Silicon Slopes: Greatest Tech on Earth

Silicon Slopes: Greatest tech on Earth

Melinda Rhodes | December 16, 2021 at 4:15 PM

What is Silicon Slopes? Why do business there? How has it affected the housing market? KSL Homes answers all of your questions about this booming region in Utah.

Similar to its California counterpart, Silicon Valley, Silicon Slopes is a nickname for the Provo/Salt Lake/Park City region. The term refers to the proliferation of high-tech startups and established enterprises with offices near the skiable, bikeable, hikeable mountains Utah is famous for. 

The city of Lehi — which has grown from a rural town that once set the scene for Kevin Bacon’s flour mill dance montage in “Footloose” to one of the largest cities in Utah with a population exceeding 77,000 — is considered the heart of Silicon Slopes. Some of the most desirable places to work in the country are businesses in Lehi, Utah, including Route which made Forbes’ 2021 list of Next Billion-Dollar Startups. 

From SaaS unicorns like Route to e-commerce giants like, dozens of tech influencers are either headquartered or have satellite offices in Silicon Slopes. Some of the many companies that take advantage of Utah’s pro-business climate and Silicon Slopes’ innovative culture include: 

  • Adobe
  • Domo
  • EA Sports
  • eBay
  • SanDisk
  • Workfront
  • Zions Bank

Though it may seem like Utah’s tech industry exploded overnight because of the branding and promotion of Silicon Slopes over the past few years, the groundwork was laid long before the region’s nickname was coined.

Six decades in the making

The successful business environment that gave way to Silicon Slopes wasn’t a happy accident. It was a conscious effort that dates back as far as the 1960s. Education, location and legislation have all played a role.

The University of Utah was one of the original four nodes of the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, an arm of the U.S. Department of Defense. ARPANET built a network that was the forerunner to the internet. It was used from 1969 to 1989. 

Today, the University of Utah continues to be a leader in business, computer science and engineering education, as does Brigham Young University. Respectively located in Salt Lake City and Provo, both four-year universities provide a qualified pool of eager interns and entrepreneurial-minded employees for businesses in the Silicon Slopes area. This solves the talent shortage often associated with Silicon Valley.

Yet Utah is only an hour and a half from San Jose by plane. Companies can often get the best of both worlds by having offices in the Valley and the Slopes. There are also several direct flights from Salt Lake City to New York, where many venture capitalists are located.

A low cost of living compared to California and other economic opportunities also make Utah a desirable place to do business. Over the years, lawmakers have continued to keep taxes stable. Companies can also get multi-million dollar tax incentives by relocating to Silicon Slopes and meeting goals related to job growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Utah’s unemployment rate was 2.2% in October 2021, approximately half of the national average. And the Beehive State continues to make headlines for its strong economy. Forbes recently ranked Utah first for its gross domestic profit growth in 2021. Utah also made U.S. News & World Report’s list of 10 Best States for Business.    

Silicon Slopes real estate

Like many cities in the United States, the demand for housing is exceeding the supply in the Silicon Slopes area. This has rocketed prices to record highs. As of August 2021, the Utah Association of Realtors® reported the median sales price in Salt Lake County was $450,000, with Utah County not far behind at $440,000. (Rental rates are also high, with Provo averaging $1,500 a month.) Those who want to live within a microchip’s toss of the Park City Tech Center can expect to pay even more — the median purchase price in Summit County was $1.13 million during the same timeframe. Meanwhile, the number of days a property is on the market has plummeted to record lows. 

But Utah’s housing market is showing signs of stabilization. The construction of new homes is ramping up, especially in Provo and Lehi. People who were hesitant to sell their homes during the pandemic are now putting the properties on the market. And interest rates are rising. Experts predict the combination of these three factors will likely balance supply and demand in the near future.

Whether you’re looking to build, buy or rent in Utah, KSL Homes is your go-to source for Silicon Slopes real estate. Start your search today.