Ranch & Coast Magazine

December 2023

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Page 121 of 147

O N A RECENT TRIP TO UTAH (MY umpteenth, by last count), I finally pinpointed what makes this place so special that people, myself included, keep coming back, again and again. Here it is: ere's a magic about it that doesn't diminish with time or familiarity — or even change. And there's been plenty of that, especially in recent years; Utah has topped the list of the country's fastest growing states since 2010. But that, too, is a testament to its popularity. Even if now it's a measurable hike to baggage claim from my arrival gate in the updated Salt Lake City International airport, even if it boasts a ski resort (Park City) that is among the top ten largest in the world, and even if what used to be little insider favorites are no longer happy secrets (the line for ice cream at Java Cow on Park City's Main Street can, at peak times, be a 20-minute affair), it still has all the allure it did in decades past. Why? It's that oft overused word nowadays, but it applies here: is little corner of Utah is truly authentic. Even in its ever-changing, ever-growing state, a visit here is a back-to-basics, people-pleasing trip that brings all the good things about Utah — and there are a lot of them — to the forefront. People, scenery, luxury, food, and fun all share space here. e resort areas that dot either side of the state's Wasatch Mountainsjust a short drive from Salt Lake City are known for having such incredible snow that it's billed as "e Greatest Snow on Earth." And though they share a mountain range, each has its own unique personality. e western slopes that sit in Salt Lake County are admittedly a bit sleepier but offer spectacular, powder-laden conditions at four resorts. e largest, Snowbird, boasts a 125-person aerial tram that zips riders to the summit in seven minutes. In summer, it features a rooftop balcony for those who don't suffer from a fear of heights wanting veritable bird's-eye views. Only slightly smaller at 2,200 skiable acres to Snowbird's 2,500 is Alta. A mecca for dyed-in-the-wool skiers as one of only two ski-only resorts in Utah, Alta was tapped by PeakRankings as Utah's No. 1 ski resort in the 2022-23 season for its conditions, terrain, and overall vibe. Brighton and Solitude, the more diminutive two of the four, still deliver the challenging conditions this side of the range are known for with a fraction of the crowds found at the bigger resorts. A bonus for Ikon pass holders: all four resorts are Ikon destinations. Without a bustling town to draw you off the mountain after a big day, lodging right at the base is the way to go — advice that stands for all seasons on this side of the Wasatch Mountains. FEATURED IMAGE: PHOTO COURTESY OF PARK CITY CHAMBER/BUREAU A Mountain Favorite Northern Utah keeps things fresh without ever losing its history BY DEANNA MURPHY ranchandcoast.com 122 DECEMBER 2023 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE

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