By Lynn Blamires feature writer for My Local Utah
Beginning with Halloween, it is clear that summer is over, fall colors are fading, and winter is just starting to settle in. However, no one is thinking about that because the dinner holidays are just heating up with family gatherings and parties with friends. The busy December days keep our minds off the fact that the days are getting shorter. It seems as though our subconscious is more aware of the decreasing amount of light than our conscious selves are. Living further away from the equator makes the length of days more dramatic.
The glitter of the season is now starting in October. Halloween lights are competing with the twinkling Christmas displays that light up the long nights at this time of year. However, as the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
For a short time at the end of the year, we get time off from work, the kids get a long Christmas vacation, and we are taken up with the shimmer and glimmer of it all. Then when the last “Auld Lang Syne” is sung, the party is over, and you are left with the reality that it is January – the next month is February and March doesn’t look that much better.
I would like to present 11 ideas to help you with that ominous reality. Utah is already known for the quality of its amazing snow and the skiing, snowboarding, and other activities related to it. Utah is a winter destination because of its beautiful mountains and the snow therein.
My purpose is to present ideas to the 3.338 million people who live here on how to have fun until the days begin to get warmer. Some of these will appeal to families with young children, others for young adults, and others will make good date ideas for couples – young and old. Here is my list of things to do in a Utah winter:
Soldier Hollow in Wasatch Mountain State Park offers long 1200-foot tubing lanes. When you get to the bottom instead of trudging back up to the top, pick up your tube and step onto a moving sidewalk that will take you up for another run. Type “snow tubing in Utah” into your browser and find the closest one to you.
Located at Soldier Hollow, Ice Castles is a wonderful family activity. The Ice creation is a huge ice castle made by skilled artists who turn water into ice formations. Exhilarating ice slides are made to be enjoyed by all ages. Crawl tunnels are made just large enough for children and adults who are adventurous enough to squeeze through. Visit the Ice Castles at night when it is lit from without and within with an array of colorful beams of light or visit during the day for a completely different experience. For more detailed information, click here.
Sled Dog Tours
The Alaskan dog sled experience has been transported to Utah right here in Park City. The Team G Sled Dogs will give you a taste of the Iditarod in our snow-filled mountains. Designed for ages three and older, this will be an experience your family will long remember. Click here for more information—plan ahead for this popular event.
The Homestead in Midway
The Homestead resort will provide a romantic winter getaway for couples. Luxurious rooms in a mountain setting provide a time for peaceful relaxation. The Homestead Crater makes this one of the top romantic retreats in the nation. This natural geothermal hot spring stays constant at about 96 degrees year-round. Situated under a 55-foot natural dome, this is a perfect place to relax in the warm water, snorkel, or scuba dive. Explore all the possibilities by clicking here.
Visit a Hot Springs Resort
One of my favorite winter activities is a date to visit Crystal Hot Springs in Honeyville. This resort offers a variety of pools with each pool having a different temperature. The steam rises around you as you soak in the mineral water. Dinner at the Maddox Ranch House Restaurant rounds out the outing.
A Bobsled Ride at Olympic Park
Experience a thrill of a lifetime in a bobsled on the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games Sliding Track for a winter bobsled experience. A professional pilot will take you on a thrilling ride down the original Olympic track. It’s an Olympic experience not to be missed. Click here for details.
The Clark Planetarium
For more than 50 years, the Clark Planetarium has been Salt Lake’s go-to destination for visitors of all ages who want to discover and learn about space and science. Their programs will take you out of this world. Visit the website for information about shows and exhibits.
The Hill Aerospace Museum
Located east of the 5600 south exit off I-15 in Roy, the Museum has more than 70 aircraft on display in its two inside galleries and outside Air Park. It exhibits thousands of artifacts depicting the history of aviation in the United States Air Force, Hill Air Force Base, and the State of Utah. Admission is free. I enjoy a walk around these historic war birds and the winter is a good time to go. Click here for information.
The Polar Express
The Heber Valley Railroad offers year-round scenic train rides through Heber Valley and in the Wasatch Mountains. They offer three options for an exciting and relaxing way to enjoy a winter day. The Deer Creek Express runs all year round, while the Lakeside Limited only runs in the fall and winter. The Provo Canyon Special only runs in the spring and summer.
Each excursion features live entertainment. The Monday Night Train has sing-a-longs and occasional dance parties. It is a great family night experience. Learn more by clicking here.
Have an Indoor Swim Party
The waves roll year-round at Layton’s Surf n Swim. The Clearfield Aquatic Center is also a fun place to enjoy a splash with the family. These covered pools make a good option to blast the winter blahs. You can type these facilities into your browser for more information. You can browse other facilities that might be closer to you.
Sleigh Rides at Hardware Ranch
Haviland’s Old West Adventures will offer sleigh rides on the Wildlife Management Area at Hardware Ranch to view the elk that winter on the range there. These are horse-drawn sleighs that will give you a taste of what transportation was like in the old west. A food truck will be on location while the sleighs are running to provide food and beverages. More information is available by clicking here.
These are a few of the activities I think will help you deal with January. One of the key ingredients of this recipe is getting out of the house and spending time with family and friends.
What do you do to beat the winter doldrums? Take a minute to send us an email. We would love to have fresh ideas in dealing with this annual experience.