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A 7-Day, Budget-Friendly Utah Family Ski Vacation

By Ann Whittaker
November 14, 2016

Make Davis County your basecamp for northern Utah's illustrious powder. One size fits most.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who take their families on ski trips, and those who assume they can’t afford it.

If you are of the first variety, go ahead and take your usual family ski trip because obviously you’ve got it all figured out.

If you are of the latter variety, your life is about to get 100% winterier. You, dear friends, can finally praise the powder gods because there’s a magical land just north of the airport with superlative skiing at manageable prices. Introducing: Davis County. Easy access to skiing and so much else. You can even afford to bring the kids! Or the good ones anyway. The others probably have homework they need to catch up on.

Travel times from Davis County:

  • Salt Lake Airport — 20 min
  • Snowbasin Resort — 35 min
  • Powder Mountain — 60 min

Non-ski things to do: Antelope Island State Park, Seaquest Aquarium, Mueller Park, Farmington Canyon, Boondocks.

Day 1: Check-in, Gear Rental & Reconnaissance

Family/Budget-Friendly Hotels & Lodging in Davis County

Choice Hotels International

Gear Rental

Both of these fully stocked establishments will have everything you need: skis, boards, poles, boots, helmets, and even discounted lift tickets at Ski N See.

Ski N See - Bountiful

Snowbasin Resort

Reconnaissance: Dinner & Groceries

Davis County Family-Friendly Restaurants:• Five Guys Burgers & FriesSill’s CafeThe Habit Burger GrillBajio GrillBarbacoa Mexican GrillCafe Rio Mexican GrillSee all Davis County dining options here

Grocery Stores in Davis County:

Bountiful: Smith’s, Natural Grocers, Winegar’s, Fresh Market

Farmington: Harmon’s, Smith’s

Layton: Fresh Market, Smith’s, Bowman’s Market

Day 2: On the Slopes — Ski School

If it’s been awhile since you’ve practiced your “french fries” and “pizza” form, you might want to spend half a day in the age/skill-appropriate classes.

New to Snow: Snowbasin’s warmest welcome includes 3 all-day lessons, 3 lift tickets and season-long rentals and a season pass.

Private Lessons (for up to 5 people): $399 half day / $599 full day

Youth Lessons (Ages 4–12): one-day group lesson $129 / two-day group lesson $229

Adult Group Lessons: All day $129

Day 3: On the Slopes — Ski School or Flyin’ Free

Depending on how your first day went, you might need a little extra instruction to boost your confidence. Or perhaps all you needed was a little 101, and now you’re ready to rock’n’roll.

Once you’re free of ski school, the rhythm on the slopes goes like this:

Ski a few runs → Drink hot cocoa → Ski a few runs → Lunch → Ski → Hot beverage → Ski

Day 4: Off the Slopes — Antelope Island & Seaquest Aquarium

Your kids and quads are going to be ready for a break about now. Slow down, recuperate for a day and maybe even learn yourselves something.

Morning at Antelope Island State Park

This is one of Utah’s most-visited state parks because, well, it’s sort of weird. Low, austere peaks in the middle of a salty sea. Herds of bison roaming above wildly variable shorelines. It’s otherworldly in a way that even the locals can’t get used to.

Afternoon at the Seaquest Interactive Aquarium

You’ve been skiing on an ancient seabed. Go see what may have swum where you rode the chairlift.

Day 5: On the Slopes — Rejuvenated

Now that your legs have had a day to recover, you’re ready for the moguls, for the spread-eagles, for the airborne visions you had when you conceived of this magnificent family ski trip.

Ski. Ski on.

Day 6: Off the Slopes — Still On the Mountain

The mountains in Davis County have more to give. Rent some snowshoes and head up Farmington Canyon or Mueller Park. (Check avalanche conditions, of course!) Run up these snowy mountains like you’re Rocky training to fight some machine-of-a-human.

And if, after burning 6,000 calories on the mountain, you still have some energy to expend, there’s always the land of go-carts, bowling, arcades, batting cages and the like at Boondocks.

Day 7: On the Slopes & Home

Because you’re so close to the resort and the airport, you might as well get a few more runs in the morning before you head home. One last daffy for the road, ya know?