Ski Resort Review: Skier vs Snowboarder

Millions flock to Utah ski resorts every year and everyone has their own opinions on which is best. The following review is a collection of responses from Rambler staff members. Their responses vary and exemplify how important it is for skiers and boarders to get out on the mountain and see which one suits them the best.


Snowboarder: Snowbasin is where I’m going this year, and where I went the year before. I think that people tend to think of it as out of the way, but I find that the time it takes to get there on a busy weekend is often equal if not less than some of the canyon resorts like Brighton. I think that the terrain is pretty fun and generally fairly difficult, and there are some areas where you can consistently get steep powder runs. The only real downside I’ve found is that, on a powder day, the entire mountain seems to be enveloped in a cloud. Overall, I really like Snowbasin and I’ve found some of their early bird deals are really worthwhile and relatively inexpensive. 

Skier: Snowbasin is not somewhere I frequent, mostly due to the drive being suboptimal for me. That said, I think that it is a great resort for skiers and snowboarders alike, and offers smaller lines (something that we all can get excited about) and excellent powder days. 


Snowboarder: As a snowboarder, I’m definitely a little upset by the idea of a ski-only resort. Some explanations for Alta being skiing-only make sense to me, as it has lots of cat tracks and traverses, so the terrain is generally unfriendly to snowboarders. That said, a traverse or a little hiking has never really deterred me before, and I’m uncertain if it would be that much of an issue for me. I found that Alta is one of three resorts in the U.S that bans snowboarding, so it feels to me like they should catch up with the times. 

Skier: I am a skier and (though I feel slightly guilty admitting it) Alta is my absolute favorite. It has a fantastic variety of beginner and advanced runs. I do have slight discomfort around it being a ski-only resort because I have a hard time understanding the reasoning for it, but I have noticed the many traverses and climbs you have to do to access some more difficult runs might make it more difficult for snowboarders. That said, I would not have a problem with Alta including snowboarders. There is nothing quite like Alta on a powder day, and I’d be happy to share that! 


Snowboarder: I haven’t been to Snowbird as much as I’ve been to most of the other resorts, but I am happy to vouch for its fun runs. It’s chock full of steep and challenging areas. I remember particularly enjoying the mineral basin area. The one thing I don’t particularly like about Snowbird isn’t even the fault of the resort. My issue is that it’s where I took a particularly irritating Ski School class in which I was still terrified of steeper runs and would stick to blues and greens. The instructor took us all over the place, and one time I asked to go on a black run. That is until she took us on a steeper run which was another black or maybe a double black, and we just snowplowed down the whole run, which disgusted me even then. Additionally, we saw a guy skiing above us fall, then proceed to slide down the entirety of the run, right past us. The instructor then began yelling at him to do something and began to follow him down the slope, leaving the group stranded on a steep run with no guidance on how to get down. That kind of ruined my experience for the year. 

Skier: I don’t have much to say for or against Snowbird, just that I’ve never been the biggest fan of it. I feel that it is pretty expensive and, yet, doesn’t offer nearly as much as other resorts that are priced the same or cheaper. My experiences with this resort have also always been spring skiing, which is largely hit-or-miss, to begin with. I think I must’ve missed all the good snow at Snowbird, because I didn’t experience much of it during my time there. 


Snowboarder: Brighton is the resort I went to for the longest time, from when I was just beginning to when I was doing double blacks. I love the nostalgia Brighton has, and I really like the runs. There are only a couple of things that bother me about Brighton: Millie is kind of annoying to get to as you have to walk for a couple of minutes in unwieldy gear, and there is a rampant group of skiers and snowboarders who randomly appear from out of the trees onto a cat track going Mach 10. I will concede that they are mostly snowboarders that do this, which is why it bothers me so much; these idiots are the tiniest fraction of all snowboarders, and it reflects poorly on the whole community. Luckily, this is an event I’ve noticed solely at Brighton, but it’s annoying either way. 

Skier: I grew up learning at Brighton and, just like my snowboarder friend here, have a ton of nostalgia associated with it. Brighton has some of the best deals by far, and fantastic open runs. I went from an Explorer kid in lessons to someone who would take on many of their double blacks (sometimes when I was probably less than prepared to do so successfully), because the runs were just so fun. I did break a bone skiing into an ice wall there, but even then my perception of the resort is still fantastic. 


Snowboarder: I’ve only ever been to Solitude by using the day passes included with Brighton season tickets, but I’ve enjoyed it each time I’ve gone. There are some really enjoyable steep areas throughout the resort, and they’re all really fun to explore. The one real con I’ve noticed in Solitude is that it has one irritatingly flat section when coming down the main runoff of Summit Express. It’s the kind of thing that I needed to actively keep in mind, because I would always have to remember to get enough speed, as otherwise, I would end up slogging through a groomer, especially in my earlier years. Right now it’s one of those places that I’d be interested in revisiting and taking on some of the more challenging areas that I previously missed. 

Skier: Solitude has some great runs and some of the best deals for season passes (this year with the Icon Pass). I have had multiple full days skiing here and was never bored. It’s a great resort to explore, especially during mid-season when the snow is at its best. 

Deer Valley 

Snowboarder: Deer Valley and Alta are two out of the three ski resorts in America that don’t allow snowboards. Though I hate Alta’s rule for it, I have to admit that I couldn’t care less about Deer Valley. It’s a resort dedicated to the wealthy, most of whom are beginners. The difficult areas on their trail map are few and far between, and it is my understanding that most of the runs are groomers anyways. It has a surplus of fancy restaurants and lodges, which I could care less about, as I never stay the night at ski resorts, and rarely get food from the resort anyways. Overall, this resort seems like a waste of money and time that would be spent better at just about anywhere else. 

Skier: I think that most perceptions of Deer Valley from the skier/snowboarder community are ones involving some idea of wealthy frequenters, as well as a resort that serves that specific demographic overall. I think that this resort is fine, but doesn’t seem to fit in with other Utah locations. It reminds me more of a Pacific West resort. That said, this is a perfectly acceptable option for people looking for that vibe, and with the accessibility to make it worthwhile. 

Park City/ Canyons 

Snowboarder: I went to Park City/ Canyons for one year, and admittedly did not have the best time. This was when I was still sticking mostly to blue groomers, and it just wasn’t great. The snow wasn’t great the year I went, and I also broke my wrist early in the season, so every time I fell it was jarringly painful. If you had asked me about this resort 5 years ago, it certainly wouldn’t have been a rave review. Now, however, I would love to revisit this park, as it’s crazy big. It seems almost endless, and I think that it would be great to explore its vast amount of steep areas. I just don’t think I’d get bored going there anytime soon. 

Skier: The Park City Resort is absolutely massive, now that is has been combined with Canyons. I almost see it as the Disney World of ski resorts—you could explore it for days, and still have most of it left unseen. There is absolutely no shortage of adventures and, though you can pretty easily end up a mountain away from your car, I think that this is an amazing location and one people shouldn’t miss if they get the opportunity.