Utah is known for excellent resorts and challenging ski areas, many of which can be found in close proximity to the state’s unique ski towns. Each of these communities has plenty of activities for any time of the year and plenty of ways to unwind after time on the slopes.
These ski towns, spread across the state, are an excellent home base for any skier and snowboarder ready to experience more from a ski area than just skiing. With Utah’s national parks and scenic mountains to explore, the numerous outdoor activities beckon visitors away from the slopes.
Here’s a look a some of the best ski towns in Utah, in no particular order:
Park City, UT
Not far from Salt Lake City is Park City, well-known for its two ski resorts and for being the site of several Olympic events. Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort may be world-renown ski areas, yet Park City still has a small-town feel within a community packed with things to experience.
While the downtown area of Park City is very walkable, a free shuttle provides access to the ski and resort areas so there’s no need to rent a car. The former silver mining town was incorporated in 1884 and became a ski town when Park City Consolidated Mines built ski lifts on one of the mountains.
Today, Park City’s population is close to 8,500 full-time residents. With plenty of seasonal workers, the ski town can seem its busiest in the winter months, yet there are a wide variety of activities to get away from the bustle. Bobsledding, fat tire biking, snowmobiling, and dog sledding are some of the more unique experiences that can be enjoyed in Park City.
Even the summer months have lots to experience, with local activities such as golf, hiking, and mountain biking. Nearby excursions take visitors white water rafting, fly fishing, or hot air ballooning. January is the busiest month in Park City, as visitors from around the globe descend upon the town for the Sundance Film Festival, but all times of the year have something special to enjoy in this ski town.
The darling community of Logan in northeastern Utah feels worlds away from civilization, yet still has enough amenities and activities to keep any visitor busy any time of the year. The town was settled in 1859 along the Logan River where Brigham Young sent a group to build a fort.
Within a year, the area grew to 100 houses, and today has a population of more than 50,000. The high population is helped by the presence of Utah State University, making Logan also one of the top college towns in the country.
Visiting Logan in the winter means downhill skiing at Beaver Mountain Ski Resort or Cherry Peak Resort. Away from the ski areas, enjoy time snowmobiling, ice fishing, or taking a sleigh ride to view herds of elk.
At any time of the year, visitors are invited to explore the Cache Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum or the town’s soda shoppe that has been operating for more than a century. Walk, drive, or bike past pioneer-era mansions in the town’s historic area.
Logan and the Wasatch Mountain resorts have lots of activities in the summer, from camping and fishing to mountain biking and hiking. Less strenuous activities include theater and concerts, or just driving around the area and experiencing the natural beauty.
Brighton and Solitude, UT
These two small ski communities just five minutes away from each other host two affordable ski resorts that have everything a skier and snowboarder could need. Brighton Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort, located in Big Cottonwood Canyon, are tucked in the Wasatch Mountains in north central Utah not far from Salt Lake City.
Brighton was first incorporated in 1871 well before being known for its ski area. The town began as a mining community and became so popular that founder William Brighton opened the Brighton Hotel in 1874. Even then the area’s incredible landscape drew visitors during all seasons.
Today, Brighton has a population of fewer than 1,000 people with most shops, restaurants, and lodging located by the ski resort. The amenities in Solitude are also located around the ski area, but by contrast, it began as a ski resort with a community established around it.
Winter is an ideal time to visit Brighton and Solitude as the area receives an average of 500 inches of snow annually. Solitude Nordic Center, located between the two Utah ski towns, offers cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
In the summer, Brighton Resort has hiking, fishing, ATV rentals, and horseback riding. With the two resorts located within national parkland, there’s usually an opportunity for wildlife viewing and birdwatching.
Brian Head, UT
Known as the “highest resort town”, it’s appropriate that many of Brian Head’s activities revolve around the mountains. Zip-lining, mountain biking, or hiking keeps people occupied on the mountain in the warmer months. Around Brian Head, summertime means exploring the outdoors whether it’s by foot, bike, ATV, or hot air balloon.
The southwestern ski town is best known for its proximity to Brian Head Resort, one of Utah’s low key and inexpensive options. Winter activities revolve around the mountain and the vast amounts of snow make the experience even better. Besides alpine skiing and snowboarding, the area is perfect for snowmobiling, cross country skiing, guided snowshoeing tours, and outdoor ice skating.
Brian Head is situated a short distance from Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, with a multitude of other opportunities for experiencing the outdoors. Jeep tours, rock climbing, horseback riding, or canyoneering are among the summer experiences available in this part of the state.
The small town of Brian Head has a population significantly lower than its 9,800-foot base elevation, with roughly 100 permanent residents. While many Utah ski towns were once known for mining, Brian Head has a different history. For a century the land was used for livestock, dairying, logging, and a cheese factory until, in the 1960s, the idea for a ski area was born.
The town wasn’t incorporated until 1975, a decade after the ski area opened. The ski town has ample lodging options and a handful of shopping and dining locations. Nearby Cedar City’s quaint community is worth exploring for more stores and restaurant choices.
Beaver City, UT
Just an hour north of Brian Head, Beaver City is among the many communities settled by Mormons in the 1850s, although it’s among a small number that grew into a ski town. Beaver is also well-known for its houses, mercantile, and town hall all constructed from igneous black rock found in the area.
In the winter, Eagle Point Resort is just a short distance from Beaver with downhill skiing, snowboarding, backcountry skiing, and a sunset snowcat experience. Summertime in Beaver means golfing, hiking, and mountain biking. Outdoor recreation options are growing in Beaver, especially at the nearby Minersville Reservoir. Visitors boat or fish on the lake, or explore the nearby mountain ranges where they may encounter wildlife or try rock collecting.
Beaver’s residents now number around 3,500, yet it was once one of the most populated locations in the area. Fort Cameron was built here in 1873 not far from the mouth of Beaver Canyon. Although there are dozens of dining options in the city, locals and visitors flock to
The Creamery to enjoy ice cream or sample cheese. The ski area has lodging at the base and near slopes, although the greatest number of places to stay are located in downtown Beaver.
It’s not a big challenge to find a ski town in Utah for enjoying the outdoors. All of these communities celebrate their surrounding natural landscape with an abundance of activities during all seasons.
Utah’s ski towns can be found across the state, near massive ski areas as well as moderate and resorts. Visit any one of these communities to find plenty to do after a day of downhill skiing or snowboarding.