10 Things to Do When the Temperature Drops
When winter weather hits Utah, you may be tempted to cozy up inside, but there’s fun to be had outdoors when our state turns into a winter wonderland. And you don’t have to be a serious skier or snowboarder to enjoy winter in Utah. We’ve curated a list of 10 activities to get you outside during snow season.
Of course, skiing or snowboarding is a no-brainer for winter activities, but have you ever hit the slopes in a Santa costume? Dress like Santa, Mrs. Claus, or an elf, and you could ski or ride for free at Snowbird. The ‘Santa Squad’ must register at the Activity Center before 10:00 a.m. where they will take a group picture and then ride the Santa Tram up the mountain. The first 75 people to register in full costume get to ski or ride for free.
If playing in the snow isn’t really your thing, but you still want to get outside during the winter months, head up to Park City Mountain Resort for their annual Snowfest. Designed for the whole family, Snowfest offers activities, vendors, live music, and fireworks. Snowfest’s most popular event is the Torchlight Parade. Stand at the bottom of a run and watch as resort instructors descend the slope with torches in hand, lighting the way for Santa Claus to make his own grand entrance.
If you’re looking for something to get your heart pumping, the Snowshoe Stomp at Mountain Dell might be the perfect event for you. The 5K race begins at the mouth of East Canyon, heads up the canyon, and loops back down. This year, there’s also a 1K course for kids. With divisions for snowshoers and those in running shoes, you can join in with the footwear of your choice. At the finish line, the party continues with a blueberry pancake breakfast, live music, and entertainment for all ages.
Tempted to take the winter months off running, or switch treadmill running when it’s cold? There’s no reason to limit yourself to indoor running with the Bigfoot Snowshoe Fest in Midway. The race offers the country’s only snowshoe ultra 50K plus a marathon, 25K, 15K, 10K, and 5K—something for every level and ability. Entire course is covered in snow, so come prepared with crampons or snowshoes, depending on the snow conditions.
If bundling up in the cold isn’t your jam, head inside the Homestead Resort’s Crater for a swim, snorkel, yoga, or scuba dive. The Crater is a fascinating geological formation: limestone walls enclose naturally-heated mineral water that maintain a constant temperature of 90-96 degrees year-round. Park City Yoga Adventures offers stand-up paddleboard yoga inside the crater when it’s closed to the public, but you must make visit parkcityyogaadventures.com to make a reservation.
Is biking more your kind of winter sport? Sign up for the Sweaty Yeti Fat Bike Race at the Ogden Nordic Center. Typically, the Nordic Center is reserved for Nordic skiing, but for one day a year, it hosts bikers ready to tear up the snow trails on fat bikes. For younger riders, the course is 7.4 miles, 20K for amateur and high schoolers, and 30K for pro and open class. visitogden.com
See Bryce Canyon’s red rock hoodoos dusted in snow at this annual President’s Day weekend festival. Expect free clinics, demos, and guided tours of the area—with most activities held regardless of weather conditions. Come try kayaking, fatbiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country ski racing, or hang indoors for fitness and craft classes, photography workshops, and educational presentations.
Park City isn’t the only resort to host a winter festival. The Subaru team visits Snowbird for its annual WinterFest, a favorite of all lovers of snow. Try the latest skis at the free demo center, make a s’more, or listen to bands play on the outdoor stage while drinking complimentary coffee to keep warm. WinterFest even has special furry guests: avalanche dogs that are happy to play while they’re not working.
This winter race series takes away any excuse you may have for not training outdoors throughout the winter. Kick-off spring training with 5K February 1, 10K March 7, and 15K April 4. Each race is held in Sugarhouse with relatively flat courses on roads cleared of snow. You can run one race individually, but why not sign up for the whole series? Give yourself a reason to get outside and train throughout the winter season.
Each year, the Gallivan Center freezes over and opens its cold-weather delight for all ages. Skating is a low-cost, family-friendly event that runs most of the season, as long as it’s cold enough to freeze the rink. Bundle up and rent a pair of skates to take some turns around the rink.
With a host of outdoor activities and events in Northern Utah during the winter months, there’s no reason to banish yourself to the indoors when the snow starts to fly. Pick the activity that suits you then get out there and enjoy it.