It’s snowing again. And all your friends are skiing. You have no inclination (or cash?) to buy a lift pass, but you still want to make the most of Utah’s cold weather and/or pristine powder. What are you gonna do all day while your friends are making tracks and (probably) new friends on the lift?
Well, my friend, you’ve got options. There are many other outdoor (and indoor) winter activities you can experience that don’t involve hurling yourself down a mountain. Put your heart, mind and ACL at ease and engage in some of these other activities during the last weeks of winter.
Who says you have to stop hiking just because there’s three feet of snow on the ground? Utah is packed with snowshoeing trails of varying difficulty. From quick, charted trails to longer, steeper backcountry options, snowshoeing can show you a quiet side to the beautiful Utah snow-capped mountains, and give you a great cardio workout. Most resorts (or even REI) have snowshoes available for rent. So all you need to do is dress warm and get ready to explore.
Strap on some skinny skis and earn your turns. Cross-country skiing offers a chance to cover some pretty decent ground — and get a killer workout. There’s a certain finesse to free-heeling it, so it’s usually best to grab a quick class in the morning, and then hit the trails after lunch. But be careful: Depending on how much you enjoy utter exhaustion, cross-country skiing can either lead you into or out of its downhill counterpart. Great places to go include Soldier Hollow, Wasatch Mountain State Park, Solitude Nordic Center, and Sundance Nordic Center. Go crazy.
3. Go to a Yurt
Yurts are those warm little domes of Siberian and Mongolian descent you find more and more in remote parts of the mountains. Grab your friends and snowshoe, cross-country ski or snowmobile your way to a secluded and unique night in the woods. Most yurts sleep around eight people, and there’s nothing better than waking up in the middle of nowhere with seven of your closest friends or family in the same round room. There are several places to rent a yurt around Utah and most you can rent year round.
4. Go Tubing
Tubing takes sledding to a whole new level. Many resorts are stacked with a gentle slope partitioned off just for tubers, so you and other non-skiers can unite on a slope of your own, racing down the hill for as many hours as you can handle.
And if none of that tickles your fancy, you can hang out at the lodge, eat pizza, and keep your eyes peeled for Taylor Swift. A day in Utah’s gorgeous mountains is never a waste.
5. Go Ice Fishing
Ice fishing in Utah? Yup. You can take the whole family. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to fish, so you and yours can enjoy a full day of fun hanging out, exploring and generally messing around lazily on a frozen lake. What better way to spend a weekend day? Bring some snacks, some warm clothes and your rods, cuz there’s plenty of fish to be had. Strawberry Reservoir, Lost Creek Reservoir and Pineview Reservoir are three popular areas for ice fishing.
Like your winter fun motorized? Perhaps snowmobiling is more your speed. Don’t own one? No problem. There are a ton of snowmobile guides and rentals throughout the state that will be more than happy to outfit you with a machine. Go rogue in the backcountry to play, or try a guided experience along a well-groomed trail. There are so many popular areas to go, it’s crazy. You’ll definitely get that adrenaline rush you’re looking for.
Ice skating? Sure, that’s fun, and it’s a nice, mellow alternative to skiing. But everyone’s done it. Curling on the other hand? Well, that’s different. If you haven’t tried Curling, then you haven’t really lived. Lovingly nicknamed “Chess on Ice”, it’s a great way to get a group of your peeps together for some seriously weird fun. It’s full of strategy, teamwork, and exhibiting odd movements on ice. Just try not to look like an uncoordinated dork as you hurl the “stone” across the “curling sheet” toward the “house”.
At the Olympic Oval in Kearns, you can learn to curl. They offer classes for ages 8 and up, and there’s even a league if you’re feeling ambitious.