Here is my take on Utah. I'm not local, but accumulated some "knowledge" over the years visiting SLC:
1. Park City - fancy little town, typical American destination resort town. It takes about 40min on freeway to get there from SLC. From Park City town center it takes 5-10min drive to all of 3 resorts there:
- Deer Valley - relatively small (still big compared to any Tahoe resort), snobby (very expensive tickets, even 2 years old paid $45!!! in 2002). Best grooming in US. They have limited ticket sales to control crowds, which is plus during holidays. Get there earlier to get a ticket! And no snowboarders - skiers only.
- Park City - right in the town center. 2002 Olympic site. Crowds, crowds, crowds...
- The Canyons - kinda on the side, less snobby out of the 3 resorts, smaller crowds due to a little bit weird resort layout. It spreads over 3 canyons (thus the name). Takes time to get to the good stuff, but once there it is all good. Can be crowdy in the morning when the mob tries to get to the bottle neck gondola in the bottom - this might change recently sine they opened an additional lift, me thinks.
Out of these three, I prefer The Canyons. But it could be difficult for snowboarders since there are a lot of traverses.
There is a ski bus going around in case you do not rent a car. Relatively easy to get around the city.
2. Little Cottonwood Canyon is home for Utah's legends - Alta and Snowbird. Both are about 1 mile from each other, Snowbird, then Alta when coming up the canyon from SLC. You can get a dual ticket to ski both (there is a pass-thru on Baldy Mountain thru Mineral basin when coming from Snowbird side). I would not recommend to buy it though - the ticket is way too expensive and you will not be able to cover both areas in one day. Do it separately - day Alta, day Snowbird. Alta still does not allow snowboarding and is more rusty (slower lifts, not fancy everything ect) to preserve "real skiing spirit". Less crowded than Snowbird and arguably has the best powder in US.
Snowbird is big and spreading across 3 sides of a ridge. All good - huge terrain variety. There are 2 options for tickets at Snowbird - with or without tram. Without is like $10 cheaper and in my opinion there is more than enough terrain to ski without tram given you will be there for a day. YMMV though.
Both resort have some on-the-mountain accommodations (Alta less, Snowbird more) from where you can walk to the lifts. If you are alone, there are dorms available. I do not have details, but you can get them on their web sites.
Big Cottonwood Canyon - Brighton and Solitude. Brighton is a paradise for snowboarders - never been there. Solitude is a close second to Alta for powder and the name speaks for itself - no crowds. Very nice mountain, especially if you go deep inside over the ridge. It is less crowded because big sisters on the other side in Little Cottonwood completely overshadow it. There are some resemblance of accommodations over there as well.
If you decide not stay in one of the Cottonwood canyons, then you need to stay in Sandy - it will take about 30 min on a car from its center to either one of the Cottonwoods. There is a ski bus stopping at most of the hotels and I estimate it will take an hour - an hour and a half to get to the lifts.
Keep in mind that on snowy days they may shutdown both canyons for avalanche control. Big Cottonwood usually opens first.
3. Snowbasin - close to Ogden north of SLC. This place being a little of the track is less known and thus empty. It is also relatively new place that was virtually rebuilt for 2002 Olympics - both Men and Women Downhill has taken place there. It is 20 miles of Ogden. If you get there - restrooms are the one of the places to visit. Seriously - it is a must see.
Mountain is one of the biggest in US - close, if not bigger, to 3000 acres. Has all you possibly can have - groomers, cliffs, bowls, trees, whatever. Based on the lifts layout it is kinda spread over 3 independent ridges, but it is still easy to get around.
DO NOT BUY LIFT TICKETS IN THE WINDOW AT THE RESORTS! Any local ski shop or hotel in SLC or Sandy will have them with at least $5 (even more for multi-day) discount!
Go to http://www.skiutah.com/ - official Utah's site and browse thru. Lots of good info and lots of coupons and tips for how to get discounts....
Hope this helps,