When common refrains in the reader comments include “best-kept secret,” “great value,” and “hidden gem,” odds are good you’ve stumbled across charming little Solitude, where the resort’s top rankings paint a pretty accurate picture: Snow (No. 5), Value (No. 7), and Travel Ease (No. 5). Skiers seek out Solitude for its quality snow, fewer crowds, chill vibe, and decent value (though one reader gripes that “they now charge for parking … maybe they’ll use those fees to repave the lot”). With two seasons under its belt as an Ikon Pass resort, Solitude has managed to retain its “gem” status. Fans of the place know exactly why: In addition to a small but quaint village, friendly ambiance, and a location that’s just 34 miles from Salt Lake City’s super-navigable airport, Solitude’s Honeycomb Canyon is an expert’s haven of steep glades, cliffy sections, and bowls that have a backcountry feel while remaining inbounds. In that same vein, the resort also boasts some of the best sidecountry access in the area, found off of the Summit lift. While there are not a ton of amenities, what’s here is good quality. Meet the locals at the Thirsty Squirrel or refuel at the Honeycomb Grill. (“The few restaurants were surprisingly good,” confirms one reader.) At the end of the day, Solitude is a place for you if you crave great skiing without all the bells and whistles of, say, the glitzier destinations due northeast. “Solitude remains the best of Utah,” comments one reader. “But I want to keep it a secret, so maybe I should have rated everything a 1.” – Samantha Berman
Solitude’s 2021 Reader Resort Guide Rank: #29 in the West
- Off-the-Map Trail: Lap the Apex Express to take advantage of powder stashes in the trees, chalky moguls, and other treasures off this high-speed quad.
- Off-Hill Restaurant: Fuel up for the day at the Silverfork Lodge & Restaurant. The breakfast menu, featuring sweet options such as Bananas Foster French toast as well as savory selections like the homemade corned beef hash, is divine.
See who’s next – 2021 Reader Resort Guide #28: Grand Targhee, Wyo.
Read about #30 in the West: Loveland Ski Area, Colo.
2019 ‘Resorts of the Year’ Profile of Solitude Mountain Resort
Like the yin to Park City’s yang, Solitude is a breath of fresh air, a place to retreat for some good old-fashioned family skiing with fun and varied trails, a laid-back pedestrian village, and just the right amount of tough terrain to keep things interesting. The lower front face is laced with winding beginner and intermediate runs, but the steeps and glades in Honeycomb Canyon are as satisfying as almost anything you’ll find in that other Cottonwood Canyon.
What’s new in 2019
Alterra snatched up Solitude over the summer, making this little gem one of the newest Ikon Resorts.
- Après Spot: Buy a patroller a beer at the Thirsty Squirrel and leave with a few terrain tips and tricks for tomorrow.
- On-Hill Eats: The Roundhouse, destroyed by a fire, is back with the same awesome menu of Himalayan food.
- Bragging Rights: Navarone, as in Guns of, is an overlooked tree run accessed through the gates atop the Eagle Express lift.
- Powder Day: While patrol is doing avy work in Honeycomb Canyon, take the Powderhorn lift before dropping into the treed and technical Milk Run or the gully ride Parachute. When the rope drops at the top of the Summit Express, sidestep uphill for the steep, shady glades of 3700 Bowl (between Buckeye and Black Forest). Next run, pick a line 30 feet farther over and repeat.
- Three Days Later: Poke around in the trees of Black Forest, or traverse skier’s left into Honeycomb until you find the sweeping lines past Prince of Wales, where ample storm remnants await.
- Must Hit: At the top of the Summit Express, boot-pack up the knife-edged Fantasy Ridge to Chutes 1—26 (there really are 26 distinct spillways, but some close when the snow is thin). Try 5 or 6 for rock-rimmed doglegs that fan out into Honeycomb Canyon.