7 Best Utah Ski Resorts for Beginners

by Simon Knott | Updated On: June 28th, 2022
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Planning your next winter vacation? Well, we’ve got you covered with our list of the best Utah ski resorts for beginners.

Utah has some of the best snow in the US. Resorts like Alta, Deer Valley, Powder Mountain, and Solitude offer excellent options for beginners who need a little extra help.

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    Best Utah Ski Resorts for Beginners

    7. Solitude

    Another reasonably priced ski resort in Utah is Solitude Mountain. It is often referred to as a hidden gem due to the relatively low population of vacationers. Most of the time the slopes are populated with locals who love the quiet of Solitude’s 80 runs. The difficulty levels of which are nicely balanced from beginner to intermediate.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    Solitude is also well known for its massive snowfall of 500 inches per season, of which most is powder. For beginners, 20% of the terrain is suitable for first-timers, who can enjoy the beauty of the rugged Wasatch Mountains at the same time.

    The nursery slopes are close to the base at Last Chance Lodge where you can cut your teeth on the green of Easy Street. From their progress is easy via Moonbeam Express chairlift, which will give you access to numerous greens and a few blues when ready.

    The school offers group adventures for kids ranging from four to 13 years old. The Fly Like an Eagle course is also a great course for kids wanting to learn new skills on the slopes.

    Learning to Ski

    Solitude is also part of the IKON pass program, meaning free access for existing members. Lessons are available for all ages and all abilities, including first-time skiers and snowboarders. Most people opt for small groups rather than private lessons, where you can learn from your fellow students.

    Off the Slopes

    Moreover, Solitude recently came under Deer Valley ownership, meaning there will be serious changes for the ski resort in the future – hopefully all done with the keen eye for detail that Deer Valley is known for.

    Currently, you spend your time shopping and eating out between skiing. For those wanting some TLC, they also offer a full-day spa, ready to pamper your stresses away.

    Guests can also enjoy great lodging rates at the ski-in/ski-out luxury condos, as well as a free fourth night when staying for three. Who doesn’t love free stuff?

    What We Love About Solitude:

    • Great choice of beginner lessons and terrain
    • Excellent lodging deals
    • Ski-in/ski-out feel
    • Peace and quiet

    Solitude Stats

    Summit Elevation:10488 ft / 3197 metres
    Skiable terrain: 1200 acres
    Lifts:9
    Runs:87

    6. Brian Head

    brianhead
    Photo by pychap licensed under CC BY 2.0

    A big change of pace from our other entries, Brian Head Resort offers a more laidback skiing experience that’s ideal when you’re finding your way on the slopes.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    For absolute beginners, there is a small nursery area at the base of Navajo Mountain, with its own short chairlift.

    Brian Head resort proper is made up of two adjacent mountains, Giant Steps Mountain, and Navajo Mountain, which are directly linked at their bases. For beginners, Navajo Mountain is accessed by the Navajo Express lift, which gives access to numerous green and blue runs.

    On the other side of the resort, there are several green runs lower down and numerous blues of varying difficulty down from the top.

    Learning to Ski

    Skiing lessons are organized by age with First Tracks ages 3-4, Tiny Tracks ages 5-6, Mountain Explorers 7-12, and Adult Group Lessons 13+.

    Quaint is a great way to describe the small village of Brian Head and its accompanying slopes. This makes for relatively crowd-free skiing, again making it a great option for those who aren’t that confident yet.

    Off the Slopes

    Lodging is another perk of Brian Head as you will easily find affordable accommodation. For those wanting a more luxurious hotel experience, The Grand Lodge has you covered with features like day spas, hot tubs, sauna, steam room, and indoor swimming pool.

    While activities for the kids include archery, bungee trampolining, disc golf, and zip-lining. Tubing is also very popular here, especially for families with kids that don’t yet ski or snowboard. A fair warning, it’s so popular you might have to book in advance to save a spot for you and your family.

