We had set out to experience a sampling of family-friendly Utah ski resorts. For years we had been reading about Utah’s legendary snow, and we were finally able to make a trip work, visiting Solitude, Alta, Deer Valley and Park City, all in one go. Our first stop was to be Solitude and we couldn’t wait to get there. But wait we would. The snow gods had dropped 3.5 feet of powder on the mountain in the 3 days leading up to our visit, and getting there became part of the adventure. While this kind of snowfall was a little unusual, the mountains in this particular region of Utah’s Wasatch Mountain Range (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude), often receive significantly more snow than those just a short distance away.
Due to the extreme popularity of Solitude’s on-mountain lodging (that had been sold out for months), we chose to stay just below the hill in Cottonwood Heights. On our first ski morning, we jumped into our SUV and joined the crawl of vehicles vying to reach one of the four nearby mountains. The situation was complicated by the enormous amount of fresh snow. There were road closures due to avalanches, and road closures due to people doing dumb things en route (chains or a AWD were essential). There was a point, as we waited near our car, hovering around a 7-Eleven for news and snacks, that we wondered if we were going to have to admit defeat and return to our hotel. Then, all of a sudden, there was a flurry of activity, some hoots and hollers, and dozens of people began jumping into their vehicles. It was back on ! The road was back open and we would have our day at Solitude after all !
Read on to learn more about Solitude Ski Resort of take a quick peek at our 1 minute Youtube video.
Solitude Mountain Resort – The Terrain
Upon our arrival at the mountain, I was immediately struck by Solitude’s boutique resort feel. It reminded my of one of my favorite ski resorts in Canada, where you can have a great family ski day, and just chill at night without a huge amount of pressure to take the kids tubing, skating, bowling, etc. A perfect evening might involve an après ski hot tube, a little bite to eat and a board game, before falling into a powder-filled dream state. I actually struggled to get my kids on the hill, because they were having such a ball playing in the snow piles around the pedestrian-only village.
Throughout our day at Solitude I chatted with many people on the lifts who had been coming with their family for years and really appreciated the quiet escape it provided (and of course the near certainty of a deep-POW day at least once during their stay).
Solitude Resort has 77 runs and 3 bowls encompassing 1200 acres of terrain. With just 8 lifts (4 are high speed quads), it is very manageable to see most of the mountain in one day. Compared to some of the giant ski resorts nearby, Solitude has a quiet, laid back vibe. While the upper half of the resort has a substantial amount of terrain for expert/advanced skiers and boarders (blacks and double blacks), the lower half of the mountain is filled with runs that would be enjoyed by beginners and intermediates (making up 50% of the total runs).
In 2015 Solitude was purchased by Deer Valley Resort. They immediately set to work on some improvements including the replacement of an old lift with a high speed quad, the realignment of lifts, upgrades to the on-mountain dining facilities, and improvements to the snow making capabilities.
Solitude Mountain Lessons and Child Care
The Solitude Snow Sports Academy offers lessons for adults and kids alike. Kids cans start ski lessons as young as 3 years old in the Mini Explorers program, and snowboarding lessons from 5 years with the Junior Explorers program. All lessons, including those for adults, offer great flexibility, with options from one hour to week long camps. Solitude has also recently added a Hidden Tracks experience that takes advanced skiers and boarders on a guided tour of the lesser known “nooks and crannies” of the mountain. Learn more about the wide array of lesson options at the Solitude Snowsports Academy.
Solitude Resort’s Play Academy daycare is state licensed and can take children from 2 months to 12 years. All-day programs are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and include age-appropriate activities including coloring, storytelling, games, snow play, and cartoons as well as lunch. Morning half day care is also offered based on availability. Learn more at Solitude Play Academy.
Solitude Ski Resort Lodging Options
Solitude Mountain Resort has a full range of on mountain lodging, from a full service luxury hotel (The Inn at Solitude), to ski in / ski out condos and even some private homes. All of them are conveniently located very close to the lifts. Explore all Solitude lodging options here.
As I mentioned earlier in the post, the mountain is often solidly booked, especially at peak times such as Christmas/Winter break and President’s week. As this was the case for our visit, we stayed just below the mountain in Cottonwood Heights at the Hyatt Place. This pleasant property provides a very convenient base for people wishing to visit several of the nearby mountains (all around 30 minutes away by car), and also includes a buffet breakfast.
Of course, you can always look at other options such as vacation rental properties on sites such as VRBO, which can sometimes save you money.
Solitude Mountain Resort Restaurants
Solitude offers Himalayan inspired cuisine at the mid-mountain Roundhouse restaurant. The restaurant in the lodge at the base of the Moonbeam chair serves up traditional mountain food (burgers etc.) and the Last Chance Southwest Grill offers some tasty Tex Mex.There are also several restaurants within the village.
For après, try the Thirsty Squirrel (adults only), or with kids in tow, the Library Bar in the Inn at Solitude is nice.There is a lounge area right outside the hotel bar that welcomes families (and even has games and coloring for the kids).
It should be noted that if you are staying on the mountain and self catering, you will want to buy your groceries in town (as the mountain does not offer much outside of a few staples).
Getting to Solitude Resort
Fly into the Salt Lake City International Airport, grab a shuttle or rent a car and arrive at Solitude Mountain Resort 34 miles later.
It should be noted that during extreme winter condition days (as we experienced on our trip), you must have an AWD or chains to get up the mountain. Most car rental agencies can add a ski rack to your reservation if you call them directly. These will usually add between $20-$50 to your daily rental cost and in most cases the ski rack does not have a lock. We were able to get away with an intermediate SUV for our family of 4 that had a folding middle back seat through which we could slide our skis , thus avoiding the extra cost of the ski rack.
Want to Learn More About Solitude Mountain Resort?
Find out everything you need to know about Solitude Mountain Resort at: https://skisolitude.com.
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Disclosure: During our stay at Solitude Resort, we were kindly hosted in part by Ski Utah. All opinions in this post are entirely my own. As always on this site, however, I strongly encourage you to also thoroughly read recent reviews from other travelers prior to making a property booking.