Top Lift: 9,990ft
Ski Area: 4,000 acres of terrain
Adult Lift Pass: 2014-15 prices TBA
In a Nutshell
Convenience, variety and good food are the watchwords at Canyons, Utah’s biggest ski area. It’s also a good base from which to explore all of Salt Lake City’s ski resorts.
Essential Advice for the Perfect Trip
Canyons Resort has come a long way in a short time. Back in 1999, when Welove2ski first skied it, it was essentially a locals-only mountain. Now, thanks to $75 million of investment from its owner, the Talisker Corporation, and a new partnership with Vail Resorts, Canyons has become Utah’s most well-rounded ski area. For confident intermediates and advanced (but not expert) skiers, it’s the best base for a ski holiday in the state.
*Short transfer times: on a good day you can get from Salt Lake City’s airport to the front door of the Grand Summit Hotel in 35 minutes.
*Ski-in, ski-out accommodation: there’s nothing quite like climbing into your ski boots in your hotel, taking a few steps out onto the snow, and jumping straight onto a ski lift. Book the right hotel (the Grand Summit), and that’s what you get in Canyons Resort.
*An exceptional variety of terrain: Canyons Resort is now Utah’s biggest single ski area, offering 4,000 acres of terrain and 182 trails. (Next year, it will be the biggest ski area in America when it’s linked with neighbouring Park City.) Admittedly, Alta and Snowbird’s combined lift ticket, provides access to 4,700 acres in steep and super-snowy Little Cottonwood Canyon, to the south – making them the obvious choice for experts. But where Canyons really scores is with its variety of terrain. Trees, bumps, groomers, terrain parks and powdery bowls: you’ll find them all here.
*More skiing on the doorstep: Deer Valley and Park City ski resorts are both nearby, if you fancy a change of scene. This bumps up the skiable acreage in the immediate area to more than 9,000 acres (though you’ll have to buy separate lift tickets to ski both of them). The powder pig resorts of Alta and Snowbird are an easy day trip from here, too.
*Main Street, Park City: thanks to restaurants such as The Farm, at the bottom of the lifts, and Lookout Cabin and Cloud Dine on the mountain, Canyons’ own restaurant scene is much better than in your average American ski resort. But better still is proximity to Main Street, Park City – a relaxed, upmarket strip of bars and restaurants that’s one of the best after-hours venues in the North American ski scene.
*The Olympic Park: Salt Lake City’s Olympic bobsleigh track is virtually next door to Canyons Resort, and it’s open to the public. For speed freaks, it’s an essential stop.
*The EpicMix: resort staff take free photos of you on the mountain, and beam them straight to an online account which comes as part and parcel of your lift ticket purchase. Combine the pix with your skiing stats to build a colourful online souvenir of your day. Brilliant.
So as you can see, there’s a lot going on here. In many ways, Canyons is like Heavenly in California, in that it has a lot of offer on top of its own ski area. There are no casinos, obviously (this is Utah, remember). But there’s lots of extra skiing nearby, a lively nightlife scene in Park City, and the Olympic Park next door. For anyone who hires a car and wants to get out and explore, it’s a compelling package.