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    If the cozy small-town vibe isn’t for you, further lodging options can be found just 40 minutes away in neighboring Cedar City.

    What We Love About Brian Head:

    • Relaxed vibe
    • Perfect for beginners and intermediate riders
    • Very affordable
    • A lot of activities for the kids

    Brian Head Stats

    Summit Elevation:10970 ft / 3343.66 metres
    Skiable terrain: 650 acres
    Lifts:8
    Runs:71

    5. Snowbird

    Snowbird is one of the most scenic and iconic ski resorts in all of Utah. Here you will find breathtaking views among some of the best slopes in the state. Just like its neighbor Alta, Snowbird can receive up to 42 ft of snowfall per year, partly because of the microclimate where warmer, moist air is driven up the nearby valley.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    While Snowbird has one of the best reputations as a powder resort it’s less well-known that it is also ideal for beginners. Nearly 20% of the resort’s 2500 acres of terrain is classed as beginner, which gives beginners the chance to experience some of the rugged beauty of the mountains while keeping to simpler slopes.

    Snowbird has three ‘slow skiing’ beginner zones where they can practice their skills without the stress of faster skiers. Most beginners start on Chickadee and progress to the Baby Thunder Family area as their skills improve.

    Learning to Ski

    The resort has a well-developed ski lesson program where for the most part lessons are in small groups to enable the instructors to devote enough time to each student. The classes are organized by age, starting with Kids ages 3-6, youth 7-15, and adults.

    Snowbird also has a daycare center for youngsters.

    Off the Slopes

    Just like Alta, Snowbird is less than an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City. There are numerous activities available to visitors to Snowbird including helicopter skiing, and snowcat rides, but there’s even a cliff spa fitted with a rooftop pool, hot tub, fitness center, and even yoga studio!

    What We Love About Snowbird:

    • Epic views
    • Extensive beginner terrain
    • Excellent snowfall and powder
    • Only ski tunnel in North America

    Snowbird Stats

    Summit Elevation:11000 ft / 3352.8 metres
    Skiable terrain: 2500 acres
    Lifts:14
    Runs:140

    4. Deer Valley

    deer valley
    Photo by Devin Stein licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Another ski-only resort, Deer Valley is one of the best options for beginners looking for plenty of easy terrain and great lessons in this skier-only resort. Their first-class lodging and facilities mean your family will be able to enjoy not just excellent skiing, but excellent wining and dining.

    Deer Valley covers over 2,000 acres with 100 runs spanning six mountains. Sales of lift tickets are limited to ensure everyone can enjoy a safe and quiet time on the runs.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    Deer Valley Resort has an Alpine skiing feel and boasts 26 km of ski trails, which are regarded for beginners. Surprisingly, most of the easier trails fan out from the top of Flagstaff Mountain, so for once beginners can experience skiing at altitude and a great view.

    The three chairlifts, which climb Flagstaff Mountain, include Silver Strike Express, Northside Express, and Ruby Express give beginners plenty of practice as they can descend the mountain on different green routes.

    As beginners progress, they can move on to simpler blue runs such as Lost Boulder, Hawkeye, Lucky Star, and Sidewinder. They offer a great balance in terms of run difficulties, making it a great choice for the whole family.

    Learning to Ski

    With an award-winning ski school, at Deer Valley, you can be sure you’re putting your trust in a sound organization to start your skiing experience. A ski school is also a great option for families with kids from three up to 17 years old, and of course, there are lessons for adults too from complete beginners to experts.

    Lessons are broken down into small groups of different ages. The Bambi Club is for four-year-olds, the Reindeer Club for ages 5-6, the Adventure Club for 7-12, the Teen Escape for ages 13-17, and adult group lessons.

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    Off the Slopes

    Deer Valley aims to please with some of the best restaurant experiences available of any ski resort in Utah. Most notably, The Mariposa has been rated the #1 restaurant throughout the entire state. Their customer service and attention to detail are also touted to be among the best.

