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Sundance

For a little resort, Sundance has some big claims to fame. It’s the brainchild of film star Robert Redford, for one thing. For another, it’s won more awards than the directors at its film festival. Something of an artistic experiment, the emphasis is on rustic elegance and a return to the fundamentals - and the result is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

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At a glance: • Quiet pistes • Yearly film festival • Yoga ski holidays

Great for: • Families • Off piste • Snow sure

For a little resort, Sundance has some big claims to fame. It’s the brainchild of film star Robert Redford, for one thing. For another, it’s won more awards than the directors at its film festival. Something of an artistic experiment, the emphasis is on rustic elegance and a return to the fundamentals - and the result is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Sundance Resort

Robert Redford once said that when Sundance opened in 69’, waiters were a no-show and the owners had to wait on tables... Today, the original Jay Gatsby might not be asking if you’d like chilli with your nachos, but the resort still has the serene, remote feel that it had when it first started. When he purchased Sundance, the actor and producer covered his ears as New York big dogs told him to cram the canyon with lucrative hotels and ten-a-penny condos. In his view, this was the place for an epic artistic experiment instead.

Chances are, you’ve heard of Sundance already. The Sundance Film Festival, set up by Redford, is partially held here every winter. This is the most action the humble western frontier-style village - infused with lots of Native American soul - sees all year. More like a yoga retreat than a ski resort, trails and cabins wind through the trees and walks are delicately lit up at night. If you don’t leave feeling like nothing’s wrong with the world, you should have yourself looked at...

Humble is one word for the village, but the skiing is definitely not. Sundance is a part of the powder capital of the world - Utah - and sees 350 inches of powder a season. Climb the 2150 vertical feet up Mount Timpanogos (on whose north face are the remnants of a glacier), and the 360° views of the Wasatch Mountains will make you feel like a dot on the landscape.

“What you smell, taste and see here is a dream being carefully nurtured” as the loquacious Mr R once put it. And it’s clearly a dream many think you should share, judging from the size of the awards cabinet (with showings from Conde Nast, Travel+Leisure and Forbes).

Stats & FAQ

Location: Utah, USA

Established: 1969

Open: December - April

Downhill: 450 acres / 44 runs

View our detailed Sundance snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Sundance snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)82km, 1.5 hours
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 35%

  • 45%

  • 20%

Top Altitude:8250ft / 2515m
Bottom Altitude:6100ft / 1859m
Resort Altitude:6100ft / 1859m
Longest run:1km
Slope Orientation:N S
Vertical Drop:2150ft / 655m
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:Yes
Glacier:Yes

Snow Report

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  • Base
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Web Cam

Sundance web cams
Downhill Runs:450 acres / 44 runs
Beginner slopes:35%
Intermediate:45%
Advanced slopes:20%
Lift Pass Price: $70 (single day adult pass)
Nearby resorts: Park City, Alta, Solitude

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Sundance

It’s as though the fine folk at Sundance have intentionally downplayed the terrain on their piste map (perhaps to keep the crowds from coming). But if you know where to look, this little piece of paradise is all kinds of awesome. 4 lifts can unlock a lot of terrain, and Ray’s quad has 3 stops for different levels.

For beginners, it’s a short walk to the handle tow and nursery slopes from base, where access is usually 100% free. Brush up on the bunny slope here then head up Ray’s lift. Like an elevator for your progression to skiing blues, this has mile-wide cruisers increasing in difficulty as you go up. Start at the mid-station for green Stampede, practice here and on the long cat tracks elsewhere, then get back on Ray’s to head for the summit. The views here shouldn’t be missed out on. Blue runs Bear Claw and Roundup will take you on a curving, scenic route back to base to do it all again.

With lots of long winding blues, and several gentle blacks to fast track progression, intermediates are in good hands. Waste no time and start at the summit. Enjoy the views on Bear Claw on the way down to the base of the Flathead lift. This will take you to black level Bishop’s Bowl, which should be a manageable “first” black run in good conditions.

