Looking for things to do in Salt Lake City this winter? Salt Lake City is a paradise for those who love to get outside, especially in the winter! Utah’s capital and largest city enjoys fabulous proximity to the Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountains, nestled right between the two ranges. Everyone from seasoned adventurers to those new to the outdoors can find something to enjoy in a Salt Lake City winter. So, what are the options? From skiing to skating under city lights to snowshoeing, there are endless ways to take advantage of the snow in and around Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City also offers a unique focus on adventure for the whole family, with larger families on average than the rest of the United States. We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite things to do when winter comes in Salt Lake, and we hope you get out and enjoy them all!
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Best Outdoor Winter Activities in and around Salt Lake City
When it comes to winter activities, Salt Lake City is about as good as it gets. With the mountains nearby blessed with an average yearly snowfall of 500 inches, there are plenty of things to try once the weather goes cold.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiers and snowboarders will feel right at home in Salt Lake. Downtown is only an hour from Powder Mountain, the biggest ski resort in the United States! What’s more, there are 10 different ski resorts within an hour of the SLC airport. Yes, 10! You can practically hop out of the plane and onto the slopes of Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and more. The ski season in and around Salt Lake tends to run from about late November through late April.
Cross-Country Skiing around Salt Lake City
Cross-country skiing is another great way to spend a winter in Salt Lake City, where the miles and miles of world-class running trails get snowed over each winter. You’ll only need a trail pass for a select few trails, and the equipment can be rented for day use from major outdoor stores or equipment rentals shops. Cross-country skiing isn’t difficult to pick up, and Salt Lake is the perfect arena to try it out in.
Snowshoeing near SLC
Snowshoeing is a fantastic winter activity in Salt Lake City, where the plentiful dry snow makes the valley and the mountains alike an ideal winter playground. It’s easy enough for older children to enjoy and serves as a nice alternative to hiking when the trails are socked in. We love Donut Falls, Little Mountain, and Willow Heights in Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest as well as the Woods trailhead at North Basin in Snyderville.
Have the urge to rev some engines? Salt Lake City and the surrounding area is a playground for snowmobiling enthusiasts! Bold drivers and newcomers to the sport alike can rent sleds for the day or weekend. We recommend having some basic safety training first and asking the shop owners for their favourite trails that match your skill level to ensure a safe outing. Try High Octane Rentals for a family-owned and operated rental experience.
Sharpen up! Skating is a fantastic thing to do during a Salt Lake City winter, and you’ll find an abundance of rinks throughout the city. Lace up at Gallivan Center (closed for the 2020-2021 season but hopefully open thereafter), Murray Park County Ice Center, SLC Sports Complex, or the Plaza at South Jordan.
Snow tubing is the perfect winter family activity in Salt Lake City. It’s perfect if you struggle to stay upright on skis but still want the rush of zooming down a snowy hill! Soldier Hollow is one of our favourite spots for snow tubing- not to mention the plethora of winter activities they offer besides snow tubing. With 366m of tubing space and tubing for everyone ages 3 and up, it’s a great way to spend a chilly afternoon in Salt Lake. This is no lame kid’s activity, we’ve seen grown adults have the time of their life tubing!
Sledding is a quintessential winter activity, and Salt Lake has plenty of perfect hills. It’s a great family activity and the perfect excuse for a hot chocolate run after. While the best hill to hit will depend on which area of the city you’re in, we like Big Cottonwood Canyon, Donut Falls, and Sugarhouse Park. Wait for the snow to fall, grab your sled, and get out there!
Fat Tire Biking
Cyclists, no need to lament. There’s still fun to be had on two wheels in a Salt Lake City winter! There are countless cycling trails in the area, and a fat tire bike is a perfect way to enjoy them without needing to worry about wiping out. The bigger, less-inflated tires have more surface area and a wider tread to keep you safely upright in snow. No need to drop a few grand, either- you can rent them from shops like Hyland Cyclery.
