Since the American Skiing Company bought this ski area in 1997, it's has undergone North America's most comprehensive ski resort makeover. The skiers who pardoned the dust quickly discovered a spunky, sprawling mountain that earned gold medals for Terrain, Challenge and Lifts. The Canyons' 3,300-plus skiable acres deliver a wealth of options, including bowls, tree-lined steeps, glades and narrow, winding trails reminiscent of New England. "I live in Utah, and The Canyons is much more exciting and challenging than Park City or Deer Valley," one reader says. "Not as crowded because it hasn't been discovered," adds another. The evolving base village, anchored by the finest Grand Summit Resort Hotel in ASC's fleet, isn't about to be mistaken for Vail or Whistler. "It still needs fine-tuning," advises a reader. But The Canyons now has an improved attention to detail and a solid collection of shops, bars, restaurants and beds, all of which helped it collect new silver medals for On-Mountain Food, Lodging, Dining and Service. Likewise, the addition of a cabriolet people-mover from the parking lot to the base village has eliminated the long, uphill trudge for day skiers. And Utah's only true ski town, Park City, is just five minutes away. The Winter Olympics are coming to Utah this winter, but not to The Canyons, which provides one more good reason to visit.
WHAT'S NEW The parking lot is being paved! Plus a fixed-triple chairlift catering to intermediates, new terrain in the Dreamscape area and more snowmaking on Harmony.
A GOOD DEAL Ski-and-stay packages, including lift tickets, at the Sundial Lodge and Grand Summit. Prices start at $187 per person, per night based on double occupancy (available Dec. 21-24, Jan. 1-16 and Jan. 21-Feb); 888-226-9667.
MEDALS GOLD Terrain, Challenge, Accessibility Silver Lifts, Service, Weather, On-Mountain Food, Lodging, Dining.
HIGH/LOW RANK Accessibility (6), On-Mountain Food (20), Lifts (30); Value (53); Grooming (56); Snow (57).
DON'T MISS Big-name bands in the village center on weekends all season, and daily starting Feb. 8.
READER REMARKS (+) "This could be the best resort in all of North America once the construction is done." "Lots of terrain and good lifts."
(-) "It's become the winter version of Disneyland." "Food is mediocre at best."