Monday, December 30, 2019

The 9 Best Winter Activities in Utah Valley

The 9 Best Winter Activities in Utah Valley blog cover image

The winter holiday and the winter season, in general, is an excellent opportunity to hit the open road and see what America has to offer. Indeed, one of the most popular spots in America today is the state of Utah. Utah provides a chance to see beautiful mountain ranges, including Mt Timpanogos and Box Elder Peak. If nature isn’t your thing, Utah also offers quite a bit of culture. For example, the city of Provo is home to several museums and art galleries. Whatever it is that you like to do on your winter holiday, Utah has it. However, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the number of activities that are available to you. In this article, we will break down 9 essential winter activities that you can do while staying in Utah.

old fashioned theater showing Sundance films

1. Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival belongs in the category of once in a lifetime opportunities. If you find yourself in or near Park City, you must see the spectacle that is the Sundance Film Festival. Over the past several decades, the Sundance Film Festival has become a hotbed for unique and groundbreaking movies, art collections, and celebrity guests. Sundance tickets go fast, so we recommend you plan this stop well in advance of going. Even if you are not attending the events, the sights alone are worth it.

an ice sculpture of a snowflake

2. Midway Ice Castles

I think we can all admit that going to some amusement parks are just too expensive and overcrowded. If you want to give your kids a fantastic experience without paying the price, then Midway Ice Castles is the spot for you. These natural and man-made ice caverns bring a sense of wonder and amazement to any family vacation. Also, you and your family can witness a breathtaking fire show before entering the ice castles. Hot chocolate will also be provided for all the kids and adults who want to act like kids. Tickets are $15 to $18 for anyone over twelve and $10 to $12 for kids.

3. Dog Sledding

Have you ever wanted to take a step back in time? Several outfitters in Park City allow you to experience the sensation of dog sledding through the winter snow. These sleds can take you and your family to a variety of fun spots throughout area. Rides can take anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour. Dog sledding in Park City can be on the expensive side with the average sled ride costing around $420.

a pair of white skis ready to hit the slopes

4. Skiing

You can’t go into the Utah mountains without encountering breathtaking skiing locations because there are dozens of ski resorts scattered across the state. If you are in the Utah Valley area, you have to go see the mesmerizing mountains of Deer Valley Resort. Deer Valley provides some of the best skiing in Utah with over two thousand acres that can accommodate more than 50,000 skiers per hour. Lift tickets can cost anywhere from $150 to $200 a day, depending on how early and how many you order at a time.

5. The Crater at Homestead Resort

When you are on your winter vacation, swimming is probably the last thing that is on your mind. However, the crater at Homestead Resort is home to a massive geothermal spring. Geothermal springs are perfect for the winter months because of their high mineral content and constant heating. The high mineral count will refresh your aching muscles and soothe your dry skin. While the water, which is at a constant 96 degrees, will perk you up after you have spent the day in the cold.

6. Tubing

You know, it's okay if you don’t want to spend your winter vacation skiing, we won't judge. Skiing isn’t for everyone; it can take a lot of time to learn and even more time to master. If you want to experience the joy of skiing without the skill required, then we think tubing will be perfect for you. Soldier Hollow has you covered with a thrill-inducing tubing slope. Hurl yourself down a 1,200-foot hill. When you arrive at the bottom, don’t worry a lift will take your tube back to the top for you so you can spend more time going down a hill at neck break speed. For a two-hour ticket, it will cost $26 for adults and $13 for kids.

7. Hiking

Hiking on your winter vacation may seem like a weird prospect. However, the beauty of the Utah mountains, combined with the whimsical effect of snow, will provide once in a lifetime experiences. The Utah Valley is home to dozens of resorts that offer excellent hiking trails for both beginners and experts alike.

8. Snowshoeing

We have talked about hiking, and now we are going to talk about a unique hiking experience. If you enjoy hiking and want to take that joy into the snow, then you will love snowshoeing. Snowshoes are a type of shoe that makes the process of walking on snow a much simpler one. Most resorts have snowshoes that you will be able to rent for you and your family. The only thing we would recommend is to make sure you have warm clothes and water because snowshoeing is a strenuous activity.

9. Museums

Just because you are in Utah during the winter season doesn’t mean you are required to spend the entire time outdoors. Both art and historical museums are a great way to spend time with your family while at the same time, learning something valuable. For example, the city of Provo is home to the Museum of Art at Brigham Young University, which provides one of the most excellent collections of art in Utah.

a mother and son smiling and sharing a sled

Before you begin any vacation, the most important thing to do is research and stay informed of the places you are traveling to. Utah Valley provides dozens of activities and locations that are guaranteed to make your winter vacation memorable.

