Utah offers an extremely diverse range of mountains, slopes, and conditions for skiers and snowboarders. Some resorts – such as Brian Head in southern Utah and Brighton in the Cottonwoods – are known for their beginner-friendly runs. Other ranges, such as Snowbird Ski Resort, are known for their exciting, challenging terrain, but are a good place to learn if you want to sharpen your skills fast. In either case it can be intimidating to approach a new resort and try to navigate the trails blindly.
While you can get ski and snowboard lessons at any Utah resort, some of them – including Park City Mountain Resort and Alta Resort – offer historical tours, highlighting the origin of the trail names and the Wasatch Front’s first draw as a mining town in the 1800s. Solitude, among others, offers back country tours for advanced skiers willing to pay a little extra. For skiers looking to focus on today’s ski terrain, Snowbird offers a free guided tour of the mountain’s three sections, or drainages.
Every morning at 9:30 and 10:30, mountain hosts take skiers and riders up the tram at Snowbird for a bird’s eye view of the resort. “I can provide a fun, safe way to see the mountain,” says Snowbird Mountain Host, Michelle Young. “During the tour I educate on snow and ski safety, the history of Little Cottonwood canyon and can answer questions.
Michelle takes her tours through the only ski tunnel in North America and they take on the 2.5 mile cat track on Chips Run – the longest in North America – into Gad Valley. “I love giving tours to skiers new and old to Snowbird,” adds Michelle. ”It’s wonderful to show the mountain in a way they might otherwise not see.”
Michelle’s tour lasts about an hour to an hour and a half. She recommends lessons for beginners, but the free ski tours for intermediate levels an up.