There’s an old adage you hear often from people living in ski country – “I came for the winter, but I stayed for the summer” and this is certainly the case for many, if not the majority of Park City residents. Of course, the same is bantered around by snowsports loving people who landed in Salt Lake City and Ogden and with ten world class ski resorts within an hour drive of any of these communities it’s easy to see the winter attraction.
As for summer in Utah, if you are an active lover of winter fun on the slopes it goes without saying your summer is full of get out and go activities and you won’t find more outdoor things to do – both nature made and manmade – than what’s available after the lifts stop spinning in Utah.
Let me clarify that a bit because after a winter of big snows it’s sometimes possible to ski at Snowbird up to the first day of summer and beyond. However, for most of Utah’s ski resorts that host summer activities there is a short pause in late spring to regroup before gearing up for a whole summer of fun.
Around Park City summer is a daytime bustle of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, watersports, fun rides, shopping and of course great spots for lunch. Park City Mountain Resort base area is where kids of all ages can enjoy the fun rides and bouncy things kids love like the Legacy Launcher, the resort’s bungee-assisted trampolines.
PCMR also features one of the world’s longest Alpine Slides with four tracks, plus Utah’s only Alpine Coaster and two ZipRider lines where guests soar through the trees, 110 feet off the ground, at speeds of up to 45 mph. The Flying Eagle Zip Line, in its first full summer of operation, is a two-person ride over the activities in the Resort’s Main Base Area.
Deer Valley offers mountain biking and hiking around some of the same trails you skied down and all summer long Deer Valley features great music in the evenings with John Fogarty kicking off the First Track entertainment series on June 21 – the first full day of summer. The world renowned Utah Symphony, the Community Concert Series, the St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Outdoor Concert Series and the Deer Valley Music Festival provide a summer full of music for all tastes.
At Canyons Resort the summer schedule features fast-paced and high-flying adventures like Canyons Bike Park and Zip Tour Adventure, serene encounters with nature via an enhanced network of hiking trails or on a pedal boat on Canyons alpine lake. Family favorites include fireworks, concerts, fishing, 18-hole putting course and disc golf, and award-winning culinary magic and “al fresco” dining from the Talisker Restaurant Collection.
For me, I know summer in Park City is really here when the weekly Farmer’s Market at Canyons starts up on June 6, every Wednesday from noon to 6 p.m. at the base of the Cabriolet lift. The Canyons Resort Summer Concert Series, which in the past has featured headliners from Green Day to Cracker to BoDeans heats up the nights starting July 14.
Summer day-tripping to other Utah ski resorts is a cooling ride up into nature’s air conditioning and solitude – that’s Solitude Mountain Resort where lift served biking, hiking and 18 holes of disc every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Brunch and dinner are served throughout the summer at Kimi’s Mountainside Bistro, or follow a guide on a short alpine hike to the Yurt at Solitude where a chef prepares a four-course meal while guests watch the sunset on the Wasatch.
Sundance offers some of the most spectacular hiking terrain in the West. From the rugged peaks of Mt. Timpanogos to lush waterfalls and deep canyon valleys, here you are free to explore on your own or join a guided hike. Trails meander here and there, but, as my wife and I found out, as long as you’re going down you’ll be fine while you are mesmerized by an incredible array of wildflowers.
Mountain biking is big at Sundance and bikers enjoy the same terrain that makes skiing and snowboarding at Sundance so amazing in winter. Sundance also offers scenic lift rides, including full moon lift rides, horse backing riding and fly fishing.
Snowbird will be hosting a variety of summer activities including the annual Brewfest over Father’s Day weekend, free concerts every Saturday night as part of the Cool Air Concert series, Snowbird Family Flicks every Friday night and Oktoberfest in August, September and October.
Snowbird may just be Utah’s most touted mountain playground but the array of summer stuff will amaze you including the Aerial Tram, Alpine Slide, Peruvian Chairlift and Tunnel, new Mountain Flyer, Climbing Wall, Bungy Trampolines, Ropes Course, Air Jumper, Mechanical Bull and Kids’ Inflatables. Snowbird will also host the “Queen Stage” of the Tour of Utah – the 34th annual Bicycle Hill Climb and Widowmaker race – in August,
Over the hill at Alta the air is crisp and cool for hiking or just relaxing in the mountains and the summer season is green, beautiful and covered with, yes they counted them – 180 unique varieties of wildflowers. Alta Lodge is open seven days a week during the summer season from June through mid-October for meetings, retreats, weddings and lodging and serves a distinctive Sunday Brunch, featuring over 40 items from around the globe and accompanied with live jazz.
Up near Ogden, Snowbasin Resort in Huntsville has lined up numerous activities spanning the summer months, including Saturday Mountain Top Dining, Sunday Brunch, and the Jazz in July concert (July 21) featuring Anna Wilson. In August there’s the Mt. Ogden 100k and Concert featuring Jeff Coffin and The Mu’TeT while scenic lift rides and mountain bike access is available Saturday and Sundays through September with the Xterra Nationals on September 22.
A summer trip to Utah isn’t complete without a trip down Brianhead way with on-mountain activities including mountain biking, hiking, disc golf but also where you are blessed with Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.
All in all you can’t beat summer in Utah for just hanging out and for keeping fit for ski season. Remember too, Salt Lake City airport is just as convenient in summer as it is in winter so come out for the summer and – you just might stay for the winter.