How you spend your time off the slopes is just as important as your time spent on them. Complete your perfect winter vacation with a few of these suggestions for activities, dining, spa, and more to fill your days.
Cross-Country at the Olympic Course
Ski at one of only a few world-class Olympic venues while visiting during the winter season. Nordic skiing is an excellent way to get out on the snow and have a low impact, but high calorie burn workout. The pristine trails at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center offer a stunning setting to learn the sport or fine-tune your skills. Ski with Olympic athletes and young hopefuls who may also be out on the course training for their next competition. With onsite rentals, all you have to do is show up ready to play in the snow. You can also try snowshoeing or even biathlon.
*Tip: Stop in the Day Lodge for a hot chocolate, coffee, tasty soup, or fresh waffle to replenish your energy and give your legs a rest.
Who Doesn’t Like Chocolate?
Plan a stop at the local bean-to-bar chocolatier, Ritual Chocolate Factory & Café to see how this top-quality chocolate is produced locally. There’s a lot that goes into it, and we’re sure glad they set up shop here in Heber Valley, Utah! For a real treat, book a tour and tasting experience.
*Tip: Order the sipping chocolate tasting flight for an indulgent experience and learn about the varieties of premium cacao beans used.
Sit & Glide
Ride down Utah’s longest snow tubing lanes at Soldier Hollow. The magic carpet conveyer takes you and your tube back to the top so you can enjoy hours of fun on the fast, snow-covered lanes. Visitors get two-hour blocks to glide and slide while overlooking the wintry Heber Valley.
*Tip: This activity is great for kids and adults of all ages and can be done day or night. Be sure to dress in warm, waterproof layers including snow boots, gloves, and something to keep your head warm.
Snowshoe into a Wintry Yurt Dinner
One of our favorite winter experiences is the impressive four-course dinner inside a warm, cozy yurt. After a short and easy half-mile guided snowshoe trek along the hillside at Soldier Hollow, guests arrive at the comfortably adorned winter yurt where they are greeted by their hosts for the evening. A local and beloved restaurateur prepares a lavish multi-course meal followed with s'mores around an outdoor bonfire beneath the starlit sky. The experience is truly one-of-a-kind and something you won’t soon forget.
*Tip: Bring your favorite bottle of wine, bubbles, or local beer to add to the dinner menu. This is a perfect activity for couples. Be sure to book well in advance for your preferred date.
From Slopes to Springs
A visit to The Utah Crater is a must! This 10,000-year-old geothermal hot spring maintains a warm 95-degree Fahrenheit (35° C) water temperature year-round. The mineral-rich, therapeutic waters alleviate sore muscles and tired legs, allowing swimmers to fully relax during a soak or swim session. Additional activities include snorkeling, scuba diving (as the only warm-water certification location in the lower 48 states!), and even standup paddle board yoga atop the blue water.
*Tip: Make your reservation for SUP yoga following a full day on the slopes to maximize your recovery and soothe a tired body. If timed for later in the day, you can follow this activity with an après-ski beverage and small bite or head on to dinner.
Dine in a Snow Globe
A truly magical dining experience awaits inside the Alpenglobes at Café Galleria in Midway, Utah. In this fully enclosed snow globe-like orb, guests control the temperature and even select their own music once inside. Diners can watch the soft falling snow while enjoying great local cuisine and looking onto the quaint Midway Main Street and local Swiss-influenced Midway Town Hall. The unique ambience makes for a merry dining experience.
*Tip: Watch for the wood carved Swiss dancing glockenspiel that comes out and rotates while music plays at the top of the Midway Town Hall tower across the street.
Snowmobiling is an excellent non-ski day activity. You can rest sore muscles (depending on how hard you ride) and see some majestic backcountry on either side of Heber Valley, Utah.
*Tip: We recommend going with a guide who knows the area well, can ensure your safety, and is responsible for making sure you have a wonderful and memorable time. Our area guides and outfitters are highly experienced!
A Dairy Tour with a Tasty Ending
Stop in for a dairy farm tour, meet the cows and calves, and end with a taste of the local and award-winning cheeses and ice cream (or fudge, jams, candies, and more). The daily tour departs at 11am Monday through Saturday and is led by one of the knowledgeable farmers. Get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to operate a dairy farm in today’s technologically-driven era. You’ll be surprised by the efficiency of the robotic milking system for sure!
*Tip: Time your visit with a cheese tasting event or cheese making class. Learn how to make mozzarella or burrata to really impress your friends at your next gathering.
Visit the Otherworldly Ice Castles
Unlike anywhere else in the world, the awe-inspiring Midway Ice Castles is an astounding frozen fortress erected with hand-placed icicles and showcasing a completely new design each winter season. Sitting on an acre of open land and weighing in around 25 million pounds, this icy creation is really something to behold. Learn more about how the Ice Castles are created.
*Tip: Get tickets early as they tend to sell out in advance. Time your visit in mid-January to early February as this outdoor creation is subject to cold temps and ideal weather to maintain the structure. Once inside the castle, be sure to take the horse drawn sleigh ride through the light show as an added bonus to the already splendid experience.
Fill’Er Up First Thing in the Morning
At the local Midway Fill’Er Up Coffee Station, you can get a great cup of coffee, espresso beverage, house made baked good, or energy bites for the day. Be sure to look through the eclectic décor both inside and out. The original building was constructed in 1929 and eventually became a tire and lube shop. The owners have enjoyed preserving much of the history of the building, including showcasing the interior wall that separates the order counter from the seating area where original WWI ammunition boxes line the wall. Many of the signs that adorn the surrounding walls are from days gone by and all have a story to tell.
*Tip: If you’re lucky to catch local owner Millie working behind the counter, she may even share some of the history and fun stories about the building.
Other Great Activities to Consider:
- Ice skating at Utah’s largest open-air, outdoor ice rink
- Dog sledding is a great outdoor activity for your rest day
- Snowshoeing is a perfect activity for families to be outdoors exploring together
- Ice fishing is a fun experience for families to get on the frozen lakes
- Horseback riding offers a wonderful opportunity to be on the trails and get some great valley views with this year-round activity