    If excellently groomed runs and on-hill fine dining with the family is your idea of a good trip, Deer Valley may be the ski resort for you.

    What We Love About Deer Valley:

    • Incredible customer service
    • Luxurious facilities
    • Superb dining experiences
    • Good variety of runs

    Deer Valley Stats

    Summit Elevation:9570 ft / 2916.94 metres
    Skiable terrain: 2026 acres
    Lifts:21
    Runs:103

    3. Alta

    Alta Ski Area is quite a unique resort for this list as it is a ski-only resort. Sorry, snowboarders. Aside from that, Alta offers excellent groomed runs but is geared more towards those who like a bit of backcountry adventure.

    What’s the Skiing like?

    Beginners and kids can easily spend hours on their well-groomed runs, while the more experienced skiers in the family can head out for snowcat or helicopter skiing.

    Thankfully for families with snowboarders, Alta is right next to Snowbird. This means you can hit two excellent resorts and mix it up all on the same day.

    That being said, if the kids find themselves needing a break from skiing, there is a children’s daycare. If your kids would prefer a little more excitement than daycare, Alta also has a ski school.

    Learning to Ski

    The Alf Engen Ski School offers group lessons with students of a similar ability, and which are geared toward your special interests whether you are an adult, teen, or child.

    Alta caters to beginners by providing an area with terrain perfectly suited for the first-time skier. The Albion base area is adjacent to the Albion Lodge and where you can practice on several green runs accessed by the Albion chair lift. As you progress you can move on to more challenging runs via Sunnyside and Cecret.

    Off the Slopes

    Families can enjoy the ski-in/ski-out hotels that populate Alta, most of which provide all meal packages. This is great for beginner families who want to minimize stress during their vacation.

    In comparison to some of the other entries on this list, Alta is more of a purist’s destination. They offer several racing events, backcountry adventures, and naturalist tours. Skiing is everything at Alta.

    Another great feature of Alta is its immense snowfall, with about 42 feet of snow each year! It’s not uncommon to be greeted with fresh powder regularly.

    What We Love About Alta:

    • Skiers only – no snowboarders
    • Great backcountry
    • Alpine feel
    • Fresh snow very often

    Alta Stats

    Summit Elevation:11068 ft / 3373.53 metres
    Skiable terrain: 2614 acres
    Lifts:6
    Runs:119

    2. Powder Mountain 

    Another gigantic resort located just outside of Salt Lake City is Powder Mountain, one of the biggest ski resorts in the US. And what’s better than being the largest resort in Utah?

    Covering 8464 acres of terrain Powder Mountain is a colossal resort, however, for safety and the enjoyment of visitors, only 1500 lift tickets are issued daily. This means Powder Mountain is one of the best resorts for an adventurous beginner family.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    Powder Mountain is known for its relaxed vibe, being described as a sleepy hollow. Families who are mainly seeking a skiing or snowboarding outing will be just fine here, but those looking for fine dining and a lot of extra activities may want to try another resort.

    Learning to Ski

    Powder Mountain offers a dedicated first-time skier package for skiers and snowboarders. It’s described as everything you need to know to start skiing or snowboarding for the person who has never tried the sport.

    The lesson lasts for three hours, (from 10 AM to 1 PM daily) is aimed at ages 13+ and includes rentals and lift passes

    Powder Mountain also features a snow sports school for children and adults and anyone who wants to brush up on their skills.

    Off the Slopes

    As you can imagine from its name, Powder Mountain has some of the best powder snow you can find in Utah, as well as the country. The resort offers two terrain parks and 153 runs covered by nine lifts.

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    When you’re dealing with a resort that massive, why not hop on a guided snowmobile tour to get a lay of the land? 

    What We Love About Powder Mountain:

    • Huge variety of terrain
    • Dedicated beginner lessons
    • Uncrowded slopes
    • Only an hour from Salt Lake City

    Powder Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:9422 ft / 2871.82 metres
    Skiable terrain: 8464 acres
    Lifts:9
    Runs:154

    1. Park City

    Park City Mountain is the largest ski resort in the United States, offering a huge area of skiable terrain. Park City boasts 341 runs across more than 7,300 acres of some of the best snow in the whole of the US.

