12 Must - Ski Runs in Salt Lake City

12 Must-Ski Runs in Salt Lake City

By Utah.com
January 21, 2022

Everyone knows Salt Lake is home to the world's greatest snow, but where are its best runs?

Salt Lake City must have been particularly righteous in the Cambrian period to become the skier’s heaven it is today. How else do you explain the perfectly unlikely geography — a great salty lake parked next to a huge mountain range climbing to 11,000 feet — that produces all this divine powder?

Call it coincidence, call it an eternal reward, call it the “lake effect," just be sure to call in sick a few days this winter and hit the lightest, deepest powder in the world in Ski City. And when you do, be sure to hit these iconic ski runs.


Where the locals learn to fly.

Where: Little Cottonwood Canyon

Mountain Stats: 500 inches of average annual snowfall | 140+ runs | 2,500 skiable acres | 2,900 vertical feet

It’s no fluke that Snowbird’s sister resort is Zermatt, Switzerland. The terrain is just that good, whether you’re on the easy-peasy runs with your littles or shreddin’ pow like you’re still 17. Be advised, though, those easy runs are hard to come by at this mecca of steep and deep skiing. If that type of thing is your jam, though, book a backcountry guide and head to those secret powder stashes only the localest of locals know. You'll be dropping cliffs and nailing mute grabs like it’s 1998 in Nagano [crowd roars]. Or, ya know, just shredding some pristine powder on world-class terrain.

  1. Middle Emma | Easy | Green Circle | Wilbere Lift: Use this opportunity to practice “French fries” (skis parallel, faster speed, you’ll look like a pro) and “pizza” (ski tips together, slow and safe, kids dig it). Race the kiddos now while you can still win, because as soon as they turn 10, you're toast. (Kids these days …)
  2. Bananas | Intermediate | Blue Square | Gad 2 Lift: Stay on the groomed terrain or venture through the woods where pockets of powder can always be found. Connect to Lower Bassackwards (an all-time name) and zoom down to the very same base where John Cusack lost his girlfriend to the ski team captain in Better Off Dead.
  3. Thunder Bowl | Technical | Black Diamond | Gad 2 Lift: A run for those of you who play as hard as you work. Or, for those who are willing to make an exception and work hard for an incredible powder run. This steep and deep bowl on the resort’s edge requires a traverse before dropping you through a rollercoaster ride of the whoop-out-loud variety. You’ll make the trek again and again. And again.


Hoarding powder since the Pleistocene era.

Where: Little Cottonwood Canyon

Mountain Stats: 546 inches of average annual snowfall | 119 runs | 2,614 skiable acres | 2,538 vertical feet

The resort that reminds you of your friend who builds her own wood furniture, reads a topo map every night before bed and has been skiing since she was in the womb. Alta is the real deal and doesn’t waste its time with fakes, so be true to yourself and this mountain will give you its heart and soul. Bring your alpine, tele or Nordic gear, but (unfortunately for some) snowboarders need not apply.

  1. Sunnyside | Easy | Green Circle | Sunnyside Lift: Classic. Alta’s easy runs are smooth as whipped cream and have just the right amount of winding terrain to increase your speed as you feel comfortable.
  2. Ballroom Traverse | Intermediate | Blue Square | Collins Lift: Think crisscrossing ski tracks is the truest manifestation of love? Here’s where your dreams come true. Wide-open terrain and soft snow allows ski BFFs to hoot and/or holler with joy before enjoying some easy cruising on the Mambo-to-Meadow route back to base.
  3. Main Baldy Chute | Technical | Black Diamond | Collins Lift + Hike: You talk a good game on the lift, but now it’s time to walk the walk. Or, you know, ski the ski … “Slide the slide …?” Whatever. You get it. This chute is just right — not too narrow, not too wide. Instagram it for serious cred from the locals (#BaldyIsBeautiful), but be aware that it would definitely be a double black diamond if not for Alta's old-school-simple rating system.


Giving away fresh tracks like they fall from the sky.

Where: Big Cottonwood Canyon

Mountain Stats: 500 inches of average annual snowfall | 82 runs | 1,200 skiable acres | 2,494 vertical feet

  1. Same Street | Easy | Green Circle | Moonbeam Express: This run will have the beginnerest skier up and moving by lunch time — the gentle land of milk and honey. You’ll be hopping onto the blue runs before you know it thanks to this good teacher.
  2. Dynamite | Intermediate | Blue Square | Summit Express: A dynamic intermediate run that’ll groom you for black diamonds. You’ll pick up speed, brush by the woods (choose to enter if you’re feeling adventurous) and twist and shout your way to flat ground. Playing the song is optional, but encouraged.
  3. Prince of Wales | Technical | Black Diamond Summit Express: Follow the summit traverse into Honeycomb Canyon and when you start to get tired, you've probably reached Prince of Wales. It's great timing, really — royalty shouldn't exert themselves. The mountain really rolls out the red carpet for you, your highness, with trees perfectly spaced, powder lines any which way you turn and an aspect steep enough you’ll have no choice but to look down your nose at your inferiors.


The resort that never sleeps, stops or makes apologies.

Where: Big Cottonwood Canyon

Mountain Stats: 500 inches of average annual snowfall | 66 runs | 1,050 acres | 1,875 vertical feet

This resort champions its locals and owns bragging rights for an awesome ski school where kids six-and-under ski and ride for free — yes, FREE (two per paying adult). Brighton benefits from its natural beauty at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, so no matter where you ski you'll have incredible views and the best of the best snow on earth.

  1. Sunshine | Easy | Green Circle | Snake Creek Express: This is the rare easy run that starts at the top of a peak, Preston Peak. It’s perfect perfect for budding beginners — long enough to burn your thighs and build some strength, but still easy all the way down. Pro tip: start from Great Western Express and take the Western Trail down for one of the best views in the Wasatch. It's a blue run, but on the green end of blue and worth the challenge.
  2. Thor | Intermediate | Blue Square | Great Western Express: Start to pick up your speed with a straight shot down the mountain while getting a nice hug from the surrounding pine trees. A good run to step it up.
  3. Snake Bowl | Technical | Black Diamond | Snake Creek Express: Here's Utah.com's "Quick & Easy Recipe for Delicious Bragging Rights":
    1. Ski something awesome
    2. Wear a GoPro
    3. Dub Led Zeppelin's “Immigrant Song” over it. Rock’n’roll that powder like you own the rights. Ah-AAAH-aaaaaaaah-AAAH!