There are a lot of resort names in Utah that shout a lot, that everybody knows about, and which are immediately recognizable. But there are also some reasonably well-kept secrets not far from Salt Lake City which are worth visiting, and one of them is just up the road from Brigham Young University. With a hiking trail established in the early 1900s by a BYU professor, Sundance Mountain Resort has one of the longest mountain resort histories in the state and maintains a close relationship with the university.
Owned by movie star and philanthropist Robert Redford, Sundance is a quiet haven seated below Mount Timpanogos in Utah County. The resort has a beautiful rustic setting, with log buildings dominating the village and a variety of lodging options for guests.
Sundance first became best known for its hiking. After the first aforementioned trail was established, the activity caught on as more and more people began exploring Mt. Timpanogos. In time, the first rope tow was constructed for skiing, but the hiking trails continued to expand. As a result, Sundance operates year-round and is host to conferences, weddings, and great summertime sightseeing and hiking.
Rising out of the village is Ray’s Lift, a quad chairlift built locally by Garaventa CTEC, now part of Doppelmayr Garaventa group which makes ski lifts around the world (the map photo comes courtesy of LiftBlog.com). This lift is also one of the main access methods for additional hiking trails, as well as most of the ski runs, and has the distinction of being equipped with two mid-stations; the top one unloads in both directions. Sundance’s lift system is on the classic side compared with many resorts; none of them are high-speed detachables. However, it does allow every rider to savor the fantastic views around them as they head on up. Jake’s and Red’s are the two newest lifts on the mountain, with Jake’s opening up expanded terrain and access and Red’s replacing an older chairlift.
At just 450 acres, Sundance isn’t as large as some of its neighbors, but don’t be fooled. The resort’s solid vertical and layout still make for a large skiing experience. And none has the view from the resort summit, with a panorama of the surrounding Wasatch range, valleys, and Timp’s impressive peak.
The resort has indeed spawned one of Utah’s best-known institutions: The Sundance Institute and its best-known annual event, The Sundance Film Festival. Held during the ski season in Park City, the festival attracts film buffs, actors, editors, and other makers and shakers of independent film from around the world, and we at VIP Limousine have been proud to provide transportation for attendees throughout the years at the event. But the idea for the festival and the institute began at the site of the resort after Redford acquired property there.
Accessible from Provo Canyon by car, as well as Utah Transit Authority bus route 880, Sundance Mountain Resort is a beautiful getaway with a purpose: escape amidst beauty. The slopes, spas, and space provide a unique and quiet atmosphere away from the crowds and cares. The experience at Sundance is one which thrives on serenity and ensuring that guests have a luxurious experience, but without being pretentious or frilly. Between the annual dustings of Utah powder, great hiking, and stunning vistas, it is another little slice of heaven in Utah.