The brilliance of the Sundance Film Festival is that it brings you to Utah, where city amenities meet mountain playgrounds. It doesn't matter whether you're in Park City, Ogden or Salt Lake City, you're minutes away from world-class mountain resorts, accommodations and adventures. Alternatively, a little over three hours of driving or a short flight gets you to the red rock splendor of Southern Utah.
Come early or stay late to enjoy The Festival and the surrounding environs. Soak in the artistry of cutting-edge filmmaking then soak in a relaxing hot tub at Snowbird Mountain Resort. Rub elbows with the stars at world premieres then get knee-deep in The Greatest Snow on Earth®. Once you're here, you can quickly get away. Here's your guide.
If your time is limited to just a couple of days the "48 Hours in Salt Lake Itinerary" highlights the culture and heritage of this unique city, from the historic Mormon Temple to the newest attraction, downtown's award-winning City Creek Center, to the unique blend of science, technology and art at The Leonardo museum, with plenty of great local food and craft beer and cocktail opportunities in between.
Seven-day itinerary descriptions:
Ski Utah | Experience 15,000 acres of The Greatest Snow on Earth®
The Mighty 5TM | Experience five life-affirming national parks during the winter
Ski Utah Itinerary:
Experience 15,000 acres of The Greatest Snow on Earth®.
DO THIS: Ski Utah. (Daily itinerary here)
It's on our license plates and in your mind. If you're going to do it, do it right. Plan a multiday ski adventure and stop wondering what "11 world-class ski resorts within an hour of Salt Lake International Airport" is all about.
We have a six-resort itinerary that will get on everything from the deepest bowls of powder to groomed Olympic downhill at Snowbasin. The Bernhard Russi-designed men's Grizzly Downhill drops 2,900 vertical feet while the women's Wildflower Downhill exceeds 2,600 vertical feet. The longest run here is 3 miles! As for that powder? Hike up James Peak at Powder Mountain to access Utah's top powder runs or stick to the lifts where fresh snowfall will offer endless powder areas like the 500-acre Mineral Basin at Snowbird.
ALSO DO THIS:
Après-ski, look for the local coffee houses, restaurants and craft cocktails that define a place. In Salt Lake, you can get the best of all three at places like the The Copper Onion, Pago, Finca or The Wild Grape. Each offers menus with locally sourced ingredients and handcrafted cocktails. For a truly local food experience, consider making a reservation for a multicourse dinner and wine pairing at Forage. The small dining room will feel like home — it's built in a former house — and will simultaneously satisfy your need for award-winning cuisine and locavore urges.
Just looking for a drink? House-made ginger beer, bitters and syrups highlight the cocktail menu at Bar-X. Throw caution to the wind and order the Bartender's Choice. The Beerhive on Main Street features a ice rail built into the bar to keep that beer chilled. Down the road is Whiskey Street, Salt Lake's newest bar, whose name taps into Main Street's pioneer heritage, and a legacy of distillation sanctioned by Brigham Young himself.
Day after day after day. Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, Solitude. You will have access to more than 50 lifts and 500 trails en route to discovering more than 15,000 acres of Utah's skiable terrain. As for the vertical? Take a look at those Rocky Mountains on the flight in. You'll see them lining the cityscape. It'll give you a pretty good sense of what's ahead.
Mountains crest between 8,500 and 11,000 feet, at the top of which you will breathe the crisp, thin air, see new and distant horizons, and feel infinite.
We promised you Life Elevated.
Why six mountain resorts are better than one. And how you've still only seen less than half of Utah's resorts.
WORDS OF ADVICE:
- With great altitude comes great responsibility. Drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen, or plan on sweet goggle-face tan from direct and reflected rays.
- Alta does not permit snowboarders, so plan an alternate resort if you're riding.
- If you plan to stay up with a bottle of High West or Ruth Lewandowski wine, make sure you pace yourself in order to complete the itinerary. You will not run out of unexplored terrain on any day even with a full day of skiing, and you'll need your strength.
- When back in town, check hours of operation. There are plenty of late-night options but many restaurants and shops may close earlier than you are accustomed to. Last call for drinks is 1:00 a.m., with bars typically closing by 2:00 a.m.
- Buy advance tickets and rental packages.
The Mighty 5: Experience five life-affirming national parks during the winter
DO THIS: Red Rock in Winter. (Regular Mighty 5 Itinerary here)
Some folks say you haven't lived until you've seen hoodoos in blankets of pure white snow. The Mormon settler Ebenezer Bryce, for whom Bryce Canyon National Park was named, must have become quite familiar with this scene — but surely never weary of it. When Bryce Canyon's fiery amphitheater is graced by The Greatest Snow on Earth®, unforgettable snowshoe hikes will introduce you to the winter ecology of a truly special place.
In fact, the winter months in Southern Utah provide for some of the most unique interactions with Mother Nature possible. With fewer visitors and shorter daylight, you'll frequently find yourself alone in the presence of marvels like Mesa Arch in Canyonlands or the Watchman in Zion National Park.
Bryce Canyon and its backcountry, for example, offers scenic snowmobiling or cross-country skiing at higher elevations. When the snowfall exceeds a foot in depth, Bryce also offers ranger-guided full moon snowshoe hikes. Just bring your waterproof hiking shoes or snow boots. Great winter hiking and wildlife photography can be enjoyed at lower elevations, often with little or no snow, in parks like Capitol Reef and Zion.
Basecamp in Moab with attractive hotel rates and hit both Arches and Canyonlands. Ruby's Inn will outfit your entire adventure in Bryce Canyon while Springdale and Torrey are beautiful towns to facilitate your time in Zion and Capitol Reef, respectively.
Excitement and repose. Complete your transformation from city dweller to child of the wilderness.
Amid technological saturation in the age of information, this journey is how new memories are made and kept. Fill your phone's memory with pictures to share with friends but keep the best mental images for yourself.
A little planning goes a long way.
Improvisation can be limited in the winter, but local guides and rental facilities can provide you with the tools and the know-how to experience national parks in unexpected ways.
WORDS OF ADVICE
- Stop at park visitor centers to access conditions and for help planning activities.
- Some roads and trails will not be accessible in the winter. Check park alerts and call ahead for the latest information.
- Some gateway towns and resorts have reduced services during the off-season. When making your reservations, ask about additional considerations for winter visits to our national parks.
- If extra days are not an option now, make plans to return to Southern Utah this summer.