Monday, December 23, 2019

A Beginners Guide to Snowmobile Touring

A Beginners Guide to Snowmobile Touring blog cover image

Snowmobiles are a great way to exercise your adventurous side during the cold winter months. After thoroughly researching what type of snowmobile is best for you based on the type of excursion you will embark on, you can begin planning your snowmobile tour. There are some necessary steps and some more intricate steps to take to ensure you have a fun, safe, and unforgettable tour. With this beginner’s guide to snowmobile touring, you will learn how to effectively plan your excursion and grow to become an experienced snowmobiler.

a blue snowmobile poised to head down a snowy canyon

Location, Location, Location

As mentioned above, where you go will highly depend on what you need to bring and for how long you will be gone. Research the type of terrain your snowmobile can handle and be sure to account for the incline. When looking for a place to tour, check the trail's website to ensure they have parking. The trailer needed to haul the snowmobile can be quite lengthy and it would create more of a hassle to park it far away from your intended trail. Asking your local community of snowmobilers is a great place to start; there may be snowmobile complex’s in your area that offers amenities such as restrooms or a lot of room to park.

two snowmobile riders taking it slow on a wide groomed area

Take it Slow

Have you ever been so ambitious about something and it not turn out the way you had hoped? Usually, that is due to taking on too much at once. This same concept applies to snowmobiling. Let’s face it; you are going against freezing temperatures and whatever the current weather has in store for you on your tour. If you take on too much for the first time, you may feel depleted; the ambition can quickly fade away. So, plan ahead and plan small. Start with a small loop, with a wide and flat trail for one day and that can serve as the “ice breaker” you and your snowmobile will need. From there, you can begin planning longer trails with more challenging terrain.

a group of snowmobiles outside the lodge waiting for riders

Analyze your Map

It is not enough to simply know where you’re going to park that trailer and head off on a trail. Study a map of the area so that you don’t get lost or end up on ungroomed trails in private property. Most trails also have intersecting trails, so you want to make sure you stay on the one you had intended to. You can also see the distance and other points of interest on a map that you can venture to. Having always to check the map while you’re moving is not only dangerous but time-consuming. It is also recommended to check the areas department of travel and or forest service website for road conditions and trail information.

an icy snowmobile after its trek to the top of a mountain

Plan your Stay

If you plan on having your snowmobile tour far from home, you need to prepare in advance. Not just to ensure you secure a room during busy months but so that you can research which places can accommodate your trailer. Don’t get stuck sleeping in your vehicle, book ahead. Your map should tell you what lodging is nearby so that you don’t have to travel too long to get back to your trail. Another option is to find a campground that is open year-round. Winter camping is more popular than you might think and can fill up fast. Camping allows you to stay close to or on your trail and will have room to accommodate your trailer.

Know your Gear

Aside from knowing what gear to bring, you need to understand what your equipment is designed to handle. One of the most common issues that beginner snowmobilers run into is that they will wake up to a frozen helmet, windshield, and other frozen accessories because they were not waterproof. If it does happen, a nice trick is to place some rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle mixed with water, and it should melt the ice right off your windshield. Other important information to know about your gear is what each piece is for and how to secure it properly. More experienced snowmobilers suggest packing duct tape for quick fixes, should anything go awry.

Packing the Essentials

Besides the obvious - jacket, gloves, snow pants, and beanie, you will want to make sure you are packed for freezing temperatures with the wind chill. Protect your face with a helmet, goggles, and bandana. You can also opt for a full ski mask. Along with warm clothes, you will want to pack thermals, a fleece under a jacket, and a double-lined snow jacket. It sounds like a heavy top, but you will be thankful for it while you’re riding. Bottoms would include thermals, snow pants, thick socks, and snow boots. Extra things to pack should consist of bungee cords, waterproof duffle bags, and thermos’.

Fuel Stops

This is a necessity when it comes to planning an excursion. You need to plan out fuel for you and your snowmobile. Stay hydrated and energized so that you can enjoy a full day of snowmobiling. Fuel stops for your snowmobile should be planned; never pass up the opportunity to stop and top off the tank. You never know when the next time it will be available, and you will be surprised at how fast time gets away from you. Likewise, planning food stops along the way is just as important. Include a few snacks in your snowmobile pack too for when you stop to take in amazing and scenic views along your tour.

Emergency Planning

On the off chance that an emergency should arise; you will need to be prepared. Pack a first aid kit and essential survival tools such as a fire starter, shelter, and a repair kit. Experienced snowmobilers suggest putting your cell phone in a zip-lock bag and placing it a couple of layers inside your jacket. This will prevent it from freezing and keep it dry.

Now that you have a foundation to go off for your snowmobile tour, be sure to have fun and stay safe! Check with local shops and community members for tips and use this beginner’s guide to snowmobile touring to plan accordingly so that your ride is memorable, and you can gain experience and skills.

Monday, December 16, 2019

6 Beautiful Trails to Snowmobile in Wasatch Mountain State Park

6 Beautiful Trails to Snowmobile in Wasatch Mountain State Park blog cover image

It's always amazing when we find hidden gems in our life. Places that will leave you wanting more and with memories to boot. Wasatch Mountain State Park is a hidden gem in Utah that offers not only fun, engaging, and scenic views during warm months but also during the winter. With options like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling, you are sure to have fun and not be disappointed. Within Wasatch Mountain State Park, you can find an arena of trails for snowmobiling or OHV’s. The area that this refers to is called the Wasatch Mountain Snowmobile Complex. Some of the trails include Snake Creek, Midway Reservoir, and Cascade Springs. All of which have different variants that will suit your needs.

