Utah's Top Off-Slope Activities Sans a Chairlift

By Yeti Dec 10, 2019
Utah boasts plenty of other ways to get out on the snow, sans-the chairlift, from snowshoeing and ice skating to tubing and snowmobiling, and dozens more diversions in between.
Utah's Top Off-Slope Activities Sans a Chairlift

Downhill skiing and snowboarding may be the undisputed champions of Utah’s winter recreation scene. But our fair state also boasts plenty of other ways to get out on The Greatest Snow on Earth®, sans-the chairlift, from snowshoeing and ice skating to tubing and snowmobiling, and dozens more diversions in between.

For the 2020–21 season, please refer to Utah’s Winter Operations page for the most up to date information on skiing and riding, and individual business websites for operating information on lodging, dining/bars, activities and more, as some services and operations may be limited due to Covid-19.


By Your Own Steam - Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing

In Park City, the sprawling Round Valley Open Space (mountaintrails.org) offers 25 km of groomed, multiuse trails catering to cross-country skiers, snowshoers, hikers and fat-tire bikers alike, free of charge. The town’s White Pine Touring - Nordic Center grooms 20 km of track at the Park City Golf Course and beyond to the town’s iconic Osguthorpe Barn. In nearby Midway, follow the tracks of former, current and future Olympians on 31 km of trails at Soldier Hollow, home of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games biathlon and Nordic skiing events. 

The staff at the Nordic Center at Solitude groom 20 km of skate and classic track and maintain 10 km of snowshoe trails. At the Sundance Nordic Center the groomed cross-country (15 km) and snowshoeing (10 km) trails cut through pristine backcountry with views of majestic Mt. Timpanogos and the frozen Stewart Falls. 

Near the state’s southern resorts—Brian Head and Eagle Point—venture off the beaten path and onto the trails in and around Cedar Breaks National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park and Dixie National Forest to discover frosted hoodoos and mighty forests in an otherworldly realm of red rock and ice.


On the Rocks - Skating and the Ice Castles

In Kearns near Salt Lake City, drop in for a lesson or join a public skate session on the “Fastest Ice on Earth” at the 400-meter Utah Olympic Oval or enjoy an experience reminiscent of wintertime skating in New York City at the Gallivan Center where families and couples whirl around the ice surrounded by streaming lights and glittering trees in downtown Salt Lake City. 

Conveniently nestled in the village below Park City Mountain's slopes at its Town Base area, the picturesque Resort Center Ice Rink allows visitors to skate with holiday ambiance and upbeat music while Park City Ice Arena offers year-round fun indoors with both instruction and free skate.

The Midway Ice Rink, the largest outdoor rink in the state, is worth the short trip from Park City for anyone seeking small-town charm and stellar mountain views. 

The skating rink isn’t the only icy attraction you’ll find in charming Midway. The town’s most popular wintry attraction, the Midway Ice Castles feel like something out of a fairy tale. Equally fantastical by day or night, when thousands of multicolored LED lights illuminate the structures, the Ice Castles are a perfect family outing and every photographer’s dream.


Gravity at Work - Snow Tubing

For next-level thrills, zip down Soldier Hollow's 1,200-foot sliding lanes, the longest in the state. Or add a twist to the traditional trajectory by spinning down the curved routes at Wasatch Parc located nearby Nordic Valley. Down south, descend the 100-foot vertical drop of the veritable frozen water slide at Giant Steps or 75-foot vertical plunge at Navajo Tubing Park, both located at Brian Head.


Along for the Ride - Snowmobiling and Dog Sledding

While numerous snowmobiling outfits operate throughout the state, three standouts include Lofty Peaks guided snowmobile tours at Snowbird, which begin with a ride on the Aerial Tram to the 11,000-foot Hidden Peak summit followed by a chairlift descent into Mineral Basin for unforgettable snowmobiling and phenomenal views on the resort’s backside. In the Uinta Mountains outside of Park City, 200 miles of unbelievable backcountry riding and groomed trails are right off your doorstep at Daniels Summit Lodge. One of the most scenic and exciting snowmobile areas in the country. Cedar Mountain Snowmobile Complex’s trails grant access to stunning views of Cedar Breaks National Monument, the Virgin River Valley and Zion National Park. 

For a unique experience the whole family can enjoy, hitch a ride with man’s best friend. Luna Lobos Dog Sledding, All Seasons Adventures and Destination Sports and Adventures in Park City all have experienced mushers and teams of gorgeous dogs ready to take you along for the ride. Wagging tails and plentiful licks are all the proof you need that dogs love dashing through the snow just as much as their people do.

What new activity will you try with your friends or family this winter? For more off-piste activities, visit our activities page and search by any category.