Tucked between the Great Salt Lake and the rugged Wasatch Mountains, Ogden, Utah, is a winter adventurer’s paradise. It’s known for its proximity to phenomenal skiing (from Salt Lake City International Airport you can be at half a dozen world-class ski areas in an hour’s drive or less), but there’s so much more to Ogden than downhill skiing. Whether you’re a non-skier altogether or just taking a day to rest your quads, there are myriad other ways to experience the Greatest Snow on Earth™. Make the most of your next Ogden visit with these winter activities that go beyond downhill skiing and snowboarding.
For more than 20 years, non-profit organization Ogden Nordic has been coaching kids, hosting races, and grooming trails in the Ogden area. North Fork Park, a little over 10 miles from Ogden proper, is northern Utah’s top spot for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, with 20 kilometers of groomed trails. The Ogden Nordic Center, a warming hut at the South Gate Trailhead, went up in 2011, and visitors can stop by between 9:00am and 4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for information or hot chocolate. It’s also a budget-friendly activity: day passes are just $6 for adults or $13 for a family, and five-visit punch passes are available for $25. Fees go toward grooming and maintaining the trails. The nordic center also rents classic and skate skis as well as snowshoes. North Fork Park is also an international Dark Sky designation, meaning it’s an excellent spot for stargazing. Stick around late and enjoy the heavenly show.
This ice facility on the Weber State University campus has served as training grounds for hockey teams and figure skaters since the early 1990s, but its claim to fame was hosting the curling events for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The Weber Ice sheet continues to see tons of activity by amateur and professional skaters, and visitors can hit the ice during daily open skate sessions (check the calendar). The Ice Sheet also offers learn-to-skate and hockey classes, or, if you’re more of a spectator, you can catch hockey games all winter long. Admission to two-hour open skate sessions is $6.50 for adults or $5.50 for kiddos, and the price includes skate rental.
Ask any Utahn: Snowmobiling is a beloved winter pastime. The Ogden area is no exception. Snowmobiling is a great way to get away from car-accessible roads, and also see a much bigger slice of snow-covered Utah than you could on foot or ski. The Monte Cristo area, a few miles east of Huntsville, is considered a top-ten trail by the Utah Snowmobile Association, and the 63-mile groomed Curtis Creek Trail affords riders incredible views of the Ogden Valley. Bring food and fuel, as they may not be available, at the trailhead, and be sure to check the local avalanche forecast before heading out. Numerous local outfitters offer guided day trips on snowmobile, as well as rental for motorheads who are familiar enough to operate their own machines. Club Rec North offers group tours and rentals, with their sled kept on the hill right next to the trails for easy access.
Nordic Valley Ski Resort, just outside the little town of Eden, isn’t just for skiing anymore. The resort’s Wasatch Parc Tubing Hill is a fun, family-friendly alternative to spending the day on the slopes, although you still get the benefit of a lift up the mountain. Instead of the standard, straight-downhill approach, Wasatch Parc features a bobsled-style experience, with high, banked turns all the way down. Tubers can sign on for a single ride ($8) or two- and four-hour sessions ($20 and $30, respectively) on the tubing hill. You’ll want to bring your own helmet and snow gear, both of which are recommended but not provided at the park, and sign a waiver before hitting the slopes.
Some mountain bikers exchange their bikes for skis once the snow starts to fly, but with a fat bike, it’s possible to keep riding through the winter. Fat bikes are sturdy bikes with tires more than 3.5 inches wide, allowing bikers to gain traction and stay upright even in snow. The Snowbasin area, right outside Huntsville (half an hour from Ogden), has tons of singletrack to ride. (This has the added bonus of being super close to the ski area, so friends or family who want to ski can hit the slopes while you ride.) The Old Snowbasin Road is partially groomed all winter long, so it makes a great ride on its own. It also provides access to tons of fat bike singletrack. Fat biking is also allowed at North Fork Park, and if you’re visiting in February, be sure to sign up for the Sweaty Yeti Fat Bike Race and Festival at Wolf Creek Golf Course (it’s part of the Yeti Bash).
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail began to take shape in 1990, but its origins date back much farther. It traces the western foothills of the Wasatch Range along the shoreline of the prehistoric Lake Bonneville, which covered nearly 20,000 square miles (and was as deep as 1,000 feet, in some places) until about 14,500 years ago. Today, the section of trail that runs alongside the Ogden area is a mix of dirt and paved trail, and when it’s covered in snow, you can snowshoe or hike for miles in either direction. The trail is accessible via more than a dozen local trailheads, and also intersects with trails up several side canyons, including Beus Canyon (access to Mount Ogden) and the Pioneer Trail.
Originally written by RootsRated Media for Utah Office of Tourism.