Ski Utah in Style With Syd McGee
There shouldn’t be any doubt that we love the winter months for the styling opportunities it brings, and for extra time at home with our families and holiday cooking in the kitchen and cozy fireplaces. The list goes on and on. But if you’re Syd McGee, there’s one more important element of the holiday season: skiing. We sat down with our Studio McGee cofounder to get what he calls, “one Californian transplants POV on the local Utah resorts.” Here’s the gist:
The Canyons Village at Park City | Fun, big, and something for everyone. Great alternative to Park City.
Park City Mountain Resort | Perhaps the most popular for out-of-towners. Still awesome with lots of good runs.
Brighton Resort | The resort for young people and families. Great snow and kids under nine ski for free. Good times!
Snowbird | The hardcore snowboarder’s resort. Big and steep. Grip it and rip it.
Alta Ski Area | If snowboarders aren’t your vibe, this is your place! Skiers only, thus a ski snobs heaven.
Deer Valley Resort | Big, bougie, and beautiful. If you have the means and want an awesome day, then this is your place. Runs for days, heated lifts, so on.
Sundance Mountain Resort | Close, fun, and “crappy” snow. Lots of haters, but I love it. Super family friendly. Close for those that live in Utah County. Good food options.
All photos from Sundance
Ski or snowboard?
Syd: I love to do both. I can’t even remember when I started to snowboard. Growing up in California by the beach, snowboarding was something that only happened a few times a year. I think that all the skateboarding and surfing made it come natural though.
Two years ago, I decided to teach myself how to ski so that I could be more helpful teaching my girls. Trying to hold someone up or maneuver over to them on a snowboard is tricky!
Tips for those that want to learn?
Syd: Send it bro! I honestly feel bad for those that are trying to learn snowboarding as an adult. It can be really rough, and you will take a beating just to learn how to get down the bunny hill. If you are really set on it, I’d suggest grabbing a longboard skateboard and get comfortable on that. Then hit the slopes.
As far as skiing goes, I am not sure if I should be giving advice to anyone. I just thought that it looked easy enough to me and it hasn’t been too bad. I picked it up pretty quick and this really upsets Shea. I would say just got for it but stay away from the black diamond runs at first—I got myself stuck on one when I first started.
Why is your home state one of the best ski destinations in the US?
Syd: I have heard the locals claim that it is because of the “Lake Effect.” Basically, storms come in and hit the mountains, they stall for a time over the Great Salt Lake while picking up additional moisture then they drop all this white goodness on the Wasatch Mountain range.
To be honest, I just like the Utah options because every single resort is significantly better than what I grew up skiing in California.
Favorite ski memory as a family?
Syd: Our first outing of the 21/22 ski season was with the whole family on Christmas week to Sundance. The girls had been skiing for a couple of years at this point. Ivy (5) and Wren (8) were super excited to go—they love it and were ready to take on the big runs, but we agreed to start on the bunny hill. As we arrived at the base of the bunny hill, I once again confirmed with both of them that they remembered how to go, turn, and STOP. They both replied, “yes, dad!”
I bent down to buckle up my boots and I looked up and they were gone, already halfway up the hill on the magic carpet. I quickly hopped the magic carpet to catch up. As I got off at the top, I saw Wren waiting for me and skied over to her. Then I realized that there was no Ivy and immediately started to panic. I looked down the hill and see her going all french fries and no pizza. I started to yell lots of things. STOP. LAY DOWN. PIZZA. PIZZA. PIZZA. Nothing worked. She was frozen in position.
I took off to try and catch up to her, but this was the bunny hill and with little decline, you don’t make quick progress. She blazed ahead of me, headed straight for the resort lounge and fire pit area. Luckily it was early season and there was a big slushy puddle at the bottom, which she hit and went head over heels. It also happened to be a slushy puddle in front of 25 ski patrollers. Together, we picked her up and checked her over and over for injuries. Meanwhile, she was just laughing and laughing. She thought it was so funny. I was beyond relieved. Once I made 100% sure that she was ok, we went back on the bunny hill and reviewed stopping until she was able to stop completely and, most importantly, on demand. Though I was really scared, I will always remember this as a family and thankful we are able to laugh about it.