Solitude Cross Country Ski Review
John Byers, February 5, 2018
Solitude is one of my favorite ski areas in Utah, both for downhill and cross country skiing. This is my review of the Solitude Nordic Center. I hope to do another Solitude downhill review later.
The Solitude Nordic Center is at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, between the Solitude Village and Brighton Ski Resort. There are quite a few trails, of all difficulties. Most go through the woods, which is one of the best parts of Solitude. The top of the mountain has the ski shop, and is right next to Silver Lake, though you wouldn't know it in the winter! It is completely covered in snow. The area around the lake is where beginners learn, as it is flat. The bottom trails near Solitude Village are also fairly flat. In between the village and the ski shop, are a few steep trails-my favorites.
Now that I have my own skis, my typical day at Solitude starts at Solitude Village. I park in the village parking lot, turning in past the Solitude eagle statue. I buy a pass at the village ticket office, then I ski around the bottom trails, which are a great warm up. It is great being in the trees, mostly on my own. (Solitude is never very crowded.) Then, I start my way up to the top, to Silver Lake. It is a fairly steep climb, and a great workout. You can either parallel the road, or go through a sligthly steeper path through the trees. Either way, it is a difficult climb up. About halfway up, you ski past a fire station. The trail levels out there, and gets easier. You go through the woods, and there are a few cabins around too. It has a great vibe.
As you get closer to the top, it gets busier. I ski around Silver Lake, and then head back down. I love the downhill, it is great. You get going fast, and it only takes me about 20 minutes to get to the bottom. It is the highlight of skiing Solitude. Three times a day a shuttle will take you from the village back to the top. I try to time my downhill run to get there right before a shuttle leaves. Then I take the shuttle back to the top and get a second downhill in. Usually I am too tired to ski all the way to the top twice. Solitude is a great place to ski, and always leaves me feeling tired. If I am super hungry, I go to the lodge by the ski lift at the base of the cross country trails. The chili there is good...but expensive.
If you don't have your own skis, the ski shop rents them-both skate and classic. The workers at the shop are nice and have good advice. They also rent snowshoes too, which can be fun too. Sadly, the ski shop area can be pretty crowded with tourists, and parking can be rough. The ski shop also seems understaffed when tourists swarm. At least they are out getting their fill of the Utah mountains.
- Not crowded
- Great workout on the uphill
- Fun, fast downhill
- Great atmosphere in the woods
- Expensive, a day pass is $20
- Parking up top can be difficult
- Traffic down the canyon can be frustrating
Overall, I HIGHLY recommend Solitude for cross country skiing. You will be tired when you are done, and it's a great place to enjoy the mountains.