We love winter in Park City—the crunch of the snow, crisp air on our cheeks, the thrill of a downhill adventure…but 2020 has forced us to think outside the box for just about everything—including Utah’s beloved “ski season.” Solo and smaller group exploits might just be the ticket this winter to satisfy your snowy cravings, and you don’t have to sacriﬁce a single amazing view, heart-pumping minute of adrenaline or peaceful moment of solace.
Check out these alternative activities away from the resorts, and ring in the new year with another unexpected experience under your belt!
With more than 70 kilometers of groomed trails, Park City is a cross-country haven. Basin Recreation grooms 25K of free multipurpose trails near Utah Olympic Park, Willow Creek and Ecker Hill, while Mountain Trails Foundation maintains 25K of multi-use groomed trails in Round Valley, located in Quinn’s Junction. If you’re looking to jump into that postcard setting surrounding the iconic McPolin Farm or hit the backcountry for untracked snow, White Pine Touring offers 25K of fee-based groomed trails around the barn as well as customized guided tours. basinrecreation.org mountaintrails.org whitepinetouring.com
BACKCOUNTRY SKIING & RIDING
Whether by helicopter, snowcat or your own steam (i.e., touring), enjoy off-the-grid skiing and riding throughout the Wasatch and Uinta mountains. NOTE: Only adventurers educated in avalanche safety should venture into the backcountry. Enjoy a literal bird’s-eye view of the mountains with Powderbird Heliskiing, or go more low-key and cruise the mellow bowls located on 43,000 acres of private terrain with Park City Powdercats. For that off -piste day you’ve dreamed of, try Ski Utah’s Interconnect Tour and traverse the backcountry between six resorts in one day. powderbird.com
Perhaps the nicest thing about snowshoes is that you can use them just about anywhere, whether the trails are groomed or not. Rentals are readily available at local outdoor outfi tters, and Mountain Trails provides printable maps for Round Valley, Glenwild, East Old Town and the Historic Rail Trail for those looking to enjoy the winter landscape at their own pace. For a unique Park City experience, snowshoe under the stars with volunteers at Swaner Nature Preserve, who will take you on a moonlight tour of their 1,200 acres of protected open space. swanerecocenter.org
Without a doubt, one of the most thrilling ways to experience Park City is by snowmobile. Go miles beyond other adventurers to see sweeping bowls and untouched mountain meadows of snow. Wasatch Excursions is the only outfitter authorized to guide tours on the pristine 22,000 acres at Wasatch Mountain State Park. Additionally, around Park City and Heber Valley, Backcountry Snowmobiling, Park City Peaks, (formerly Thousand Peaks) and Lofty Peaks all offer rentals and/or guided tours on thousands of acres of private lands.
Drilling holes and dropping a line is a popular winter past-time for thousands of anglers in Utah, where the trout fishing is as legendary as the snow! Take advantage of the opportunity to access deep water and other areas not usually accessible to shore-bound anglers. Utah Ice Fishing offers rental packages as well as family-friendly guided tours to nearby Echo Reservoir, Rockport State Park and East Canyon State Park, complete with heated tent, chairs, fishing gear and snacks. utahicefishing.com
For a distinctly different point of view, let “man’s best friend” be your guide on a dog-sledding adventure through aspen groves, evergreen forests and snow-covered meadows. Luna Lobos, All Seasons Adventures and Bear Ridge Adventures are just a few local companies ready to harness their huskies, malamutes and other Nordic breeds
for this one-of-a-kind trip around the Wasatch. What’s more, these outfitters also support local dog-rescue efforts and offer several ways you can support them, too.
lunalobos.com allseasonsadventures.com bearridgeadventures.com
FAT˜TIRE SNOW BIKES
If you think biking ends when the snow flies, think again. Fat-tire biking has become a popular way to enjoy Park City’s trails all year long. Th e oversized tires create a smooth pedaling experience, but you’ll still work up a sweat, and the many free multi-use trails allow you to bring Fido along, too. Jans Mountain Outfitters, Storm Cycles and Pedego are just several places to rent bikes for full or half-day sessions. White Pine Touring and All Seasons Adventures off er tours ranging from mellow to challenging.