Skiing Sundance

Sundance is known for its quiet, intimate setting and lack of lift lines. It offers runs for all levels -- some quite challenging -- including several delightfully long cruising trails for novices. The area is gaining a reputation as a good place to learn to ski or snowboard. The two levels of skiing are pretty well separated from each other: The beginner and some of the intermediate terrain are on the front mountain, whereas the prime blue runs and all of the expert slopes are on the back mountain. The expert crowd will be pleased with the steep glades, precipitous bump runs (due to the general lack of traffic, the mountain never really bumps up too high, though), and untracked snow on the back mountain, where you'll have to work at it to run into another skier.

The terrain is rated 20% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 40% advanced, with a total of 41 runs over 450 skiable acres. One quad and two triple chairlifts, plus a handle tow, serve the mountain, which has a vertical drop of 2,150 feet, from a base elevation of 6,100 feet to the top at 8,250 feet. Sundance is usually open from mid-December to early April, and has state-of-the-art snow-making equipment on the entire front mountain. Lifts operate daily from 9am to 4:30pm and on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 4:30 to 9pm.

Bearclaw's Cabin, the only mountaintop day lodge in Utah, offers snacks and hot drinks, as well as stupendous views. Creekside day lodge, at the base of the ski area, serves excellent quick lunches during ski season. Equipment rental and sales are available.

Lift Tickets -- Adult all-day lift tickets cost $47, children 6 to 12 are $25, 5 and under ski free, and seniors 65 and over pay $15. Night skiing is $25 for adults and $18 for children. If you're staying at the resort, the lift ticket is included in your room rate.

Lessons & Programs -- The ski school (tel. 801/225-4140) offers private and group lessons daily, as well as specialized workshops. Three-hour private lessons start at $240; group lessons start at $65 for 2 hours.

Sundance Kids ski school offers several programs, including group lessons and all-day programs that include supervision, lunch, and instruction. The resort has no day-care facility.

Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing -- Sundance's excellent Cross Country Center is 1 1/2 miles north of the main Sundance entrance. It has about 21 miles of groomed Nordic and snowshoe trails. Classic, skating, and telemark rentals and lessons are available. Trail passes for adults cost $16 for a full day, or $12 after 2pm. Children 12 and under and seniors 65 and over ski free.

Warm-Weather Fun

An abundance of warm-weather activities and spectacular scenery make Sundance just as popular a destination in the summer as during the winter. A quad ski lift operates in warm weather (usually from late May through late Oct), carrying hikers and bikers to upper trails, and offering scenic rides to anyone. Lift rides cost $10, $9 for kids 6 to 12, $7 for seniors 65 and older, and are free for children 5 and under accompanied by an adult.

Fly-Fishing -- The Provo River provides great fly-fishing just 10 minutes away for rainbow, cutthroat, and German brown trout. Licenses and information are available at the Sundance General Store. Sundance offers guided fishing trips, including equipment rentals. Rates start at $159 for group, $239 for private, half-day fly-fishing trips.

Hiking & Mountain Biking -- Sundance is home to a terrific network of close to a dozen trails, some of which connect to the Uinta National Forest, 88 W. 100 North, P.O. Box 1428, Provo, UT 84601 (tel. 801/342-5780; The resort's trails range from hour-long nature walks to all-day affairs, and include three routes to the summit of Mt. Timpanogos.

The Sundance Nature Trail, a 1- to 1 1/2-hour round-trip hike, winds through groves of spruce, oak, and maple and across alpine meadows before reaching a cascading waterfall. The Great Western Trail, one of the Wasatch Front's most spectacular trails, climbs nearly 4,000 feet to some amazing scenic vistas. It starts at the base of Aspen Grove, winds to the crest of North Fork and American Fork canyons, and ends at the top of Alta ski area. This is an 8- to 10-hour round-trip hike.

Mountain bikers will find the mountain trails at Sundance fun and challenging. Bikers can minimize some of the work by taking their bikes up the lift and pedaling down. The mountain biker's trail-use fee is $18, which includes one lift ride; a full-day pass, including unlimited use of the lift, costs $16.

Contact the resort for a comprehensive trail guide.

Horseback Riding -- The Sundance Stables offer guided mountain rides of 1 hour and up, starting at $59 per person. Call the main number at Sundance for information.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.