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Nordic Valley is a fantastic little family-friendly ski hill in Northern Utah. Locals consider it their “secret resort for skiing with kids” and it’s a great place for family skiing.
My personal history with Nordic Valley goes back to when I was just 5 years old, making laps on the hill with my grandma, aunts, uncles, and loads of cousins. Today, it’s come full circle as my own parents, siblings and all of the little cousins meet up yearly to ski at Nordic Valley to continue the tradition that my grandparents started 35 years ago.
While Nordic Valley has chosen to stay small while many neighboring resorts have joined with mega passes, its small resort charm makes it one of the best Utah resorts for beginners and families with kids as well as the most affordable ski resort in Utah. If you’re looking for a great small ski resort in Utah, this is one of our top recommendations.
What Makes Nordic Valley Special?
Nordic Valley is unique because it’s an incredibly affordable Utah budget ski resort. With other Utah ski resorts charging up to $200 per day, Nordic Valley lift ticket prices start at just $9 per day, so you can’t beat the price.
Nordic Valley has 5 lifts (including one surface lift), and in many ways, it’s become a hybrid of a Utah old-school ski hill mixed with a few modern amenities like the High-Speed Nordic Express. It’s the perfect Utah resort to learn to ski and snowboard at since ski school and snowboard lessons are a great deal while still being high quality.
One of our favorite things about Nordic Valley with kids is that it’s compact and small so it takes a lot of the stress out of skiing with kids.
Skiing With Kids at Nordic Valley
Our favorite thing about Nordic Valley is how kid-friendly skiing is here. This is one of the easiest places to ski with kids in Utah. If you’ve got kids who are still learning to ski, you can easily see them from the lodge while they’re skiing most of the ski runs off of Bridger, Cub, and Crockett lifts. While this absolutely doesn’t mean that you can just turn your kids lose while you enjoy a cup of cocoa inside, it is nice to know that if you can’t be with them every second, you can still keep tabs on them visually (this is so nice if you’re skiing with multiple kids who ski at different speeds and abilities).
If you have a mix of kids who are beginners and others who are more advanced and capable of skiing alone, feel confident in sending them up the Apollo lift, knowing that the runs will just funnel them over to the main base area, so you don’t have to worry about them getting lost.
Nordic Valley has a very family-friendly vibe to it. You’ll see lots of families learning how to ski or snowboard together and everyone is always super accommodating to families skiing with kids.
NOTE: The Bridger and Crockett lifts can be a bit tricky for younger kids to get on, so come prepared to help them. It was a bit of a stretch for my 7-year-old to get on the chairs solo (it has a higher height to get on) and my 4-year-old needed a really big boost! The Bridger lift doesn’t have a safety bar and the chair can feel a little slippery so be ready to hang on. For beginners, make them wear a ski harness if only so you have an easy handle to hang onto them on the chairlift. If you need help, ask the lift operators for assistance or to have the chairlift slowed down at the bottom and top.
Best Deals On Skiing at Nordic Valley
Nordic Valley boasts the cheapest lift tickets in Utah with some ski days starting at just $9 for a lift ticket. Their ticket pricing operates on a tiered model so there are only a certain number of tickets available at each price.
For the best Nordic Valley ski prices, buy your lift tickets online here and as far in advance as possible.
Free Kids Season Passes At Nordic Valley
Yes, you read that right – kids get FREE season ski passes at Nordic Valley. As part of the Power Kids Season pass, all kids 12 and under get a free ski season pass. Not only is this free kids season pass good for skiing at Nordic Valley with kids, but it also works at these other ski resorts:
Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort (Taos, NM)
Pajarito Mountain Ski Area (Los Alamos, NM)
Purgatory Resort (Durango, CO)
Hesperus Ski Area (Durango, CO)
Arizona Snowbowl (Flagstaff, AZ)
Brian Head Resort (Brian Head, UT)
The Power Kids free season pass program is one of the best deals in the United States for skiing with kids. You can easily register for your Power Pass online and pick it up at the ticket office when you arrive. If you have a child that turns 13 during the year, they can still get a free Power Pass as long as you register them for the pass while they’re still 12 years old.
Night Skiing At Nordic Valley
Nordic Valley night skiing has a pretty good setup, though conditions can sometimes be a bit tricky. Nordic Valley is at a fairly low elevation, which makes the snow melt faster than the surrounding higher elevation ski resorts. That means that if the temperature has been above freezing during the day, you can anticipate icy conditions for night skiing by the end of the night.
