Utah vs Colorado Skiing (Detailed Comparison)

Utah vs Colorado Skiing

Two of the most well-liked skiing states in the United States are Utah and Colorado. And when it comes to skiing, Colorado and Utah are relatively comparable.

Colorado has longer seasons, but Utah offers superior snow quality. Skiers can find excellent resorts in both states at all price points. But the dominance of Colorado in skiing and other winter sports is a point of pride for Coloradans.

So when it comes down to Utah vs Colorado skiing, which state is best to ski in?

This article will compare the snow quality, costs, ski resorts, and a lot more between Utah and Colorado which should help you in choosing a destination.

Utah Skiing vs Colorado Skiing

The main differences between skiing in Colorado and Utah are relatively close. Colorado has longer seasons, while Utah is home to some of the best snow in the country and gets the most snowfall. 

Utah has more expansive and larger resorts and better overall skiing conditions for experienced skiers than Colorado. Colorado is better suited for beginners as Utah has steeper and more challenging terrain. And compared to Colorado.

Plus, ski tickets are often cheaper in Utah.

Cheapest resorts and accommodation costsGreat for beginners
Has the most snowfallGreat for backcountry skiing
More suited for intermediates and expertsHas the longest season
Has better ski resorts

Let’s take a look at these factors in greater detail.

Snow Quality

Utah has the best snow quality. In fact they are so proud of the caliber of its snow and had it trademarked as the “Greatest Snow on Earth“. The snow in Utah is famous because it is very smooth and dry.

The quality of the snow is one of the main reasons why people enjoy skiing Utah. But, of course, people can only agree on whether the snow is more excellent in Colorado or Utah.

It is safe to say that Utah most likely has the best snow in the entire country.

Longest Season

Colorado has a longer ski season than most other states. The more extended ski season in Colorado than in Utah is primarily a result of the higher elevation.

Longest Season

The ski season in Colorado typically lasts from mid-October through April. Despite lasting well into June, Arapahoe Basin is renowned for having an even longer season.

In the meantime, take a look at our awesome guide on if you can ski all year round.

The ski season in Utah starts in mid-November and lasts until about April. Although it ends in early July, Snowbird claims to have the most extended season in Utah.

Best For Beginners

Colorado has some of the most significant vertical drops in America and high heights, but it also has some of the best beginner terrains in the country. 

Regarding starting points, Breckenridge and Copper Mountain are two of the top resorts in the nation. 

Utah has steeper terrains and is better suited for experienced skiers, and there are fewer options for beginners in Utah. However, they are less lovely than Colorado.

Some of the best beginner ski resorts in Colorado are:

Best For Beginners
  • Telluride
  • Vail

Some of the best beginner ski resorts in Utah are:

  • Snowbird 
  • Deer Valley

Is safe to say that Utah has more runs that are great for intermediate and expert skiers. You could even do bowl skiing in Utah.

Best Resorts

Your experience at a ski resort is greatly influenced by its quality. Of course, there are a lot of excellent alternatives, and they can all start to blend together, but a great ski resort can be distinguished by a few key elements.

Best ski resorts in Colorado

Breckenridge: Another old mining town transformed into a fantastic ski resort in Breckenridge. As it is often too informal, Break has some of the best freestyle and beginner terrains.

Telluride: A rider’s heaven, Telluride. In the heart of Boxy Canyon in Telluride, there are an infinite number of runs. A contemporary resort atmosphere prevails over that of an ostensibly historic old mining town.

Best ski resorts in Utah

Snowbasin: Snowbasin is a fantastic resort that can be found not far from Salt Lake City. Although Snowbasin is not a ski resort with many amenities, skiing more than makes up for it.

Alta: Depending on whom you ask, Alta offers the best skiing in Utah; the only drawback is that snowboarders aren’t allowed to take part in the fun.

Park City: Park City is one of Utah’s top ski resorts, and is situated not far from Salt Lake City. Outside the city, you can enjoy all the benefits of a top-notch ski resort without the disadvantages of costly lodging. 

Although Park City has some of the best beginner and intermediate runs, every terrain is a choice here.

Cheapest Lift Tickets And Costs

A significant factor when choosing between Utah vs Colorado skiing is how much you should spend for a great day at the slopes.

Most lift passes in Utah are cheaper than the typical prices in Colorado. 

In Colorado, a lift ticket costs about $120 – $140 on average. And from what I’ve read only a couple of resorts in Utah have ticket costs that are more than $140.

Cheapest Lift Tickets And Costs

Depending on where you go, Colorado hotels and lodging might be pricey. Smaller alternatives are significantly less expensive than popular locations like Vail and Aspen.

Most Snowfall

High average snowfall is an excellent criterion for choosing between the two states. The conditions for skiing are better the longer there is snow. Fresh snow doesn’t last very long due to the popularity of both states; thus, it’s crucial to have a lot of it frequently.

Utah gets the most snowfall. Four resorts in Utah receive 500 inches of snow on average per season. Wolf Creek in Colorado only gets around 430 inches of snow on average each year. 

Best For Backcountry Skiing?

Backcountry skiing is best in Colorado, with many peaks above 13,000 feet in elevation and Alta, the highest ski area in Utah, at over 11,000 feet.

Due to its high altitude, Colorado typically experiences light, fluffy snow. Colorado is, therefore, a better option than Utah for backcountry skiing.

Make sure to read our guide on putting crampons for backcountry skiing.

Bottom Line

When comparing Colorado and Utah, both genuinely represent American skiing. If you are a beginner, Colorado is a good choice, plus they have more ski resorts to choose from. But if you are looking to ski on a budget, Utah is the way to go!

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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