Very few things light my kids’ fire like a bluebird day on the slopes with family and friends. However, that is only the beginning of the winter fun you can have with teens in Utah and Woodward Park City is THE place to start. As the nation's first all-in-one 125-acre action sports and ski resort, this fully integrated state-of-the-art campus is the ultimate adventure junkie's dream.
My husband and I recently tested the Woodward waters with our teens and opted for their All-Access pass which gives you access to it all (lift, indoor and tubing). If you want to have the ultimate experience, hire a guide to train you on the mountain. Coach David started us on Red's Backyard (the easiest top-to-bottom trail) and Progression Park 3 where we hit the boxes. We improved enough to hit the Peace Park where we learned Ski Ballet and how to pop and turn on the quarter pipes.
David was an enthusiastic and capable mentor for our kids...and had some memorable one-liners. After we did a sub-par job on a drill, he tried to scrape together a compliment: “I’ve seen worse.” And then when encouraging my son Bode to hit a big jump, he told him, “If you mess up, it’s a low-consequence landing.”
We all need some more of those in our lives.
We didn’t even have time to hit the longest tubing lanes in Utah (a must on your bucket list) before being set loose in the 19,400-foot indoor playground’s pump tracks, ramps, parkour zone, Olympic-grade trampolines and foam pits. The coolest thing about Woodward is their Progression training which allows them to cater to everyone from the never-evers to the pros.
Woodward Park City is just the start of winter fun in Utah for teens. Here are some of our favorites, divided by geographic area:
I still remember the first time I spotted the Montage Deer Valley, nestled like a fairytale castle atop Empire Pass. With unparalleled ski-in/ski-out access, this top-tier resort’s amenities are a teen playground. During the off-season last fall, my family played at Daly’s Pub & Rec, one of the many dining options at the resort. Which features not only the most delicious brick-oven pizza and Jackson Hole huckleberry floats but a bowling alley, dartboards, shuffleboard and arcade that includes vintage games (where we schooled our kids) and modern ones (they annihilated us on the PS4s). During the peak season this area can get busy so if you’re waiting, indulge in the spread of gourmet s'mores at the fire pit on the back patio or grab a wristband from the Montage’s concierge and have fun at Powder Park, the resort’s free tubing hill.
You have to be a minimum age of 16 to experience this thrill of a lifetime but guaranteed, Utah Olympic Park Winter Bobsled is an experience not to be missed. The Track was home to bobsled, skeleton and luge events during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games. Lest you worry about the safety of teen drivers, one of their professional pilots takes three passengers down the track. Be cautioned though: I know from personal experience that this is physically intense (particularly the fourth position which is the most aggressive and the one that bears the brunt of the G-force) but it's a thrill ride to be remembered.
You don’t have to be a guest to enjoy this 3,500-square-foot entertainment center at thisStein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley. Order wings or pizza and kick back as your kids go crazy on the wall-sized Pac-Man, ski ball, air hockey and more. Be sure to check-out the Freestyle Theater which seats 56 and all seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Recreation Centers. If your teens still have the energy to burn, the Park City Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center (MARC) has seasonal lap and leisure pools, tennis courts, bouldering wall, basketball, indoor track and, of course, cardio equipment and classes. The Basin Recreation Fieldhouse is an 83,000-square-foot athletic center at Kimball Junction with everything from batting cages to a state-of-the-art turf field to a golf simulator to lap pools and hot tub.
Outlets at Park City. If you have raised shopping fanatics, the Outlets are a great place to burn a few hours...and through your wallet. Our family’s favorites include Levi’s outlet, Coach, Gap Factory Store, Nike, Adidas, Vans and Old Navy.
The Solomon Center is Ogden's answer to extreme fun with adventures that include indoor surfing, Flowrider Utah, Fat Cats 32-lane bowling alley, arcade, miniature golf, bumper cars, laser tag and a full Gold’s Gym. iROCKUTAH is Ogden’s fun family-friendly indoor bouldering and rock climbing facility that provides 2,520 square feet of beginner to intermediate indoor rock climbing. Whether you're a newbie or you come to top-rope their 55-foot walls or boulder, you will have a great time climbing and hanging out with friends and family in a non-threatening environment. iFLY indoor skydiving is the perfect way to experience the freedom of flight without jumping from a plane. This indoor flight facility in Ogden offers the simulation of true freefall conditions in a vertical wind tunnel, with room for parties, meetings and even lessons.
Surf. Eat. Play at Provo Beach in Provo. The fun includes a Flowrider where this indoor wave machine pumps 30,000 gallons of water a minute right under your feet for the most realistic surfing experience around! Other favorites include laser tag, a ropes course, arcade, bowling, croquet and a playground for the younger set.
Axe Throwing. Who knew that throwing an axe would become a social activity but Social Axe Throwing has popular locations in Ogden and Salt Lake City. It’s kind of like bowling, only with potentially deadly airborne objects to make it even more exciting and your score is determined by how close you hit the bulls-eye. But really, if everyone emerges unscathed, you’re all winners.
Head downtown and swing by Temple Square for a free tour of the iconic grounds, venture across the street for great shopping at City Creek (or The Gateway is another favorite) and then head over to the Gallivan Center for some open-air skating on this rink in the heart of the city. For indoor adventures, be sure to check out the Ninja Warehouse, a ninja obstacle gym inspired by the hit TV show American Ninja Warrior with classes for ages 5 and up and Open Gym for ages 12 and older. Locations in Salt Lake City and Ogden.
Museums. There are so many fantastic museums in the Salt Lake City area. The Natual History Museum. Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Discovery Gateway Children's Museum. Hill Aerospace Museum. The Alf Engen Ski Museum at Utah Olympic Park. If you have animal lovers, don't miss SeaQuest Utah's Asian Otter Encounters or Snorkel with Stingrays.
Utah has loads of year-round events and experiences and these are just a sampling of awesome teen activities. Here's another great list of winter activities for families sans a chairlift.