Okay thrill-seekers, this one’s for you. If skiing blacks just isn’t cutting it, try a ride down the bobsled track at Olympic Park! Riders just have to be over 16, over 100lbs, free of any back, neck, or heart issues, and you’re ready to send it. You’ll ride with an experienced pilot on the same track that was used for competition in the 2002 Olympics. The rush will stay with you for a long time afterwards, we promise!
Is a winter in the Salt Lake City area ever really complete without a weekend trip to Park City? Nope. Park City is a winter wonderland, with the fabulous Park City Mountain Resort boasting great ski and snowboard slopes. The charming Main Street is perfect for an apres-ski meal or some off-day shopping. At only 40 or 45 minutes from Salt Lake, it’s an easy trip with massive potential for fun.
Best Winter Deals in and around Salt Lake City
Planning a trip to Salt Lake City this winter? Local and want to make the most of the season? There’s no reason to be paying full price. Here are some deals to make your planning even sweeter! Please note that deals and offerings may change without notice.
Best Accommodation and Travel Deals around Salt Lake City
Fly out of Toronto (YYZ) and enjoy a roundtrip non-stop flight included for free in your hotel booking from January 9-16 at Westgate Park City, Club Wyndham Park City, Provo Marriott Hotel, Solitude Condominiums, and Springhill Suites Draper.
Book your hotel early on Choice Hotels and save up to 15%.
Book a mystery 4-star hotel and save up to 40% on Hotwire.
Book two nights at a participating Salt Lake lodging property and receive 2 free 1-day Super Passes for skiing.
Book a two-night stay at participating Salt Lake lodging properties and receive a $200 Delta e-gift card.
Mention the Ski Salt Lake offer when booking with Quicksilver Private Transportation and receive 20% off their rates for first-time customers.
Best Ski Deals around Salt Lake City
Book at the Staybridge Suites and receive two Alta or Snowbird lift passes.
Stay at Holiday Inn and receive two Alta or Snowbird lift passes.
Purchase a Ski City Super Pass to customize your 3-10 day trip, receiving free transportation to and from the resorts, equipment rental discounts, ticket line bypass, and access to Alta, Brighton, Solitude, and Snowbird.
Best Outdoor Deals around Salt Lake City
Winter Weather in Salt Lake City
The elephant in the room… how cold is a Salt Lake City winter? If you’ve never experienced winter in Salt Lake, we’ve got good news- it probably won’t be quite as bad as you think. The temperature seldom ever drops below 0°F, and the coldest month (January) sees average highs of 29°F. Snowfall begins in earnest in October and normally peters out by late April, peaking in January. Because the valley doesn’t often stay cold enough to support snow accumulation for long, you’re looking at relatively light snow in the city and heavier snow in the mountains throughout the winter. If you’re travelling to take advantage of winter, we recommend planning your trip between January and March.
What to Wear During Winter in Salt Lake City
The key to fending off that winter chill? It’s all about the layers. You can stay comfortable regardless of the conditions with the right clothing. Come prepared with a warm winter coat, waterproof insulated boots, good mittens, a warm hat, a scarf, and additional winter wear if you’re tackling certain activities (like snow pants for skiing). We always recommend layering, as it traps your body heat more effectively. Consider insulating sweaters or thermal layers beneath your outerwear for extra warmth. Pro tip? Slip into long johns under your jeans or pants on especially cold days- it’s easy to forget about your legs!
While hats, scarves, and mittens might seem like overkill in your suitcase, you’ll find out quickly how much heat you lose from your head and how bone-chilling a cold winter wind can be on your exposed face. It’s better to be over-prepared when it comes to winter in Salt Lake City.
Fun Facts about Salt Lake City Winter
- Because of the lack of extreme winds in the Salt Lake valley, blizzards are rare.
- The snowiest season ever recorded in Salt Lake City was 1951-1952, when 117.3 inches of snow fell.
- Snowfall totals are amplified by the lake effect, where snowstorms crossing over the Great Salt Lake are intensified by the warm lake water.
- Because of the placement of the Rocky Mountains to the northeast of the city, most major cold fronts heading towards Salt Lake City don’t ever make it there!
- Salt Lake City enjoys an elevation of 1311m above sea level.