Solitude is a special place, poised between different worlds. On the mountain, the resort feels like a quiet family-owned operation with quite a few old, rather oddly-placed lifts. But while the on-slope experience is mellow and rustic, the village below offers surprisingly upscale lodging, dining, and drinking. The village buildings are fairly new, built in a charming European style, and yet the village is generally quiet, like it’s waiting for something to happen.
The resort seems to have one foot (or ski) in the past and the other in the future. (Adding one more variable to the equation, it was just purchased by Deer Valley, which is geographically very close by. Solitude locals are somewhat anxiously awaiting what changes this new ownership will bring: tasteful improvements or aggressive real estate development?)
While locals speculate about the resort’s future, its present is certain. Solitude’s terrain is both challenging and inviting. It waits serenely for skiers to uncover its magic with giggles, whoops, and overhead powder turns. And once skiers are high on jaw-dropping powder laps and excellent alpine views, they stagger back into the village for a fine cheese plate and local draft beer. Honeycomb Grill is ski in/ski out and offers superb lunch options that warm you from the inside out. (And yet, on every day except the busiest holidays, the grill remains uncrowded.)
The resort is an oasis of calm on weekends and holidays that clog the liftlines and traverses at other Wasatch resorts. Skiing here demands little time or patience (no traffic jams, attitudes, or thrown elbows). It allows ample breathing room for frolicking. Which is what the sport is all about.
At Solitude, there’s no need to roll out of bed before dawn to queue up for first chair. Take your time, stop for a platter of Huevos Rancheros at Silver Fork Lodge on the way up to the resort. Then casually pull in to the upper village parking lot.
On a sunny day, it matters not to which lift you go. You’ll find patches of goodness between the trees and groomed runs—limitless delights stashed hither and fro.
And if it’s a snowy day, then hallelujah. Shred the open slopes below the Powderhorn lift while you wait for the Summit lift to open, then cruise over to Summit and pillage the peripheries of its upper bowl. Duck into Headwall Forest, a steep, densely treed area that intimidates the masses but invites experts and resort employees to duck in and play on its natural terrain features. Then, once the ropes drop on Honeycomb, you’re hitting home runs for the rest of the day.
Solitude’s unassuming slopes will wait, Buddha-like, as you make the lengthy laps down Honeycomb Canyon, up the Honeycomb Lift, down to Sunrise Lift, then back up to Summit. Some folks complain that completing a full lap in Honeycomb takes at least an hour, but you’ll find when you eventually make your way back to the top, all the powder is right where you left it.