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Skiing and Snow Play in Salt Lake City

The Classic: Skiing
Skiing and Snow Play in Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City and its proximity to the Wasatch mountains make for satisfying, refined winter adventures. No need to rough it here. There are plenty of ways to get out into the magic of the snow-covered terrain without risking life and limb. In under an hour, those looking to escape the sounds of the city can be in the serenity of the hills on skis, snowshoes, or any other mode of winter transport—or they can just sit still and soak it all in.
By Cameron Martindell, AFAR Local Expert
Photo courtesy of Adam Barker/Visit Salt Lake
  • 1 / 10
    The Classic: Skiing
    The Classic: Skiing
    The world-class skiing within easy reach of Salt Lake City is usually high up on the bucket list for most snow hounds. For the purist, there's Alta (snowboarders are not allowed at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon). Just over the ridge in Big Cottonwood Canyon, boarders are welcome at family-friendly Brighton—a steep and fun area with some great backcountry access. Easily accessible from SLC via Interstate 80 are the massive resorts Park City Mountain (which combined with Canyons) and Deer Vally (which hosted the freestyle mogul, aerial, and alpine slalom events for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games).
    Photo courtesy of Adam Barker/Visit Salt Lake
  • 2 / 10
    The Thrill of the Hill—for All
    The Thrill of the Hill—for All
    Anybody can enjoy the snowy mountains just a stone's throw from Salt Lake City and harness the fun to be had sliding down the slippery slopes. First stop: Gorgoza Park in Park City, where you can team up with friends to tube down the hill in a spinning fun heap, or hit it solo on a tube or classic toboggan wooden sled. For hills in the city itself, when the snow allows, swing by Lindsey Gardens and Sugar House Park, where sled riders and tubers of all ages are welcome.
    Photo by Jim West/age fotostock
  • 3 / 10
    Hit the Ice
    Hit the Ice
    Ice skating tends to appear mainstream only when the Winter Olympics come around, but there are plenty of people who enjoy it in the meantime. Salt Lake City has a few indoor rinks. One them, the Acord Ice Center, is the official training rink for the Utah Grizzlies and features an Olympic-size surface that is frequently open to the public for free skating. When temperatures are low enough, the recently renovated outdoor rink at the Gallivan Center is open seven days a week during the winter, and features rental and skate-sharpening facilities along with concession stands.
    Photo by Randy Faris/age fotostock
  • 4 / 10
    Rev It Up on a Snowmobile
    Rev It Up on a Snowmobile
    The need for speed is easily quenched while ripping through fresh powder at 100 miles per hour past trees and over mountains on a snowmobile. Less than an hour's drive from Salt Lake City, in the Heber Valley, Uinta Recreation provides half- and full-day rentals, and leads expeditions through the local wilderness. The company can accommodate huge groups (up to 60 people) on spectacular rides through the Uinta National Forest, Wasatch mountains, and Strawberry Valley. Snowmobile Adventures at Thousand Peaks, just east of Park City, thrusts you into the center of Utah’s largest private ranch: a 60,000-acre playground among 11,000-foot peaks and some of the best snow areas in the region.
    Photo courtesy of Thousand Peaks
  • 5 / 10
    Drop a Line through the Ice
    Drop a Line through the Ice
    Don your warmest clothes and get out on the frozen lakes of the hills with an ice-fishing tour from Strawberry Bay Lodge. All the difficult work—building fishing huts, drilling holes, and collecting bait—is done for you so you can focus on what’s important: settling into your own private hut for an early morning or full afternoon of dropping lures. Strawberry Bay can accommodate up to 20 people per expedition, which means you can bring all your friends. Once you land the big one, they can join you around the fire for a good old-fashioned fish fry.
    Photo by age fotostock
  • 6 / 10
    Skinny Ski Adventures: Cross-Country
    Skinny Ski Adventures: Cross-Country
    Cross-country skiing is at once physically demanding, mentally enlivening, and spiritually invigorating. And it's a fine way to explore the Salt Lake City snow country. Solitude Nordic Center has more than 15 miles of well-manicured trails that spider through pristine wilderness, which means you’ll never feel crowded even in one of the region’s most popular ski areas. Alta is home to a fantastic 3.1-mile track near the Sunnyside Lift, which is designed for both skate skiing and classic skiing, while adventurous types may wish to explore the rugged country at Mountain Dell via Parley’s Canyon, just east of Salt Lake City.
    Photo courtesy of Adam Barker/Visit Salt Lake
  • 7 / 10
    Backcountry Snowshoeing
    Backcountry Snowshoeing
    If you’re after an adventure that will test your physical resolve while allowing you plenty of time to soak in your surroundings and snap beautiful photos, you can't do better than snowshoeing in the Salt Lake City area. Surrounded by seven canyons, you’re never far from an exciting backcountry experience; Red Butte, Emigration, Millcreek, Big Cottonwood, and other sections of the Wasatch mountain range feature well-maintained shoe trails with easily accessible trailheads. Which means your expedition is only as taxing as you wish to make it. Utah Mountain Adventures has tours for newbies and advanced snowshoers alike, and can even help you shoe your way to the pinnacle of your favorite Wasatch peak.
    Photo by Ryan Rombough/age fotostock
  • 8 / 10
    Mush, Mush, Mush!
    Mush, Mush, Mush!
    If you’ve always dreamed of leading a dogsledding expedition, hook up with Rocky Mountan Recreation for the chance to command a team of dogs through the beautifully rugged terrain of Stillman Ranch. (Some of the dogs are veterans of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that takes place each year in Alaska.) Pawsatch Snow Dogs has teams of Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies that love nothing more than spiriting families through the snow.
    Photo by Carolyn McCarthy
  • 9 / 10
    Spectacular Sleigh-and-Dine Experiences
    Spectacular Sleigh-and-Dine Experiences
    Rocky Mountain Sleigh Company offers a unique sleigh-and-dinner program that will elicit fond childhood winter memories, real or imagined. Get whisked away along the Weber River through beautiful woodlands until you arrive at a charming log cabin where a home-cooked meal awaits—after you’ve had a sip of hot cocoa by the fire, of course. The Viking Yurt at Park City Mountain Resort offers a thrilling sleigh experience that includes a ride through majestic pine forests to a pass at more than 8,000 feet, along with night views of glimmering Park City. The adventure is capped with a Nordic-inspired six-course tasting menu, hosted in the luxurious Viking yurt, in front of a roaring fire.
    Photo courtesy of Mark Maziarz/The Viking Yurt
  • 10 / 10
    Let the Games Begin—Olympic Attractions
    Let the Games Begin—Olympic Attractions
    Salt Lake City is immensely proud to have hosted the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and rightly so. Today, the region still benefits from the facilities and attractions built to accommodate the world’s top athletes. Utah Olympic Park allows visitors to bomb down a bobsled or skeleton track at 70 miles per hour, or take to the air on one of the world’s wildest aerial jumps. There are also a couple of fantastic museums on site for the less adventurous. Soldier Hollow hosted the Nordic skiing events and features miles of wonderful cross-country trails, as well as America’s longest tubing track. The Olympic Oval is home to the “Fastest Ice on Earth,” a rink where your new personal speed-skating best is all but assured.
    Photo courtesy of Utah Olympic Park