Have you been itching to get out and travel a little bit? Have you been watching the forecasts roll in and the snow pile up? Well this year is the perfect year for a road trip to explore the mountains of the intermountain West. Below we have put together an itinerary that explores Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. Whether you’ve got the Epic Pass, Ikon Pass, or Day tickets we’ve got you covered.
Assuming you’ll fly into SLC and get a rental car for this road trip we will start in the city. If you’re on the Ikon Pass or planed ahead for day tickets then head up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird and Alta. If you’re on the EPIC pass or a Sun Valley/Snowbasin pass holder head north out of the city to Snowbasin. If you’re really here to ski then plan ahead with your passes and ski all three!
Ikon Pass: Snowbird and Alta
- Odds are that you’ll be up earlier than a kid on Christmas with the anticipation of your first day of riding. Swing down to Baked & Brewed in the Snowbird center to ease the nerves with a quick breakfast and reviving cup of joe.
- After a long day of traveling, a warm-up run might be in your favor before tackling things head on. The Peruvian chair will whisk you up to a selection of mellow groomers while feeding anticipatory first glimpses of the terrain that awaits you.
- A few laps on the Tram are bound to leave you famished and eager to give the trembling legs a rest. Grab lunch at Snowbird’s newest “crown jewel”, The Summit.
- End-of-day libations will be awaiting as you make your way back to the base of the mountain. Head to the Tram Dock to recount your favorite lines over a frosty Tecate. If the weather isn’t in your favor, dip downstairs to the Tram Club for the cozy, sports-friendly atmosphere.
*If you’re riding the shred stick (snowboard), enjoy another day of exploration at Snowbird as Alta does not allow snowboarding at their resort.
- If you’re a coffee-only morning person, check out Alta Java in the Albion basin (if it snowed more than 6in, skip breakfast and proceed to the lifts as quickly as possible).
- The Collins lift offers some of the best access to Alta’s classic runs. You can shake the lactic acid build-up with a quick groomer from here or choose to launch straight into the steeps with famed runs such as: High Rustler, Lone Pine, Eagle’s Nest, Greely Bowl and the Shoulder Traverse.
- When the legs start to tremble from the endless powder laps, it’s time pack it in and hit the road for part two of your Mountain Collective road trip.
- On your way out of town, call-in an order for a sandwich from Feldman’s Deli – 801-906-0369.
Epic Pass: Snowbasin
- Snowbasin is roughly an hour drive from Salt Lake City making the early morning mission from the big little city more than doable. The powder panic getting here is much more subdued than it’s counter parts so hit play on that Stevie Wonder mix, sit back and enjoy the ride.
- Grab your caffeine fix and a cinnamon roll at Grounds for Coffee in Layton along the way.
- The John Paul quad will be calling with ample servings of fresh courd. Skiing the 2002 Olympic “Grizzly” Downhill course is a must. You’ll find plenty of carver-friendly terrain off this lift all day long.
- If you find yourself there on a sunny day, be sure to take the Allen Peak Tram for the sweeping views of the Wasatch Valley.
- When the hunger pains overcome the will to keep skiing, dip in to the Strawberry Cafe for their signature beer bratwursts.
Drive to Sun Valley – Trip Time: Roughly 4.5hrs
- The drive to Sun Valley is a quick, uneventful trip when the weather is favorable. Freeway speed limits trend at the 80mph mark, ideal for hitting the cruise control and letting the four and a half hours fly by.
- For a scenic stop along the way, swing off the freeway into the town of Twin Falls (1.5 hrs from Sun Valley). The view from the Perrine Bridge is quite the sight (the only legal bridge that you can base jump from). Great opportunity to stretch the legs and fill up the rig.
- If dinner is on the mind once you reach Sun Valley, there’s a plethora of options from a quick slice of pizza to eclectic Asian-fusion.
- Weary eyes from driving coupled with a food induced coma demand a good night’s rest. Look no further than the Sun Valley Lodge with its recently remodeled rooms to revitalize the soul.
Epic Pass: Sun Valley
Sun Valley does not require a reservation to ski and also has day passes available this season for purchase in advance. But get them early cause they’ve been going quick.
- Wake up and get your wits about you with an easy run on Upper and Lower College before venturing out to Seattle Ridge, Christmas Ridge, or the Bowls.
- Once the lifts stop running for the day, head to Warfield Distillery and Brewery for an après drink by the fire, then walk to the Ketchum Grill for traditional Western dishes with a twist.
- Get some rest so you’ll be lined up for first chair in the morning!
- Grab a quick breakfast at the Konditorei—a resort staple for a hearty meal and strong coffee—before strapping on your skis or board for a day of riding. Be sure to check out the hidden gem of the Frenchman’s and feel the burn on a top-to-bottom Warm Springs run. It’s a rite of passage.
- Make your way to Seattle Ridge for lunch…you won’t regret either the tasty dishes or the panoramic views.
- When your legs call “uncle” for the day (which can be surprisingly early, given the lack of lift lines and uncrowded slopes at Sun Valley), Apples, at the base of Warm Springs, is a local’s-favorite spot for cheap beers and ski-town vibes.
- Check out Asian-fusion restaurant Rickshaw for dinner, and if you’re still full of energy, slip into Whiskey Jacques for music, dancing, and general mayhem.
Crossroads: Jackson Hole or Big Sky
Both Jackson Hole and Big Sky are on the IKON pass and are both absolutely insane big mountain skiing resorts. Jackson Hole is a 4.5 hour drive and offers a 4.5 hour loop back to SLC airport to complete your trip and drop off your rental before you fly back out. Big Sky on the other hand is a 5.5 hour drive from Sun Valley, but then you can continue 1 hour onto Bozeman and fly out from there if you would like to make this a one way route.
- If you have the time in your itinerary stopping for an afternoon of skiing at Grand Targhee on your way to Jackson Hole is highly recommended.
- Drive safely over Teton Pass and when you cruise into Jackson grab a bite at Roadhouse before you head over to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
- Wake up the next morning and grab a cup of joe at Southcable Cafe up in Teton Village while you wait for the lifts to start spinning.
- Ride up the Bridger Gondola to kick off the day and then it is up to you if you’d like to ski the more extreme over under the tramline or if you’re gonna play it cool off the Aprés Vous Quad
- On your way to Big Sky spend some time in the quaint town of West Yellowstone which is the main winter gateway to the National Park. It is much quieter in the winter so enjoy the solace.
- Once in Big Sky grab a steak at Horn and Cantle before heading to the Broken Spoke for a night cap.
- Eat a hearty breakfast at Blue Moon Bakery so that your ready to shred all the terrain off of the Swift Current Quad.
- Once you’ve stretched your legs out its time to decide if you have what it takes to head up to Lone Peak or if cruising over on southern comfort sounds like a much needed relaxation after a week of skiing.
- Once your done in Big Sky be sure to check out all Bozeman has to offer from Montana Ale Works for dinner to Jam! for breakfast.
And that is the road trip. Hopefully we set you up with enough ideas to get your own amazing trip put together whether that is a 4 day marathon trip or a 10 day expedition into all that the intermountain west has to offer. Travel safely, plan ahead, and pray for snow!