Official figures say only 20% of the terrain is advanced, but the reality is different. From the peak, lines of steep ridges, gullies and bowls stream down to a mid-mountain valley and these aren’t included in the stats. Most make a bee line for Bishop’s Bowl, but Far East is an alternative, often with better snow.

Trees line all runs and can generally all be skied between. In fact, nearly 100% of the terrain on the mountain’s top half can be and these nooks and crannies are some of the juiciest bits. The most “secret” stashes are in the Black Forest – but you didn’t hear it from us!

To make sure you don’t miss out on anything, see if the mountain hosts still do daily tours to show you the best bits for your level.

Extra special is the night skiing here, which leaves the lights on 4 days a week (in most resorts it’s one or two). The majority of the front mountain is illuminated and the ski school even offers night skiing classes (private or group).

Sundance Apres Ski

Rustic, refined, plus the kind of service you’d write home about, with restaurants like these, you don’t need dozens of options to have fun. Dine in elegance at the Tree Room, exceptional for wait-staff who’ll tell you they’re “on your time” and know which wines to recommend.

The Foundry Grill has the stylish rusticity of a Country Life spread, and a dessert menu with warm skillet cookies we’d do unspeakable things for.

For afterhours tipples, the Owl Bar makes your standard umbrella bar deathly pale by comparison. Reportedly constructed in the 1890’s and shipped in from Wyoming, this was once frequented by Butch Cassidy’s crew (and has the bullet holes to prove it). Live music here at weekends is always a popular event, showcasing local talent.

Since getting your zen on is a big part of life here, non-skiing activities naturally include mountain top yoga, nature walks and “rebalancing” massages at the eco spa.

But there’s excitement to be had too. The 3870ft Sundance ZipTour is the 6th longest zipline in the US, with double cables so chums can ride the wind (at up to 65mph) side-by-side. Adventure seekers will also be thrilled by snowmobiling and ice climbing trips to the Wasatch mountains. Equally unique, the Art Studio runs classes 3 times a day, so you can unleash the inner Rodin on everything from pottery and oil painting to photography.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Sundance

When is the best time to ski Sundance?

This is Utah, a state known for having the greatest snow on Earth, so the coverage at Sundance is likely to be of quality whenever you arrive. At 350 inches a year, there’s a little less than Alta or Snowbird, as Sundance is slightly lower in altitude. But on the upside, temperatures here are more comfortable. These can be 3°C in December and January, the months that see the biggest snow dumps, making these terrific times to ski. Rising to highs of 18°C in April, the skies are glorious but slopes on the southern side can suffer and you’ll need to hunt harder for stashes.

Peak Dates

Cosy up with board games by the fire or dine on delicious dishes at the Tree Room and feel like all your Christmases have come at once for Christmas in Sundance.

If “New Year, new you” is your annual mantra, a New Year in Sundance will help you stick to your resolutions. Quiet drinks at the Owl, nature walks and mountaintop yoga could realign the wonkiest of chakras, while there’s arts and crafts for the kids, festive film screenings and special menus at the restaurants.

A Half Term in Sundance is sure to recharge the batteries, while kids go gaga for night skiing classes and the zipline.

Easter in Sundance is when the lifts start winding down, but there can be surprise last minute dumps and plenty of hidden stashes – this is Utah after all.

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Families in Sundance

With such a lack of foot-traffic and an easy-to-navigate village, Sundance is a hit with all ages. If the Ziptour or ice climbing don’t excite (we’ll eat our hats), the night skiing here is some of the best we’ve seen and open 4 nights a week. The ski school even offers kids group after dark lessons – which they’ll consider a super adventure.

Though lessons are available (and fantastic) for ages 4 and up, day care is not currently offered at Sundance. Bring Granny or Gramps to babysit and they won’t complain with lodges and nature walks like these.

GroupsGroup Holidays Sundance

A resort as unique as this needs to be shared, and with private lodges that sleep up to 15, group holidays here can be fantastic.

The memories are just waiting to be made, with everything from black run night skiing to pottery making classes.

More Sundance Holiday Resources


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