Wasatch Mountain State Park is in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the Utah Department of Transportation. This is a unique park because it provides excellent entertainment and amenities such as restroom facilities, parking, and over 70 miles of regularly groomed snowmobile trails. The golf course - Wasatch Mountain State Park Golf Course, is open only to snowshoe activity and cross-country skiers during the winter season. You can access the park from the welcome center, which is off the intersection of Snake Creek Canyon Road and Warm Springs Drive. The visitor’s center is open from 8am -5pm Mon-Sun. With all of this in mind, this list is a compilation of 6 beautiful trails to snowmobile in Wasatch Mountain State Park, but you should also check out the rest of the park when you have the time.

solo snowmobile rider watching the sun rise from behind the mountains

1. Mill Flat-Tibble Fork

With picturesque and serene views of Lone Peak and Mount Timpanogos, Mill Flat-Tibble Fork trail offers a 15.7-mile roundtrip trail. While you climb up the groomed trails to the summit, you can expect a few switchbacks and snowdrifts. On your descent from the summit, you will have the opportunity to travel through American Fork and into Tibble Reservoir. Whether you are an experienced snowmobiler or just starting, this trail offers a variety of difficulty levels. However, heed caution as some of the trails incorporates steep hills. Most snowmobilers start their day at the trailhead for Mill Flat trail which is three miles up Snake Creek Canyon Road. You can also access the trail from the American-Tibble Fork side. The camping parking lot of Tibble Fork Reservoir offers three groomed snowmobile trails, including the Mill Flat trail.

snowmobile rider crossing groomed terrain

2. Cascade Springs

The Cascade Springs Trail can also be accessed off the same trailhead located in Tibble Fork Reservoir. This 8-mile trail roundtrip offers various beautiful views while you snowmobile. You can enjoy the farmlands from Charleston, views of Heber Valley, and Deer Creek Reservoir. Along this trail, you will also encounter Soldier’s Hollow Olympic site, which was home to the biathlon competition. Finally, near the junction of Decker Pass, you will be immersed in the Cascade Springs beauty of natural springs that surface and pool throughout the canyon. During the warmer months, Cascade Springs is filled with hikers flocking to the tall waterfall to capture its beauty. This trail holds a strong reputation and is the perfect spot to take your snowmobile for the day.

five snowmobile riders lined up as snow falls

3. Cummings Parkway

Known for be a moderate snowmobile trail, Cummings Parkway still provides numerous opportunities to enjoy the beauty of Wasatch Mountain. Like Cascade Springs, you can view the Heber Valley from the summit of the trail. One of the great things about this trail is that it connects with Mill Flat Trail. This will allow for an extended ride past its designated 8.2-mile trail. While the Cummings Parkway trail is wide and flat, the U.S. Forest Service advises that drifting is highly probable on the ridgeline.

snowboarders watch a snowmobile go by pulling a sled

4. Snake Creek Trail

Designed for snowmobilers of all abilities, Snake Creek Trail can be accessed from Heber Valley to the eastern slopes. The 3.9-mile trail will ascend you past the Wasatch Mountain Golf Course and will intersect with the Mill Flat Trail as well. Snake Creek has access to views of Heber Valley following various switchback trails. Many visitors have reported seeing deer and wild turkeys on this trail, so keep your eyes open! The view from the top of the trail is breathtaking and easy to get to since Snake Creek Trail is open for snowmobilers with all types of experience or skills.

looking down on a snowy forest

5. Little Deer Creek Trail

This is one of the longer trails in the Wasatch Mountains. With 6 easy miles of adventurous fun that goes through the canyon, Little Deer Creek is also one of the only designated campgrounds inside this State Park. This means that once you have had a fun-filled day, you can kick back around the campfire and get back to your more primitive roots. You can also enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. However, if you want to stick with snowmobiling and want an even longer ride, Trail 3 intersects with Little Deer Creek Trail and is an additional 12 miles. Seeing the canyon and hearing the quiet serenity of the forest, makes this trail a must-ride.

6. Midway Reservoir Trail

The Midway Reservoir Trail is a great place to ride on because it is a little more adventurous than the others. This trail will take you out of Wasatch Mountain State Park campground and up to Pine Creek Canyon, and then to Midway Reservoir. All of this is done in only 4.8-miles. Don’t venture off this trail, or you will enter private property and ungroomed trails. This trail also features a trailhead with amenities but because they are popular, space can be limited.

Snowmobiling is exciting and will leave you with many memories. Why not create those memories in an unforgettable setting? These six beautiful trails to snowmobile in Wasatch Mountain State Park offer the opportunity to grasp those memories. Whether you are seeking high summits with gorgeous views of Heber Valley or you want to wind through switchbacks in the quiet forest, the trails at this park were made for you.