There are a lot of places that are only for “those in the know.” For example if you are visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico all the tourists eat at some restaurant on the Condado strip. But the locals know that a place off the strip called Compostella is THE place. If you are a tourist in Colorado, you know about Vail and Aspen. If you are wiser than a tourist, you go to Silverton. And if you are reading this article, you know about the big-name Utah resorts. If you are a Utah skier worth his salt, you “know” about Solitude Resort.
Solitude Resort is celebrating its 50 year anniversary, and the resort’s VERY appropriate tagline is: “50 years and still untracked”. If you have skied much in Utah you know that there’s a bit of “Little Cottonwood Canyon” snobbery towards all of the other world-class resorts in the area. Sure, Alta and Snowbird have incredible snow and phenomenal terrain. And they have rightly had piles of praise heaped on them. But there are 2 major problems that come with that: 1) Crowds, and 2) Road closures.
But just 10 minutes to the north is Big Cottonwood Canyon — which gets almost the exact same snow but without the crowds or repetitive road closures in the canyon. On top of that, Solitude Resort has phenomenal terrain from the Summit chair that remains untracked for many days after a storm. You can’t say the same thing about the more trafficked resorts in the Cottonwoods.
Case in point — check out the photos here, which were taken Saturday, Dec. 22nd — Christmas weekend! And these shots were completely in-bounds, accessible without a traverse from the top of the lift — several days since the previous storm. Anywhere else, on Christmas week these lines would have been skied out within an hour of when the flakes stopped falling. Solitude certainly lives up to its name.
Solitude is the first Utah ski resort I ever experienced. I was about 10 years old, on a family ski trip to Utah. Riding the Summit lift back then felt like the lift was going absolutely vertical for 100,000 vertical feet…with craggy cliffs and rocks below you. Nowadays it feels extremely similar to the Supreme lift at Alta — steep-pitched fir tree glades, with multiple different exposures so you can chase the sunlight and shadows throughout the day. Skier’s left is full of rocky chutes and drop-able cliffs — all accessible through access gates that are usually open. Skier’s right is shadowy glades. Our first run of the morning last Saturday was in the glades. We thought we would have to go looking for fresh snow, but to our surprise we hit deep pillows throughout the glades and only ran across one other skier the whole run down. One other skier! On Christmas weekend, with knee-deep (and deeper) snow!
Next run we decided to hit the cliffs under the lift and couldn’t have been happier with bottomless landings for all. A run or two later and the patrol opened Honeycomb Canyon — a true canyon with both sides full of completely ski-able terrain (see vista below)
We were the first two skiers behind the patroller, and it was waist deep for hundreds of vertical feet. Next run, just punch out the traverse a little farther and drop completely untracked again. Third lap, same story — punch it out a little further and completely untracked. Eventually we made our way to the cliffs in the vista above right about the time our legs gave out.
Why Ski at Solitude?
The bottom line is that you will get more untracked skiing at Solitude than almost any other resort. And that’s what it’s all about, right? Powder to the people….even days after a storm. Not many can make that promise.
MORE INFO: Visit www.SkiSolitude.com