Where to Ski When You’re Not Skiing Utah


4 Destinations to Visit This Winter

Utahns know the Beehive State is America’s top ski destination, but that doesn’t mean we don’t ski other slopes from time to time. Thanks to reciprocal resort benefits on many season passes, it’s easier than ever to chase powder and ski FREE at resorts across the nation. Whether you’re planning a Christmas getaway or a January inversion escape, use your pass at these nearby ski destinations.

Sun Valley Roundhouse Winter Deck – Photo courtesy of Sun Valley Resort

Sun Valley, Idaho

Where to Stay: Hotel Ketchum- Expect modern rooms, delicious complimentary breakfast, heated outdoor pool and hot tub, plus a social lobby with games and a bar at Sun Valley’s newest hotel.

Pass Accepted: Epic Pass

The Town: A hotbed for celebrity sightings, small-town Ketchum and surrounding Sun Valley are year-round recreation destinations with a slew of fantastic restaurants and bars. Come for the skiing; stay for the apres fun.

Find a rowdy vibe and local crowd at The Casino, a Western Main Street dive that’s been open for 80 years. Or keep it classy at Enoteca, a fancy Italian wine bar where wood-fired pizzas and hearty apps take center stage. To unwind after a ski day, take a short drive to Frenchman’s hot springs. It’s free to visit and located right on the river amidst a pine forest.

The Skiing: Our Idaho neighbor was home to the world’s first chairlift and has long been known for its celebrity ski scene. Thanks to its recent partnership with the Epic Pass, passholders can ski multiple days here per season for free.

Whether you’ve skied Sun Valley before or not, now’s the time to visit. Its expanding and adding 380 acres of new bowls, trees, and chutes to the in-bound map next season, but you can check them out this year on Experience the Expansion tours for advanced skiers led by the resort. Next season they’ll also replace the resort’s oldest chairlift, Cold Springs (#4), with a new high-speed detachable lift. The new chair provides easier access to Roundhouse restaurant where fondue and endless views await. Prefer groomers and gradual pitches? Ski the extended Lower Broadway run that’s now lined with efficient snowmaking guns.

Breck Snow Sculpture Championships

Breckenridge, Colorado

Where to Stay: Gravity Haus- Enjoy ski-in/ ski-out access from Peak 9 at this all-new hotel with fitness and sports recovery center, Japanese-style onsen, super trampoline, duckpin bowling, a co-working space, and healthy fare at Cabin Juice.

Pass Accepted: Epic Pass

The Town: Affectionately called ‘Breck’ by locals, this charming 1850s mining town is beloved because it’s a real town adjacent to an incredible ski resort. Packed with preserved Victorian architecture, Breck boasts the largest historic district in Colorado, funky art, and top-notch dining with laid-back vibes. From the slopes, ski to town and après at RMU Tavern—Summit County’s first ski shop-bar combination.
The Skiing: Home to North America’s highest chairlift, the Imperial Express at 12,840 feet, Breck is a high-alpine paradise with 40% of its terrain above treeline. Try steep classic like the Y Chutes or some of the resort’s best glade skiing at Ore Bucket. On powder days, find mind-blowing snow on E.S.P.

Get the local experience without the route finding with Breck Guides. They’ll show you the ins and outs of Breck’s slopes while guiding you to hidden powder stashes and fun, steep chutes. Plus, these pro skiers can give you tips to improve your slope skills.

Pedestrian Vail Village at night. Photo courtesy of Vail

Vail, Colorado

Where to Stay: Austria Haus Hotel- This 25-room ski chalet in the heart of Vail Village is just a 10-minute walk to the ski lifts. But location isn’t its only perk. Enjoy an included European-style breakfast, full-service spa, and unique rooms.

Pass Accepted: Epic Pass

The Town: Defined by chic (and heated) cobblestone streets, Vail Village is the antithesis to old mining town ski areas. Its shiny, modern buildings house art galleries, boutiques, and diverse restaurants spread through a pedestrian village linked to elegant, Bavarian-style Lionshead Village by free shuttle.

The Skiing: Beyond the village, Vail is Colorado’s largest ski destination, offering legendary skiing in its Back Bowls, knee-deep powder skiing, and family-friendly terrain. Lift prices are astronomical, but the Epic Pass makes your tickets free! When you need a mid-day break, ski in to The 10th where you can ditch your ski boots, don slippers, and take in Gore Range views over a seriously elegant lunch.

Jackson, Wyoming

Where to Stay: Hotel Terra- A slopeside, eco-built beauty, this hotel’s best perk is its outdoor hot tub and pool for relaxing after a ski day. Indulge in authentic Italian at the lobby’s Il Villagio Osteria restaurant. Or step outside into a winter wonderland: the resort’s series of carved ice sculptures.

hotel terra hot tub

Mountain views from the Hotel Terra hot tub.

Passes Accepted: IKON Pass and Mountain Collective

The Town: The town of Jackson is 12 miles away from the ski resort, but its Wild West vibes and delicious restaurants make it worth the drive. Stop by The Wort Hotel for country dancing or the Cowboy Bar to sip a drink from saddle bar seats. Slopeside Teton Village is where you’ll find ski-in lodging, the delicious (and packed) Teton Thai eatery, and famed après bar—The Mangy Moose.

The Skiing: Offering over 2500 acres of incredible terrain favoring steep and deep runs on powder days, Jackson Hole is known by skiers who love to go big. Lower mountain runs tend toward the mellower, family-friendly side, but a 9-minute, 4000 vertical-foot ride up the iconic Aerial Tram will put your ski skills to the test.

Stop first for a waffle at Corbet’s Cabin (located at 10,450 feet) then brave a run down Corbet’s Couloir—arguably the steepest and most famous run in North America. If couloirs aren’t your jam, ski other challenging, long runs leading all the way back to the base where you can take lap after lap on Jackson’s ‘Red Heli.’


About Author

Jenny Willden is the Managing Editor of Outdoor Sports Guide and a self-proclaimed gear and grammar nut. She's a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Adventure Travel Trade Association. A lover of adventure and travel, she's happiest when riding horses or snowboarding in Utah’s mountains. Follow Jenny’s exploits on Twitter @jennywillden or Instagram @jlwillden.

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