There is more to a Park City winter than the ski resorts. Downhill skiing and snowboarding is a lot of fun, but variety is the spice of life. We like to keep our winters spicy by trying some of the other great winter activities to be enjoyed in and around Park City. Try some of these great cold-weather outdoor activities when you want a change of pace from the usual ski day.
Tubing at Gorgoza Park
Instead of gliding down the mountainside on skis or a snowboard, try rocketing down the slope in a huge, inflatable tube instead. This simple shift in equipment makes for an entirely new experience, especially if you start spinning around as you fly over the snow. This is a great one for the kids, especially. They will beg you for just one more ride, and another, and another. Don’t worry, you don’t have to walk back up the hill, they just hook your tube up to the chain and pull you back to the top. Think of it as your own portable ski lift. For the smallest among you, Gorgoza offers Fort Frosty, a sort of mini-tubing playground that lets youngsters aged 1-6 get a taste of the action, even when they aren't quite ready for a full run.
Rather than changing the tools, let’s change the venue. Take the skis off the slopes and find your way into the beauty of nature for some cross-country skiing. Explore some of the beautiful parks and trails in the Park City area. For starters, we suggest the Willow Creek Open Area, which features a lovely directional loop, alternating daily. But there are plenty of other options for both beginners and veterans. The Mountain Trails Foundation helps, complete with a daily grooming report. Find some terrain you want to explore, check the condition, and strap in.
A variation of cross-country skiing exists, called skate skiing. This faster, more athletic form of cross-country is growing in popularity, and is fairly self-descriptive. Imagine you are skiing, but on skates. The skiis are shorter, the gait is more like that of a skater, and it can only be done on smooth, manicured tracks or thick ice crusts. On the aggregate, it will probably take a fair bit more out of you than a bout of traditional cross-country, but is sleek and exciting in a way that the traditional technique is not.
This favorite amusement , located at Park City Mountain, continues to please, year round. Twist, turn, and loop through nearly a mile of track as your little car shoots down the track. Make sure you are bundled up for a winter ride, as the chilly temperature and the high speed will leave exposed extremities tingly and red. The view is just as spectacular in the winter as it is in the summer, even if the palette around you is a little more monochrome. This is another popular attraction for younger visitors, though very small children will have to wait until they gain some inches before embarking on a wild downhill voyage, as the minimum height to ride, even with adult accompaniment, is 42 inches.
Resort Center Ice Skating Rink
Skate until your feet fall off at Park City’s only outdoor skating rink. A simple charge for admission (and another for skate rentals, if you didn’t bring your own), and you get endless skating time. No limits—just you, your blades, and the ice. There are even skate walkers available for little skaters. The rink itself is located at the bottom of Park City Mountain base area, right in the Mountain Village. The area is decorated in lights, trees, and more around Christmas, and is set amid the shops and the Lodge at the Mountain Village. Weather can interfere with the schedule, but the rink is usually open all afternoon and evening.
Go For a Sleigh Ride
Image credit: Park City Nursery
Maybe you’d like to just relax in the great outdoors for a while. Rocky Mountain Recreation of Utah has you covered with their scenic sleigh rides. You’ll be pulled across hills and through woods as you meander across the countryside behind a pair of beautiful workhorses, with plenty of time to just take in your surroundings and snuggle under a warm blanket. After the ride, you have the option of dining in a log cabin, savoring a menu of delicious rustic favorites. Pot roast, chicken breast, mashed potatoes, rolls and more will top off your experience. Fortunately, it doesn't extra to be carted out of the cabin suffering from a food coma.
Image credit: Park City Nursery
If you want to get out into nature with just your own two feet, then snow shoeing might be just your speed. While the snow shoes may technically count as equipment, they are really just a way to get yourself out on those beautiful mountain trails without ending up stuck in a hole. The scenery around Park City is gorgeous at any time of the year, but there is a special majesty to the snow. Explore the trails and find the perfect hike for yourself, whether that is a sedate stroll along level terrain or a challenging climb into the hills. Once again, the Mountain Trails Foundation website and grooming reports will be your best friends here.