IF YOU’VE BEEN FOLLOWING our series on skiing Utah and The Greatest Snow on Earth, you’ve met all 14 of the state’s resorts by the numbers, gotten breakdowns of the best ski runs and the sickest terrain parks, and seen some incredible photos that make you want to ski Utah right now.
But what happens at the end of your trip, once you’re skied out, your legs are aching, you’re rocking a full-on goggle tan? You could pack it up and head home, but you’d be missing out. Whether it’s tacking a few extra days onto an epic ski trip, going out on the town after last chair, or just coming to Utah during the spring shoulder season, when the snow’s still deep but it’s warm enough that you want to diversify and see what else is out there, here’s what you should be doing.
1. Singletrack slickrock.
2. Rock the stands at a Jazz game.
Once you’re done exerting yourself on the hill, go watch a bunch of other people do the same on the basketball court. Head to an evening Jazz game, where you can snag some nosebleed seats at EnergySolutions Arena for as little as $13. Yeah, so they haven’t been winning too many games lately, but pretzels, hot dogs, and showing a little support for the home team—that’s what sports are all about.
3. Shoot the wave.
Hiking to The Wave in Coyote Buttes North is one of the most mythical journeys in the United States. Limited to just 20 visitors per day, this is going to take a good amount of advance planning. For the best chance, enter the lottery for permits four months ahead of time online—they’ll let you know if you’re one of the lucky winners.
Otherwise, you can try for a walk-in permit. Show up at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, before 9am the day before you want to go, to be considered for one of 10 permits. If chosen, you’ll be rewarded with a six-mike hike on an unmarked trail and the chance to be surrounded by flowing orange, red, pink, and yellow sandstone. It’s one of the most photographed landmarks in the United States, so if you don’t make it through the lottery, you’ll at least be able to live vicariously through those who do.
4. See how your skis were made.
Utah is home to several big names in the ski industry, including Rossignol and Black Diamond, but also a handful of smaller, independent manufacturers. DPS and Bluehouse are both making their innovative lines in Utah. Bluehouse, which launched in 2007 in Salt Lake City, even opens its doors to visitors curious to see how skis are made in their factory. Just give them a call or send an email to arrange a time—you’ll probably never look at your skis the same way again.
5. Go nature-watching at Antelope Island State Park.
Where else can you drive six miles into the middle of a gigantic lake and see herds of free-range bison? Antelope Island is 27,000 acres of the exact opposite of what you were looking at before you got on the island: no buildings, no cars, no suburbs. Just nature—a billion kinds of birds, mountains reflecting in the lake, bighorn sheep, mule deer, 360-degree views, and pronghorn antelope (obviously). March and April provide the best opportunities to catch a glimpse of bald eagles and bison babies.
6. Soak your muscles.
You can’t take a ski or snowboard trip without your body eventually screaming for an evening in the hot tub. (Bonus points if you have one that fits the whole crew, as above.)
For something a little more natural, seek out one of Utah’s many hot springs. Spring is a great time to hit up Fifth Water. Once the snow thaws on the road up to Diamond Fork Canyon, the 7-mile snowshoe hike in turns into a more reasonable 2.5-mile walk. The super-hot water here can get up to 108 degrees, but the pools sit alongside a running-water stream that helps to cool you down if the pots get too steamy.
7. Catch a show.
What you may not know about Utah is that it’s literally the only big stop in the Intermountain West. This means epic bands from all over have to stop here on their way across the country. Not only that, but there’s a huge pool of regional talent out of Salt Lake City and the surrounding area, which means on any given night of the week, at any time of year, there’s a show you’re going to want to see. Most resorts host live music regularly, especially in the spring. Try the Owl Bar at Sundance for live local and national acts on the weekends. If that’s not your jam, there are a number of legendary live music venues in SLC, like The State Room, Kilby Court, Bar Deluxe, or Urban Lounge.
8. Hit the skatepark.
Not ready to stop riding a board? Forget it! Utah’s surprisingly skate-friendly, with over 60 different parks spread across the state. For the perfect apres skate sesh, try the South Jordan park (aka Sojo) on S. Redwood Road, where the park stays lit for skaters until 10pm.
9. Explore one of America’s premier national parks.
The national parks located in Utah all show off some of the most spectacular, ‘alien’-like landscapes on the planet. Combining a trip to one of Utah’s 5 national parks (Bryce Canyon, above, hosts free full-moon, naturalist-guided hoodoo hikes) with your spring break ski trip means you’re getting access to these incredible places minus the crowds (and the heat).
10. Take advantage of Utah’s craft beer revolution.
Utah loves craft beer. Epic Brewing in SLC gives tours of their brewery, followed by samples. Uinta Brewing also gives tours by (appointment only), and they have a brewpub where you can sample beers on tap before purchasing a few bombers to go. And, my personal favorite, Wasatch gives a Beer Tasting 101 course at their brewpub. That’s some post-ski education I can get behind.
11. Get some epic rounds of disc golf.
Base Camp in Moab is disc golf heaven. There very well may not be another place like it in the world—Martian scenery, rock towers, and one hole (13B, “The Chasm”) traversing a huge drop. Base Campe is about an hour from downtown Moab, and you’ll need 4WD to get here, especially in the winter. Camp out overnight for only $5/person.
12. Followed by some epic rounds of “regular” golf.
Head down to St. George for year-round and/or post-ski golf. Thanks to longer daylight hours in the springtime, you’re able to stretch your day with a twilight round of golf at one of the country’s craziest golf courses. Check out Sand Hollow—the red rock cliffs surrounding the course make it feel a little like you’re golfing on a different planet.
13. See petroglyphs and dinosaur fossils at Dinosaur National Monument.
14. Or, just ski some more.
At the end of the day, when most resorts are calling last chair and skiers are falling over into hot tubs or spilling into apres bars, Park City, Brighton, Brian Head, Sundance, Powder Mountain, and Wolf Mountain are just getting revved up. Take advantage of empty slopes, stadium lights, and the mild spring evenings and just keep on shredding long after the sun has gone down.