Aprés at McHenry's Beach at Deer Valley. Photo courtesy of Dan Campbell / Ski Utah

I’ve wondered if people of Utah really know just how good Utah’s ski resorts are. Readers of SKI Magazine obviously do. 

The magazine conducts a survey each year where it asks readers—not writers or editors or advertisers—to vote on the best in different 20 areas. From that poll, the magazine selects its top 30. One requirement is voters must have visited their choices within the previous two years, which means they know what they’re voting on. 

For five years running Deer Valley received the No. 1 rating. This year, it was pushed back to No. 2. In 10 years, Deer Valley has never dropped below three.

This year, eight Utah areas were rated in the top 30—Deer Valley (2), Park City Mountain Resort (4), Canyons (10), Snowbird (17), Brighton (21), Solitude (22), Alta (25) and Snowbasin (30). 

It should be noted that there are 427 ski areas across the northern half of the United States and another 160 in Canada. 

“Year after year, these rankings positively reinforce that our efforts are improving the Utah ski experience for local and destination visitors alike,’’ says Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah.

While overall ratings are nice, more telling are the vote counts in the 20 categories. In the 20 voted on, Utah took top billing in 11 categories. When voters look at which resorts had the best snow, Alta was, once again, the No. 1 choice. Powder Mountain was second for best snow. Of the 10 places, Utah resorts filled six.

Another important area is access. That is how quickly can skiers and snowboarders get from point A to point B—airport to resort or home to resort. Here again Utah resorts dominated taking seven of the 10 spots, with Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley and Canyons taking three of the top four.

There were, of course, areas where Utah resorts didn’t score well with voters. Off-hill activities, for example. Only Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley received enough votes to place. 

Utah resorts also did not sit well with voters when it came to terrain parks. Only Park City Mountain Resort made the list—No. 5.

One area that did score well with voters was value. Or, where to go to get the best runs for the money. The four picked from Utah, as you might expect, were Powder Mountain (2), Alta (3), Brighton (5) and Solitude (6). 

When it comes to eating, Deer Valley has been and is by far the frontrunner. It seems like every year voters like the spreads put down by Deer Valley and this year is no exception. It was voted No. 1 for offering the very best on-mountain food and evening dining. It was also the top pick for offering the best lodging and the best fleet of groomers.          

And when it came to overall satisfaction, Alta was No. 1, Deer Valley was No. 4 and Powder Mountain was No. 9. 

It should be noted that Utah has but 14 resorts, where New York has 29 and Michigan 39 and Colorado has 31 listed. Proving, once again, Utah has gone for quality. 

This season's rankings:

1. Whistler Blackcomb, BC
2. Deer Valley, UT
3. Vail, CO
4. Park City, UT
5. Telluride, CO
6. Jackson Hole, WY
7. Sun Valley, ID
8. Snowmass, CO
9. Beaver Creek, CO
10. Canyons, UT
11. Whitefish, MT
12. Aspen, CO
13. Steamboat, CO
14. Breckenridge, CO
15. Crested Butte, CO
16. Aspen Highlands, CO
17. Snowbird, UT
18. Mammoth, CA
19. Taos, NM
20. Copper Mountain, CO
21. Brighton, UT
22. Solitude, UT
23. Big Sky, MT
24. Winter Park, CO
25. Alta, UT
26. Keystone, CO
27. Northstar, CA
28. Heavenly, CA
29. Squaw Valley, CA
30. Snowbasin, UT