    What’s more, Utah is known for having some of the best powder in the country as well. So, for beginners, there are whole areas of the resort that have been designed to keep things simple but at the same time offer variety.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    One of the advantages of taking lessons is that you will have access to the instructors and their in-depth knowledge of the whole resort. Depending on what you personally want to achieve their recommended actions will vary.

    Some beginners prefer to concentrate on technique while others seek out adventure, and often most want a bit of both.

    If you’re very new to skiing or snowboarding and you want to spend time with your family building confidence, then High Meadow Park at Park City is the best choice.

    Opened in 2018 the Park is a dedicated learning area designed exclusively for beginners. The terrain has been re-graded to provide the perfect slopes for beginner skiers and snowboarders. As your skill level improves High Meadow Park also features three new adventure trails to create new challenges.

    High Meadow Park is situated halfway up the mountain at the top of the Red Pine Gondola. As beginners feel more confident, they can move on to Adventure Alleys and improve their skills further.

    If you fancy a break away from the slopes for a day, there is plenty to do. Activities like alpine rollercoasters, dog sledding, tubing, zip-lining, and more. There are also countless restaurants out there for a quick lunch in between skiing sessions. 

    Learning to Ski

    The sheer size of the terrain at Park City means there are still 550+ acres of runs appropriate for beginners. That’s bigger than some entire resorts!

    They also have an excellent ski school for ages three and up. And for families with kids under three years old, drop them off at the Little Adventures Children’s Center if you want to hit the slopes or shops for a few hours alone.

    The instructors at Park City are fully qualified and world-class, in fact, they train several courses for the US Ski Team, including slalom and giant slalom. If that’s a step too far you can try one of several courses including Ski College, where you will have five consecutive days of lessons with an instructor.

    The Park City website has a very useful resource under ‘lessons’ where you can find out all the do’s and don’ts of starting lessons.

    Off the Slopes

    Park City Mountain is located just 35 minutes away from Salt Lake City, meaning affordable accommodation is very easy to find for the whole family. For beginner families wanting to stay in the resort, there is a huge host of lodging options, including gorgeous vintage hotels.

    What’s more, as a historic mining town, Park City offers great activities for those who want to take a break from the slopes.

    What We Love About Park City:

    • Dedicated quieter beginner areas
    • It’s absolutely massive
    • Plenty to do on and off the slopes
    • Close proximity to Salt Lake City

    Park City Stats

    Summit Elevation:10026 ft / 3056 metres
    Skiable terrain: 7300 acres
    Lifts:44
    Runs:341

    Why Choose Utah for Skiing?

    Utah has a reputation for large resorts with substantial falls of powder but that doesn’t mean they are not suitable for beginners. In fact, their sheer size for the most part allows for the creation of easier greens and blues that beginners can enjoy. Additionally, the quality of ski and snowboard lessons enables first-timers to get onto the slopes more quickly.

    How Did We Order This List?

    To help rank our top selection of ski resorts for this list we compared the following ranking factors:

    👨‍👩‍👦 Ranking Factor📈 Power to affect Rank
    Amount of Beginner Trails (Mi) 4x
    Amount of Skiing Area (Mi) 3x
    Cost of two adult tickets + child ticket1x
    How many magic carpet lifts1x

    We gave each factor its own weighting depending on how important we feel it is for family fun across all ages. For example, a resort with more beginner trails is higher ranked than a resort with a lower-priced family ticket – with all else being equal. That’s because while cost is a factor, it’s not a primary one. We may also use our editorial judgment to remove or add resorts that we believe should make a list.

    When taking all of this into account, gives us our awesome list above. We hope it was helpful in planning your next family ski vacation.

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    Best Ski Resorts for Beginners In Utah

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