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Utah has no shortage of amazing ski resorts for families. The mountains are incredibly accessible, only minutes outside of major cities, and that combined with amazing snow, fantastic ski terrain, and Utah’s famous ski deals, it’s one of the best places to plan a family ski vacation.
In fact, that’s one of the main reasons that we decided to move here after checking out 18 different countries trying to find the perfect home for our family.
With 13 different ski resorts in Utah, we are constantly being asked “what’s the best ski resort in Utah for families?” While the answer isn’t completely cut and dry, our personal choice is skiing at Solitude Ski Resort in Utah with kids.
This season will be our third season of getting season passes to Solitude Resort, so I’m here to share with you everything you need to know about skiing at Solitude with kids. Our kids range in age from 3-13, and between that we have every level of skier, and even one kid who snowboards at Solitude.
- What Makes Solitude Good For Skiing Families?
- Ski School for Kids at Solitude Ski Area
- Best Restaurants with Kids At Solitude
- Best Lodging for Families Skiing Solitude
- Best Places for Beginner Kids To Ski At Solitude
- Best Places for Intermediate Kids to Ski At Solitude
- Best Places for Advanced Kids to Ski At Solitude
- Après Ski At Solitude With Kids
- Details To Know About Solitude
What Makes Solitude Good For Skiing Families?
When it comes to skiing with kids, there are a few things that our family always looks for. Our kids range in age from We want easy access to beginner terrain for our youngest skier, but we also want quick access to more difficult terrain for our older kids, and for those moments when Mom or Dad get to sneak away for a run solo.
At Solitude, we can get to the beginner chairlift, Link, right out of the parking lot, and right next to that is the Moonbeam chairlift that has plenty of green and easy blue ski runs for kids. Both of these funnel into the Moonbeam lodge, which is our go-to (on a normal year) for hot cocoa and fries to warm up throughout the day.
I also love that even on a crowded day, the crowds at Solitude are pretty small (I can’t believe I’m letting you in on this secret!). This means that I don’t have to constantly hover over my younger kids for fear that they’ll be plowed over, and also that I can give my kids more freedom to ski on their own.
If one of my kids wants to take a different run than I do, I love that the layout of Solitude funnels almost everything on the front side back into the two base areas (Moonbeam and Solitude Village). That allows me as a mom to keep a closer eye on my kids, while still letting them feel like they have some freedom to ski on their own.
This unique design also makes Solitude a great place to ski with older kids in Utah. Our three oldest kids are all great skiers, and so they usually want to head off on their own for a while. At many resorts, I’d be really uncomfortable with this, but Solitude feels like home to us, so it’s a great place to let kids ski solo. In just a few runs, our kids knew the main layout of the mountain, and had a good idea of where everything was, so we could confidently send them off on their own.
Oh and in case you’re wondering, our rules for letting kids ski alone are that they always have to stay together, wait at the bottom of every slope for everyone to catch up, tell us what lift they’ll be skiing, and they aren’t allowed to ski unknown tree trails or jump off cliffs without an adult (I seriously can’t believe I had to make that last rule :).
Ski School for Kids at Solitude Ski Area
Every year, we put our kids in ski school at the beginning of the season to refresh their skills, and start the season off on the right foot. Our kids have taken several ski lessons at Solitude and it’s been such a great experience.
Just like most resorts, Solitude offers daily ski lessons for kids. However, the area that they really shine is in their multi-week programs for locals. In these classes, local kids are grouped together and will have the same teacher and class for several weeks in a row. This allows instructors to really know what kids need to work on and keep helping them develop their skills week after week.
Our kids have learned so much more in a 5 week weekly lesson, than they ever would have in 5 separate ski lessons. If you can make a multi-week ski lesson at Solitude work for your schedule, I highly recommend it.
Solitude starts private ski school for kids at age 4, and most years, group ski lessons at Solitude start at age 4, though in 2021, group ski school at Solitude is only available to kids ages 7 and up.
Best Restaurants with Kids At Solitude
While this year may not be the best year to enjoy restaurants with kids at Solitude, it’s a great time to try your hand at ski tailgating. Restaurants are operating at minimal capacity, and many are carry-out only.
That being said, there are lots of great restaurants at Solitude in a normal year, so if you’re planning for next year and beyond, we’ve got you covered.
For the best burgers at Solitude, head to Moonbeam Lodge. If you’re kids want pizza for lunch while skiing, head over to Stone Haus in the Village. They also make amazing desserts and are the best way to celebrate a great ski day. For Mexican food for kids, check out Last Chance – their burritos are awesome and get rave reviews from my teenage boy, and they’re the best thing we’ve found to really fill him up for a full day of skiing.
Occasionally, we treat the family to a ski lunch at Honeycomb Grill. The food is the best on the mountain, and it’s only slightly more expensive than the regular cafeteria food. Honeycomb Grill is a sit down restaurant with a slightly more formal atmosphere.
Best Lodging for Families Skiing Solitude
Solitude has a wide range of kids friendly lodging available. Solitude usually has some amazing deals on their lodging packages in the early season and in the spring, so if you’re looking for a great deal, time your family ski trip around those times.
