Utah’s Best Winter Activities

Posted By Allison on Jan 13, 2015


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Hey there!

It is common knowledge that Utah is one of the best places to ski or snowboard. However, Utah’s not-too-cold winters and outdoorsy attitude mean that there are many fun ways to play in – and out of – the snow. Whether you don’t enjoy skiing, or you are just taking the day off, here is a few other fun things to do in Utah this winter.

Utah's BEST winter activities for non-skiers | tipsforfamilytrips.com

Sledding

Sledding is one of Utah’s top family activities because it is inexpensive and fun for all skill levels. You just need to buy a sled and then ask around to find the best local sledding hills. Hills at public parks like Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City are free and popular.

For serious sledding thrills, try a commercial sledding hill like Soldier Hollow, Gorgoza Park or Brian Head. These hills provide tubes, groomed hills, lanes and rope tows so you don’t have to walk back to the top. You typically pay a per-person fee to tube all you want during a two-hour session.

My family tried the sledding hill at Soldier Hollow near Midway and it was a blast. Click the button below to read more about our experience.

The Utah Olympic Park is a great alternative for non-skiers | Winter Activities for non-skiers in Utah, tipsforfamilytrips.com

Soak up the Olympic spirit

Utah’s Olympic legacy allows us to see or try practically all of the sports of the Winter Olympics. If you’re adventurous, ride a bobsled or ski-jump inspired zip line at Utah Olympic Park in Park City. We have tried most of the activities at Utah Olympic Park and I’m a fan of the zip line. For those who prefer something calmer, the Olympic Park has two museums devoted to the history of skiing in Utah and the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

Click the button to see my tips and videos from Utah Olympic Park.

Utah is home to two Olympic ice rinks that are open to the public year-round. The Olympic Oval in Kearns hosted long-track speed skating events and the Ice Sheet in Ogden hosted the curling competition. Both venues offer open skating hours, as well as opportunities to learn and play hockey and curling. I think it’s awesome that our kids can learn to can skate where the Olympians skated.

The cauldron from the 2002 Winter Olympics still stands at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah. It is re-lit during each new Winter Olympics and it’s worth seeing.

Heber Valley Railroad is a great alternative for non-skiers | Winter Activities for non-skiers in Utah, tipsforfamilytrips.com

Take a train ride

My son has a winter birthday. When he turned two we celebrated with a ride on Frontrunner to Ogden’s Union Station where historic trains are on display. This is just one of many fun Wasatch Front destinations you can reach via Frontrunner and Trax. Click the button below to get more ideas for Frontrunner day trips.

My family enjoys taking Frontrunner into downtown Salt Lake City during the winter because we don’t have to worry about driving in snow or finding parking. This is a really fun day trip during the Christmas season.

Finally, Heber Valley Railroad has fun itineraries for families year-round. Their Polar Express trip is popular throughout the holiday season, and other fun and scenic options are available on select dates after the New Year. We enjoyed a trip on the Heber Valley Railroad for a family reunion one year. Click the button to read more tips.

Tips for visiting the Ice Castles | tipsforfamilytrips.com

Explore an Ice Castle

The Midway Ice Castles are an engineering wonder where families are invited to explore ice tunnels, cathedrals and slides. They are lit with colorful lights at night and there is something new to see in every room and courtyard. Be sure to wear your snow boots.

We’ve tried this one too and are looking forward to returning this year. For more information, click the button below.

If you’ve started to notice that Midway has a lot of interesting winter activities, you’re right. Here’s one more.

Tips for swim and SCUBA at the Homestead Crater | tipsforfamilytrips.com

Go SCUBA Diving

Have you heard of the Homestead Crater in Midway? It’s the only warm water SCUBA diving destination in the continental United States. Who’d have guessed?

You don’t have to be a diver to try the Homestead Crater’s geothermally heated mineral water. Soaking and swimming sessions are available year-round and the bathwater-warm underground pool feels especially nice in the winter. We tried it on a winter weekend getaway in Heber Valley. Click the button to get more tips for the Homestead Crater.

Cliff Spa is a great alternative for non-skiers | Winter Activities for non-skiers in Utah, tipsforfamilytrips.com

Photo courtesy of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort

Ski resorts without the skis

If you have friends or family who are going to ski or snowboard, you don’t have to stay home because there are a lot of fun things going on at Utah’s big winter resorts.

For example, Snowbird’s Cliff Spa is a wonderful place to spend a day. You can get a day pass for $25 and enjoy the year-round outdoor pool and hot tub, take a yoga class or use the fitness room, which all have scenic mountain views. When you schedule a massage, facial or other treatment, a day pass is included in the price.

All of the bigger resorts have excellent restaurants, and often provide live music or a DJ throughout the winter season. Park City has great shopping on Historic Main Street or at the outlet mall. It also has restaurants and museums to fit nearly all tastes. Hotels like The Montage in Deer Valley offer a list of fun alternate activities for non-skiers.

Winter in Bryce Canyon - You have to see it! | tipsforfamilytrips.com

National Parks

Winter is one of the best kept secrets of Utah’s national parks.

My husband and I visited Bryce Canyon National Park last winter and if you thought the orange hoodoos were beautiful in the summer, you should see them when they are capped with fresh snow! Bryce Canyon offers fun ranger programs like stargazing and snowshoe hikes throughout the winter. In mid-February, Ruby’s Inn – just outside of the park – will host a winter festival. They’ll have an ice skating pond, snow sculpture contest, activities for kids and a lot of other fun activities.

The red rocks of Arches National Park soak up the sun year-round and winter is an excellent time to hike there. Temperatures are often a sunny 40-50 degrees (F) in January and February and all you may need is a light jacket. For me, there is no better time to make the hike to Delicate Arch.

Canyonlands National Park is just a few miles from Arches. It is at a higher elevation, so it’s chillier, but that has never stopped us from enjoying the amazing views. Moab hotel rates and crowds are at their lowest in the winter so it’s not too difficult to get those views all to yourself.

Winter doesn’t have to be dreary when there is so much to do and so many fun places to go!

 

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Hi there! I am the founder of Tips for Family Trips. I am a married mom of two children, ages 10 and 12, living near Salt Lake City, Utah. We took our first child on a two-week road trip when she was four weeks old and we have been traveling as a family ever since. We love to get out of the house to see and do fun things, both far away and in our own neighborhood.

5 Comments

  1. Great ideas Allison! It was fun to see your Studio 5 video clip!

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  2. I visited Salt Lake City with my daughter during the summer a couple of years ago. I really want to return to explore more of Utah…during any season!

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