Photo by A.J. Mellor

Ice Castles

Just an hour’s drive from the Salt Lake City International Airport is an enchanting treasure and rare experience. Located in Midway is a towering ice castle handmade by artisans who add thousands of icicles to the castle every day for an ever-changing experience. Glide down one of its glassy, ice-formed slides, or take photos with the sisters from Enchanted. Five other ice castles are located in Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Canada, but with quick flights to Utah, visiting the ice castles within hours of lifting off at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is your best option. The castles are only open during the winter, so plan accordingly. 

Next-Level Tubing

If you’ve made the trip down to Midway to see the ice castles, you’ll want to make a stop to experience Utah’s longest tubing lanes, in Wasatch Mountain State Park. Soldier Hollow has 1,200-foot sliding lanes (don’t worry; there are lifts to take you up to the top), and you can experience the rush of tubing day and night. This is a great activity for families — and an affordable one, too, with tickets ranging from $12 to $25 for children and adults. 

Ski Park City 

Less than an hour from Salt Lake City, the Park City area has no shortage of opportunities to shred in style, including the recently updated Deer Valley Resort — which is outfitted with new tech, like electronic ticketing and digital signage — and Park City Mountain Resort, which has a new restaurant at the base and a new fix-grip quad chairlift. If you’re the kind of hardcore skier looking to enjoy the sport year-round, Woodward Park City is a new indoor/outdoor training facility that offers skiing and snowboarding opportunities even when the snow isn’t falling. 

Snowshoe to a Yurt 

This experience is both rigorous and luxurious and unlike anything you’ve ever done. Solitude Mountain Resort in Salt Lake City offers a guided evening snowshoe adventure that ends with an elaborate dinner prepared before you in a Mongolian yurt. The four-course meal that rewards the moonlit forest adventure is one of the most sought-after experiences in the state. Reservations are required, and groups are capped at 26 people — ideally adults and those over 13. 

Scuba Dive in Homestead Crater

Not all of us are up for the bone-chilling cold that typically accompanies a day of playing in the snow. If this sounds like you, consider seizing the opportunity to explore the only warm scuba diving destination in the continental U.S. At Homestead Crater in Midway, you can dive, snorkel, or soak in the 96-degree water, which is tucked into a 55-foot-tall volcano-shaped limestone rock. Or simply enjoy a self-guided tour of the crater — no rappelling necessary — to learn more about this natural phenomenon.