Tog, you are right, and to support Heidi's contention further (Though she does the whole apartment thing which I am excluding since it is not practical for most people, that is why we have hotels in the first place, and not everyone is looking to "cook" etc. so am comparing apples to apples as best as I can, Heidi, hope that is ok)by the time I was looking for a booking, Utah airfares were 650+/pp, with taxes etc 700+ on Delta and that was tough to get for the Friday the week before Easter weekend, i.e. March 22, from NYC non-stops ( with my boy, and otherwise, I am not into making stops unless they are unscheduled), or to Vancouver via Cathay Pacific non-stop from NYC, was 657/pp with taxes etc about 730, plus travel to WB unless you wait all night at Vancouver Airport is 350 per way in a car/van service (so assuming one family, that is 700 RT), then ski rentals in WB is about 250 to 300 CAD for 6 days for an adult about 60% of that for a kid, prices are very similar in Alta or Snowbasin, and Deer Valley (where the nice thing is they bring skis to you. Travel to Alta and DV via hotel van services is 90/each way minimum, so say $180.
Now lift tickets (All advance purchase online for 6 DAYS) : I am making educated guesstimates on taxes
- in WB 6 days - to compare as and when we traveled with advance purchase is 522 online plus CAD Tax =12%, so total is about CAD 584; children CAD 347 (4-12yrs)
- Deer Valley: lift tickets 558 + 5.95% or something like that sales tax = USD 591, kids (4-12yrs)=331 USD
- Alta ONLY lift tickets 425+5.95% tax= 450, child is 222 USD(4-12 years)
- Zermatt-Cervinia : Adult for both areas 423 CHF (and you can get it included in your hotel, it is a great deal then believe me, compare it to half-board at Alta Lodge which is one of nicest coziest places I have ever been to, and it does not come close to the amenities as in 3* switzerland other than it is TRUE ski-in and ski-out, huge Plus of course, we love that) and child 4-10 years FREE.
Again, cost in Zermatt to be factored is cabs to slopes and back if you do not want to take the bus, that is 12 CHF per way, but that is a personal choice but nice when one has kids who are tired and cranky once the endorphin rush gives way to tired young legs.
So all in all, skiing is definitely comparable in cost and access in Switzerland, and Austria is cheaper. Travel costs are the big enchilada. Note train from Zurich to Zermatt - Adult 1st class was 261 CHF R/T if bought in the USA, and child travels FREE with adult.
Just some more data points, I found quite interesting. I would like to add, from NYC-SLC is 4.2/3 hrs hrs flight, while NYC-YVR(Vancouver), is 4.5 hrs (it is true, it is faster on a Cathay Jumbo), and NYC-Zurich is almost 8 hours, and then about 4 hours to Zermatt, train station at the airport.
All data points for interested parties, this is casual empiricism, not scientific, just providing information to fellow travelers with families, who are not looking for CHEAPEST option, which is usually available to the single shredder or the young athletes.
And by the way food is the same if you eat a reasonable lunch anywhere, and food in Austria I think was the best, then Snowbasin lodges hands down (and those lodges remain a global top of the line!). Switzerland is eclectic alpine character restaurants, but it aint cheap but not crazy. But they do charge 5 CHF for WATER!!! no free fountains on the mountain, shocked me and a few other Brits and Americans we met!