It’s news to no one that winter 2020-21 looks a little different than usual. But fortunately, with a tiny bit of creativity, a helping of social-distancing, and an occasional dash of digitization, there’s still plenty to do this winter around Salt Lake. With mountains so lovely, resorts so magnificent, and a city so fun, the Wasatch won’t let people down even in the trickiest of times. (Read the latest resort pandemic protocol here so you’re on the up and up.)
While everything on this list is subject to updates over time, as of publishing, we feel pretty darn secure knowing that there’s fun on the horizon. Just make a plan, bundle up, and get ready for adventure.
Birding on Skis at Alta
Whether you consider yourself a birder already or you simply have an interest in how our beautiful feathered friends live in the mountains, Birding On Skis at Alta is your big chance to enjoy one of the most unique birding experiences in the world. It’s a collaborative effort between our local Tracy Aviary, the Alta Environmental Center, Alta Ski Area, and Friends of Alta. To join, you’ll need to be an intermediate skier or better, and at least 12 years old. Sign up in advance; outings held on the second Friday of each month, starting in December.
Snowshoe With a Naturalist at Alta
Skip the skis for an afternoon, rent a pair of snowshoes, and take the unique chance to get to know the terrain of Alta on foot, guided by a local naturalist. You’ll learn all about the local wildlife, animal tracks, and ecosystem, with a little dash of Little Cottonwood Canyon and Alta history thrown in. The experience is a collaboration between the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation and Alta, and is offered the fourth Friday of each month starting in January. Registration is just $10, with inexpensive snowshoe rentals available from the Alta Ski Shop.
IFSA Freeski Competition at Snowbird
With a stop each year on Snowbird’s slopes, the IFSA Freeski Competition Tour is a chance to watch the best of the best local male and female skiers amaze and inspire in a competition setting, alongside some of the finest competitors from all over the world. In view of a judge panel at the base of the slope, every competitor gives every run their finest performance, including cliff hucks, tricks, and enviable speeds. This year’s tour stop is slated for March 18th.
Go Snow Tubing or Terrain Park Riding at Woodward Resort
Just 20 minutes up Parley’s Canyon from Salt Lake, the new Woodward Resort boasts a multi-lane snow tubing hill for hours of high-speed family fun. A gentle “magic carpet” style belt conveys riders and their tubes to the top of the groomed hill. Riders can then cut loose, whooshing dowhill and whooping all the way. The small resort also includes beginner-friendly ski runs and an excellent terrain park. Kids’ camps, held weekly, are a great way for kiddos to build up their skills.
Attend a Utah Symphony Performance via Live Streaming
Utah Symphony performances are one of the most magical things to attend during the symphony’s winter season in downtown Salt Lake. Fortunately, the music isn’t going quiet this year--it’s going virtual. The symphony will be live-streaming its performances throughout the season, bringing world-class live music into your living room. Check out Beethoven’s Piano Trio, Mozart’s Divertimento for Wind Quartet, or Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony.
Stroll Hogle Zoo’s World of the Wild Art Show
Winter is a peaceful time to stroll Hogle Zoo and get a peek at the animals relaxing—all the more reason to visit the World of the Wild Art Show, held at the zoo daily from January 29th-February 14th this winter. With over 100 pieces of some of the best wildlife art in the state on display, visitors can browse and purchase the delightful artwork, with a portion of all proceeds going to fund the zoo’s animals and programs.
Visit the Salt Lake Farmer’s Winter Market
Fresh local produce, cheeses, meats, condiments, and crafts aren’t just for summer. The Salt Lake Farmer’s Winter Market, held this year at The Gateway, is held weekly from 10am till 2pm from November 14th, 2020, till April 17th, 2021. Explore countless incredible vendors who bring the finest flavors of our region under one roof every Saturday. You can pick up salad greens, grass-fed beef, local yogurts and cheeses, fresh-baked bread, honeys, salsas, and even noodles, to name a few.
The Natural History Museum of Utah’s Polar Dino Fest
There’s not much better than a DinoFest, but throw in the fact that it’s polar-focused and offered digitally this year, and you’ve got quite a full-family crowd-pleaser on your hands. This winter, the Natural History Museum of Utah is broadcasting its annual DinoFest virtually, bringing world-class paleontologists to discuss this year’s theme—dinosaurs who lived in the harsh climates of the planet’s polar regions. It’s winter-friendly, COVID-safe, and kid-approved.
Cross-Country Ski Lessons at Solitude Nordic Center
With miles and miles of perfectly groomed nordic-skiing trails, the Solitude Nordic Center is a hidden gem tucked between Brighton Resort and Solitude Resort. This haven, on the shore of Silver Lake, offers inexpensive cross-country ski lessons, rentals, and camps for all ages, including women-specific clinics, kids’ clinics, and group lessons if you want to bring the whole gang. Nordic skiing is one of the best forms of cardio exercise out there—and the stunning mountain views help you forget what an intense workout you’re getting!