Staying in SLC (Midvale and Sandy are contiguous suburbs of SLC) has pros and cons. The pros are that it gives you the advantage in picking a resort(out of the 8 or 9 - the 9th being Powder Mtn) to ski based on weather etc. The costs are low, $60/nt for a room with breakfast, only 30 minutes from the airport, and cheaper lift tickets purchased in town. You can ski half days coming in and leaving, depending on your flight. The negative is that you have to drive 30-45 minutes each day to ski(or a little longer for Snowbasin/PowMow) and the other negative, not important to all, is that you won't be staying in a ski resort atmosphere, but in a city/suburb, although your hotel will be filled with at least 50% skiers, doing the same thing as you.
What sets Snowbird/Alta apart from other places is the unarguable best snow and best chances for a powder day, on expert/advanced terrain arguably comparable to that anywhere else. Snowbird especially, has top to bottom expert terrain at every turn! And, Alta is legendary for many reasons. Right next door are Solitude and Brighton, which although smaller, have the same snowfall (25 inches per week) and excellent terrain for all levels. Then there are 3 Park City resorts, 45 minutes away, which although have lower snowfall, they are also world class resorts, in fact they are "more popular" than the 4 Cottonwood resorts. And then there is Snowbasin, the best resort you've never heard of!
Edited by SnowbirdDevotee - 11/23/10 at 3:01pm