Tips For Night Skiing at Nordic Valley:
- Dress for colder temperatures. Temps drop quickly once the sun goes down, so plan on bringing an extra warm mid-layer to put on top of your base layers.
- Wear a neck gaiter or face mask for warmth. You’ll want to minimize any exposed skin, so plan on covering up your face as much as possible to protect from the cold.
- Don’t go night skiing if you’re a total beginner. Conditions for skiing at night can be a bit harder with the extra cold and potential for ice, so it’s a good idea to know what you’re doing a little bit before attempting night skiing.
- The best night skiing happens between about 3pm up until about 30 minutes after sunset. If you can only ski for a while, this is the time to go.
- Night skiing at Nordic Valley is included with a regular day lift ticket (as long as you purchase the ticket at least one day in advance online). Many times the price for a full day lift ticket purchased online (that includes night skiing) is cheaper than just the night skiing lift ticket price at the ticket window.
NOTE: Night skiing conditions and availability can change quickly. If the weather is looking bad, night skiing can be suddenly canceled for safety. We were surprised to come down after a night skiing run to learn this the hard way when the whole resort closed down 1.5 hours early while we were on the mountain, to our complete surprise. My best tip is to only plan on night skiing when the weather and conditions are good so you don’t get the unexpected surprise of a closed resort as we did.
Affordable Utah Ski and Snowboard Lessons At Nordic Valley
Ski lessons seem to be getting more and more expensive every year, but they’re SO IMPORTANT! That’s why we love the ski school and snowboard lessons at Nordic Valley – they offer some of the most affordable ski lessons in Utah.
We enrolled our kids in the Friends and Family Private lessons where you can get up to 4 students in one 2-hour-private lesson for only $399. Honestly, this is hands down the best deal for private ski and snowboard lessons that I’ve ever seen!
Here are some of the great prices for Utah budget ski school at Nordic Valley.
|1 Hour Private Lesson||$109|
|3 Hour Private Lesson||$299|
|Full Day Private Lesson||$455|
|Adult 2 hour Group Lesson||$71|
|Kids 2 hour Group Lesson, Ages 8-17||$59|
|Kids Full Day Group Lesson, Ages 8-17||$130|
These are incredibly cheap prices for Utah ski school. On top of that, the instruction was top-notch. On our most recent visit to Nordic Valley, we put 2 of our kids into ski school and the other 2 kids in snowboard lessons. Truthfully, the lessons were great quality, which can be rare when you’re looking at budget ski school (which I’m a pretty good judge of, as a former ski instructor).
Our kids have a wide range of abilities on the snow as well as a broad age range, so I was amazed that all of the snowsports instructors at Nordic Valley were able to relate to the kids so well while still helping them so much with their skills.
We put all of our kids in ski school a couple of times a year when we notice that they’re struggling to learn a new skill from mom and dad. Our skiers both made pretty big breakthroughs on foundational skills that they’d be struggling with for over a month (in just 2 hours with their instructor).
My 12-year-old daughter had been dying to try snowboarding (after 10 years on skis), and I knew that Nordic Valley was the perfect place for her to test out a new sport. It isn’t crowded here, the runs have a gentle slope, and best of all, we could get a great price on cheap snowboard lessons for kids at Nordic Valley. We only put her in a 2-hour afternoon lesson, and truthfully, she would have been much better off going for a full-day lesson instead, since she was starting from scratch and had SO MUCH to learn. If you’ve got a complete beginner, learn from our mistakes and enroll in a full day lesson instead of just a 2-hour lesson.
Tips for getting the most out of your snowboard and ski lessons at Nordic Valley:
- Talk about ski school a lot with your kids BEFORE they get there. Let them know what to expect and also help them feel how lucky they are to get to go to a lesson and learn lots of fun new skills.
- Discuss your expectations thoroughly with the instructors. Let them know what your child can do and what skills you want them to work on. THIS IS CRITICAL!
- Follow up with both the instructor and your child after the lesson to see what was taught. Ask about specific terminology that the instructors used to trigger movements and progressions.
- Take lessons regularly! I know it’s easy to think that lessons can be a one and done event, but that never works out well. With the price for ski lessons being so CHEAP at Nordic Valley, you can afford to take multiple lessons per season and you’ll be able to improve so much more than just skiing on your own.
Dining At Nordic Valley
Nordic Valley has a ski lodge with a full grill inside so it’s easy to buy lunch at Nordic Valley. While most of the food was pretty standard, the Chicken Tenders were FANTASTIC!