Whether you’re looking for just a room, a condo style of set-up with a kitchen, or even a full house you’ll find it all at Solitude. Best of all, the kids will love the game room and the pool for some après ski fun. If you’re staying at Solitude, all the lodging is walkable around the village area, and while you’re there, you’ll want to be eating at the Stone Haus Pizzeria and the Honeycomb Grill.
If you’re looking for more affordable accomodations, you can easily stay down in Salt Lake Valley and be only 20 minutes from Solitude. Cottonwood heights is the closest area to Big Cottonwood Canyon, though with easy freeway access you can stay almost anywhere in the valley, including downtown Salt Lake, and be up to Solitude in 30-35 minutes.
This can be a great option for families with kids, since you’ll have more dining options, as well as easy access to movie theaters, bowling alleys, trampoline arenas, and other family friendly activities. Truly one of the best things about skiing at Solitude is that you can get the best of the city and the mountains all in one winter family vacation.
Best Places for Beginner Kids To Ski At Solitude
With young kids, we’ve become experts on the beginner terrain at Solitude. If you’ve got beginning skiers at Solitude, the Moonbeam base area is where you’ll want to be. The Link lift has access to the easiest terrain, and a small magic carpet to the side of it is great for first timers. The terrain on link is great for kids learning to ski at Solitude and you should plan on staying there until your kids can confidently stop and turn.
Once your kids can stop and turn, head over to the Moonbeam lift. The green runs on the Moonbeam lift are a great way to improve your kids ski skills at Solitude. For your first time up, if you want the most gentle slope at the top, head to the left of the map and down the slope leading to the Powderhorn lift, and then continue down the mountain from there.
Outside of Moonbeam and Link, there isn’t much more beginner terrain, however, once your kids become intermediate or expert skiers, there is so much terrain at Solitude that’s perfect for them.
Best Places for Intermediate Kids to Ski At Solitude
Once your child can comfortably ski the Moonbeam lift, head over to the Apex lift that departs out of the VIllage area. Fleet Street is the easiest way down and will link you into the terrain accessed from the Moonbeam lift. This is a great way to introduce kids to more intermediate terrain, and still have them be comfortable with the familiar terrain on Moonbeam. Once you’ve mastered that, your kids can start skiing the rest of the blue terrain on the Apex lift as well as the blues on Eagle.
The Summit lift goes up past Apex to the top of the mountain. The main blue run to get down is Dynamite and can be so much fun. Keep in mind though that this run can get icy at the top if there hasn’t been fresh snow for a while, so if your kids are uncomfortable with ice, keep that in mind.
Best Places for Advanced Kids to Ski At Solitude
If your child is an advanced skier and can ski black diamonds comfortably, they’ll have an absolute blast at Solitude. For easily accessed black runs, Powderhorn and Eagle are the lifts to ski on. The black diamond runs are fairly open and you can expect mostly moguls and steep terrain.
Personally, those are the only two areas where I think advanced kids should ski on their own (if they are trustworthy and have the skills). With adult supervision, kids who love steep trees will love skiing Headwall Forest on the Summit lift and the open bowls and glades in Honeycomb Canyon are absolutely wonderful.
Note: We don’t let our kids ski solo in Honeycomb or Headwall Forest since they’re more dangerous areas. Headwall Forest has tight trees and is more remote, so if the kids did have a problem they may not find help right away. Also, Honeycomb is enormous and not heavily trafficked, so they could easily run into similar problems of not being able to get help if they have a problem. Both of these areas are so much fun to ski with kids, but they should have adult supervision.
Après Ski At Solitude With Kids
If you’re looking to unwind after a long day of skiing at Solitude with kids, then staying at the resort is your best bet. The swimming pool, with great views of the entire hill is sure to be a big hit, and the game room could easily keep all the kids on a ski trip happy for a couple of hours.
Whether you’re staying on the property or not, the best place for an apres ski treat is at Stone Haus Pizzeria. Their ice cream and desserts are fantastic, and that’s the place we celebrate after someone in our family has a really fantastic day, or conquers something hard. Just last week we took our son there after rocking it on his first black diamond, and it was such a fun way to celebrate his ski success.
Details To Know About Solitude
Trying to help you make the most educated plans you can when you plan your Utah ski trip to Solitude, here are a few important things you need to know about the resort.
Solitude is one of the least crowded resorts in Utah. It is often much less crowded than it’s neighbor Brighton, and gets significantly less crowding than Park City resorts.
Solitude is much more of an intermediate and advanced ski resort. Both the Link and Moonbeam lifts cater to beginning skiers, but more advanced terrain is what makes Solitude really shine!
This season, all lift tickets must be purchased online. Midweek tickets are cheaper than weekend tickets and buying tickets in advance can often get you a better price.
Youth lift tickets for ages 5-7 cost $48 and under.
Junior lift tickets for ages 8-12 cost $74 and under.
Adult lift tickets for ages 13+ cost $124 and under.
The main parking lot is located at the Moonbeam base area. Parking is paid. You’ll pay $20 to park if you drive up solo, but discounts are given for carpooling, so you’ll only pay $5 if you have 4 or more people in your car.
Brown bag lunches are only allowed outside, not inside the lodges. In the past there was a Brown Bag area in the bottom of the ski school building, but that is not available this year. Plan on ski tailgating this year.
If you want great ski conditions, February is the best month to ski Utah resorts like Solitude. If you want a chance of better weather, plan on spring skiing in March and early April