FREESKIER heads to Big Cottonwood Canyon to get the latest from one of Utah’s most badass ski areas
When it comes to skiing in Utah, there are plenty of places to land. Little Cottonwood Canyon and Big Cottonwood Canyon, collectively, are home to some of the most sought-after ski destinations in the United States—and for good reason. The annual snowfall in these mountains can offer life-changing powder days and the local community of skiers that ski there are some of the most committed in the country. In late January, we made the trip to one of the smaller, but notably badass ski areas in the area, Solitude Mountain Resort. Set on 1,200 acres of terrain, the ski area is littered with expert glades and chutes, with plenty of cliffs and natural features hiding around the mountain. We followed local riders Willie Nelson and Scotty VerMerris around Solitude for three days to get a feel for the place. And what we found was a resort with plenty of character, plenty of snow and plenty of jaw-dropping terrain. If you’re planning a trip to Utah this winter, give Solitude a chance. It might become your new favorite place to ski.
If you’re keen on planning a trip to Solitude Mountain Resort this season, here are a few things to keep in mind…
Forget the commute. The best way to experience Solitude is by staying right at the base area of the resort, where there are hotels, restaurants and bars—like The Thirsty Squirrel—that will keep you entertained while you stay close to the action.
Lapping the Summit Chair at Solitude is one of the best ways to make the most of your day. A short hike into the Evergreen Chutes, Barrett’s Glade and the bounty of steep shots off of Evergreen Peak are guaranteed to make your day.
If you want to make your heart race, take the bootpack into Fantasy Ridge. While the hike is not for the faint of heart, once you get to the top, you’ll have access to a slew of big-mountain style lines and chutes that you’ll be talking about for the rest of the trip.
Stop at the Roundhouse for lunch. Offering Himalayan-inspired cuisine, this on-mountain dining spot is THE place to grab a bite on the hill. If you’re looking for pizzas, burgers and beers, head to the Last Chance Grill at the base area.
The terrain at Solitude is some of the most playful around… cliffs, glades, natural features galore. With over 500 inches of snowfall annually, the mountain is consistently blanketed with great snow and you’re bound to have a good time catching some air off-piste.
When your legs get warmed up, it’s time to find something a little spicier to hit. Solitude is chock full of cliff and drops—if you know where to look. Ride the lift with a local and—if you’re lucky—they’ll point you in the right direction.