Winter sports enthusiasts can get downright geeky when comparing the relative merits of the snow in Colorado and Utah.
The truth is that resorts in both states are so highly regarded that their spot in the stratosphere is unassailable, but Utah does have an advantage for some skiers and snowboarders arriving by air: accessibility.
Yes, there are direct flights into airports near Colorado resorts, like the new service from Oakland to Telluride and nonstop flights from Atlanta and Chicago to Eagle Airport. In addition, Colorado Mountain Express offers shuttle transportation from Denver and Eagle County Airports to various top resorts. But those trying to connect through Denver by air can experience frustrating delays, especially during a snowstorm.
Three of Utah’s top resorts, Deer Valley Resort, Canyons Resort and Park City Mountain Resort, on the other hand, are only 35 minutes from the Salt Lake City Airport and are located with five minutes of each other. Combined, they feature more than 9,000 acres of skiable terrain, 396 trails and 65 lifts.
Resort officials are well aware of this advantage, so much so that for the last 10 years they have been offering a Park City Quick START (Ski Today and Ride Today) Vacation program that converts a guest’s airline boarding pass into a same-day lift ticket to any of the three resorts.
Of course, accessibility isn’t the only draw to Utah resorts. This year Deer Valley Resort, Canyons Resort and Park City Mountain Resort all made Ski magazine’s top-10 list for the first time. Deer Valley, which until this year had held the top spot for overall best ski resort in North America for five years, came in at No. 2 behind Whistler-Blackcomb.
Does this mean potential travel headaches should deter skiers and snowboarders whose hearts are set on experiencing the wonders of Aspen or Vail? Of course not, but the key to creating a great vacation is matching the client to the right resort, and accessibility, along with nightlife, children’s facilities, accommodation choices and difficulty of terrain, can be important factors in the mix.