I moved here blind about a month ago from plattsburgh. I had a few friends living in sugarhouse so i stayed with them till i found a spot. Ended up finding (though NS actually) a place in cottonwood heights. Im about as close as you can get to the Big Cottonwood Canyon road without living in it. Unless you are really into the bar and party scene id deffanatly reccomend this area. If your looking for a resort job both the cottonwood canyons are right here, if you looking for something down in the city, its a bit of a hike but i think it'd be worth it.
As for skiing, if you have any friends that are already here get what ever passes they are getting. I did that and got Park City and snowbird. If i had to do it again i probably would have settled for just a brighton pass. The park there is deffanatly on par with the top EC resorts, and the terrain seems mad fun (i have only been there once so i cant make a perfect judgement). I love snowbird, fast steep technical stuff but sometimes id like to play around on some more pillows and medium size drops, brighton has plenty of that, a little mellower which kinda sucks but i kinda wish i saved the money and killed 2 birds with one stone. Park city is fun for the park, thats about it imo (again havent explored the mtn there just the parks so i dont know if my judgement is the best)
If you have any more questions pm me, I've only been here for a little more than a month now so I may not be the most helpfull but i did basically what your doing so ill try to answer any of your questions.
If you want to live around alot of young people and have equal access to PC and the cottonwoods, I'd get a place near the u. There are always parties and things going on, there are prettty nice houses for relatively cheap, and there are tons of job oppurtunities on campus.
As for passes, I personally won't be getting the PC/Alta combo again, mainly because I'm not a huge fan of park skiing. I do throroughly enjoy the park at brighton since they put some more creative features, and have things other than downbars/rails. I'm either going to get Alta/Bird or Alta/Brighton next year.