5 Underrated and Affordable Utah Ski Resorts

5 Underrated and Affordable Utah Ski Resorts

BY Sarah Yeoman | January 10, 2024

An under-the-radar ski destination in the ’80s and ’90s, Utah was once the best-kept secret of ski bums, a place where those who craved fresh powder but had slim wallets could bunk for the season and shred as much as they liked. Thanks in part to the 2002 Winter Olympics and the annual Sundance Film Festival, Utah’s powdery terrain now gets the acclaim it deserves. Couple that with booming population growth and an influx of celebrities, and Utah’s snowy paradise is officially on the map. (We even have our own “Housewives” series now.) However, with attention comes massive crowds and skyrocketing prices — day lift tickets have hit a whopping $300 at some larger resorts. Add on hotel rooms, food, rentals as well as the new parking reservation and canyon entrance fees introduced to help mitigate crowds, and a day on the slopes can take a chunk out of your bank account.

So where does one go to affordably enjoy “the Greatest Snow on Earth”? It’s still possible to live the Utah ski bum life, though it might take a little more effort. A short road trip away, five resorts exist outside the hubbub of Salt Lake and Park City mania, keeping day-pass prices cheap and lodging reasonable, while still boasting impressive terrain and world-class snow.

Beaver Mountain Ski Resort
#1
Beaver Mountain Ski Resort

Beaver Mountain Ski Resort

Beaver Mountain Ski Area, U.S. 89, Garden City, UT, USA

Sitting on the cusp of the isolated Utah-Idaho border, Beaver Mountain is the resort for those who truly want to get away. With 828 skiable acres, it might not match the terrain expanses of ski behemoths Park City Mountain Resort (7,300 acres) or Deer Valley (2,200 acres), but with adult lift tickets priced at $70, you’ll still get a hearty day of skiing at a fraction of what the big guys charge ($279 and $299, respectively). If you’re under the age of 5 or over 70, season passes are a paltry $100. Food and lodging options are definitely no-frills (stay in the spare, ski-in/ski-out Beaver Mountain yurt for a true ski bum experience), but the grill has the basics covered well enough to keep the blood sugar up run after run.

Beaver Mountain is 114 miles north of Salt Lake City International Airport.

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#2

Brian Head Resort

Brian Head Resort, Utah 143, Brian Head, UT, USA

Utah’s southernmost ski resort has probably the most unique scenery in the state. Nestled on the edge of Utah’s famous red rock country, Brian Head is the only place where hitting the slopes involves views of bright orange sandstone against clean white snow and bushy pines. A 3.5-hour drive from Salt Lake City, getting to Brian Head is a trek compared with its more popular northern counterparts, but you can’t beat $29 lift tickets on off-peak days. (Day passes usually run $50-$70 during the heart of winter, and max out at $167 on peak holidays.) To top it off, Brian Head runs a special promotion that, for a mere $99-$129, gets you a day lift ticket and a night in a double queen room at the Brian Head Lodge. Powder addicts looking for a spot to settle in for the season can definitely set their sights on Brian Head with its $499 season pass. For those who just want to visit, this resort makes an excellent jumping-off point to explore winter in Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. If you’re short on time but want a small taste of the parks, drive 10 minutes south of Brian Head for vast views of Cedar Breaks National Monument, a mini Bryce Canyon of towering sandstone spires called hoodoos.

Brian Head Resort is 250 miles south of Salt Lake City International Airport.

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Cherry Peak Ski Resort
#3
Cherry Peak Ski Resort. Photo courtesy of Cherry Peak Ski Resort.

Cherry Peak Ski Resort

3200 East 11000 North, Richmond, UT 84333, USA

Cherry Peak is a boutique resort without boutique prices. Outside the college town of Logan, Utah’s newest ski resort is popular with Utah State University students looking for a low-priced way to get a powder fix. It has only 200 skiable acres, but 30 named runs make this resort mightier than it looks. Just $48 gets you an adult day ticket. Night skiers can have four full hours of after-dark fun for $25, and true beginners can get all-day access to the Magic Carpet bunny slope for $10. The food is fit for a college crowd, but will satisfy the hungriest of ski bums. There is no lodging on site at Cherry Peak, but private cabin rentals abound, and there are plenty of hotel options down the road in Logan.

Cherry Peak is 104 miles north of Salt Lake City International Airport.

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Photo of Eagle Point in winter.
#4
Photo of Eagle Point in winter. Photo via Shutterstock.

Eagle Point Resort

Eagle Point Resort, South West Village Circle, Beaver, Utah, USA

A stunning canyon drive just outside the tiny town of Beaver brings you to the multi-terrained resort Eagle Point. With lift tickets ranging from $56 to $101, there isn’t anything mega about Eagle Point, but it thrives in simplicity. Two lodging options and a plethora of cabins keep visitors cozy as the snow piles up, and its cafe and restaurant serve hearty burgers, salads and pasta to make up for calories lost on the slopes. Advanced skiers can explore an incredible amount of high-altitude (9,100 feet above sea level) backcountry. If you want to dream big, gather 200 of your closest friends and purchase Eagle Point’s As You Wish package. You get the entire resort to yourselves with lift tickets, rentals and the attention of the resort’s staff all day. It really is the best bang for your buck at $15,000 total — that’s just $75 per person.

Eagle Point is 204 miles south of Salt Lake City International Airport.

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Nordic Valley Ski Resort.
#5
Nordic Valley Ski Resort. Photo courtesy of resort.

Nordic Valley

Nordic Valley Ski Resort, Nordic Valley Way, Eden, UT, USA

For families, Nordic Valley is THE ski destination because kids ski for free. You read that right: all-day lift tickets for anyone under the age of 12 are $0. The closest resort on this list to Salt Lake and Park City, Nordic Valley has yet to be gobbled up by the luxury crowd (like nearby former ski bum darling Powder Mountain) and those 13 and older will only pony up $21-$77 for their day passes. Half of Nordic Valley’s 40 runs are perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers, but advanced powder heads won’t be left out. Austrian downhill skiers used Nordic’s 20 black and double black runs to train for the Olympics.There’s no lodging at the resort itself, but private rentals are abundant in this area. Food options are also limited, but the nearby towns of Eden and Huntsville have an impressive selection despite their sizes.

Nordic Valley is 53 miles north of Salt Lake City International Airport

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