Looking for a socially distanced break? Utah’s ski and snowboard resorts are open, including Salt Lake’s four world-class resorts—Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude—and ready to welcome experts and beginners alike. On and off the slopes, Salt Lake (a.k.a. Ski City) has everything winter revelers would want to enjoy a weekend or weeklong getaway.
Salt Lake’s expansive resorts allow for ample social distancing while Salt Lake’s 20,000+ hotel rooms, thousands of restaurants, and hundreds of bars and nightlife options accommodate those wanting a more intimate apres-ski scene where you can easily stay within the safety of your own pod.
And Visit Salt Lake’s “Salt Lake Bound = FREEdom Found” promotion makes it even easier, and more affordable, to book the ultimate winter vacation featuring some of the best and most accessible skiing and riding in North America, if not the world.
Simply book two nights or more at any number of participating lodging properties and choose the perk that best meets your wants and needs: two (2) free 1-day Super Passes, a free $200 Delta eGift Card, or $100 in Sinclair gas cards.
Salt Lake’s Cottonwood Canyons are home to four of the world’s most iconic resorts, and true “bucket list” resorts for many skiers and snowboarders, each just 45 minutes from Utah’s capital city and even closer for staying at the mouth of either canyon. For those wanting the convenience of ski-in/ski-out lodging, Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude each have their own unique offerings, again with all budgets in mind. Combined, they also boast a few thousand acres for snowboarding and both alpine and cross country skiing for all abilities as well as a number of restaurants and nightlife options from which to choose.
Spelled out, here are five reasons why Salt Lake is the perfect winter getaway right now.
Utah is home to “The Greatest Snow on Earth ®,” the most critical ingredient to the ultimate winter vacation for skiers and snowboarders alike. And each Cottonwood Canyon resort boasts 500 feet of Utah’s famed powder each and every year, more than just about every other resort in North America.
The stunning peaks of the Wasatch Mountains, where the Cottonwood Canyons and Salt Lake’s iconic resorts are located, offer incredible year-round vistas, made even more spectacular when coated with Mother Nature’s winter bounty.
2. The skiing and snowboarding
Featuring more than 40 feet of snow each year, Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude’s combined 2,000+ acres and 400+ trails are more than enough to satiate every level of skier and snowboarder. There are also miles of Nordic skiing and snowshoeing trails in both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon.
And with each major airline combining for more than 700 daily flights in and out of the new, $4 billion Salt Lake City International Airport (just 45 minutes from the four Cottonwood Resorts) many featuring non-stop morning arrival flights from major gateway cities, it’s easy to ski or ride the day you arrive and depart, something truly unique to many winter destinations.
3. The après ski scene
After a day riding and playing in Utah’s famed snow, there are plenty of après–ski options, both at the resorts as well as back in Salt Lake City. In Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta offers a few iconic ski bars, such as the Alta Peruvian, Goldminer’s Daughter and the Sitzmark, while The Cliff Spa at Snowbird presents spectacular sunset views. Or take a dip with a friend or loved one in the outdoor hot tub at Snowpine Lodge at Alta (pictured above).
For an upscale experience at one of Salt Lake’s resorts, multiple fine dining restaurants offer excellent wine lists along with beautiful vistas, and casual pubs are a great place to kick back with friends and enjoy local craft beer. Check out the lists of options at Alta, Brighton (click “services” for list of food and drink spots), Snowbird, and Solitude. For those looking for an urban winter experience, every neighborhood throughout the Salt Lake valley, particularly downtown Salt Lake City, offers seemingly endless dining and drinking options that can be enjoyed via takeout or outdoors.
Regardless of the experience you’re after, please don’t forget your mask in these days of COVID. The State of Utah mandates face-coverings when indoors, except when eating or drinking. Now that the end of the pandemic is in sight, it’s more important than ever to maintain your social distance and use your face coverings.
4. SLC LGBTQ Businesses
Salt Lake City defies conservative stereotypes of the state with a vibrant, bohemian vibe that is a veritable haven for the local LGBTQ local community and visitors. Salt Lake City’s former mayor, Jackie Biskupski, was Utah’s first openly gay elected official, while three members of SLC’s current seven-member city council are gay/queer.
Surprising to many first-time visitors, this liberating energy creates a beautiful and welcoming place to explore microbreweries and the restaurants popular with both locals and the crowds that come to Salt Lake to enjoy its world-class resorts.
Salt Lake also features numerous LGBTQ owned and operated businesses. Gay and gay-friendly bars are located throughout the metropolitan area, but please contact them directly to check on their individual pandemic hours and restrictions during the pandemic.
Try-Angles is a perfect place for newcomers to the Salt Lake scene or anyone exploring the place solo. (If you’re on a tight budget, Try-Angles has $5 beer steins.)
Sun Trapp serves beer in mason jars, and the outdoor patio is as big as the interior, offering plenty of open-air, socially-distanced seating. In the winter, the patio has a heated tent with its own bar inside.
If you want to enjoy some vittles before hitting the town or the comfort of your lodging pillow, Laziz Kitchen menu comes straight from the openly-gay proprietor Moudi Sbeity’s traditional family Lebanese kitchen—adding still more diversity to Salt Lake’s flourishing culinary scene. Based in the Granary district, the eatery is offering takeout and delivery menus during the pandemic.
5. The deals
Again, Visit Salt Lake’s “Salt Lake Bound = FREEdom Found” travel campaign and promotion serves up some incredible offers, where visitors can book two or more nights at either resort hotels or accommodations throughout the Salt Lake valley and get valuable perks such as free lift tickets, gas cards, Delta flight vouchers, and other travel deals. One of the best deals is the Ski City Super Pass, one of the industry’s most flexible and value-laden list passes available and valid at all four of Salt lake’s famed resorts: Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude.
Book at least two nights at a resort hotel or Salt Lake valley accommodation and get two 1-day Super Passes for free.