Outside of that, the best thing about dining at Nordic Valley is that it’s affordable. We could get a slice of pizza for only $5 and hot cocoa was only $3.50.
Can I Bring My Own Food To Nordic Valley?
If you want to bring your own food to Nordic Valley, you’ll need to eat it outside on the picnic tables. The lodge does not allow outside food or drink, but there is ample outdoor seating and the views are incredible.
Ski Tailgating At Nordic Valley
With parking that’s close to the hill, Nordic Valley is a great place for a ski tailgating lunch. While the upper parking lot is a bit busy and crowded for this, the adjacent lot across the street is usually very wide open, making it the perfect place for a mid-day ski lunch party!
Tips For First Time Skiers At Nordic Valley
Nordic Valley is one of the most affordable places to learn to ski in Utah, so it attracts lots of beginning skiers and snowboarders. Here are our top tips for first-time skiers and snowboarders:
- Enroll in a lesson. Ski lessons are SO AFFORDABLE at Nordic Valley that it’s basically a no brainer to take a lesson!
- Start on the Cub surface lift. This is essentially an airport moving walkway for skis and is super easy to get up. Stay here until you can stop and turn.
- Try out the Bridger Lift. Let the lift operator know that it’s your first time on a chairlift and ask them to slow it down at the bottom and again at the top.
- Take plenty of breaks. Skiing uses lots of unique muscle groups, so don’t be too hard on your body.
Best Areas For Beginners To Ski At Nordic Valley
Nordic Valley has plenty of beginner terrain. Here are our favorite beginner runs at Nordic Valley:
Crockett Lift (anything except Magic Garden)
Best Trails For Intermediate Skiers At Nordic Valley
Intermediate skiers at Nordic Valley have lots of ski options. If you’re an intermediate skier who’s with some beginners, take the Crockett lift together and then ski down the Magic Garden (while the rest of the group stays under the lift). You’ll probably also want to try your hand at the mini terrain park under the Bridger Lift. There aren’t tons of features there, but it’s a great introduction to park features. Here are some of our favorite intermediate runs at Nordic Valley:
Crockett Lift: Magic Garden
Apollo Lift: Stray Dog, Goldrush
Nordic Express: 2020, Valkyrie
Best Places For Expert Skiers At Nordic Valley
Truthfully, if you’re looking for expert skiing, Nordic Valley doesn’t have TONS of options. But if you just need a good run or two, you’ll find it over on the Nordic Express. Nordic Express is the only high-speed chairlift at Nordic Valley and the liftline accesses some great steep terrain, while beginners can skirt around it on the green cat track that winds down the mountain.
Nordic Express best runs: Righty Tighty, Show Me
Best (and worst) Times To Ski At Nordic Valley
Nordic Valley is located at a lower elevation, so keep that in mind when planning to ski there, since NOT every day at Nordic Valley is great for skiing. I’ve been there on soggy days while it’s raining as well as powder days, and it’s worth doing a little bit of planning so you can enjoy an amazing powder day at Nordic Valley.
Best Times For Skiing Nordic Valley
- January and February are typically best (starting as early as Christmas)
- Ski when high temperatures are below 30 degrees
- Weekdays (though weekends are MUCH LESS crowded at Nordic Valley than at any surrounding resort we’ve ever visited)
Worst Times To Ski At Nordic Valley
- When temperatures are predicted above 40 degrees
- If there’s a chance of rain
- Very early season
- Holiday weekends (though Nordic Valley has about 20% of the crowds that bigger resorts do in similar areas)
Large Group Skiing at Nordic Valley
Skiing with a large group can be logistically and financially difficult to coordinate, but Nordic Valley is excellent for large groups. We ski here yearly with my parents, siblings, and all my nieces and nephews. This year, we had 10 kids and 8 adults and Nordic Valley was such a great spot for large group skiing in Utah.
We love that there are outdoor picnic tables for our traditional homemade chili lunch, that the resort is small enough that no matter where we ski, we still interact with everyone throughout the day, and that the price is super affordable so that it’s not a financial stretch for anyone to ski here.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly Utah ski hill that’s great for teaching kids to ski, Nordic Valley is a great option. It offers cheap Utah skiing, budget ski school and lots of terrain that’s perfect for skiing with kids learning to ski. Our best tip for family skiing at Nordic Valley is to book a trip soon so you can get the cheapest online lift ticket prices! Happy skiing!