals and a lesson.”
Alta is also a great place for beginner skiers because the Sunnyside lift is always free after 3 p.m. Beginners can get a few easy runs in without spending a pretty penny on a full day of falling over. But watch out snowboarders — Alta allows only skiers to enter while snowboarders are turned away. The resort easily brings in more snow than any other resort in Utah. Last season Alta recorded more than 700 inches of fresh powder.
“I skied with my fourth-grade daughter at Alta last week,” said Joel Smith, a second-year skier and Orem resident. “We mostly stayed on the first two lifts where the easy runs are, but there is definitely some difficult terrain higher up.”
Just “down canyon” of Alta is Snowbird, the resort with the longest life. Snowbird has tons of runs and speedy lifts, and is usually still open late into April. BYU students can find two-for-one coupons at the Marriott Center ticket office, making Snowbird an affordable resort to get a few days of skiing or snowboarding in.
Located in Big Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake, Brighton boasts ideal terrain for snowboarders and at $30 for an adult learner and $62 for a day pass, has the cheapest tickets of the Cottonwood resorts.
Only 20 minutes away, Sundance is the closest resort to BYU. With lift tickets starting at $30 for night skiing, Sundance is rather inexpensive. If savings and humility are a must, beginners can sign up for lessons with Provo School District. Tag along with the elementary students for a bus ride, rentals, day pass and lesson, all for $55. Find out about the program at provo.edu.
Regardless of the resort, skiing and snowboarding offer some of the most beautiful and brilliant experiences a winter can give.